We’re starting to see some of the more serious ramifications of excessive plastic use on the environment. It’s not possible to eliminate all plastic from our lives but there are many ways that we can reduce the amount we bring into our homes, consume and ultimately that we are put into landfills. I’m going to share with you 7 ways that you can reduce plastic use in your home.
Plastic bags are a big culprit in contributing to our plastic usage. There are so many alternatives. If you’re only buying one or two items, just ask for no bag and carry the items out yourself. Other options include bringing bags along when you go shopping, such as a canvas bag. Even when you go to a mall, you can bring a canvas bag with you and put your purchases into that one bag or multiple bags depending on how much you’re planning on buying that day. And when grocery shopping, there’s this great thing called a BagPodz Reusable Bag and Storage System. It’s six reusable bags in a little pod system. It is so convenient. There are plenty of options for you to say no to plastic and yes to a more environmentally responsible option.
Microbeads were an interesting addition to health and beauty products. The unfortunate part is they end up in the stomachs and digestive tracts of lots of small animals, both on land and in the sea. In Canada, a microbead ban just went into effect and many countries will likely follow suit. However, if you like the exfoliating property that microbeads offer, there are plenty of alternatives out there. Many companies will grind up beans or shells or pumice and use that in place of microbeads. You still get that great exfoliation but you’re not putting anything unnatural back into the waterways or into the environment. And one of the things I love to use for exfoliating, along with its many other great uses, is baking soda.
Plastic straws are an easy one that you can just say no. And the funny thing about plastic straws is they often come wrapped in plastic, so it’s a double whammy. Your most obvious option is to just sip the beverage right from the cup. If you really do need a straw, maybe for a smoothie or some sort of blended juice, try a reusable straw. There are plenty of stainless steel or glass straws on the market. It’s very simple to clean them with just a little straw brush, many sets even come with one or two. You can even get a straw that folds up in its own case that you can carry with you in your bag, purse or lunch bag. All of these alternatives are great and work as well, or even better than a plastic straw.
10 Things to Toss Today! (Kitchen Edition)!
DIY Cleaning Products
If you’re a frequent visitor to Clean My Space, you know that I’m a huge advocate for making your own cleaning products. Not only because it’s less expensive, easy and effective but also because store-bought cleaning products tend to concentrate, containing up to 90 percent water. So, you’re essentially paying for water and the plastic bottle! You might as well just reuse one bottle and make several cleaning products. And then, when the spray bottle fails you, at that point, you can get a new spray bottle.
Choosing disposable razor blades instead of a full disposable razor is another way that you can make a better choice when it comes to your plastic consumption. I had the same razor blade handle for about 15 years and it worked just fine. Eventually, it got to the point where it looked and felt disgusting and it was time for me to upgrade. With the handles, all that needs to be done is replace the blade once it gets dull. Think of all the plastic I would have thrown away the last 15 years if I just kept tossing the whole razor every time it needed to be changed! The other thing to keep in mind is that when you use a reusable blade handle, you tend to get better quality blades. Those disposable razors, they don’t work as well and they don’t last as long.
We all enjoy fast food now and again. You may have noticed that some of your favorite fast food joints and food courts are making more environmentally conscious and responsible choices. For example, they will serve all of their stuff on plastic reusable, re-washable plates and give you metal silverware. But some places are still doing the disposable thing and that’s fine. When choosing where to eat, keep in mind there are some places that are more responsible than others. For example, Chipotle, they will serve you a bowl or a salad in a biodegradable base and an aluminum top. That is much easier on the environment than say a plastic or styrofoam container.
There are so many options when it comes to reusable water bottles. They come in so many sizes, materials, and styles. I never leave home without my S’well bottle. It may be a little worse for wear after all this time but I don’t care. It does the trick. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said no to a plastic water bottle when I’ve just as easily and for free, been able to fill up my bottle. The same goes for a coffee shop or with soft drinks; you can fill your bottle with the beverage of your choice and some places will even give you a discount for using your own.
This is really a topic that’s near and dear to my heart. Everyone at CMS HQ takes this issue of the environment very seriously. Over the past few years, the more we’ve learned while researching, the more we understand how important it is to be careful and conscious of the world and the space that we live in. Many changes are easy to make, so we hope you’ll give them a try.