Part One: Reducing Household Toxins and Waste

by Courtney El-Ghoul

Hi guys! Okay, so I have been wanting to talk about the topic of eliminating toxins for a while. Making the changes has been a process, for sure. By this point, I feel like I can share with you all what I have done so far to change over my household to make it better for the environment and the health of my family.

Look, I get it, it is super overwhelming when you start thinking about getting into it. You feel like every day you read a new article about how straws are killing the ocean, hear a doctor on TV telling you that aluminum is poison, or see a meme shaming you for using single-use plastic. It can feel like no matter where you look there is someone who is telling you there is one more thing that is bad for you or the earth! You are probably just like… “Can’t I just drink my diet coke and not give up my Ziplock bags!?!” As a recovering die-hard diet coke addict, I feel you girl. I was the same way. Instead of getting overwhelmed, I just started changing things SLOWLY. I am so glad that I did. Now, I am nowhere near perfect. This is a long game, ladies. But I am committed to continuing to do better moving forward, and you can do it too! 

How I Started Reducing Toxins and Waste in The Household

For me it all started once I had the girls, so I am just about five and a half years into this journey. Honestly, I just wanted the best for them, and in turn, I realized if I am going all organic for them, why would I not do the same thing for the earth we all share, and for myself? So in the past five+ years, I have tried to do the best I can to eliminate things one at a time. If you try to go overboard and toss everything out at once you will go bananas, and it’s super wasteful! So, live it up with that last box of Ziplocks! Use those little bags like they are the last ones you’ll ever use… and then make them the last ones you ever use, ha. Slow and steady wins the race is my motto with this one. 

Let me break down some of the key things that I started with… 

Recycle. A lot of us are “wish-cycling” by just throwing it all in the blue bin and hoping for the best. Take a few hours on a weeknight or weekend and look up what actually gets recycled in your area. Make sure you’ve got the bins. Then set up an EASY system. The easier it is the more likely you are to do it. Master this… first.

Go organic. I know for a lot of people this sounds super expensive, and yes, some things are a bit more pricey but, I promise you that it’s not that bad. If you are scared of a potential increase to your grocery budget, start with just the “Dirty Dozen.” See how it impacts you and add in more from there. Grocery stores like Aldi and Trader Joes can make this MUCH easier and way more affordable

Cleaning Supplies. This is one area that I would say that if it is in your budget and you can toss your super toxic cleaning products and replace them, you should. Honest products are not super expensive (especially considering how infrequently we really need to buy these things. There are other options but these are really accessible and are a great place to start

Kitchen stuff. We switched to glass or stainless steel straws, reusable grocery bags, bamboo cutlery for packing lunches, and NO plastic bottles for water. I switched to the parchment paper as an alternative for aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Honestly, I think food even cooks better on parchment. Paper bags or the reusable ones for fruits/veggies when grocery shopping. All of these are great things to start with to get you going! 

Laundry detergent. Tru Earth has been awesome! This one was hard for me because I thought there was no way my clothes would feel clean with this tiny little strip? Well, I was wrong, our clothes smell and look clean. We also haven’t had any issues with skin sensitivity so we are super happy with it. They are eco friendly, clean, and so easy to use. Plus. I don’t have to look at those huge bulky plastic detergent bottles that not only have harsh chemicals for us but are terrible for the environment when the wastewater inevitably ends up going into the ground/water

Fast forward to the girls starting preschool…

I knew with daily lunch packing, I wanted to go the most environmentally friendly route. RIP Ziplocks, haha. When I stumbled across the Planet Box I figured we’d give them a try. They are so awesome! We are going into our third year using them and there is no way I am going back. Nontoxic, stainless steel boxes that are easy to clean and dishwasher friendly. Plus they are so freaking cute!! It also encourages eating clean whole foods rather than just throwing in a bag of chips or cookies. 

If I do need to put anything in a bag for them, I officially switched to reusable bags. It does feel like an over the top cost at first but the more I use them the more I realize that in the long run, I am saving by not buying single-use bags so much. Sweet!

More recently I have also been making big changes to clean up my beauty and self-care products… but that’s another post. ha. 

I mean guys, I know that I can do more and I am super excited to. All we can do is keep putting in the effort where we can and continue to be aware of how we can be better. There are still so many things in our household and my routine that are not great, but I will just keep at it!! 

What about you guys, how do you feel about getting rid of the toxins??

XO

Courtney

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