October 9, 2020
Our biggest tip: reuse, reuse, reuse! By investing in quality reusable products, you’ll protect the environment and save yourself and your family money. Popular substitutes for single-use plastic products are easily accessible, but try not to engage in them sporadically. For the biggest payoff, regularly integrate these tips into your more sustainable—and no doubt, more aesthetically appealing—routine.
Reusable shopping bags have become practically ubiquitous, and in some states, you’ll save yourself money every time you make a trip by bringing your own bag and avoiding plastic bag fees. If you struggle to remember to bring your reusable bags to the store with you, establish a routine of replacing them—either in your car or your favorite backpack, if you take public transportation— as soon as you put away your groceries. Best of all, these reusable bags are often sold at the grocery stores where you’d be employing them; if you don’t like the grocery store selections, you can easily find your own online.
Did you know that, if not recycled, the average plastic water bottle takes 450 years to decompose if littered? Luckily, many retailers produce reusable water bottles, and bottle filling stations are becoming increasingly common in public spaces. On your quest to stay hydrated remember that glass and aluminum bottles are more eco-friendly than “good” plastics that may still leech. To further protect the planet, consider utilizing reusable straws. Contrary to common conception, plastic straws cannot be recycled and thus contribute to the plastic flowing into the ocean every year. In response, the movement to do away with plastic straws has picked up significant steam in recent years, Some states are even moving to ban retailers and restaurants from providing plastic straws. If you need to use a straw, metal and reusable plastic straws are both great options. Much like reusable water bottles, reusable straws come in fun colors and are easily washable. Save the planet in style? Yes, please.
If you make your own coffee, at home or in the office, commit to cutting out your disposable K-cups and single-use coffee filters, and introduce reusable filters into your routine instead. When dining out, many baristas are more than happy to make your daily latte with the reusable mug or thermos you bring in. This easy swap is a highly effective way to reduce your plastic consumption, especially if you can’t start the morning without caffeine.
Sandwich bags and cling wrap
All it takes is a few simple steps to make your lunch sustainable. Swap out single-use plastic sandwich bags for reusable containers that come in plastic, glass, and stainless steel. You can also eliminate cling wrap by switching to beeswax wrap, which is washable and wraps up food just as well.
This tip applies to both bathing and dishwashing! Instead of buying body washes and dish soaps that come in disposable plastic containers, make the switch to bar soap, which is often packaged in recyclable paper.