Embrace Unlearning in Your Eco Friendly Lifestyle


Ads and marketing are a huge part of our lives today. Commercials, billboard, and online ads are everywhere.

Some ad campaigns focus on ‘educating’ potential consumers on why they absolutely need their particular product.

But these campaigns are not new; they’ve been part of society for many decades.

Some things you do today are likely the result of successful campaigns from the past – things like using paper towels or ziploc bags.

So, as you work towards a more sustainable and eco friendly lifestyle, I hope you can embrace unlearning some of that marketing.

Disclaimer: This post contains Amazon affiliate links and purchases made will earn the site a small commission.

Unlearn Old Marketing Campaigns

For toothbrushes

We’re still bombarded with new toothbrush ads – some have new plastic bits to ‘deep clean’ your teeth and others are all about the electric brush.

The thing is toothbrushes have existed for thousands of years in the form of chewing sticks. These sticks are just as effective as a regular ole toothbrush.

Bristle toothbrushes were invented in China in the 1500s and they used boar bristles and bamboo handles. That sounds like the modern day eco friendly toothbrush to me – but it’s from the 1500s!

Nylon bristles were only developed in the 1930s and they were mass manufactured and marketed during the second world war.

Since then, they’ve gone full plastic! But they do the same exact job as the chewing stick and as the bamboo brushes. So, unlearn the new ads and reach for the more environmentally friendly toothbrushes.

eco friendly toothbrushes in cup

For toothpaste

Ancient Egyptians made a paste with rock salt, pepper, mint and flowers to clean their teeth. Other ancient cultures used crushed shells, bones, pumice, charcoal, herbs and oil to clean teeth.

In the 1870s, Colgate made a smooth toothpaste (likely with sodium lauryl sulphate) that came in small glass jars. By the 1890s, they switched to tubes.


Can you imagine if they stayed using those glass jars?

Today, there are lots of eco friendly toothpaste options without sodium lauryl sulphate that come in sustainable packaging. Unlearn the smooth-toothpaste-in-a-tube life and try some of these options instead.

Zero waste toothpaste and toothbrushes

For toilet paper

The toilet paper shortages in 2020 were a little baffling, weren’t they?

In ancient times, stones, seashells and animal furs were used to wipe up. Water was used to wash up too. Paper was first used in China in the 14th century. It took a century later for the west to adopt toilet paper.

Today, you’ll find toilet paper wrapped in plastic and more plastic. The wood pulp used to make the toilet paper may also be unsustainable.

But there are good eco friendly options. You can get toilet paper made from sustainable wood sources like bamboo that come wrapped in sustainable paper.

Or you can use water to wash up and dry your bum with a reusable cloth. Bidets are also becoming really popular now (get one from Amazon so you don’t have to worry about future toilet paper shortages).

For soap

Soap and soap making date back to ancient Babylonians and Egyptians. They used fats, oils, ashes and salts to make soap.

That isn’t very different today. For the most part, soap often comes plastic wrapped. The chemicals used to make soap are also concerning and less environmentally friendly than they could be.

So, try using soap made from sustainable ingredients like coconut and other vegetable oils. Also, many soaps come in sustainable, eco friendly packaging.

For liquid soap, you can make your own with soap nuts! Unlearn the bottled liquid soap, and learn how to make your own!

zero waste shampoo and conditioner bars

For food

This is a huge topic. We’ve gone from small kitchen gardens to mega farms and from organic fertilizers and pesticides to harmful commercial ones. We’ve also gone from paper, glass, metal and cloth packaging to mostly plastic. Then, there is the one-stop grocery store.

So, how do we unlearn all of these?

Here are a couple eco friendly tips to reducing kitchen and food waste:

  • grow your own herbs and food if you can
  • buy from local organic farmers and artisans
  • visit zero waste bulk stores to shop package-free
  • take your own reusable bags to the store
  • choose sustainable, biodegradable and recyclable packaging where possible
  • preserve food to reduce food waste like freezing, canning, and more.

There are so many more ways to be eco friendly in the food sector. Here are a couple of my articles on this:

reduce food waste featured

For clean up

Magic erasers, plastic microfiber sheets, paper towels that pick up all the spills in one pass… I’m sure you can hear the ads now!

We’ve gone from sustainable brooms, brushes, and cloths to plastic. And let’s not forget every type of cleaner comes in plastic bottles too.

How do we unlearn this? It’s a tough one for sure. I struggle with this one. But, you can consider:

There are so many more eco friendly ways to clean up. But I’ll stop here.

washing dishes

For beauty and fashion

Beauty campaigns dominate airways and social media. Fast fashion is another major income earner for marketers.

Creams, serums, washes, masks and makeup are all pushed on us but they contain endocrine disrupting chemicals, plastic microbeads and most come in wasteful plastic packaging.

As for fast fashion, we don’t need to throw out our entire closet every few months. The textile industry is a heavy polluter; plus there are the poor working conditions for workers, use of child labor, exposure to harmful chemicals and more.

It’s time to unlearn the marketing of all that!

Try instead to:

The eco friendly possibilities are endless here… We just need to unlearn the multi-billion dollar marketing strategies that have bombarded us by preying on our insecurities and selling us an unattainable definition of beauty.

You are beautiful as you are! And eco friendly living and respecting the planet are beautiful too.

So, as you move towards a zero waste, eco friendly lifestyle, start by unlearning!

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embrace unlearning to be eco friendly

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