• UO Guide: Small Changes

    This Earth Day, we’re considering the big impact of small changes, with suggestions for some simple ideas for living more sustainably. 
    Photos by Alyssa Broadus

    Above: a watermelon, cucumber, red onion, and feta salad is one of our favorite, veg-friendly summer meals

    Be a Monday vegetarian
    The argument that a vegetarian diet is is more eco-friendly than eating meat is pretty simple: “If we feed plants to animals, and then eat the animals, we use more resources and produce more greenhouse gases than if we simply eat the plants” (via The Washington Post). So go veg, once a week (or more if you're up to it). 

    Hit up the farmers' market
    And the most impactful (and best-tasting) way to get in your veggies? Visit the local farmers' market, where your dollar goes way further in contributing to support and sustain high-quality produce and small farms. Farmers' markets also help you to shop mindfully and seasonally, giving you access to ingredients that have traveled the shortest distance and are at their peak freshness. 

    Above: make your own flavored water by infusing it with fruit and herbs — our current favorite combination is a grapefruit and rosemary, stashed it in a glass carafe, drink dispenser, or to-go cup

    Above: invest in a proper travel thermos for your daily coffee if you typically get one to-go from a coffee shop.

    Consider water.
    Being mindful of water is one of the best examples of a small change (that adds up). Turn off the faucet when you're brushing your teeth. Shower less...or just a little more quickly! (Not trying to advocate poor hygiene over here, but products like dry shampoo exist for a reason. If you don't need to wash your hair, skip out on it and give your hair a blast to to freshen it up—our top pick is WHITELABELSAMPLE Dry Shampoo, which smells amazing and restores hair to 110%.) Here's an awesome resource for more ideas for saving water at home.

    Above: use a glass water bottle instead of buying plastic

    Cut out the plastic.
    Shop from the bulk bins. Get a reusable (glass) water bottle. Take your own grocery bag to the store. Invest in some good food-safe containers for storage and for keeping leftovers. Bonus here is that you'll also save money in the process! 

    Alternate your transportation.
    Think about where you go and how you get there...if you drive every day, are there ways you can minimize your time in the car? Maybe it means biking to work sometimes if you live close enough. Maybe it means a once a week you ride the bus, or find a co-worker to carpool with. Research your options and know they exist. 

    Above: some of our favorite natural beauty products by Herbivore Botanicals, Fig + Yarrow, SW Basics, Uncle Harry's, and Heritage Store

    Switch to natural beauty products.
    Unspooling the origin story of any product can get tough, but a good place to start is with your beauty routine. Products with a natural ingredient list will be both beneficial to your skin (no chemicals!), and also have a more minimal environmental impact. Do research when you're buying to find out about the brands — where are the ingredients sourced? Is the packaging recyclable? There are so many options out there when it comes to beauty that it's worth your time to find out what you're buying, what's in it, and where it came from. 

    Update your lighting.
    You use less energy when the lighting is lower, so bring on the romantic, dimly-lit vibe, and switch to a lower-wattage or more energy-efficient bulb in your lamps. Dining by candlelight never hurts, either!

    Upcycle your clothes.
    Give away clothes you no longer need to donation centers or friends, or make it more fun by hosting a clothing swap. Everyone brings a bag of clothes they no longer wear, and you'll leave with something new to you. 

    Ultimately, the thing to remember is that no change is to small — each of these are reminders to pay attention to your daily habits and be mindful of your actions. A conscious consumer is a smart one — happy Earth Day!

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