Reducing waste, especially plastic has been on my mind (and a lot of others) lately. In an effort to save the planet, more and more stores are eliminating one-time use plastic bags and many restaurants are no longer offering plastic straws across the country. And these are just a few of the changes that are in affect. I’ve been bombarded with news reports and Instagram posts on the importance of reducing waste especially plastic. There are so many one-time use items that we simply use once and toss without a single thought. And so, I really started to understand just how important reducing waste is. But it can be overwhelming. I am trying to take small steps and slowly find my way through navigating this new territory. If you’re interested in helping reduce waste and saving our planet, here are some simple ways to get started.
1. Bamboo toothbrushes.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t even pay attention to my toothbrush much. I didn’t even realize what it was made out of. On average, it’s suggested that we change our toothbrushes every three months and that can add up to a lot of toothbrushes over the years. I’ve seen bamboo toothbrushes popping up on my Instagram feed and at my local stores. It’s a great alternative to traditional toothbrushes that are made out of plastic and are often not able to be recycled.
2. Reusable shopping bags.
This is a no brainer. Shopping bags cannot be recycled and so many of them sit in landfills or end up in our oceans. Find reusable bags that work for your lifestyle. Keep some in your car, a small one in your purse or bag, and one at work. If you have trouble remembering to carry them with you on your way out, put them by your door or on your door knob.
Like I mentioned, plastic straws are being banned in many places. Invest in reusable straws. There are silicon and stainless steal straws as well as many other options. Some restaurants don’t have straws at all and some have switched over to paper straws and let me tell you, it’s not the same.
4. Package-free products.
I know, you probably have a skincare routine that took you years to figure out. By now, you’ve probably discovered all sorts of products that have become your favorites. So a package free skincare routine may seem impossible but I encourage you to take a look at alternatives that are package free. You can start with products you’re not so crazy about or products that just aren’t cutting it. For example, there are a lot of shampoo bars or deodorant sticks that are available without plastic packaging. There are also facial bars, lotion bars, and so many other great products that you may find comparable to products you love or better than the ones you’re using right now.
5. Reusable sandwich/storage bags.
This was probably the easiest switch for me. I don’t really have to remember this one on the way out of the house. Actually it’s kind of nice never running out of sandwich bags anymore. Of course there is one downside—more dishes. However, if you choose the right bags or pouches for your lifestyle, it’s definitely an easy switch. I prefer the ones that can open completely so that it’s easier to clean properly. For me, the ones that look like traditional sandwich bags were more difficult to clean and to dry. Try one or two so you can figure out which brands or types work for you before making the switch. But trust me, this is definitely doable and will save you money over time.
Most people don’t know this but those puffy loofahs are made out of plastic. And the jury is still out if they’re even sanitary. Using wash cloths made of eco-friendly materials is a way better option, easier to clean, and you’ll get more use out of it.
7. Cleaning tools.
Just like our toothbrushes, other cleaning brushes are also made of plastic. For example: dish brushes, toilet brushes. I’ve seen wooden alternatives at Target and on social media recently and they’re becoming more accessible.
There are so many ways to reduce waste (like reusable water bottles, which didn’t make the list but I hope you all have switched this out already) but these are just a few small ways to start. How have you reduced waste? What creative alternatives to plastic have you discovered? Let us know!