When it comes to green living, I am a solid Kelly. Not a dark shade, like a hunter or a forest, but deeper than a sage or other pastel hue. I am a strong, bright green that shows a commitment to our planet, but with enough yellow that shows I still have a lot more to learn.

My commitment to sustainable style is well documented on this blog and I try and apply these same principles in daily living as well. When it comes to being eco-friendly, the family and I concentrate on eliminating waste and the three R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle) when finding alternatives that work for our family.

As requested, here are a few of the green products we use to “clean up” many daily tasks: 

Felt Dryer Balls – I have not purchased dryer sheets in about three years. One package of four felt dryer balls has been enough to last that long. They work, are free of chemicals, reduce waste, and save you money. Bonus for our house? These are made in New Zealand, like my husband, so he has plenty of opportunities to exclaim how kiwis have the best balls. The question mark in my previous statement being key.

Bamboo Kitchen Composter – I looked long and hard for a kitchen composter that was attractive. Then I settled for one that I did not think was too ugly and called it a day. That is until I discovered the Bamboozle Food Composter Bin. As the name implies, it is made of biodegradable, durable bamboo fiber. And the durable is an understatement. This one is easily five years old and it only recently began to show signs of wear. The ones we used previously tended to be ceramic and breakable + composter + my guys does not equal a good match. We are using the natural shade one right now, but I am very tempted to get the graphite one just for a change in decor.

As an aside, if anyone is interested in a larger post on composting, I can get my husband to write something. In all honesty, other than filling the kitchen bin, I do not touch the composting. There are gross bugs in the big composter in the backyard and that is where I draw the line. 

Reusable Produce Bags – I hate plastic in general, but I especially hate single-use plastic. These mesh reusable produce bags were a great find to eliminate the use of grocery store plastic bags. I honestly bought this set over five years ago and they still look great (I only recently lost a drawstring or two). They have remained practically stain-free, which is great seeing as how they have carried a lot of beets over the years. They are 100% odor-free.

One of the first things we greened up immediately was zero-waste lunches. In the word land before COVID, my husband and I ate out for lunch more than we should, so this was directed at the kid’s lunches. Brown sacks and Ziplock bags accounted for a lot of our waste, even if it was recyclable, so we found alternatives. Most of these things are easily applied to adult lunches, although the dinosaur/astronaut branding might not be a good idea in some offices. 

Planet Box Lunchbox and Bag – This is the best bento-style box we found after many years of searching. The compartments are big enough to hold the average sandwich and enough food, in general, to keep a growing teen full throughout the day. Plus, it is stainless steel, which lasts longer than any eco-friendly plastic alternative in my experience. And while this particular brand is on the pricey side, again the one pictured is a few years old. Luckily, we do not have a little guy that wanted a new lunchbox every year as I did, but he has asked for new magnets for this one and a new set of those is significantly cheaper than a new lunchbox.

Assorted Reusable Food Storage Bags – Again, I have had many of these for years and they do not stink or stain. Fade? Yes. Stink? No. As someone with food sensitivities, there is always one of these in my purse filled with almonds, pistachios, or another safe snack. There also happens to be another one of these baggies in my purse for all those little extras like bobby pins, chapstick, aspirin, etc. They are great catchalls in general and do not need to be used just for food.

HiBAR Shampoo Bar and Conditioner – This is a recent find, but my husband and two sons LOVE HiBAR. They smell great, work better, and are paraben, sulfate, and cruelty-free. Made from the finest natural ingredients, HiBAR provides salon-quality products while helping to rid the world of plastic. Please check them out here.

Green Living Books – There are a few books that I use regularly to find safe and natural alternatives to use in daily life. From make-your-own natural cleaning products to natural dyes for the occasional upcycle, these are the books I turn to the most:

– Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking by Kate Payne – she was cottage core before cottage core was a thing.

– Better Basics for the Home by Annie Berthold-Bond – my favorite resource for replacing chemicals with homemade solutions. And so much more.

– The Modern Natural Dyer by Kristine Vejar – welcome to my latest pandemic hobby. This book was a Hanukkah present, so stay tuned on how it goes!

I hope these products help you find simple ways to green up your day-to-day with practical and affordable solutions. We have linked to them on our LIKE TO KNOW IT, the free app that allows you to shop much of what you see here on the AFL blog or on our Instagram. If you have your own eco-friendly products and books, please share them in the comments.

Photography by Breezy Ritter and AFL