Bit by bit I’m adulting, and as I looked into my closet prepping for a new internship, I realized I didn’t have any office appropriate pants. So I looked around and found two pairs on Everlane. I decided to go with Everlane because of the […]
You are kinda sorta going to have to drag me back to school. As a rising junior, the inevitability of the real world is rapidly approaching. As I was getting ready to move back in, I instinctively went to write a list of school supplies to buy from Target. You know, the usual- notebooks, pencils, stapler, etc. The products I use last me the year and are covered in plastic, and at the end of the year, they get tossed in the trash. I decided to try to replace my favorites with more sustainable alternatives. Below is a list of eco-friendly back to school swaps.
For me, it is crucial to have a laptop sleeve because who knows what the hell I am throwing in my backpack on any given day. Unfortunately, my cheap sleeve lasted me about 2 years and has now entirely fallen apart on me. So, I found a new one that is made with fair-trade organic cotton! This product is built sustainably and to last me for years to come.
I had never thought of the waste staples bring to this earth until this summer. I found a staple free stapler on Amazon. Yes, you read that correctly. Instead of a staple the product folds and presses your papers together. While it doesn’t hold onto as many documents as a regular staple would, its a good solution for day to day homework submissions that need two pages attached.
I loved having notebooks with a hard plastic shell on the front. They lasted me the entire school and could handle the day to day wear and tear of continually getting tossed around, stepped on and the like. Trying to be better I bought a 100% recycled notebook. Hopefully, it won’t fall apart on me throughout the year but stay tuned.
Last winter I bought an Everlane backpack to replace my old North Face that had a hole in the bottom. In hindsight, I could have tried A LOT harder to find one that is made from more sustainable materials. I found this one that is cute, ethical, eco-friendly and affordable! Wish I had seen it sooner but thought I would share it with you in the hopes that you can make smarter decisions then I did.
5. A zero- waste lunch box.
I use to wrap my sandwiches in tinfoil and put snacks into plastic sandwich bags. What a waste! Instead, I use Bees Wrap now for my sandwiches that you can just rinse off after each use and reuse again and again for a year. I also found these re(zip) reusable snack bags that are even dishwasher safe. I also can’t go anywhere without my to-go bamboo cutlery. Absolute musts if you want a zero waste lunch for school or the office!
This month’s Eco Everywhere- RI series is about Impact Everything- an ethical shopping boutique in Providence. Learn about how I found zero waste alternatives for my take on Plastic Free July. And if you haven’t read the previous post in the series about an all […]
If you read this blog consistently, you will probably notice that my process of implementing sustainability into my life is slow, organic and imperfect. I have gotten sucked into companies that were greenwashing by not doing enough research. There are some things (like spending hours trying to find a factory a t-shirt was made in) that I just haven’t committed to implementing into my buyer’s journey just yet. Becoming a conscious consumer is not a perfect switch, and you are not going to be able to do everything all at once. I believe that you should not feel shame for not doing enough. Instead, feel pride that slowly but surely you are erasing a consumer mindset that has been embedded into your brain. This is not an easy task. This is why I try not to shame big name brands that are implementing sustainable practices. If those brands are creating baby steps and testing the waters of this industry I want to encourage this growth. And if they are the reason why you have started your journey into sustainability even better. Brands such as Tom’s of Maine, or H&M’s conscious collection are accessible and a less expensive option. Here is why I think we should support brands such as these instead of shame and shun.
They are watching how consumers react
Being a business major, I am learning how businesses think. And the reality is that almost everything is quantifiable and about numbers for big businesses. How and why are things performing the way they are? If a company such as H&M releases a conscious collection that generates a lot of revenue what does that say to the business? It implies this is what the consumer wants and where the profit lies.The industry will follow the money and hopefully continue to invest more and more into ethical practices if they see positive feedback. How are we going to change major fast fashion companies if we boycott and shun them? By supporting baby steps and convincing them that this is the future, businesses will hopefully be more likely to implement changes.
It is accessible to more people
Sustainability can often be viewed as a privilege. Often ethical companies are more expensive for someone that can only afford brand name products. And if your solution is “just make it yourself” I personally refuse to convince a single mom of three kids working three jobs to make her own DIY soap. This industry still doesn’t have all the answers on how to reach people in different age brackets, financial backgrounds or various disabilities. But if Tom’s of Maine deodorant is on sale at Target and you grab that instead of a big name brand I applaud you! It is a step up from using a product that is toxic to your health and the enviornment. Just because brands such as Tom’s are owned by unethical parent companies (Colgate-Palmolive owns Tom’s) doesn’t mean they are necessarily an evil company. Look back at opinion number one. Companies are curious, they are testing the waters and seeing if this new mentality and ethos is here to stay. Buying products such as these, while an imperfect solution, might be more feasible than either making your deodorant or ordering an all natural-compostable $20 product.
I want to be clear. These opinions are all my own OPINIONS. They are biased and lack decades within the industry knowledge. If you can buy used of secondhand always take that route instead of purchasing new products if cost is a limiting variable in your ethical journey. My opinion is imperfect, my sustainability journey is imperfect, and these companies are imperfect. The Peahen has a great article about the many faults to H&M’s Conscious Collection that has a lot of great insights. There is a very fine and complicated line between imperfect steps into sustainable practices and greenwashing that I truly don’t have all the answers to yet. BUT I think intention and progress are important and valuable, and I consider any improvement in the right direction (no matter how small) a win. I believe we should support businesses and consumers efforts into sustainability no matter how big or small.
SO I decided this summer I thought I would try something new! In an industry that is so heavily based in online shopping, I challenged myself to find small businesses that offered sustainable or natural solutions near my hometown of Providence, Rhode Island. Throughout the rest […]
I have such a love-hate relationship with social media. While it overwhelms me sometimes, it is an excellent resource for sustainability. One account I follow is the Fashion Revolution. It is an international organization based out of London. The organization is an educational resource used to […]
The last five weeks in my study abroad program were spent in Rome, Italy. While I loved Ireland and France- Italy was by far my favorite country. I got there mid-April right as things were heating up. The weather was perfect, the people were friendly, and I started to get close to some amazing people on the trip. Below are some tips I wish people had warned me of that I thought might be beneficial if you are interested in spending some time in Italy.
- Bus or walk
- Unfortunately, the metro system is non-existent, and I only used it to get to and from the train station. I usually prefer to learn a city by walking it but sometimes walking for an hour to a particular restaurant or sightseeing attraction did not sound appealing. In those situations, I used the bus. Not impossible to understand but it can be tricky. Also, do not recommend using the bus alone at night. Stay safe people.
- Uber and Lyft are not allowed in the city but MyTaxi is basically the same concept and there is a free app. It was perfect when I needed to get back from a club at 4 AM
- If you are studying abroad in Rome, take advantage of the trains! I went to the beach for about 10 euros, and it was about a 45 min train ride.
- Also, bus systems like Flix Bus are a great and inexpensive way to get to other cities
Other places to go
While in Italy I visited
- Amalfi Coast (Capri, Positano, Sorrento)
Definitely recommend spending weekends in all three locations because there is so much to see! I took a bus to Florence and train to Venice. The Amalfi Coast I bought the trip through Bus to Alps. If you are not in college and don’t want to travel around with 100+ college kids, I do not recommend. But if you are in college, this is a great way to visit the Amalfi Coast and for the first time and not have to plan every second of your trip. They handle transportation and accommodations. Adulting can get exhausting, and it was so nice knowing I didn’t have to plan every second of the weekend myself.
While In Rome
- Try every gelato place you can
- A personal favorite is Gelateria LaRomana because they have biodegradable utensils and cups! Also, pro-tip always have euros on you because most gelato shops are cash only
- Do the touristy stuff: Pantheon, Vatican Museums, St. Peters Basilica, Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps and Roman Forum
- Homebaked has American style breakfast food (pancakes, bacon, etc.) and the ladies that work there are the sweetest. While I highly recommend immersing yourself in Italian culture and cuisine, a taste of home was nice when I was feeling homesick
- The parks overall kind of suck in Italy they are usually dirty and overgrown. The two that I loved are Piazza Cavour (right by the Vatican) and Villa Doria Pamphili (this park is HUGE)
- For a less touristy area, I would recommend walking around Trastevere. Lots of street art and cool shops and a great way to avoid some of the crowds on the weekends
- If you are looking for markets, visit Campo de Fiori and Piazza Navona. It is so much fun and a great place to buy gifts. Also always bargain with the owner.