Sustainable Single Use Swaps
Hi friends! Have you seen National Geographic's new Planet or Plastic campaign? It's truly amazing and definitely worth your time looking at. National Geographic is encouraging everyone to cut back on single-use plastics which is so important! If we all take this seriously, it will really change the world and how much plastic we produce and throw away. I've talked about plastic quite a bit in my previous blog post such as Ways to Reduce Plastic Usage as well as 5 Things You Can Do To Live More Sustainably.
Plastic is one of the biggest things when it comes to waste and pollution. Plastic is toxic to the environment and our health. These are a few things that you can swap out plastic for.
Instead of to-go coffee cup, use reusable coffee cup.
Although it seems like coffee cups would be recyclable or compostable because they are made of paper, it's the plastic coating inside that makes them trash. Not to mention the toxins that get released into your steaming hot coffee from that plastic lining. Gross. Protect your health and the environment by bringing your own Reusable Coffee Cup or drinking your coffee in the shop. Many coffee shops even give a discount for bringing your own cup!
Instead of plastic water bottles, use reusable glass bottles
Invest in quality drinking water and fill up your own glass jars or glass water bottles from your filter at home. I only ever drink Berkey Water because it's the purest out there. No hormone disruptors or pharmaceuticals in my water, thank you! (To learn more on the truth about your drinking water, check out this post.) If I need to take water somewhere, I will fill up a Glass Water Bottle or a Mason Jar and take it with me :) Even to restaurants!
Instead of plastic ziplock bags, use reusable snack bags
Ziplock bags go right into the trash after they've been used once and not to mention are quite costly to purchase. Using reusable snack bags is a great way to create less waste. Yeah it might be a pain at first to have to drag everything back home to wash instead of throwing it away, but when we throw plastic "away" it never really goes away. It's worth going the extra mile for. I love Lunchskins as well as Organic Cotton Bags.
Instead of plastic cling wrap, use Beeswrap
Plastic wrap is a pain in the butt and doesn't even stick to things half the time, so why bother? If you need a simple bowl cover, invest in some Beeswrap which is reusable and can go in your compost after it's worn out. Better yet, grab some beeswax (from a treatment free local beekeeper of course) and cloth and make your own. Cotton Bowl Covers are a great alternative as well.
Instead of plastic grocery bags, use reusable canvas bags
Many cities are voting to put in place taxes on plastic bags, encouraging people to bring their own reusable bags to the grocery store. Did you know that plastic bags aren't even technically vegan? They are covered in animal fat and lard to help cashiers pull each bag apart. According to National Geographic, a trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year. That is scary. And sad. Bring your own reusable bags on your shopping trips instead of adding to that massive number. My favorites are
Instead of plastic produce bags, use reusable produce bags
Those single use plastic bags that you're supposed to put your produce in are the worst! I prefer not having plastic particles all over my fresh organic produce. My favorite alternative are Mesh Produce Bags.
They work great and keep my produce SO fresh once it goes into the fridge. Between uses all I do is hand wash them and hang to dry :)
Instead of plastic eating utensils, use bamboo wear
This is something I am trying to get into the habit of! I have a Bamboo Utensil Kit that I use at home but I need to get one to keep in my purse for when I'm out and about or at a gathering where there is only plastic wear. I love using wooden spoons and forks because it makes me feel like I'm living my best life in Hawaii or something. Lol
Instead of k-cups, ditch the coffee machine
It's time to say goodbye to your coffee machines and keurigs. I hate to be the one to break the news, but you're drinking gross coffee! Coffee makers and Keurigs never truly get clean, even if you remember to press the self cleaning button once and a while. They are plastic machines filled with all kinds of plastic tubes, filters, etc, leaching toxic chemicals into your coffee each time burning hot water runs through them. It's time to part ways with toxic coffee and switch to an all natural pour over or french press method. Seriously, this is the good stuff. I've been using the pour over method and nothing else for the past 4 years now. It may take you just a minute longer than waiting for your Keurig to brew your coffee, and it's a beautiful way to work with your hands while valuing craft over convenience. Those little plastic K cups are unnecessary waste and only contribute to pollution and health problems. All you need for your healthy coffee is a pour over mechanism. I like Chemex and this Pour Over Topper or a Glass French Press.
Instead of one time use coffee filters, use a reusable (plastic free) filter
While we're still on the topic of coffee, unless you compost your unbleached coffee filters when using the pour over method, you are most likely throwing them in the garbage. Even if you do compost your filters, it's just unnecessary paper and trees cut down. I love my CoffeeSock which is a reusable coffee filter made out of organic cotton. It makes my coffee taste so much better than paper filters ever could, and just one filter lasts an entire year or more. After it's worn out it can go right into your compost :)
Instead of carry out containers or single use dishes, bring your own
Carry out containers from restaurants are usually plastic or styrofoam, two things you never want hot food to touch. Dine in if they have real dishes, or see if you can get your food in your own container to go. (Some places may say no because of "sanitary regulations", but it's worth a try. I haven't been brave enough to try this yet but I definitely want to start!) This goes for things like parties or get togethers where the only option may be plastic, paper, or styrofoam plates. Bring your own Glass Containers or Metal Containers that you can keep your food in, or ask if your host has a real plate you can use!
Instead of plastic straws, use reusable straws
Have you seen that video that went viral on facebook of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in his nose? (If not, watch here) Unfortunately, that isn't a rare occurrence these days. Marine life are swimming in probably more plastic and pollution than water these days. Take the pledge to stop using plastic straws. At home use Bamboo Straws, Glass Straws, or Stainless Steel Straws and tell the waiter "no straw please" at restaurants.
In the long run, this kind of lifestyle will save the environment, your health, and it will save you you money. You only have to buy these reusable items one time, whereas you normally would have to continue buying packs of ziplock bags, plastic straws, plastic water bottles, etc.
Most of all, remember to give yourself grace. Sometimes we forget to bring reusable things that we may need especially if we aren't in the habit of it yet. Sometimes we receive packages in the mail with plastic packaging. Sometimes we are just really craving those potato chips that come packaged in a plastic/aluminum bag. (Seriously, what are those things made out of?!) I'm really great at remembering bags for grocery stores but if I go to any other stores like the craft store or thrift store for example, I often forget to bring reusable bags. It's a learning process but eventually it will become second nature as long as we stick to it.
What are some of your eco-friendly products/brands that have helped you reduce your plastic use?
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