Transitioning to a Low-Waste + Eco-Friendly Lifestyle | Resources + Journey
If you know me in real life you'll know how much I push my environmentalist ideologies on people (well, I hope to in a friendly way)! I want to start a series highlighting my favorite brands and products, but I figured I should start with how and why I call myself an aspiring environmentalist.
I started in 2013 when a video from one of my favorite YouTubers Lex Croucher appeared in my subscription feed entitled "Animal Testing 101". Lex is extremely eloquent yet assertive and gives a great introduction to the concept of cruelty-free products as well as a simple explanation on parent companies and how that affects your products. This led me to watching things like Blackfish, which is clearly propaganda, but it will break your heart in regards to how animals are treated specifically for human benefit.
I am not a big makeup user, but I use products like lotions, shower, and skin care products. With this information, I moved exclusively cruelty-free with my cosmetics (I shopped from Yes To, LUSH, and Fortune Cookie Soap for years and still do occasionally), and when I moved into my own apartment, I started transitioning into cruelty-free household products as well.
This eventually led to my research into "fast fashion", which include places like H&M, Forever 21, Hot Topic, which I shopped at pretty excessively--especially when I was in college and began making my own money. The video that really turned me on to this was Kayley Hyde's video on how she was transitioning to a no fast fashion lifestyle.
After this video, I took several years to cut back drastically from my H&M hauls and convenient Wal-Mart athletic and shoe pick ups into almost purely thrifting. I still slip up sometimes, but the most important thing to remember is these changes take time and research; so, you shouldn't be upset when you make mistakes.
Once I delved into the hole of fast fashion (and watching another heart-wrenching documentary called The True Cost), I stumbled upon the YouTube channel My Green Closet. This is a goldmine of useful information, as Verena Erin has studied fashion and sustainability in university and works in the industry. She has numerous tips to give about everything from what you should look for on the labels of your clothes to how to dye your clothes with natural, chemical-free dyes. This was the branch that led me into researching sustainability, as well as natural and reusable products.
Which finally led me to the last leg of my journey... low/zero waste.
It started with Lauren Singer (Trash is for Tossers) and watching Bea Johnson's TED Talk that got me started in this whole several years ago (Singer also has a great TED Talk here where she shows how she has kept a mason jar of all of her trash for years). Recognizing I do not live in an area to conceivably live "zero" waste, I could at least make strides to decrease my negative environmental impact by being a conscious consumer and finding products which would allow me to decrease plastic usage and hold onto items which are multi-use versus single use. I highly recommend watching Plastic Paradise, another great visual into how much waste we throw into the oceans, so much so, it made an island.
With all of these resources, as well as reading articles, researching brands, and making conscious purchases, I am still growing every day to become a better human which lives with my Earth in mind. It may sound pretentious when you put it like that, but as the quote First Lady Bird Johnson says:
“The environment, after all, is where we all meet, where we all have a mutual interest. It is one thing that all of us share. It is not only a mirror of ourselves, but a focusing lens on what we can become.”
And when I look into that mirror, I don't want to see the gross amount of things I put into landfill.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helped you in some way! Cheers.