Easy Ways to be Sustainable | Earth Week 2019

Woohoo! Happy Earth Week, friends! I can honestly say that I’ve never been as excited for an Earth Week as I am this year. In the past year or so, I’ve tried to make all aspects of my life more Earth-friendly. Since doing so, I feel like I’ve nailed down a few (super simple) ways to be sustainable along with a few inexpensive products that I’ve been using on a daily basis.


grocery store plastic bags

Nothing—and I mean nothing—irritates me more at a grocery store than when the baggers put one item per plastic bag. What a waste! When I was living downtown Chicago, I was super good about bringing my own reusable bags from home with me whenever I went shopping—they’re easier to carry than plastic bags, the City of Chicago charges a “bag tax”, and it’s more sustainable. However, once I moved back home where “bag tax” is no longer a thing and I have a car to take me to-and-from the store, I suddenly stopped using my reusable bags.

Was I proud of myself. Definitely not. So, I decided that I would put a few reusable canvas bags into my car so that I wouldn’t have an excuse of why I wasn’t using one! Since then, I’ve been bringing my bags with me whenever I go to the store. I can honestly say that I’ve probably saved around 30 bags in that timeframe.

Fun fact: Almost every grocery store nowadays sells reusable bags for purchase for no more than 99 cents a bag—what a steal! Plus, if you ever go to any sort of event chances are you have a few reusable bags laying around your house (my family has TONS!).


grocery store produce bags

At this point, I think it’s safe to say that we can blame grocery stores for all of our plastic problems. Just kidding, but like, not really. Another grocery store pet peeve of mine are those ridiculous produce bags. If you’re like most people in the world, then you probably wash the produce before you eat it. Which is why using plastic produce bags makes absolutely no sense to me. If you’re someone who washes your fruits/vegetables before you use them, then there should be no fear of the items being dirty by just tossing them into your shopping cart/basket if you’re going to wash them anyways.

I know that there are companies out there that sell reusable produce bags like Ever Eco, Flip & Tumble, and Purifyou. While I personally have not used these before, they’re a great option if you’re someone who is still fearful of just putting your produce (naked) in the cart.

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STASHER BAGS

Yes, I jumped on the Stasher Bag bandwagon. Ever since @shutthekaleup on Instagram featured Stasher’s on her feed, I had been wanting to purchase some. However, at $12/bag I couldn’t justify spending that much as someone who, in college, rarely packed a lunch (since I had time to fix meals at my apartment). But since graduating and now working a full-time job, I pack my lunch and snacks everyday. I knew that I would be wanting to bring fruit, chopped veggies, trail mix, etc. with me to work and I didn’t want to have to use plastic baggies. So instead of being unsustainable, I decided to take out my wallet and invest in a Stasher Bag. I have to say, it was one of the best sustainable decisions I have ever made! I use my Stasher Bag daily to hold my snacks and other food items. Not only do they minimize my use of plastic, but they’re super easy to clean as they’re machine washable and easy to get inside of with a washcloth or a bottle brush.

Stasher Bag Hack: Stand your bag up inside of your car’s cupholder, stick a fork in it, and you’ve got yourself a super clever—if I do say so myself—snacking opportunity!

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you can buy stasher bag here, here, and here


bee’s wrap

When my sister gifted me with Bee’s Wrap for Christmas 2-years-ago, I truthfully didn’t know when I was going to use it. But a day later, I had used all 4 sheets! Bee’s Wrap is another great way to decrease your plastic usage—cling wrap, cellophane wrap, I’m looking at you! Bee’s Wrap is a waste-free alternative to food storage. I’ve used it to cover half-eaten apples, yogurt containers, leftovers, and even to hold celery sticks for snacks on-the-go.

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you can buy bee’s wrap here, here, and here


What ways do you try to live more sustainably? Any product recommendations? Let me know in the comments below!

Sustainable + Vegan Holiday Gift Guide

It’s finally the holidays, and I’ve been burning my Trader Joe’s Gingerbread candle and jamming to Santa Tell Me by Ariana Grande for a week straight now—and I couldn’t be more excited. While I love spending time with family (and my cat “brother,” Oscar) and walking around Downtown Chicago and my hometown’s downtown area, there’s nothing better than giving the perfect gift to someone. In lieu of my love for a more sustainable lifestyle and my passion for veganism, I have decided to create a gift guide to serve as your one-stop-shop to the best sustainable and vegan holiday gifts.

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1 // stasher bag:

Stasher Bags are the coolest things since plastic baggies. Sure, everyone and their mom was amazed when they had something besides paper towels to wrap their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in. But, we all know how bad throwing away plastic is for the environment, which is why Stasher Bag nails it with their product. Made from BPA, lead, latex, and phthalate-free silicone, Stasher Bags make packing lunches, snacks, and even reheating food safe and sustainable.

You can purchase Stasher Bags here, here, and here!

2 // bee’s wrap:

I fell in love with Bee’s Wrap’s products after my sister gifted me them last Christmas. Instead of using plastic wrap (or cling wrap or whatever the kids are calling it nowadays), Bee’s Wrap can be used over-and-over again to keep food safe for travel or preserve leftovers inside of your fridge. I find myself wrapping apples or celery in them to bring with me to school, sometimes I cover the tops of Tupperware containers or half-eaten coconut yogurt containers with them, as well. These genius wraps are made from certified organic cotton and jojoba oil, sustainably sourced beeswax, and tree resin.

You can purchase Bee’s Wrap here!

3 // pela phone case:

Everyone needs a phone case, and someone who thinks otherwise is either wrong or delusional because a phone without a case is risky business. Pela makes it easy to protect your phone with style while still helping the planet. Pela phone cases are made from their signature “Flaxstic” which is starch and other natural fibers that are compostable and don’t include BPA or lead—that’s right, you can compost your Pela phone case when you no longer want it. Additionally, Pela has partnered with three different causes to make your phone case purchases even more worth it.

You can purchase Pela cases here!

4 // SPROUT PENCILS:

When I was in Texas a few months ago, I stumbled upon these amazing pencils inside of a gift shop in Dallas. Pencils, in-and-of-themselves, are practical. But, when filled with seeds to be planted after the pencil is too short to be used is brilliant and even more practical. Sprout Pencils are 100 percent sustainable and non-toxic (made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood), and the little capsule that holds the plant seeds are made with natural clay.

You can purchase Sprout Pencils here, here, and here!

5 // hu chocolate

Would this gift guide really be complete without my favorite chocolate of all time? Obviously not. Hu Kitchen’s chocolate has been a long-time favorite of mine ever since I took a bite of their glorious hazelnut-filled bar 2-years-ago. Since then, I’ve tried almost all of their flavors with the cashew butter-filled bar being my favorite. While their bars not only taste delicious, they’re made out of organic cacao and are gluten-free, paleo, and vegan—what a win. Plus, all of their chocolate bars (and other new chocolatey treats) are made without dairy, GMOs, soy, refined sugars, and sugar alcohols. Bottom line: Hu Chocolate makes great-tasting desserts that are a healthy alternative to run-of-the-mill chocolate bars.

You can purchase Hu Kitchen Chocolate here, here, and here!

6 // homesick candles

I can honestly say I have never met a person who doesn’t like candles. And when the candle is scented after their hometown/college town/or favorite place, chances are they will love the candle even more. Homesick Candles are the perfect gift for out-of-town friends and relatives, recently graduated students, or anyone who loves vacationing. Homesick candles are scented after different places in the world, and the brand’s “Chicago” candle is scented to smell like the Windy City by capturing the “complex scent of rich chocolate carried by bursts of Great Lake air.” Sounds delicious, right? The best part of these candles is that they’re made from natural soy wax and high-quality cotton wicks that are free from lead and plastic. Plus, they’re made paragon, petroleum, and phthalate-free, and their jars can be washed and reused even after the candle is done burning.

You can purchase Homesick Candles here, here, and here!


Let me know which sustainable + vegan gift you would like to give and receive from my list above. Have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and happy whatever-holiday-you-celebrate!

with love & light, Amanda