Caitlin Russo, the Eco Cajun, joins Jan Swift on Discover Lafayette. Born and raised in Lafayette, Louisiana, Caitlyn writes the blog Eco Cajun and is a contributing writer for the Times of Acadiana.
Caitlin’s passion for environmentalism began at a young age. She credits her parents for the example they set and asked her to follow, such as using cloth bags at the grocery store and helping with the recycling of their paper, plastic, and cans.
She enjoys helping people discover ways to live more sustainably and spotlighting environmental leaders. Her blog at https://www.ecocajun.com/ covers tips on everything from beauty tips, travel, wellness, style, homemade organic foods, and how to recycle properly. Zero waste is her goal and she lives the message she preaches. While saving money is always a good thing, her motivation to conserve is rooted in her desire to leave the world a better place than it is now for her daughter and future generations.
As she eats out with her family…especially during the COVID pandemic, she works to leave less of a footprint even as she supports our local vendors. “Please don’t bag the food, please don’t include plastic utensils, please no styrofoam,” she implores as the vendors serve the to-go food.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle are the environmentalist’s goal and they’re listed in that order for a reason. It’s best to reduce the use of packaging, to reuse materials when possible, and as a last resort recycle properly according to government guidelines.
A big fan of consignment shopping, Caitlin selects secondhand clothing for herself and her daughter whenever possible. Local go-to shops include The Clothing Loft for women and children’s clothing and Sugarwolf Outdoor Exchange for outdoor sporting gear and accessories. Sans Paquet is in the same building as Sugarwolf and Hub City Cycles at 501 Jefferson Street in downtown Lafayette which sells goods you can buy pieces….no packaging. Rent the Runway is a good option for renting designer evening wear for special occasions as you save money by not purchasing a full price item you may never wear again.
Other local vendors who successfully encourage reusing goods are Something Borrowed Blooms and Pack and Paddle. For bridal events, Something Borrowed Blooms will rent beautiful high-end silk floral arrangements which are shipped around the U. S. and Canada. Pack and Paddle hosts annual garage sales which allow people to buy and sell used outdoor gear at great prices. Both Lauren Bercier of Something Borrowed Blooms and John and Becky Williams of Pack and Paddle have been guests on Discover Lafayette and their interviews offer delightful takes on their businesses.
Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep guide is a go-to health site for Caitlin as it indexes thousands of skincare, makeup, and fragrance products on toxicity ranking. The guide has a mobile app you can use while shopping to scan products and determine toxicity before you make a purchase.
Caitlin Russo encourages people to start small and not try to transition overnight to a totally eco-friendly lifestyle. It can be difficult to learn tricks of the trade overnight, but it’s a fun journey to be enjoyed by all. “Pick something small and just start with that,” Caitlin advises.
We thank Caitlin Russo for serving as an example of a life lived well, and sustainability, and sharing her message with Discover Lafayette!