Waste (trash, plastic, litter, etc.) is a huge problem for humans and our planet. Not only is it ugly, it’s harmful to the planet and all the life it supports. Each and every one of us, yes that includes you and me, is a part of the problem. We can all do better. We can all reduce our impact on the planet. I’m not going to write a whole big to-do on how bad people are and how we are destroying everything – that’s not productive. Instead, I’d like to share some examples on how to make big little changes in your life that will help you reduce YOUR impact on waste. My advice to you is not brilliant rocket science, it’s as simple as reduce, reuse, recycle. I challenge you to reduce your waste by choosing reusable products over single-use.
Say bye-bye to single-use items and hello to REUSABLE items.
Single-use items are super convenient; they’re there when you need them and you can toss them when you’re finished with them. Some common single-use items include plastic water bottles, plastic grocery bags, ziplock bags, paper plates, make-up wipes, tin-foil, saran wrap, grease spray bottles for baking (such as PAM), coffee cups, straws, paper towels, and cleaning wipes. The list goes on, but you get the point. Now, how many of these items are items that you use? How often do you use them?
What if I told you that there is a reusable alternative to every single item I mentioned above? Would you use them? Imagine how lighter your trash bin would be each week if swapped out these single-use items for reusable items. Image how much fatter your wallet would be, given that you don’t have to keep buying the same products over and over again.
Making changes in your daily routine is hard. Take a look at the list below and see which items are manageable for you currently. Try to implement them into your lifestyle, and once those changes become a normal part of life add some more reusable items to the mix.
1. Plastic water bottles for reusable bottles.
Single-use water bottles are incredibly popular (and wasteful). Reusable water bottles are a great alternative. Here is my favorite water bottle: The Hydro Flask.
I’ve carried a Hydro Flask with me since college and I have never stopped loving it. This bottle keeps your water ice-cold for hours and hours. Seriously. My Hydro Flask has kept ice-cubes solid for over 24 hours. The great thing about this brand is that they offer so many sizes, colors, and lids. I’ve always carried the 32oz with the sippy cup lid (pictured above), but the options are pretty endless.
2. Swap disposable coffee cups for reusable thermoses.
Disposable coffee cups fall into the same realm as plastic water bottles. We use and toss a lot of them. I have two favorite brands for hot drinks: Hydro Flask and Yetti. Both of these brands keep your drink HOT for quite a while. I can’t say the same for most other brands.
3. Swap plastic straws for stainless steel (or bamboo) straws.
You’ve probably already seen the video online of the sea turtle with a straw in it’s nasal cavity. That probably sucked for the turtle. Use a reusable straw instead and save a few more turtles. The package pictured below comes with a carrying bag, multiple straws of various shapes and sizes, and two cleaning sticks.
4. Swap your Keurig, Nespresso, or coffee filters for a french press.
Coffee is essential to most adults. It’s delicious and it gives us the boost we need to get through the day. But, it also causes us to waste a lot. You know, like straws, and cups, and coffee filters, and Keurig/Nespresso pods. I’ve shown you reusable alternatives to the straw and cup issue, so now here’s an alternative to the pod issue: the french press. French pressed coffee does not require any filters or pods. All you need is coffee grounds and hot water, the simple machine does the rest. The best part is: french pressed coffee is rumored to taste better than your average cup of joe, you look super fancy, and they’re dirt cheap.
5. Swap Ziplock bags for silicone bags.
Plastic baggies are endlessly handy. They’re great for boxed lunches, sandwiches, snacks, etc. Think about how often you use them and then throw them away. There are now great alternatives to single-use ziplocks. Silicon bags do the same job and are REUSABLE. The bags listed below are called Stasher bags, and come in a variety of sizes and colors. Click the image to browse your options on Amazon.
6. Swap tin-foil or parchment paper for silicon sheets.
The beauty of baking on a pan lined with tin-foil or parchment paper is that clean up is a breeze! Just crumple up the lining after baking and toss it in the trash. Easy! No scrubbing the pan for 20 minutes for you. Silicon baking sheets also offer easy clean up, but hold the waste. Simply wash them off after baking and let them dry. Your cookies, chicken, etc. won’t stick!
7. Swap saran wrap for Bee’s Wrap.
Saran wrap is convenient, but it’s also clingy, annoying, and wasteful. Bee’s Wrap is a naturally sticky alternative that can be reused again and again, and save you some frustration along the way.
8. Swap PAM for MISTO
Spray cans of cooking or baking grease are great if you’re making a cake or trying to control how much oil you use. But have you ever thought about how many of these cans you have used? Each time the can runs out of grease, you have to toss it and buy a new one. MISTO is a reusable spray can for cooking oils. Each time you run out of oil, all you have to do is pour more in. I like to buy large jugs of oil to keep in the pantry so that I always have plenty of oil on hand. It saves plastic, and my time.
Paper towels and napkins are a staple in many house holds, but they’re also trash. There are so many reusable options now online, especially on Etsy. The option I am sharing here is for heavy duty, reusable bamboo towels. These bad boys are machine washable, and one roll will last you 6 months!
10. Swap disposable cleaning wipes for reusable.
My friends at Shady Creek Farms make awesome reusable washcloths and swiffer pads! All you have to do is wash them when they become soiled. The swiffer pads just slip right on, and they are so durable. You can order them in what ever color you’d like, too. Check out their Etsy shop and use the code WHOLEHEART20 to get a 20% discount!
11. Swap shampoo and conditioner bottles for bars.
Shampoo and conditioner bars are becoming more and more popular, and I’m loving it. We go through a lot of shampoo and conditioner bottles year after year, and I’m so excited to now be able to ditch the plastic bottles and remain hygienic. You can shop bars online, or head on over to your local Lush Cosmetics store. Each bar lasts about 6 months, and if you purchase them from a store such as Lush, you can reuse the metal storage tin.
12. Swap bottles of body wash for soap bars.
In addition to reusable cleaning pads, my friends at Shady Creek Farms also make great bars of soap and soap savers! Bars of soap are the plastic-free alternative to bottled body wash. Their Cambiran Blue Soap bar is my favorite, and the knit soap savers double as a loofa. 🙂 Check out their Etsy shop to search a variety of soap options and use the code WHOLEHEART20 to get a 20% discount!
13. Swap disposable make-up wipes for knit facial rounds.
Shady Creek Farms knits facial rounds that are great for removing make-up from your face, and instead of throwing them away when you’re finished, all you have to do is toss them in the wash! Check out their Etsy shop and use the code WHOLEHEART20 to get a 20% discount!
This short list offers just a few of many ways we can reduce waste in our lives. What other ways do you reduce waste at home? Let me know if the comments below!
**I am an Amazon affiliate. This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you purchase something from one of the links above, I will receive a small percentage, at no additional cost to you. I will only ever recommend products that I use myself and totally approve of. Thank you! ❤