Saturday, November 7, 2015

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Green Light- India

An eco-sista who always had a concern for the environment

How long have you been eco-friendly? I've been gradually transitioning to an eco-friendly lifestyle since 2014. I always had a concern for our environment but I really started taking this concern seriously and implementing ideas recently.

Why did you choose to be eco-friendly? My awareness started a long time ago, but in the last few years the Washington, D.C. area started to charge five cents per plastic/paper bag when you shop and at the time I was paying off college debt so every penny mattered. That was when I switched to reusable shopping bags. Around the same time, I had transitioned away from using relaxers and chopped all of the processed hair off (also know as the Big Chop). For the first time in my life I saw my natural hair and had to figure out what to do with it and how to care for it.

My hair needs made me discover organic coconut oil and all of it's uses for cooking, beauty, and more. My searches on natural beauty products lead me to discover Minimalism and Simple Living. My awareness grew! One day I landed on a video of Bea Johnson and her Zero Waste Home and I was sold on making major changes ever since. 

What do you like about it? I don't want future generations to remember me for the crap I left behind… I'd rather be remembered for the experiences, love, and happiness I shared. Implementing an eco-friendly lifestyle keeps me on track with my values while helping me save money as well.

Did you face any challenges?If so, what was/is the biggest obstacle(s)? My biggest obstacle was moving to the southern suburbs of Virginia Beach from the major city of Washington, D.C. Now that I am in an area that has no recycling requirements and doesn't encourage reusable bags, I have to go out of my way to recycle and make weekly trips to the recycling center versus being able to have it picked up with my trash like I did in DC due to city recycling requirements. I also find myself bringing reusable bags and produce bags to stores only to have the clerk still attempt to use plastic. It's a little more work here LOL.

Getting my husband to embrace change was a challenge as well because he kept forgetting to bring bags or keep extras in his car, but now he reminds me to bring tote bags, coupons, etc. when we go shopping.

Lastly, working in the photography and beauty industry has its own challenges especially when it comes to product waste. In addition to owning India Jackson Photography, I freelance for a major luxury goods company so I wear makeup for work most days and use a lot of skincare products.

Just because you are eco-friendly doesn't mean you have to be a dirty hippie as my friend and hairstylist Erica says LOL. I don't think I could ever give up beauty products so together we found the Terracycle company and their beauty brigade and I signed up for her team.

Basically, Terracycle teamed with Garnier to help eco-friendly ladies who love their products be able to recycle be able to recycle cosmetics packaging that otherwise would be declined from local recycling centers. Garnier covers your shipping costs and Terracycle turns your waste into all sorts of recycled products including paving stones, tote bags, and notebooks. Proceeds from the recycles products are donated to charity.

Any tips/advice for someone looking to be more eco-friendly? Start small with one thing at a time so that you don't get overwhelmed. Refusing what you do not need is a great start. Ask yourself do you really need to put the bananas or apple you are buying into a plastic produce bag before putting them in your larger shopping bag? You can probably "refuse" or decide not to use produce bags for larger items. If you are like me and feel like you still need produce bags for small items such as garlic and berries, why not make or purchase your own reusable bags to bring with you. I purchased mesh bags on E-bay for a dollar each.

Next , pick one thing a week to adjust in your life until you have reached your goal. One of the first things I changed was purchasing rechargeable AA and AAA batteries for my photography gear along with a charger that works for both sizes from Best Buy. The day I purchased them I took all of my dead traditional batteries with me to recycle at the store. I saved money over time and created less waste as well.

Going green can be complex. This discourages a lot of people. There's really no "right" way it's basically trying to do something than nothing at all. I sometimes feel like a green hypocrite. Do you feel that way sometimes? Haha, of course! I just try not to worry about it too much and keep things simple. Yes, I still have waste and I'm not 100% eco-friendly but I have changed so much and continue to do small things that add up to bigger changes one at a time. If you overwhelm yourself too much you are more likely to do nothing and give up. 

You know I gotta ask, How long have you been natural and how do you keep it so FLY? Hmm… it's been three or four years since my big chop. Honestly, my hair is a mess most days haha! I'm a product junkie and like to experiment with both all natural and new products on the market. I subscribed to the CurlKit mostly hair product subscription box which is where I get most of my new products to try. But my "go to" regimen is as followed:

Half of the week I work from home and on those days I do "wash and go's" washing and detangling only with Herbal Essence Hello Hydration Conditioner and following up with Moroccan Oil Treatment + Curl Creme. After evenly distributing the products, I air dry my 3c/4a hair. The other half of the week I wear my semi-straight as this is preferred for the brand I freelance with.

When I straighten my hair I start with a thorough shampoo wash (currently Hello Hydration Shampoo). I follow up that with my conditioner and detangle my hair.After I add the Moroccan Oil Treatment + Hydrating Styling Creme and let my hair drip dry for about ten minutes. After sectioning my hair and applying Moroccan Oil Heat Styling Protection spray, I blow dry it with a large round Olivia Garden Ceramic + Ion thermal brush focusing on getting the roots dry first. When I'm done, I apply coconut oil or a twist butter to my finger tips and give myself two large braids. I un-braid my hair just before heading to work so my ponytail has a smooth wave pattern and slick the edges down with PhytoSpecific Moisturizing Styling Cream if needed. I try really hard not to flat iron my hair unless it is a special occasion and as a result have gone from TWA/Frohawk to brastrap length hair with minimal damage in just two years. 

Is there anything you like to add? Enjoy your individual eco-journey. Document what you are up to and share it with your friends. Even if only one person is inspired by you it is better than none! Also, don't be hard on yourself for mistakes and hypocrisies. Everyone's idea of eco-friendly and zero waste is different. Mine is probably the most different from the bunch as I must have beauty products and electronics for my work.

My husband and I share minimalism and zero waste tips on my blog and youtube as well if you need some inspiration or a laugh at our silliness. My biggest advice is to just do something today even if it is something small. <3 


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