The eco-swaps that did not work for me

The internet is a gold mine when it comes to eco-swaps and most of the time people will tell you about how amazing they are, that it changed their life and that they could never go back. I do that a lot and it’s true a lot of the time. But guess what? What works for me will not necessarily work for you and vice-versa. Yet, there is still somehow a lot of guilt around being imperfectly sustainable. This why I wanted to share what did not work for me in this post.

One of my biggest eco-swaps fail: shampoo bars

eco-swaps organic shampoo

I talked about this issue on Instagram before. I tried so many different bars, I tried all the tricks in the book like rinsing with vinegar water or washing my hair upside down… Shampoo bars just don’t work for me and I’m ok with it now. I suspect it’s because I have thick hair with fine and porous strands but who knows? It always feels like I can’t work the shampoo all over my scalp and I’m left with semi-greasy or waxy hair. So instead, I buy sulfate free shampoo with organic ingredients.

Another big fail: natural deodorant.

I will be honest, I never liked natural deos. I’m very sensitive to smells so I could easily tell they didn’t work unless reapplied regularly. But then, a while ago, I tried the nude deo and even wrote an article about it. I was very happy with the results but since then, a lot has changed. I am way more active during a regular day and also exercise more. It just wasn’t enough anymore so I switched back to regular deodorant.

The no brainer of eco-swaps: insect repellents.

I am a mosquito magnet and no amount of essential oils can change that. If you’re like me, you know what I mean. While bugs are easy to manage at home, I can’t say the same about an evening by a lake or a hike in the forest. I know the ingredients in bug spray aren’t exactly safe but it’s a risk I’m willing to take. The spray I use is approved for humans, horses and dogs. That tells you a lot.

The eco-swaps I had high hopes for: reusable wraps and baking sheets

eco-swaps parchment paper

I bake and cook a lot and while reusable wraps and baking sheets do the job perfectly, I find them so hard to wash and dry that I gave up. The only exceptions are my Ikea silicone food covers. I love those. For everything else, I just use my good old food containers, repurposed jars or brown parchment paper.

The one I really wish I could use: shared electric cars

eco-swaps cars

I keep saying individual electric cars are not as sustainable as we think if we want to truly reduce our impact on the environment (issues with batteries ‘n all, you know), at least for people who don’t actually need a car everyday. I love not owning a car anymore and I love the idea of having access to one when I need a car. However, that’s exactly the problem: I can’t access them easily It takes me longer to walk to the pick up spot than take two trips by foot to the supermarket. Instead, my friends and I carpool.

The one that hurt me: plastic free groceries.

Back when I was living in Belgium, shopping plastic free was so easy and felt like a true win. I’m not even talking about the many zero-waste shops over there. One of the big supermarket chains in the country decided to sell all their fruits and veggies plastic free and it was a big success. They still do today. But in Norway, it’s a different story. Everything comes wrapped in plastic. EVERYTHING. I felt guilty about it in the beginning but eventually, I realized there is nothing I can do about it… other than what us, the french, do best: complain.

The eco-swap we all wish we could do more: train travel.

When I brought my guinea pigs from France to Norway, I had to do it by train because somehow, airline companies are dumb and think piggies are dangerous. But that’s a story for another day. The trip itself was very nice: cozy seats, nice landscape, great price. BUT! My mom had to drive me from my hometown to Frankfurt (2 hours) where I took a train to Hamburg (3 hours 40 minutes). Then I got on a train to Copenhagen (4 hours 40 minutes) where I spent the night in a hotel. The next day, I had a 5 hour car trip ahead of me… because there were no trains. It took more than 15 hours if you only count the travel time. That was a one time thing but let’s be honest: train travel is neither easy nor quick. It’s often expensive too. So yeah… I usually fly.

I will say it again: eco-swaps are great. But sustainable living isn’t about being perfect. So please stop beating yourself up if something doesn’t work for you!