What is an eco-friendly mindset? How can we achieve one without completely overwhelming ourselves? These are the questions I have been asking as part of a lifelong mission to live gently upon this Earth.
While I try to make slow and eco-friendly choices in my everyday life I was also determined to be mindful about how I ran a business. Thus, Artisan Kind was born. Launched on Earth Day with a focus on kindness. Kindness in life, kindness in business, and kindness to the Earth we call home.
I’ve found that most eco-friendly endeavors leave us feeling guilty…shaming us into action. But I believe the decision to be more mindful about our way of life should stem from a place of care and even excitement.
Developing an eco-friendly mindset shouldn’t come from a place of “have to” but from a place of “want to.”
Today I’ll walk you through three perspective shifts to guide you into a more eco-friendly mindset.
You can drive yourself wild looking for the perfect, eco-friendly, sustainably sourced, biodegradable *fill in the blank* solution. How do you know which eco-friendly laundry detergent is the BEST one? Should you buy this reusable cloth or that one?
The truth is, there is no ONE right way to be eco-friendly. It is not an overnight shift made possible by curating the perfect product assortment.
As we’ll be discussing, so much more of it comes down to mindset than it does the actual items you buy (or don’t buy). So how can you start making more intentional choices?
Before making a purchase, ask yourself: “Do I Really Need This?”
“Stocking up on loads of eco-friendly products isn’t actually eco-friendly if it’s not a product you need.”
If the answer is yes, decide how long that item will need to serve you for.
If you will only need the item for the short term, is there anyone you can borrow it from instead of buying your own? (shoutout to my mom who’s always letting me borrow from her!)
If you need it for the long term it is best to buy a quality product that will last for years (ideally even after you are gone!) Buying a high quality product can sometimes carry a higher price tag up front, but when you consider not having to replace that product so soon you’re ultimately saving money. On top of that, buying higher quality increases your chances of re-selling or passing it on to someone else if you no longer need it.
I feel so much better buying something that will last 20 or 30 years as opposed to something built to last 6 months. If you can buy it locally that’s great! If you can find an eco-friendly version of that item, even better!
“Things do not just disappear after we are done with them”
This little reminder has helped me to consciously make better choices. The idea that the lifecycle of an item does not end when I toss it in the trash bin.
It can be easy to forget about the things we throw away. Afterall, most of us have a weekly garbage service so our waste is not sitting around and piling up for us to see. But what if it was? It’s not a pleasant thought, but when you start to visualize the lifespan of a product, how much you use and how fast you dispose of it, you start to take ownership for the choices you make.
From creation, to packaging, shipping, and being used in your household, to being thrown away and sitting in a landfill for eternity. Every little item adds up overtime.
That doesn’t mean we should stop buying things, it means that every time we can cut down on our waste (even a little bit), those good choices add up too! For example, I could buy a bag of pre-packaged onions wrapped in plastic, or I could opt for the unpackaged onions and eliminate the bag that would need to be recycled or end up in a landfill.
Choosing to purchase the unpackaged onions isn’t going to save the Earth on its own. But it’s a small step towards developing a more mindful habit. An action doesnt need to be big to have an impact.
When I moved into my first apartment, my grandma gifted me a set of Corelle dishes as a housewarming gift. The other day I saw an ad for eco-friendly ceramic dishes. They were lovely! But the thought crossed my mind:
“How many people are going to donate their perfectly good dishes to buy these instead?”
I was certainly tempted for a split second. Eco-friendly dishes? Who wouldn’t be proud to bust those out at a dinner party. But replacing something perfectly good, something that is already serving you well and will continue to for years to come, doesn’t actually do the Earth any good.
Just because something is labeled “eco-friendly” doesn’t mean that’s the version you need to have if you already own a high quality alternative.
Now there are certainly instances where it is good to replace or upgrade, but we should be mindful of when it is truly necessary. My white corelle dishes are perfectly good, elegant, simple, and bound to last me a lifetime.
Thinking about this on a larger scale, I have always dreamed of building a new, fully tricked out eco-friendly home. I told my friend recently that I wanted to incorporate all the features: solar panels, energy-star appliances, window facing directions that maximized daylight…you name it! But as my friend graciously reminded me: “The most eco-friendly home is the one you already have.”
Thanks to their advice, we are currently being quoted for solar energy in the home we already own. Embracing it as it is!
So many people think you have to start from scratch to live a more eco-friendly life. Build a new house with the best of the best. Replace all of your belongings with eco-friendly alternatives. Begin a massive garden to grow more of your own food. And while these ideas can be great for the Earth, it’s far more beneficial to work with what you have and make changes in small increments.
A complete overhaul of your lifestyle in a frantic attempt to be more eco-friendly will only lead to excessive waste in the end.
Start small. Start slow. I can’t emphasize this enough! Think through each decision carefully and know that an eco-friendly mindset starts with opening your eyes. Becoming more aware of your surroundings, your habits, your purchases, your waste.
Focus on what you truly need, take responsibility for the items you purchase, and remember that what’s advertised as “eco-friendly” may not be an eco-friendly choice for you and your lifestyle.
You don’t have to be perfect. you just have to get started and keep going. Building an eco-friendly mindset is like building muscle…it takes practice!
Brand & Website Design Studio based in Eau Claire, WI.
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The strategy behind design, client transformations, eco-friendly and slow living tips for small business owners and more.
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so you can pursue your purpose and embrace an unhurried life.