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An Hour-By-Hour Breakdown Of My Green(er) Morning Routine

Bonnie Culbertson
mbg Contributor By Bonnie Culbertson
mbg Contributor
Bonnie Culbertson is an Ohio-based freelance writer and ethical travel consultant. She has a bachelor's in strategic communications from Miami University.
An Hour-By-Hour Breakdown Of My Green(er) Morning Routine

Mornings are a powerful time of day, and by now you've probably heard how a mindful morning can help keep stress at bay for the rest of your waking hours.

I personally know I'm a much more pleasant person when I take 10 minutes to meditate before heading out the door. But recently, I started to question how my morning routine was affecting not just my health but the health of the planet.

It's not always easy or convenient to make eco-friendly choices first thing in the a.m. (though I'm hoping that will change with time), but it's well worth it. Here's a sample schedule to show some of the ways I'm trying to mindfully reduce the amount of plastic (have you heard the latest report on microplastics in our environment), carbon-intensive foods, and single-use bottles I gobble up in the morning. I hope they give you some ideas on how to green your own routine:

6:30 a.m.: Find three minutes after the alarm goes off to practice gratitude. On days when I'm pressed for time, I try to quickly jot down a few things I'm thankful for since, in addition to myriad other benefits, a daily gratitude practice keeps us in a mindset of abundance. This can make us less likely to make impulse purchases that result in short-term satisfaction but leave a long-term impact on the environment.

6:45 a.m.: Time to drink some water but not from a single-use plastic bottle. Remember those 70,000 microplastics we're consuming each year? The same study found those who drink from plastic bottles consume even more. Time to invest in a water filter and some cute mugs!

7:00 a.m.: Green up your grooming routine and learn to shower sans plastic. There are so many great bottle-free options for shampoo, conditioner, and soap these days. They're easy to use, easy to travel with, and they last way longer than my previous, bottled go-to's.

7:30 a.m.: I love coffee. I love the smell, the ritual of making it at home, and customizing the flavor by adding a touch of things like cinnamon, allspice, or even cocoa to the grounds. The most eco-friendly option for your home-brew is a French press. Unlike traditional machines, they don't require separate filters, which may be compostable but often come in packaging that is not (read: plastic). If you have a Keurig, consider upgrading to reusable pods. Once the coffee is brewed, you can either compost your grounds or use them to make a DIY body scrub!

Heading out the door? Don't forget your reusable coffee cup. Not only will it come in handy when you're ready for that midmorning pick-me-up, but I've found it's an opportunity to set an example and perhaps inspire the people behind you in line to pick up their own.

7:45 a.m.: At least one day a week (if not more), I try to eat an entirely plant-based breakfast. The positive environmental impact of a vegan diet cannot be overstated. My go-to vegan breakfast is an almond milk smoothie with a handful of spinach, plant-based vanilla protein powder, banana, and sunflower butter.

8:00 a.m.: Time to shine up that smile for all the aforementioned positive interactions ahead using a bamboo toothbrush. More than 1 billion plastic toothbrushes are discarded each year. Bamboo, on the other hand, is biodegradable, and bamboo plants are quick to regrow. (A single bamboo stalk can grow up to 3 feet in one day!)

8:15 a.m.: Before I head out the door, I grab one or two reusable totes to stash in my bag so I'll be prepared for any last-minute errands.

As I work toward green-ifying my day-to-day, I am still using up the plastic-packaged products I already have. After all, the goal is to make less waste, not more. Any time I run out of something like conditioner, toilet paper, or laundry detergent, I'm starting to use it as an opportunity to look into more eco-friendly replacements. With time, I'll be fully stocked, but the most sustainable way to make any change in life is to take it one step at a time.

There are many small ways we can make a big difference, starting from the minute our alarm goes off. Because when it comes to the health of our planet, we could all use a wake-up call. 

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