This Sustainability Activist Has a Zero-Waste Morning Routine

What's the first thing you do when you get out of bed in the morning? A well-rounded morning routine sets the tone for the day and gets you prepped—both mentally and physically—before diving into a packed schedule filled with emails, chores, happy hours, workouts, and more. Our series Morning Person profiles those who have mastered the art of the morning routine. Tune in every Monday morning here and on our Instagram to learn exactly how the pros get it all done before the sun comes up, from their go-to breakfasts to their a.m. workouts.

Ashlee Piper

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

We're always trying to find ways to do our part in caring for the environment by living more sustainably and reducing our carbon footprint. So when sustainability activist and author of Give a Sh*t: Do Good. Live Better. Save the Planet Ashlee Piper told us that she has a zero-waste morning routine, we were so intrigued and excited to see what she does. You might find some eco-friendly tips here that you can incorporate into your own mornings—it's more than encouraged to steal 'em! Below, see how she starts her day.

My morning routine starts with waking up and saying an enthusiastic hello to my dog, Banjo. Something that makes her embarrassed or over me like, "Good morning, Miss Peachy!" Then I goad her to go outside before I start my personal routine.

7 a.m.

Ashlee Piper Bed

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

I try to let my bed "breathe" for about 20 minutes (I read somewhere that this was good since you've been burritoed in it all night) while I do my personal care, and then I make it. I love my bed. The storage headboard is handmade by a friend from reclaimed wood, and the sheets are linen and oh so cozy.

7:30 a.m.

I use a bamboo toothbrush and eco-friendly tooth tabs to brush my pearlies and splash some water on my face. I also apply a little tinted SPF so I'm protected when I take the dog for a walk.

8 a.m.

I take my sweet friend, Banjo, for a walk around the neighborhood. These days, while trying to stay as far from folks as possible (which can be an American Ninja Warrior–level challenge in Chicago), I also leave my phone at home so I can stay present in appreciating the outdoors and my pup.

8:30 a.m.

Avocado Toast

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

I make coffee most mornings. My coffee is from a friend's company, and it's all the good things: fair-trade, bird-friendly, compostable packaging, and they give back to animal rescue organizations. I grind the whole beans in my Vitamix, and for a fun touch, I grind in a cinnamon stick, some cardamom pods, and a vanilla bean. Then, I boil some water in my secondhand Swedish enamel kettle and make coffee waste-free in my French press. I then pour it into my favorite handmade Helen Levi mug, and I'm set. I also am working with food I have on hand so I don't go to the store and put others or myself at risk. Today's breakfast wasn't the prettiest, but it was what I had—and it was delish! Avocado, basil (from my windowsill), and spinach smashed with spices and nutritional yeast, spread on some rice cakes and topped with some random black sesame seeds I found when cleaning out my cabinets. (Quarantine organization is so dope!)

9 a.m.

Ashlee Piper Desk

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

In addition to being an author and sustainability expert, I also work a full-time job. I feel really fortunate to be able to work from home these days, and my work is in communications and marketing at a large healthcare company, so what I do is directly (positively) educating and impacting peeps about COVID-19. Keeping busy and feeling useful during this time has been really helpful in staying balanced and optimistic when the world is sad and scary. You'll also see my little early lunch made from produce that was on its way out. Stir-fried up and tasty! My "office" is my kitchen table. I like to keep it clean and serene so I can focus on my to-dos.

12 p.m.

Workout Gear

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

In the morning, I try to put on workout clothes first thing after I wake up so I have zero excuses when it comes time to get my sweat on. I really love Organic Basics and Girlfriend Collective for workout gear. (I buy all of it secondhand, and it's still perfect.) I've been loving Xtend Barre on OpenFit. I'm a few weeks in and already feel so much stronger and leaner.

1 p.m.

Photo:

Courtesy of Ashlee Piper

Showering is something that's oddly hard to do during quarantine but also so, so helpful for establishing a routine and setting you up for a good day. I keep mine eco-friendly with Plaine refillable products, Lush shampoo bars, a safety razor, and a shower plant. (I've had this one for ages, and I love how it adds some freshness to the day.)

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