Let’s face it: there’s a global push to go green. Everyday, we learn about new ways, but often see them as bothersome. Well, there are ways to unleash your inner green and still live like a diva.
The Simple Rules of Green Life
Don’t do it over night. The greenest thing is the thing you didn’t buy, so learn how to rock what you already have! You’ll be surprised. Going green is a life choice and takes time and dedication. The only green reason to go out and buy something new is if it’s continued use will harm either you, or the planet. Regardless of its material or origin, use what you have until it has significantly filled its use, when it is truly time to replace it, choose a more eco-friendly alternative.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. We’re all familiar with the 3 R’s, but there’s even a green way to approach them. Here are a few:
• Buy a bike. (yes, I just gave you the license to purchase) If you’re not convinced you need one, keep a diary of the car trips you make. This will help you where you can reduce or omit car trips, thereby lightening your carbon footprint on the planet.
• If you can: walk, or bike to shop for groceries. If this is not possible, do your groceries on the way home from work—and preferably on the way. This will further alleviate your carbon footprint. If you bike or walk, consider buying less, but more often. Part of being green is taking care of your body. You can buy fresh when you do this, which is more nutritious, and the omission of frozen foods from your diet not only benefits you, but also the environment, because you can retire your freezer!
• Reduce the amount of things you have to recycle. Read the paper online to reduce your paper waste. Buy bar soaps to eliminate packaging, and check out solid shampoo bars, available through the brilliant people at Lush Cosmetics.
• Reuse things! Bring a cute mug to work, and carry metal utensils. Some takeout restaurants will let you bring in your own containers. It never hurts to ask!
Don’t like the potentially hideous portable mugs for sale? Check out the cute and brilliant (and decorate-able!) reusable porcelain and silicone mug at:
Knit a sleeve, paint, and decorate to your heart’s content.
• Share. Ladies, listen up: especially you fashionistas. Yes, I’m talking directly to you. You want to retire your purse, but it’s still good? Ask around and pass it on. Just because it no longer fits your style, doesn’t mean one of your friends doesn’t secretly love it. The purse you pass on is one less purse that needs to be purchased.
• Up-cycle. Sometimes, the things we own just need a little pick-me-up. Consider changing the buttons on a coat rather than buying new. Something that’s getting old and tired may benefit for a re-assignment. Use the material from an article of clothing you can no longer wear to make a purse.
Be brilliant. Do your research and know what you’re buying. Become a conscious consumer. Look for products containing natural substances—and avoid products that claim to be natural under the claim of ‘minerals’! The minerals used in mineral makeup are naturally occurring—in gasoline.
Also, try to buy products that were not tested on animals. Humans react differently to ingredients than animals do. Animal testing is essentially useless with finer-grade allergens, not to mention cruel.
Don’t just be it, wear it. We’ve all heard the famous saying you are what you eat, but the fact of the matter is that your skin is your largest organ. Once you’re brilliantly educated about the contents of what you’re putting on your skin, ask yourself if you would put said product directly on your liver? If the answer is no, then it shouldn’t go on your skin.
I hear the universal cry of what do I do now? Hush! I would never leave you high and dry. Here are some natural (and easy) swaps to be made:
• Swap your conventional body moisturizer for organic coconut oil. Coconut oil is not only green, and cheaper, but it’s better for you too! Containing naturally occurring vitamins like vitamin E (the anti-free-radical vitamin) in its natural state—which is the easiest way for your body to absorb it—it also boasts a natural spf value, meaning you can go easier on the sunscreen, if not forgo it all together. Coconut oil is solid up until 24 degrees Celsius, making it a mess-free application if you leave it out of the shower and apply it when you first turn off the water. Summer months will take more care to be mess-free.
• Facial moisturizers can be swapped for organic grape-seed oil, which, like coconut oil, boasts many of the naturally occurring vitamins that your skin needs, but in a lighter formula. The amount you apply to your whole face and neck should be smaller than a dime.
The only thing closer to the composition of your skin’s natural oils is jojoba oil, but it comes with a larger price tag and is more difficult to find.
Be kind to your mane asset. Hair dye is toxic as are silicone based shampoos. I, however, understand that we are especially vain creatures, so if you find you must change the colour of your tresses, opt for a henna based dye (also available from the wonderful people at Lush Cosmetics). Henna is a natural conditioner, making your hair healthy and shinny and nourishing it with anti-oxidants. Henna, I must warn you, does not agree with the chemicals used to perm hair, so it is one or the other.
Set down the blow-dryer—you’re damaging your main asset. Hair cannot withstand the torture of being cooked everyday. Comb your hair while wet with a wide toothed comb and allow to air dry. Never pull on wet hair, as it is fragile, and may break. Work out tangles from the bottom up.
And always remember: Tomorrow is another day to be one step greener.
Green is a journey.