Our planet is a beautiful one so it is only natural for us to want to protect it and help it thrive for generations to come, but it can be tricky to know how to make an impact. Although going vegan or vegetarian is becoming more and more mainstream as an “obvious” solution, these diets aren’t sustainable for everyone. People who struggle with eating disorders, disordered eating, severe food allergies (gluten, soy, nuts, etc.), IBS, or other medical conditions may not be the best candidates for a plant-based lifestyle. Plus, your diet is personal! Mental and physical health have to come first, even if your empathic heart or social media feeds say otherwise. There are so many other ways to impact the planet positively that don’t involve changing your diet. Here’s a few:
Switch to zero waste skincare
Zero waste skincare is increasingly available and surprisingly affordable! I personally have a ton of chemical sensitivities so I was super excited when I discovered Lush’s skincare products. I’m pretty blessed in the acne department so I really just wanted a gentle exfoliator and cleanser. I use their “Like a Virgin” cold cream (cleanser) and “Gritti Politti” (exfloiator), both of which come with zero packaging! I like both products and was pleasantly surprised with the price and how easily my makeup comes off. Plus I went from spending $15 or more per month on makeup wipes and skincare to spending around $12 for both products every other month instead! Other brands to checkout include Ethique, Dirty Hippie Cosmetics, and Apothecary Muse.
Invest in reusable kitchen products
Between paper towels and plastic bags, waste can build up quickly from the kitchen. Luckily there are awesome reusable kitchen staples that are much more sustainable. Reusable paper towels are an easy swap to make and range in price, style, and size for your individual needs. Especially if you live in a dorm or apartment, regular paper towels take up valuable counter space and get used up quickly if you have roommates. Plastic bags are another easy thing to switch from. I like Stasher bags because not only are they reusable but they’re available in a variety of sizes, colors, and still offer the same flexibility that plastic bags do!
Keep a reusable water bottle and coffee cup on hand
If you find yourself on the go a lot, make sure you have a reusable water bottle and/or coffee cup that goes with you! This is such an easy way to reduce your waste and can make a big impact. If you drink even just three bottles of water a day, you could save over 1,000 plastic water bottles from ending up in a landfill! I love my Hydro Flask and Corkcicle, but you can find less expensive options by checking out HomeGoods or Target- sometimes you can even find discounted Corkcicles. Reusable coffee cups are also a great option to keep on hand, especially if you enjoy a daily coffee run that you get to-go. Don’t forget to purchase a metal or silicone straw, too!
Be mindful of where you’re getting your clothes from
The fast fashion industry, which includes brands like Forever 21 and Shein, produces 10% of the world’s carbon emissions and is the second-largest consumer of the global water supply. The environmental impact is clearly detrimental, but glamorous social media feeds and affordable prices have gotten these companies considerable success. Thrifting is a no-brainer solution and can be done in person or online through apps like Depop and Thredup. Sustainable fashion brands such as Everlane, Patagonia, Kotn, and Outdoor Voices are great options for when you need something specific or need to get in your online shopping fix. It’s important to acknowledge that most everyone has bought fast fashion at some point and because of its affordability, there is a larger conversation to be had about privilege when it comes to thrifting quality clothes or seeking out sustainable brands. Remember that something is better than nothing, too. I don’t buy all sustainable brands or thrift everything, but I do try and purchase more mindfully and seek out brands with environmental missions or other causes!
Reduce, reuse, recycle
An oldie, but a goodie! Before throwing something out or recycling it, consider how it can be reused. Pinterest is a great source for finding craft or home decor inspiration from everyday items such as mason jars and old frames, but the options really are endless. I reused a glass yogurt jar as a succulent vase for several months and it had an adorable thrifty aesthetic and did the job perfectly before my succulent outgrew it! Taking the time to think about how you can reuse belongings is a foolproof way to reduce your waste and make a difference for the planet. Once your item is a total goner, just don’t forget to recycle it!
Protecting our planet is so important and it’s impossible to overstate how important it is that we do our part. However, changing to a plant-based diet isn’t a safe option for everyone. For people with eating disorders it can lead to restricting, an obsessive focus on “health,” binge-restrict cycles, food rules, and more. It also may not be the best option for those who struggle with other health issues, and that’s okay! There are other ways to make an impact that don’t involve changing your diet. Let me know how you contribute to keeping our planet clean and healthy in the comments or on social media (@recovroad)!
All content on RecovRoad is based on personal experiences, research, and ideas. Please do not repost/share without credit and be aware that nothing on this blog takes the place of professional help. This is also a formal trigger warning: content about and relating to eating disorders may be triggering to survivors. Please see the “RESOURCES” tab, call the National Eating Disorders Association hotline at 800-931-2237, and remember to take care of yourself.