Our Journey to Sustainability - Part I

This 2019, one of our resolutions as a team was to make a more conscious effort towards sustainable living. With the first quarter of the year ending just as Earth Month sets in, it's fitting to take a look back at how we've come so far and look ahead to our next steps.
Hi! I'm Kei, one of the co-founders of The Good Store. Along with CY, we comprise 1/3 of the team, unless you also count our furbaby a.k.a. mascot, Goodie!

Starting point

I have my parents to thank for instilling the habit of recycling and reusing at an early age (I was a lampin baby, okay? If that reveals how old I am, so be it!) so it's safe to say that I've had some level of awareness almost my entire life.
Back then, sustainability was more of an economical choice – Disposable diapers were expensive. I wore hand-me-downs and passed on the clothes I've outgrown to my younger cousins. Why buy new things when you can reuse what you have? 'Wag mo itapon 'yan, magagamit mo pa! – and environmental awareness was just an afterthought.
Fast forward to today, consciousness of the environmental impact of our actions has been the primary driver of the sustainability movement, AND RIGHTFULLY SO. Ever read about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?
So far, we've got some of the very basics down pat. Ever since plastic bags were banned in Makati way back 2013, stashing an eco bag or two in my purse and at least three in the car has been part of our mini checklist whenever we head out.
Carrying a reusable tumbler took a bit more time for me to get used to since 1) I always have a tiny bag and 2) I am still working on my water intake. I keep one in my bag more regularly when travelling because bottled water is hella expensive in most foreign cities. Economical still, I know!
We've been living in a tiny condo for the past 10 years, and making changes to our regular routine has been nothing short of challenging.
In this humble household, we figured it would be more manageable to categorize our eco-friendly switches per area. A quick look at our plastic waste a.k.a. Pile of Shame collected from the previous year (and donated!) revealed that a huge bulk of it comes from the bathroom and kitchen.
This doesn't even include the waste from disposables like cotton balls, wet wipes, feminine products, plastic toothbrushes and razors.
We knew we had to do something about this pronto!


January: Starting off with the easiest of the bunch, we switched to bamboo toothbrushes and bamboo razors with replaceable blades.
bamboo toothbrush razor
For those wondering, standard blades can be used with this bamboo razor. This is the brand that comes with it, and we were able to find more in fabric stores like Carolina's.
bamboo razor blade
It took also took us a while to find a more sustainable alternative to cotton buds with plastic stems then we found this gem in Miniso: Cotton buds with wooden stems and in bulk, too!
cotton buds wooden stem
It's still in plastic packaging, though, and I'm sure all that cotton produced and disposed can't be good for the environment either. But for now, this not-so-drastic change would have to do until we come across a better alternative.
I still had some liquid body wash in plastic containers left over from the previous year, so you can imagine I felt some guilt lathering these on using a bath sponge. And I still had some liquid shampoo also. Double cringe!
February: We were able to switch completely to bar soaps and shampoo bars. This one from Squeaky Clean Kids is a personal favorite because it helps reduce my hair fall.
shampoo bar
March: I was able to find a makeup remover towel that only required warm water for removing all that gunk off my face and also for washing. Goodbye micellar water containers and cotton pads!
makeup remover
By the end of the quarter, we were able to replace plastic toothbrushes, disposable razors, body wash, shampoo, bath sponges, makeup removers, cotton buds with plastic stems, and cotton pads.
For the next few months, I'm looking into switching to reusable liners, feminine bar and refillable conditioner (I'm hiyang to a particular brand, but I heard they're offering refills now. Yay!).
We're also planning on testing out toothpaste powder or bites that can replace the ones that come in plastic tubes. Any brands you'd like to recommend?


January: The start of the year is usually when we stock up on most of the household essentials, so we included bulk purchases of pantry staples (grains, cooking oil, vinegar, sugar, etc.) in the mix.
Not only does this allow us to reduce plastic container waste, but it also cuts down on trips to the grocery and reminds us to prepare most of our meals at home instead of getting take out.
Just look at our Pile of Shame for disposable cutlery from last year! Any ideas where these can be donated or if they can be upcycled?
Pile of Shame #2
We still eat out several times, though, usually on weekends or when there's barely time to cook. One thing I learned to do from a friend is to take home the paper napkins to replace kitchen napkins since those wind up getting discarded anyway. Yay or nay?
February: Human Heart Nature had their 1 Liter Less Litter campaign going so we bought a full refill-sized bottle of their dishwashing liquid. This is the brand and variant we regularly use anyway, so no biggie.
refill dishwashing
We were also running a bit low on Messy Bessy's Minty Orange Surface Cleaner (I can't sing enough praises for this miracle worker!) so we got the 2L refill size this time instead of the spray bottle.
March: We learned about unsponges through Simula PH. These are made of scrap fabric sewn with mesh lining that does a great job of scrubbing our dishes clean.
The only problem was that I may have scrubbed a wee bit too much and wound up with a small tear. I guess I'll just sew it back together before putting it in the wash. Yep, these are washable and reusable!
Thanks to The Good Trade, we also learned about beeswax wraps and of course bought a set for our home.
These multi-taskers can be used to cover bowls to keep food fresh, wrap fruits and sandwiches, and even hold shampoo and soap bars for travel. This replaces plastic wraps, paper napkins, or Ziploc bags.
beeswax wraps
We've had quite a few glass containers accumulated from the latter part of 2018 haven't really used much of them (eep!) apart from repotting plants or for decorative purposes.
upcycled containers
Upcycled jars from First Harvest, Tsaa Laya, and Kayumanggi Organic
Good thing we were able to save some of the larger ones for refilling later on, so heading to bulk stores like Humble Market is gonna be our next step.
humble market
Replacing our garbage bags with more eco-friendly alternatives is something we've been meaning to do but not really sure how to go about it. What we're currently doing is reusing plastic bags from previous purchases, but that's not really a solution, is it?
We know we've got so much to learn, but we're definitely enjoying making these small but sure steps towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Most of our inspo comes from blogs like Low Impact Filipina and Mean Living, along with a host of Instagram accounts with the same advocacy.
Got more recos for us?

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