Eco-friendly Resolutions to Make in the New Year
By: Heather Bien
The new year is just around the corner and with it comes the season of resolutions: resolutions to eat healthier, work out more, search for a new job, or start that side hustle. But we want to shift the conversation around resolutions to do something that’s not just good for ourselves, but for the environment and the world around us.
In 2020, we want to make a commitment to making eco-friendly resolutions in the new year. Here at Boody, we are passionate about creating high-quality products made from sustainable materials. We look to minimize our footprint and do our part for the planet. But, beyond our clothing, accessories, and other products, here’s what we’re doing to make eco-friendly new year’s resolutions.
Buy an Intentional Wardrobe
Of course, we had to start with our wardrobe! Purchasing intentional clothing items helps to build up a capsule wardrobe and limits the environmental impact of fast fashion. (Want to know more about how you can create your own capsule wardrobe? Read our article here!) By investing in fewer, higher-quality pieces, you’re contributing to more sustainable buying practices.
Want to go the extra mile? Wash capsule wardrobe clothing in cold water and line-dry whenever possible. It will help them last longer!
Take a Look at the Products You Use in Your Home
Whether it’s cleaning products, makeup, or skincare, take a look at the ingredient list for all items that you’re bringing into your home. Look for products with non-toxic ingredients and ethical business practices.
And, while it may not be realistic to go 100% clean or organic, you can make an effort to move towards buying products that lower your risk of exposure to chemicals, that do not test on animals, and that use naturally-derived ingredients.
Keep Track of Water Usage
For me, it was a plumbing issue in my building that forced residents to limit water usage for a weekend that drove home just how much water I had been wasting. Sure, I turn off the water when I brush my teeth, but there’s so much more we can do.
When you’re washing pots and pans, turn off the water while you scrub. Use water from rinsing fruits and veggies to water your garden. Only run full loads of dishes or laundry. Small shifts may not make a significant change in your day-to-day routine, but they can make a big impact on your overall water usage.
If you’re fortunate enough to live in an area with robust public transportation, take advantage of it! Use the subway, bus, walk, or ride your bike whenever possible. Need to travel by car? Try to build in enough time to take the rideshare option rather than calling your own car.
Live in the suburbs or in a rural area? Consolidate errands to avoid making multiple trips. When you live somewhere where driving is the status quo, it can be easy to get in the routine of driving, even if you’re only going a few blocks away. Consider bucking the driving habit and taking a stroll or riding your bike when headed somewhere nearby.
Focus on Shopping Seasonally When it Comes to Produce
Our first thought when it comes to making eco-friendly decisions in regards to food may be to buy organic, but that’s not the only thing we can do! Focus on shopping in-season produce from local farmers to limit the environmental impact made by shipping out-of-season produce from other regions.
Also, if it’s realistic for you and your family, consider going meatless one or two nights a week. You may be surprised at how many delicious vegetarian meals you can make!
Always Have a Tote Bag, a Water Bottle, and a Stainless Steel Straw on Hand
We know we should bring along reusable grocery bags. We try to avoid buying plastic disposable water bottles. And, we’ve noticed that more and more restaurants are moving towards paper straws.
So, let’s make a resolution to make sure we’re prepared each time we’re out and about. Always have a reusable tote bag stashed in your purse or car (seriously, keep them everywhere!). Store a water bottle in the fridge, one in the car, one by the door –– make it impossible to forget! Invest in stainless steel straws that come in their own carrying case so that you can easily toss them in a jacket pocket and always have one on hand. The best way to make a move towards more sustainable practices is to make it so easy you can’t forget.
What Are Your Eco-Friendly Resolutions?
These are the eco-friendly resolutions we’re putting into practice in the new year, but we know there are so many more ways you can reduce your environmental impact and live more sustainably! We encourage you to explore what works for your lifestyle. It’s a long-term process, not an overnight change, and we’re all on this planet together!
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What is Organic Cotton?
By: Heather Bien We’re all trying to be better stewards of Mother Earth. From recycling to upcycling and eating conscientiously to dressing mindfully, our choices affect the planet. So choosing organic cotton clothing seems like an easy decision, right? Not so fast! As with all sustainable choices, it’s important to take a moment to learn a bit more about why organic cotton might win over conventional cotton—and what makes these two materials different in the first place. Read on if you’re interested in learning about organic cotton and whether it’s the best choice for you and the environment. Conventional cotton Before we get into debating modern cotton farming techniques, let’s get familiar with the plant we’re talking about: cotton. It’s soft, durable, and probably on your body right now. But what else do you really know about cotton? Here are the basics: Cotton comes from the cotton plant – The cotton plant is a warm-season woody perennial shrub from the genus Gossypium and the family Malvaceae. Cotton fabric is made from the plant’s fibrous seed-hair (which is also called a cotton boll). Cotton is one of the top agricultural crops – Traditional cotton is the most widespread and profitable non-food crop in the world. Although the plant is capable of growing in any warm-weather climate, India and China are now the top producers of cotton globally. Cotton is thirsty – A normal cotton plant requires 10 gallons of water to reach peak potential. That doesn’t sound so bad, but multiplying it outward, that means it takes about 5,000 gallons of water to produce just 2.2 pounds of cotton fabric. Pests think it’s delicious – Not only is cotton thirsty, but it’s prone to pest infestations from bollworms, weevils, aphids, stink bugs, thrips, and spider mites. In order to combat these common pests, conventional cotton is routinely sprayed with a veritable salad-dressing of pesticides, many of which can remain in the soil and water supply for years afterward. Cotton harvesting requires defoliation – In order to quickly and efficiently harvest cotton, many commercial growers use chemical defoliants to strip the leaves from the cotton plant prior to harvesting the bolls. Like pesticides, these chemicals remain in the environment and on the cotton itself. Is organic cotton better? All of those cotton factoids point pretty compellingly to buying and wearing organic cotton fabric. But first, it’s important to understand what sets this organic alternative apart. Why exactly is “organic” cotton anyway? You might associate the word organic with your healthy fruits and veggies, but it’s not always clear what this term means when it comes to cotton. For many years, there was not a standard definition, but today, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) require that any cotton product labeled “organic” meet the following criteria: Made with fibers from USDA-certified organic crops Third-party certified (ie., through the Global Organic Textile Standard) under the National Organic Program standards Has a specific percentage of organic material (depending on the crop) But this definition is a little circular, so we need also to define USDA-certified organic crops. According to the USDA, organic crop standards are defined as follows: Land must have had no prohibited substances applied to it for at least three years before the harvest of an organic crop. Soil fertility and crop nutrients will be managed through tillage and cultivation practices, crop rotations, and cover crops. These can be supplemented with animal and crop waste materials and allowed synthetic materials. Crop pests, weeds, and diseases will be controlled primarily through management practices, including physical, mechanical, and biological controls. When these practices are not sufficient, a biological, botanical, or synthetic substance approved for use on the National List may be used. Operations must use organic seeds and other planting stock when available. The use of genetic engineering, ionizing radiation, and sewage sludge is prohibited. What is organic cotton? In short, it’s cotton that is farmed according to these practices and certified organic by the USDA. Why should you choose organic cotton? With fewer pesticides, fewer synthetic chemicals, and more thoughtful cultivation practices, organic cotton can certainly offer a more environmentally friendly choice when compared to regular cotton. Is organic cotton sustainable? Here are a few other reasons why organic cotton can be a better alternative for you and the earth: It’s better for our water resources – According to an analysis by the Textile Exchange, producing an organic cotton T-shirt requires 1,982 fewer gallons of water compared to a regular cotton T-shirt. Because organic cotton uses less chemicals, its production also releases fewer toxins into our aquatic ecosystems. It’s good for the soil (and our carbon footprint) – According to the Soil Association, the more natural cultivation practices and fewer pesticides used by organic cotton farmers can support healthier soil. That soil, in turn, can absorb more carbon from our atmosphere and help keep the planet healthy. It encourages biodiversity – Multiple studies have shown that organic farming practices can encourage more diversity among the animal species of our planet. Sustainability is sometimes in the eye of the beholder. But when it comes to plant-derived textiles, the ones which help us create a healthier world are always a better alternative. Explore the benefits of bamboo with Boody Whether you choose to purchase conventional or organic cotton clothing, the fact that you are shopping mindfully for yourself is a win for the environment. At Boody, we believe in bringing you quality, comfy, sustainable clothing basics that keep you feeling good about yourself and your personal impact on Mother Earth. From our sleepwear to our loungewear, women’s bamboo shirts to our underwear, sustainable and ethical are our touchstones. Our clothing is made of bamboo viscose, requiring less water than cotton while putting precious oxygen back into the environment. That just feels good, doesn’t it? Explore the bamboo benefits today, with Boody. Sources: Britannica. Cotton. https://www.britannica.com/topic/cotton-fibre-and-plant Cotton. The Story of Cotton - Where Cotton Grows. https://www.cotton.org/pubs/cottoncounts/story/where.cfm World Wildlife Federation. Cotton. https://www.worldwildlife.org/industries/cotton Textile Exchange. Quick Guide to Organic Cotton. https://textileexchange.org/quick-guide-to-organic-cotton Soil Association. What is organic cotton? https://www.soilassociation.org/take-action/organic-living/fashion-textiles/organic-cotton/ USDA. Conservation and Biological Diversity in Organic Production. https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2016/02/29/conservation-and-biological-diversity-organic-production About the Author: Heather Bien is a copywriter and writer based in Washington, DC. She works with retail, ecommerce, and creative brands on their website copy and digital presence, and her freelance writing has appeared on MyDomaine, Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, and more. When she's not with laptop and coffee in hand, you'll find her planning her next weekend getaway, working on her budding green thumb, or scouting for her next great vintage find.