Not for the faint of heart. These may or may not be extreme to you depending on how long you’ve been in the sustainability game, but I asked my friends what they consider the most “extreme” things I do or talk about wanting to try. Without further ado, here we go. Brace yourself.

Please note that the purpose of my site is to make sustainability realistic and attainable- there will be no dumpster diving, zero emission living, or foraging on this list (although those are cool things)

1. Safety Razor

My mother begged me not to get one. She said she once cut herself with her dad’s safety razor and my clumsy self would do the same. But, I didn’t listen and I’m glad I didn’t. Honestly, this is one of my favorite things I have ever changed, and I haven’t cut myself with it yet other than nicks on stubborn hair that I would have done with any razor. I get an amazing shave that leaves me feeling like a dolphin. It’s fantastic. I also save so much money by using a safety razor- I got a pack of 100 replacement blades for $10! You can also not shave, which is the most eco friendly option, but I’m not about that hippie life to be quite frank. I got my safety razor used on eBay, but you can also buy new versions.They are becoming more and more popular nowadays. Plus, they look so sleek. I left a link for a butterfly opening razor on the left and a 3-piece razor (which is what I have) on the right. Please look into secondhand options first.

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2. Composting

This is not a swap, but an extremely important tenant of low waste living. This is one of the largest and most impactful things anyone can do to reduce their waste. The majority of waste people produce is typically food waste. The reason why composting is essential to the environment is because when someone puts an apple core in a trash bag and throws it away, there is not enough oxygen necessary for it to decompose. So it just sits there right? Wrong. When there is not enough oxygen to undergo aerobic decomposition, organic matter will try to decompose anaerobically. The result is it releases methane, an extremely harmful greenhouse gas. So when you don’t compost, you directly impact climate change. So how do you compost? Here is a guide for small space composting and traditional composting methods. If you live in an area that has curbside composting, even better! Use those resources so they become more popular and commonplace

3. Menstrual Cup

This is for all you menstruating humans out there. Period products are very wasteful, and a lot of them contain irritating plastics or chemicals that could potentially harm you- period companies are not required to tell you what is in their pads or tampons. I find that particularly worrying because your vagina is the most absorbent part of your body. It took a large learning curve, several YouTube videos, and some tears, but I finally figured out how to use it and I will NEVER go back. It’s so convenient to use and I’m saving a ton of money by not having to buy pads/tampons for about ten years. They are made out of body safe silicone. I use a Saalt cup, but I also have heard good things about Lunette

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4. Reusable (or compostable) cotton swab

I have never been one to really need to clean out their ears that much. I once accidentally shoved a cotton swab too far down my ear canal when I was like seven and I’m still scared of them. Either way, there are several options for cotton swabs. There are compostable cotton swabs with bamboo or paper sticks instead of plastic (we always used those at home growing up), but honestly I think composting disposable products is still pretty wasteful. There are also reusable cotton swabs like Last Swab, or metal ear picks. I have a reusable cotton swab that I use for cosmetics.

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5. Sustainable Deodorant

This one may not be that extreme, but it was the one thing I said I wouldn’t change no matter what. Spoiler alert- I ended up changing it anyway. Aluminum in deodorants is thought to put people at risk for breast cancer and Alzheimer’s– let me just pause and say this is not confirmed to be true. Anecdotal evidence is not evidence. Yeah, it’s probably not amazing to put metals in your pores, but be aware that this is probably a marketing tactic for natural products. I changed my deodorant only to cut down on my plastic use, and nothing else. Think like a scientist, and don’t believe everything you read. Either way, this is my brand of deodorant. I have the jar version with glass and metal (it comes with a foam piece the company will terracycle for you).

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click image to find product

6. Handkerchiefs

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I rarely used tissues to begin with- the only times I really used them were to blot my lipstick, and now I just use a cut up t shirt. I do keep a set of handkerchiefs if I need to cry over a chem exam or I get sick. This is something my friends find gross , but I don’t care. You can wash it just like undergarments, and I’m sure your dirty underwear is a lot more gross than using a handkerchief.

7. Protection

One questions I am asked to trip me up when I explain my lifestyle is what do I do about sex. First off, I would like to say there is nothing more unsustainable than an unwanted pregnancy or STD. I use a hormonal birth control pill for hormone control and to make my periods more regular and not painful- most women on the pill are not really doing it for birth control. The most sustainable option as of right now is an implant or IUD birth control, sterilization, or abstinence (the last two are unrealistic for most people). Please, please, please, don’t have unprotected sex for the sake of the environment. Overpopulation is already an issue. However, one thing to do in order to have sustainable practices is to buy from companies that source their latex ethically and have safe and ethical working conditions. Many condom companies have unethical production processes, like causing massive deforestation for harvesting rubber latex and child labor. The woman-owned brands Sustain and Hanx are fantastic options for sustainably made and ethical personal care, including pads and tampons made without synthetics and fragrances. Latex condoms are compostable, and will decompose after about 3 months if you care enough to put it in your compost bin- although I don’t really recommend this if you are using your compost for growing food. I will make a post about sustainable personal care soon.

In regards to lube, both these companies make lubricant. You can also use aloe vera since it is water based, and will not weaken the latex. If you are not using condoms coconut oil is a safe alternative. Do not use coconut oil with condoms because it can weaken the latex and cause rips.

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Do you do any of these? What is something you do that others may find ‘extreme’ that you find beneficial?

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