In 2020 we made a goal to be more sustainable. We went into this knowing we can’t be perfect and that’s okay. Imperfect Sustainability is what we strive for! In this blog post we will talk about the changes we’ve made, what we liked and didn’t, and our sustainable journey as a whole.
It can feel impossible to know where to even start. We hope this blog post can help you on your own sustainable journey. This is a judgement free zone! It can feel intimating to start making sustainable changes and there’s always this constant feeling that you aren’t doing enough or you aren’t doing it right. There is no perfect way to be sustainable. We continue to learn everyday! Every effort small or big matters. As we try new things we will add it to this list.
Use What You Have
Before you go out and buy sustainable swaps, use what you have! This is one of the easiest ways you can be sustainable. Eliminating or reducing unnecessary waste is sustainable. We swapped out a lot of the plastic containers in our home, but we waited until we used up the plastic containers before we bought reusable ones.
Changes We’ve Made
One of the first things we did was swap out our single use plastic cleaner bottles for glass or plastic reusable bottles. They are from grove, but you can get reusable bottles at many places! We use them for our cleaning products (windex, multi-purpose spray, etc.) and our dish soap and hand soap. To refill them we use grove aluminum bottles which are sold at Target, which is convenient for us. They are also sold online and other retailers. Aluminum can be recycled easier than plastic. There are also places where you can take your jars to get refilled with soap. We have been told Desert Refillery is amazing, but we haven’t had the chance to check them out yet.
I (Lauren) used to use cotton balls to take my makeup off and tone my face, but now I use reusable cloths. They come with a little bag that you can put them, making it easier to wash the cloths with clothing items during a regular load of laundry. My makeup does stain the cloths. You could also cut up an old rag and turn them into cloths that way too!
Sustainable Dishwasher Pods
Prior to making the switch, we used plastic dishwasher pods that came in a plastic bag. We first tried Blueland but it left a residue on our dishes. Now we use the sustainable brand Dropps and we love them! Traditional brands use surfactants in their ingredients and come non-recyclable plastic packaging which are not sustainable
I have been loving the brand Kinfield! My favorite is the sun glow sunscreen (reef safe and great ingredients). It gives my face the perfect glow and most times I don’t need to put any other makeup over it. This brand puts great ingredients and sustainability first. You can learn more here. Use code theazhikeaholics15 for 15% off your order!
We both switched to Hey Humans deodorant. It is made from recyclable paper (no plastic) and has clean ingredients! You used to be able to get it at Target, but we have been struggling to find it lately. We’ve tried Native and didn’t think it worked well, but we know some people that love it!
I (Lauren) started switching all of my makeup over to sustainable companies. I love ILLIA. You are able to recycle your makeup products through them by printing out a label and mailing your products to them, and they are able to recycle the makeup properly. Some Sephora locations will also recycle makeup products. The one in Tempe Marketplace, Arizona does! I use ILLIA’s Super Serum Skin Tint with SPF. It is amazing! I also love their multi blush/lip and setting powder. Another great and sustainable brand is Saie. I have been using their Mascara!
Sustainable Toilet Paper
After a recommendation from a friend we switched to Who Gives A Crap. It is 100% recycled toilet paper that is wrapped in recycled paper so there is no plastic! Another popular company that we haven’t tried yet is Reel Paper.
Water Cooler Dispenser
This isn’t a swap per se, but we purchased a water dispenser to eliminate our plastic water bottle usage. In Arizona our tap water tastes pretty bad and even with a filter it is not great. Now, we refill 5-gallon jugs of water instead of buying plastic water bottles. A single 5 gallon jug is nearly 40 plastic water bottles. We now have 3, 5-gallon jugs and refill them at Water & Ice (local to AZ) or a Brio refill station.
Other Sustainable Things
We started composting in 2021! Since the city we live in doesn’t pick up our compost we use a company called Recycled City. We have them provide us 3 buckets and they pick up our compost once a month. It’s been a journey but we are so happy we started composting. We keep a compost bin under our sink and keep the large buckets of compost outside on our patio. Composting has really highlight how much food waste we make and how much of it was filling our trash. We sometimes go multiple weeks without putting our city issued trash bin out because it’s not full.
We live in a place that offers recycling but there have been times where we lived in an apartment that didn’t offer recycling. We would still recycle and would take to it to a local library or recycle bins. Here is a list of places to take your recycling to in Scottsdale, Phoenix , Mesa, and Chandler, We also try to recycle when we go camping. Usually, we will bring another bag and will recycle the items when we get home if we don’t find a recycle bin.
We are always continuing to learn when it comes to recycling. A lot of people don’t recycle properly and on that same note, a lot of people don’t know what can be recycled. Not everything can be put in your normal recycle bin. For example, you can’t recycle plastic bags in your normal recycling (at least in Arizona). We collect ALL of our plastic bags and drop them off at our local Fry’s grocery store because they take them and are supposed to recycle them properly. Target and Albertsons usually have a plastic bag/wrapper collection bin too. This includes plastic bags that bread comes in, delivery bags that come in plastic, plastic bag for paper towels, etc.
To learn more about what you can put in your normal recycling and what you need to separate click here.
Reusable Grocery Store Bags & Produce Bags
When we shop we try to always bring reusable bags with us. Even when we shop at Target! We always kick ourselves when we forget them, but we try to keep them in our cars so they are always there.
I (Lauren) decided to ditch the plastic of soap and use bar soap instead. The only downside to this in my opinion is traveling. I have a travel container for my bar soap, but I think traveling with with liquid soap is easier. Overall, I love my bar soap! I also want to switch my hair products to bars, but I haven’t made that switch yet. I won’t lie… I am a little nervous.
It has taken me awhile to find a shampoo and conditioner that works well for my hair. Right now I use Function of Beauty since they sell it at Target. You can also take a hair care quiz and have custom shampoo and conditioner made for you similar to Prose. I used to use Prose, but had a shipping issue and Function of Beauty was sold at Target so I started using them. I really liked Prose! Both brands are eco friendly.
Reusable Ziploc Bags
We really like Stasher reusable bags but there are other brands out there as well. These are great to take on trail and it helps us eliminate single use plastic!
Being Conscious Of Where We Purchase From
This one is still a work in progress, but is something we always try to think about when we make a purchase.
Another goal of ours is to trying buying second hand more. We recently just bought a piece of furniture off of FB Marketplace and hope to do that more instead of always buying new!
This one is tough because I love straws and not everyone has the ability to avoid straws! I personally like straws because I don’t love ice and it is easier for me to drink with a straw. I have reusable straws that I try to remember to bring with me when we go to a restaurant.
- Eco friendly laundry detergent. We actually just bought laundry detergent from Dropps so we will update this blog once we try it
- We have tried toothpaste tablets and they take a little to get use to. We still had have a good amount of toothpaste from Costco so we want to finish that up before we try to make a full switch
- Buying second hand
- Switching to bar shampoo & conditioner
- Eating less meat (this one is tough and is definitely a personal choice!!)
- Using less paper towels