Mother Essentials: Sarah Paiji Yoo of Blueland
Written by Katie Hintz-Zambrano
If you need a dose of inspiration to mark Plastic Free July, look no further than low-waste mama Sarah Paiji Yoo. As the CEO and co-founder of Blueland—a certified B-Corp reimagining everyday products to eliminate single-use plastic packaging—Sarah is passionate about nixing waste from her every day life. And she ups the ante during the month of July, when her family of 4 confines their plastic waste to ONE mason jar.
The New York-based mom of two (Noah, 5, and Colin, 19 months) was first inspired to create Blueland after transitioning to formula-feeding her oldest son and becoming horrified to learn how many microplastics are in both tap and bottled water. Then and there, she not only decided to reduce her personal plastic consumption, but also create Blueland. The company now offers dozens of tablet and powder-form cleaners—for dishwashing, laundry, the bathroom, and so forth—to be mixed with household tap water, which in turn saves consumers money and space, while also helping the planet.
Below, the Earth-loving mama shares a dozen favorite practices and products she incorporates into her ultra low-waste lifestyle.
Morning Jog. “My favorite new ritual. After dropping off my son at school, I go for a light jog in the park right by our apartment. It’s the most beautiful, shaded stretch along the Hudson River, and my daily dose of nature in NYC.”
Food52 Soft Cloth Napkins. “Our go-to for all meals. These not only reduce waste, but they are so much more chic and enjoyable to use. We rarely use paper towels and don’t even own paper napkins.” Five Two Everyday Soft Cotton Cloth Napkins (Set of 6), $30-$45, Food52.
Blueland Body Wash. “While we just launched it last month, I’ve been using a version of our body wash for the past 3 years, since that’s how long we’ve been formulating it across over 50 different prototypes and iterations. It comes as a powder, and you just add water to make a full body wash gel that gives you the creamiest lather.” Body Wash Starter Set, $16, Blueland.
Aromatica Rosemary Shampoo Bar. “I’ve tried a lot of shampoo bars over the years, and this one is so invigorating to use with its zesty herbal notes, and is able to both get my scalp really clean but also leave my hair shiny with volume.” Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo Bar, $23.90, YesStyle.
The Ordinary Virgin Marula Oil. “Super moisturizing and rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids. I use this morning and night, for my entire face, neck, and undereye. Super simple yet effective.” 100% Cold Pressed Virgin Marula Oil, $9.90, Ulta.
Cold Brew with Oat Milk. “All year round, my strong preference is for iced coffee. It’s such a refreshing way to start the day, even if it’s freezing outside. Usually in my white Byta coffee mug and GIR silicone straw to help keep coffee teeth stains at bay.” Byta 16 oz. Coffee Mug, $29, Byta. GIR Straw 10-Pack, $10.95, Amazon.
Lomi Composter. “A super convenient and odor-free countertop composter. Not only does this compost most all of our food waste, it also just makes us so much more mindful about food waste, because we collect it separately and thus it makes it even more top of mind to buy and prepare just what we’ll eat.” Lomi Electric Kitchen Composter, $499.95, Amazon.
Stasher Bags. “With these I’ve been able to give up single-use ziplock bags forever. Whether for leftovers, freezing fruits for smoothies, packing my son’s snacks, packing toiletries for travel—they do it all.” Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Bag, $9, Amazon.
Blueland Clean Suite. “Everything you need for a clean, single-use plastic free home. Plus they’re incredible effective and come in fun, pretty bottles.” Clean Suite Kit, $83, Blueland.
Lunya Silk Eyemask. “I was gifted this when I gave birth to my second son, Colin, and have used it everyday since.” Washable Silk Sleep Mask, $48, Lunya.
Kleen Kanteen Stainless Steel Cups. “I don’t love that plastic sippy cups may break down and leach over time. These steel cups won’t shatter like glass and are perfect for the kids to use everyday. We pair them with Boon lids and GIR silicone straws.” Klean Kanteen 10oz Steel Cup (4-Pack), $32.99, Target. Boon SNUG Straw 7-Piece Silicone Straws, Lids, & Cup Set, $13.49, Bed, Bath, & Beyond. GIR Straw 10-Pack, $10.95, Amazon.
Book Light. “I use this every night before bed. I like to read, even if just for 5 minutes, before going to sleep. I love not having to get back up to turn off the lights.” Really Tiny Book Light, $9.95, Amazon.
For more Mother Essentials, peep our recent features on Heirloom’s Sri Bodanapu, Lady Falcon Coffee Club founder Buffy Maguire, the mama-duo behind Spring & Mulberry chocolate, Dear Bella Creamery co-founder Alice Cherng, designer Becky Hui Chan, author Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, ByHeart co-founder Mia Funt, Backdrop founder Natalie Ebel, Oui The People founder & CEO Karen Young, author-illustrator Grace Lin, the co-founders of ODDOBODY, Happy Family Organics’ CEO Anne Laraway, YA author J.Elle, kid-lit authors Karen Chan and Suzanne Greenlaw, the founders of EADEM, Minimalista author Shira Gill, and Domino’s Chief Content Officer Kate Berry.
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