naturally sus finds – April 2018

sus - april finds collage

It’s finally starting to feel like spring here in NYC and I made it just in time for my April finds!

  1. Instagram: @stevieyaaaay – I literally found this Instagram last week and I’m already hooked. I love finding other eco-conscious/zero-waste bloggers/influencers based in NYC. People often tell me that no one cares about the environment in NYC and while it does disappoint me to hear that and to see all the garbage on our streets to confirm that, it’s people like Stevie who make a difference and show it’s possible to live eco-consciously here.
  2. Product: HealthAde Upcycled Candles – I love HealthAde kombucha, especially their bottles. I save most of them in case I find other ways to reuse them. They’re upcycling their own bottles and making them into candles, which I think is the cutest thing ever. It just goes to show how you can care about sustainability as a business, no matter what you sell.
  3. Business: Good Home Co. – Your one stop shop for all natural products for your home – laundry detergent, dish soap, candles, etc. My favorite are the candles. I love that they come in an unlabeled amber jar and are made from soy wax.
  4. News: Beauty Brands and Packaging – So many more beauty brands are being conscious about their packaging. Whether it’s setting goals to be completely zero-waste or offering incentives to customers to reuse/recycle their packaging, it’s becoming more popular for beauty brands to consider the planet as a stakeholder.
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naturally sus finds – March 2018

sus - march finds collage

Ok so I lied, turns out March was incredibly busy again, but I’m still coming through with my monthly web finds!

  1. Instagram: @greenmatters – this account features images with a headline or one-line fact about news across all topics in sustainability. From wind farms to plastic-free biodegradable pregnancy tests, this account is a testament to how sustainability affects everyone.
  2. Product: o.b. tampons – What applicator? These tampons are applicator free, which means an average of 240 plastic applicators per person every year could be saved from the landfills. Bonus points: they’re giving out a FREE 18-count sample if you sign up here.
  3. Business: RECO BKLYN – I’m obsessed with wood furniture. RECO BKLYN creates custom and live edge slab furniture with reclaimed wood from fallen trees in NYC waste streams. Now, time to save up for a beautiful wood dining table…
  4. News: Meet SoFi, “Sophie” the Fishoid – First we had Sophia, the humanoid, now we have Sophie, a robotic fish that swims in the ocean to better understand marine life and how it’s being threatened by human activity and climate change. I hope it doesn’t get eaten by a shark, but they disagree.

naturally sus finds – February 2018

Sus - Feb Finds Collage

Hey everyone! I’m so sorry I haven’t posted in a while…I was sick for two weeks and I was also working on a separate writing project that ate up a lot of my time. March will be a calmer month for me, so I’m hoping I can catch up then because I have a lot of things to share! I didn’t want to skimp out on my sus finds for February though, so here are a few of my favorites from the month:

  1. Instagram: @alison__wu – Alison Wu’s Instagram is just another dreamy space to get lost in. She is the queen of photogenic layered smoothies and healthy living. Every time I visit her feed or website, it just radiates positive and peaceful energy.
  2. Product: Jenga Ocean – This came out a while ago, but I only just heard about it earlier this month! Jenga’s collaboration with Bureo, a designer and manufacturer of skateboards made of recycled fishing nets, came together to create Jenga Ocean, the classic game made of the same material.
  3. Business: Avani Eco – B2B company based in Bali that creates sustainable food packaging and hospitality products. Think plastic utensils, plastic salad bowls and Styrofoam trays. They instead, use renewable resources to create disposable packaging that can be composted or biodegradable.
  4. News: Household Products Causing Air Pollution – An interesting and eye-opening article about how our common household products can affect our air quality, and thus, our health.

New Year Intentions

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photo by @lisachinny

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed your holiday and are having a great start to the new year. If you haven’t noticed, naturally sus has an updated look. Ten months ago, I created this blog with the sole intention to share my passion about taking care of the environment as much as I humanly could. That is still my intention and it always will be. I’m excited for all the new content naturally sus will have to offer this year. Thank you to everyone who followed along since the beginning, read a post, took action, or even questioned their habits and lifestyle. If you’re new – hi hello welcome, take a look around, I hope you like it here.

2017 was a year of learning and trying new things (like getting bangs but realizing it was too high maintenance for my low maintenance lifestyle even though I enjoyed them.) But seriously, I think my biggest takeaway from last year was the impact of learning to live with less. I became a more conscious and smarter shopper. I seldom bought meaningless items with little value or purpose. I said no to single-use plastic and plastic bags whenever I could. I actively shopped at the farmer’s market and composted as much as I recycled. I volunteered in my community to encourage others to reduce their waste. Packaging, carbon footprints, and ethical labor took up a bigger space in my brain. Overall, all these changes to my everyday life made me happier. It felt good to live simpler, to live with less clutter, to say no (nicely,) to have an idea of where products come from and how they are made, and to share with others how much I care about all of this.

That being said, I’m not perfect and I’ll never be perfect. I’m simply trying my best and that’s what I’m encouraging others to do through this blog. I still have plastic bags to throw out garbage. I like to try new recipes and sometimes that requires ingredients in non‑recyclable packaging. I like to travel and I intend to travel more this year. I met up with a friend for coffee and forgot to bring my mug L. See – not perfect. But not being too hard on yourself is important too.

My goal for this year’s sustainable journey is to continue everything I did last year, but go even deeper and spread the word more. Whether it’s exploring and engaging with more sustainable communities on social media, doing more research on technical topics like solar energy and carbon credits, or reaching out to members of the local community and businesses to discuss improvements. There’s so much to learn, to understand, and to share.

What are your environmental and sustainable intentions for the new year?

Intro to: Zero-Waste

sus - intro to zero waste

Recently, I’ve been fascinated with the zero-waste lifestyle. I was introduced to it when I came across Trash is for Tossers and learned that all the trash she produced in two years fit into one mason jar. Then I went down a wormhole and found a whole community of zero-waste bloggers and supporters of this lifestyle. Although this is still a niche community, it was reassuring to see a significant amount of people who cared deeply about minimizing the amount of trash they produce.

Initially the term, “zero-waste,” was kind of intimidating to me. No waste whatsoever? That sounded like a lot of pressure, stress, and frankly impossible. But like most things under the umbrella of environmentalism, it’s better to do something than to do nothing, so I like to think of this as waste-reducing first. From what I gathered, this movement is more of a mental transition than a physical one because it’s derived from your relationship with material objects in general. It’s about living with less and living simply with only the essentials. The planet thanks you for contributing less waste to the landfills, but ultimately you’ll see major changes in your attitude about consumption, which will have a lasting effect for years to come. Once you understand your relationship with “stuff,” it’ll be easier for you to understand and participate in the zero-waste concept. Follow the preliminary tips below to get started on the transition.

1. Evaluate your trash and your spending habits.

Go through your pantry/fridge, closet, medicine cabinet, desk, and any area that stores a lot of stuff. Is it overstuffed or cluttered? Now take a look at your trash can(s). What is it mostly filled with? Do you often chuck out leftover food, beauty products, paper, packaging, etc.? Lastly, take a look at your credit card statement and notice what you mostly spend your money on. Then, start to connect the dots. If you’re mostly spending it on food/groceries, but you end up throwing a lot of it out, you’re wasting both money and food. There’s a correlation between money and waste, which is why many people of the zero-waste community believe you can actually save money through this lifestyle.

2. Reduce where you can.

Now, take a closer look at the type of things you buy frequently and the motivation behind your purchases. Do you order take-out a lot or buy single serve packages like snacks or juice? Maybe you’re a sucker for promotional sales and good deals. Whatever it may be, take note of it first and ask yourself, “why am I really buying this?” and “does this add value or have purpose to my life?” Then from there, you can start to reduce what you have (properly of course! Either by recycling, reusing, or donating whatever you can.) And start to change your habits by buying less and/or less frequently, and thinking about the product’s life cycle.

3. Start saying “no”

This is where the discipline sets in. Once you’ve cut down, start saying no to things that are wasteful. No to plastic bags, impulsive shopping, disposable or single-use items like coffee cups and straws. Unsubscribe from promotional emails (this helped me so much!) Even saying no to free things being passed out can help.

Now, I am nowhere near being completely zero-waste, but I have cut back a lot. My home only produces about 1-2 full bags (the “thank you for shopping” bag with the smiley face, not a trash bag) of garbage per week, as opposed to throwing out garbage every day. The people who are committed and supportive of the zero-waste movement are not lazy people. The actions they take are smart and deliberate, but that doesn’t mean it’s also difficult. Anyone can and should start taking steps to be less wasteful, so before diving into zero-waste, you can approach it as waste-reducing instead.