“Going green!” “Eco-friendly” “Sustainable living”
I’m sure there are more phrases that I can’t remember, but you get the idea. These are phrases you have likely heard over and over again in relation to climate change and taking care of our planet. While I’m not what you would call an environmental activist by any means, I do acknowledge that human actions are negatively impacting our planet. I always try to recycle when I can, I carry my own water bottle everywhere, and when I remember, I will bring a reusable shopping bag or two to the grocery store with me so I bring home fewer plastic bags.
As you probably know by now, I am a huge Harry Potter fan. (I promise these two topics are in fact related). A few months ago I was doing some Harry Potter-themed searching on Youtube and came across the Go Gently Youtube channel, which is Bonnie Wright’s channel. Who is Bonnie Wright, you ask?
That’s right. Bonnie Wright is none other than Ginny Weasley!
Of course, now our beloved youngest Weasley is all grown up. Bonnie is now a Greenpeace activist and spends her time teaching us how to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly life.
Anyway, while I subscribed to her channel quite some time ago simply because she had one and I will subscribe to any Harry Potter actor’s Youtube channel, her latest video popped up in my feed. It was a “Day in the Life” vlog, and I am a sucker for those types of videos. After watching that video, I spent the next few days working my way through Bonnie’s content and feeling inspired by her lifestyle.
Fast forward, one of the book apps I use, Scribd, has her book, Go Gently, on audio available to subscribers, so I started to listen. As I spent my free time listening to her narrate her own book, I started to want to make changes.
Now, I am a “go all in” type of gal, which tends to not go well. Luckily, Bonnie’s approach is stated clearly in the title of her book: Go GENTLY! Take baby steps to make changes towards a more sustainable, environment-friendly lifestyle.
Now, this post isn’t meant to be about the book, so if you want to know more, I highly suggest checking out the book or Bonnie’s channel. Today I want to tell you about the small, gentle changes that I will be making to make life in my home just a little more sustainable.
3 Little Ways I’m Going Green
Reusable Produce Bags
One of the things mentioned in Bonnie’s book was the little lightweight plastic bags we use at grocery stores to get our produce. I don’t know about you, but I get anywhere from 2-5 every single time I go to the store. We eat a lot of produce in this house. I immediately googled reusable produce bag options, and it turns out there are a ton of them available. While there are plenty made out of synthetic fibers and plastic bases, since the goal of using these produce bags to begin with is to reduce plastic usage, I found a set of 12 made out of cotton on Amazon, so that’s what I grabbed. On each bag, there is even a label with a tare weight on it so your grocery checkout person can deduct the weight of the bag from the weight of your produce. It’s a brilliant design, and it is such a simple change I can make to stop using those silly plastic bags every week.
Reusable Paper Towels
This one sounds not quite as simple, but hear me out. Once I started my deep dive down the rabbit hole of reusable versions of paper and single-use plastic products, I found a few options for paper towels that made a lot of sense. The first brand I found was Papya. These reusables are made out of cellulose and cotton and boast that 1 sheet replaces up to 17 rolls of paper towels.
The next brand I found was Marley’s Monsters. They have the UNpaper towel that is made from 100% cotton flannel. Unlike Papaya, Marley’s has a ton of other products as well, all reusable and environmentally friendly. I would be lying if I said there was only one thing I wanted to try. There are at least 5 products that I would love to try out in my home ranging from the UNpaper products to trashcan liners. Ultimately, both of these products are a great way to dramatically lessen the amount of paper towel usage that happens in my home. I’m not saying I would never use them again, as there are some things you need a disposable for, but I love the idea of cutting back.
This is something I have been wanting to try for such a long time, so I finally have pulled the trigger, and my first order of Thinx period underwear will be in my hands before my next cycle. For those that don’t know, period underwear was made with an absorbent middle so you don’t have to wear pads or tampons during your cycle. They’re machine washable and totally reusable, essentially eliminating the need to wear pads or tampons regularly. I know many people might suggest the menstrual cup, but I’ve had several people close to me who use one tell me that I likely don’t have the finger strength to use the cup, so this seemed like a great option. Even if I still need a pad or two for my heaviest day (I have trust issues so it may take me a while to actually have faith in the underwear), these will also be great for the day or two leading up to my period where I spot randomly and am unsure when it will actually start, as I tend to wear liners and such while I wait for the ball to start rolling. More often than not, this is unnecessary, but again, I have trust issues and always assume my period will start the second I am not fully prepared.
While these changes might seem small, that’s actually the exact reason I’m making them. When we dive all in on anything, it is really easy for us to burn out before we’ve made any lasting changes. Baby steps toward a more sustainable lifestyle are how I’m going to keep the “all or nothing” mentality under control. I don’t see myself as turning into a super “crunchy” homemaker or eliminating all single-use plastics from my life forever, and that’s okay. If more people took a few small baby steps, it would likely be more impactful than fewer people going through complete lifestyle overhauls while the rest do nothing. These few areas of my home are where I’m going to start my journey to “go green.” All because of my love of Harry Potter and discovering Bonnie’s channel.
My state has banned plastic bags, so I’ve been forced into the reusable bag thing (honestly though, I tend to forget to put them back in my car, and so I just try to carry armfuls of groceries into the house which is an odd problem for me to have seeing as I usually just shop at Aldi I’m usually too cheap to buy bags). I haven’t used reusable produce bags much (though I used to have them). I’ll be honest, when I worked as a cashier, I don’t think I would’ve known how to properly tare them since the system usually gave a selection of containers to pick from (plastic bag, to-go container, etc).
And as far as period products, I’ve been using a cup since 2016. My flow got to be pretty heavy sometime after 2013 and when I went back into daycare, I didn’t trust even a super plus tampon would hold up during the work day. (Bathroom breaks in daycare aren’t guaranteed). Now, I usually use reusable pads with or without the cup because I also have trust issues. I’ll be honest, sometimes, I miss using tampons because I feel they’re a bit more trustworthy (I still deal with my cup leaking a LOT 6 years later), but not having to budget for period products every month is GAMECHANGER (and cloth pads are SO much more comfortable).
Also, for sustainable products, I generally bring my own reusable straws with me places. And one day, when I’m living alone, I plan on having a bidet and using the uncomfortably named “family cloth” (ew) aka reusable toilet paper for my OWN personal use. (I’ll have regular, flushable toilet paper for the rare guest.)