5 Sustainable Living Hacks – Be the change

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November 18, 2020
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So as you know, I am a super thrifty person. I super enjoy saving money, and also, I am working very hard to minimize my footprint. Now I am by no means an extreme minimalist or a zero-waste person, but I think it’s great that we can all aspire towards that. Today I also had the opportunity to work with a fantastic app called Bunz.

A friend of mine was getting rid of all of her craft supplies, and she passed on a lot to me. She told me about this app where you could swap for things. You could trade for things that you don’t want for things you need instead of selling it online where many things don’t have monetary value anymore, but they still can have value for somebody who wants it. So ever since then, I have been like non-stop trading. It’s just a great system to keep things out of a landfill and find new treasures that you would have never seen anywhere else.

So let’s get started with our first hack. This first hack has been a real money saver for me. I bought these foam soap dispensers from the home goods store because I saw all these Bath & Bodyworks bottles of foam soap and realized this is just soap mixed with water and charge so much for it. I can do this myself. I buy bulk body or hand soap, mix one-part soap to five parts water, and it lasts me forever. It works just as well as concentrated soap, if not better, because it’s already lathered for you.

Buying natural liquid soap and using fewer quantity chemicals is just a small way to reduce consumption and waste. I do the same thing with my detergent. My parents have a huge jug of detergent we share, not that they know that we share, which is technically stealing but yeah, we kind of share. I’ve had this bottle of concentrate for a year now, and it’s still going strong. Reusable straws are trendy now, and my favorites are the stainless-steel kind. It doesn’t affect the taste of anything I drink, including water, and I even have these bubble tea sized straws for my extreme tapioca consumption.

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On my most recent trip, the beaches were completely littered with straws. Small plastics on the beach wash into the ocean and injure animals. I love straws. I drink everything through a straw, but recycling facilities have a hard time catching small plastics through their filters, and too much of it ends up where it doesn’t belong.

While you’re at it, reusable cups are also a must-have. Majority of drink cups are not recyclable because it’s lined with plastic so although most cups advertise made from recycled material, the cup itself will still end up in a landfill. Starbucks is super friendly and will take any vessel, while some places require you only to use their reusable cups. Just make sure to ask your favorite beverage place what they accept. Find out more about what you can and can’t recycle; find your city’s recycling chart for guidance. Toronto is not very advanced with their recycling program.
As you can see, drink cups, foil wrappers, and even many plastics are not recyclable. What’s messed up is that black plastic can’t be recycled. The reason being the optical sorter cannot distinguish between the black plastic and the black conveyer belt. What is surprising is that styrofoam is recyclable. Still, there’s the taboo of it being nonenvironmentally friendly in the past, which is why styrofoam is not as standard nowadays, even though technology has caught up to meet those needs.

Wax-coated clothes have become my better alternative to foil and saran wrap. It works better at clinging and preserving than plastic wrap. Now, this can be a pricey item, which is why I Bunz for it. I ended up using BTZ I collected to trade for the food wrap, which means I acquired this for free. Now that’s a smart deal. When you’re done with your food, and this is a trick that my dad taught me, you compost it! It is not just compost, though, as I used to keep it under my sink, and it still gets smelly, and I don’t have counter space for a table composter, which is also very pricey to freeze your compost.

I got a little bin from Ikea, especially in the summer; this completely eradicates our fruit fly and smell issue. This is a cheat, but I wanted to shout out my recent video about repurposing old t-shirts. I made reusable cotton rounds out of an old tee that I throw in the wash to use, and I made a reusable grocery bag that doubles as a cute tote. This is to round up the number because 13 hacks don’t sound as good as 15.

Dryer sheets are single-use items that quickly fill up garbages. You can reuse them in various ways, but for fluffy clothes, an alternative is dryer balls. I have these cute hedgehog ones that lost their noses, and because they can be a bit pricey, I’m going to trade for wool balls and essential oils on Bunz as an upgrade. In my laundry cupboard, I also have a massive stash of rags. I have old torn bedsheets and ripped clothing like the t-shirt DIY scraps to use as a paper towel alternative. The key is to think about single-use throwaway products and finding alternatives for them, like Swiffer sheets and duster refills. It’s not any less convenient to have a washable version of disposable products.

For the home as well, we rarely turn on the heat or a/c. You can call us cheap because we are, but this doubles as emission saving for the environment. There are duvets for every type of climate and sleeper. We’ll throw a fleece blanket underneath for colder weather and have a cooling comforter for the summer, made of breathable material like wool, cotton, or even some that are mesh down alternatives that wick moisture. I went to that drapery section at the thrift store and picked up some white mesh curtains, which I guarantee will be in abundance at every thrift store. Folding mine at the top in three, I cut out a few 12 by 16-inch rectangles. Zig-zag stitch all sides but the top fold, leaving a slight gap to thread your drawstring through. Now my drawstring is old shoelaces. Thread it through what used to be the pocket for the curtain rod, and you have reusable produce bags. These will keep your produce longer with its breathable material since plastic keeps the moisture in and rots your fruits and veggies quicker.

So what about when you leave the house, how do you bring all this with you? I take a go-bag whenever I go in the car: one large reusable tote to throw everything in, extra totes, thermos or tumbler metal straws, and the produce bags. Most days, I don’t have a car, so I just carry straws in this super cute strawberry reusable bag on me. When I go grocery shopping, I try to avoid over-packaged items, and we’ll share industrial-sized items with my family. We buy in bulk, usually industrial-sized non-perishables, and freeze many groceries that are bought in large batches. About thirty to forty percent of my house is Bunz items, so Opalma is a Bunz trade.

This bed table we traded for an armchair. So I mostly trade for plants, toilet paper, and scented candles. My latest acquisition is a set of buns, so these mannequin butts are the newest thing to my home. They are like, where else would you find a pair of mannequin butts? I got a snowboard, boots, bindings, goggles, helmet, and bag for a $50 gift card like that’s less than rental for the day. That’s insane. I don’t even know; sometimes people want to get rid of stuff, and then in this uncertain phase, this is the best time to trade. They have this new currency called BTZ where if you can earn BTZ by referring your friends and answering their daily survey. You get a little bit of BTZ, and you use those BTZ in exchange to buy things at your local stores, so local cafes and small stores will take BTZ as currency. And if you sign up and say that I referred you, I get BTZ; you get BTZ. I can’t speak highly enough of this app. I find so much more value in the things that I’ve traded for because there’s so much story behind it then you appreciate things more. You tend not to throw away or want to buy new things to replace them anyway, and that’s why I very much support the Bunz app and the Bunz community, and I hope you guys can take a look at what they have.

I know it isn’t easy to be sustainable, especially in makeup and fashion, and I think that there’s a great movement right now on moving towards that. I’m not perfect, but I know I’m doing my best to minimize my footprint, do what I can, even outside of just fashion in terms of home and food, minimize my waste, and make that footprint smaller. Thank you, guys for reading. Please share this post if it inspired you!

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