Easy Ways to Create Less Household Waste
Reduce then Reuse — Recycling is the last option for a reason…
“Despite the fact that 75% of people recycle, 75% of plastic generated ends up in landfills and only 9% is actually recycled.” - Poly Free Planet
As compassionate divers, I know you all care exponentially about the oceans and are probably already aware of many eco-solutions. But with it now being 2020 there are tons of awesome new companies doing waste-free right! While there are great efforts being done to remove trash from the ocean, let's be proactive divers and stop the trash from getting there in the first place!
The beginning of a new year is always the time of which people tend to start new positive habits in contribution to their well-being. Well… your health is dependent on the health of our oceans and this planet. So how about this year we all start off strong by creating new habits that are focused toward contributing to the well-being of Earth.
It is a FACT that we have been killing our planet and thus it’s rebelling against us. There are smart and passionate people all over the world making massive strides to combat climate change, global consumerism and apathy… however in the end it comes down to you. Each and every person contributes to the health of our planet, every decision you make can either aid or harm in its revitalization; therefore it is your environmental responsibility to #bebetter!
Ripples can turn to waves.
Ideas to movements.
Small actions to worldwide efforts.
No tiny attribution toward making a difference goes unnoticed.
Ripples can change everything!
To help you get started, I’ve made a list of some easy ways to guide you in your journey to reduce your footprint as a consumer and thus help to keep trash out of our oceans. Start with one, see how it feels to be a contributor to ocean conservation, then add another, and another, and anotha one! ;)
REDUCE YOUR PLASTIC USE
It is common knowledge in this day and age that plastic esta no bueno! Hopefully by now you’ve got your stainless steel or other type of reusable eco-friendly water bottle and your bamboo/glass/steel straw that you carry with you everywhere. If not try to find a company that supports ocean conservation as their mission, like the amazing company 4Ocean!
That being said, while boycotting plastic straws was a start... it isn’t enough; it’s time to reduce your consumption of all plastics! I’d like to focus on giving you options for a few other items that are common in most every house-hold yet easily disregarded when thinking about reducing your plastic use.
Plastic storage bags - To me these are a no no, because honestly they are such an easy thing to cut out. Reusable containers are the easy solution, however I know many people desire less bulk for taking on the go. In that case you need to check out StasherBag! They are definitely the cool kids in the sea when it comes to reusable storage bags. They are made of silicone, are able to completely seal tight and have so many cool uses. You can simply store food [or items] but you can also freeze them, boil them, bake them, microwave them, throw them in the dishwasher, or even throw them at your friends if you see them using actual ziplock bags… For real, they’re great and come in many sizes and make life on the go easier and eco-friendly.
Plastic Wrap - Another non essential item that I’m sure we’ve all been guilty of using at some point or another for easy food storage, but as well is another easy item to say goodbye to and not miss. Sealable containers are also an easy replacement here, but if you’re looking for a more versatile option to replace the ‘wrap’ aspect, then beeswax food wraps are the way to go. Bee’s Wrap is an awesome and sustainable brand that creates their product "by infusing organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin [...] to create a washable, reusable, and compostable alternative to plastic wrap.” You can use them in the exact same way you would use your one time use plastic wrap, but these will make your fridge/pantry look cool and they’ll last!
Toiletries/Cosmetics - Okay this is normally a pretty hard one for people. Even when buying all natural products, they still tend to come in some sort of plastic container that may get overlooked due to already being so stoked about your all natural organic vegan decision. It doesn’t have to be hard though! First have you looked up basic recipes to make your own products? There are plenty of DIY answers all over google and youtube for at home concoctions. Otherwise, consider this:
Soap bars are becoming increasingly available and are a guilt free option for your shampoo, conditioner and body wash needs. There are plenty of local ethical companies now supplying all types of bars, if you’re on instagram or etsy you can definitely find a small business to support. Lush Cosmetics is always a great option as well, however some of their facial products still come in a plastic container.
When it comes to toothpaste, honestly making your own is not hard at all, and you’ll get used to the taste, just like you do anything else. Here is an easy recipe I like to use [I tweak the essential oil ‘flavor’ often as I prefer fruity, and the sweetener isn’t necessary if you’re working with limited ingredients]!
A newer eco-trend that I’m excited about is Safety Razors. It may be a slightly higher cost upfront, but will save you beacoups and create no waste. Check out this great gender neutral company with variable price points and great quality.
And now for my favorite, stop contributing to the 2 billion cotton swabs [plastic or non] that are thrown away every day solely in the US, and get down with reusable silicone swabs. They’re easy to clean, better for your ears, great for makeup and other uses, waste-free and all natural. Check out this site and read the reviews if you don’t believe me immediately.
Females, I hope you’ve let go of your insecurities and fears by now about the ever so intriguing menstrual cup and decided to give it a go. It’s not scary or weird and there really is no legitimate reason to not make the switch. “It’s estimated that, every year, over 45 billion products related to periods, including tampons, pads, and applicators, are thrown in the garbage. And tampons make up a large part of that weight. The Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on beaches around the world in a single day in 2015.” - Bustle. So with that being said, give it a try, you’ll get used to it and you’ll never want to go back to tampons again. There are plenty of purchasing options and they are all pretty much the same, so head to a local health food store [support local] and be proud about buying your cup!
LESS WASTE IN THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is one of the main sources of daily waste in most households. From grocery bags to food packaging and dish washing, there are so many items that can be converted over to the waste free world. I hope you’ve started to bring your own bag with you to the grocery store and are considering some of the applicable plastic free options listed above; here are a few other ways to reduce your footprint in the kitchen.
Food Packaging and Produce Purchasing - Hard to get around for some dried goods, but not impossible. Start taking into consideration the packaging that your food comes in, is it something that you can buy package free, like grains, nuts, sugars and spices? And as far as produce goes, never buy produce that is wrapped in plastic, it’s completely unnecessary. Also when it comes to gathering your produce avoid those single use super thin plastic bags that are supplied and get yourself some mesh produce bags! This site has great mesh bags of all sizes that could be your solution for loose grains and produce.
Dish Washing Soap Bars - Just like with your soap bars for the bathroom, companies are now making dish soap bars for the kitchen. They last much longer than the liquid soap, of which people have a tendency to over-concentrate their sponge with, and work just as well when it comes to breaking down grease. Check this company out!
Washable Scrubbies - Stop buying those dish sponges that you end up throwing away after just a couple weeks and get yourself some reusable/washable scrubbies. You can find some awesome ones simply on Etsy or Amazon, take your pic. They key is washing them in the laundry, or even dishwasher, before they get to a grimey state… and then they’re good as new!
Loose leaf tea and reusable tea bags - Most tea bags are made with plastic and therefore release billions of microplastic particles. “Tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world next to water, and can be found in almost 80% of all U.S. households. On any given day, over 159 million Americans are drinking tea. In 2018, Americans consumed over 84 billion servings of tea, or more than 3.8 billion gallons.” - Tea USA. That’s a lot of tea bags and potential microplastics that can be avoided by simply choosing to switch over to loose leaf tea and getting yourself a reusable filter. Check out this awesome option made by Good Intent. They also have reusable coffee filters as a way to help you create less waste [don’t get me started on K-cups btw], and have so many great items to help you on your low waste mission.
Jars - They should be your best friend! No need to purchase them separately, most likely there are goods in your pantry that come in jars, so start saving them all... there are so many uses for them it’s insane.
Paper Towels - Just use dishrags and washable cloths… no brainer.
There are of course a million other ways for you to contribute in the aim to reduce your consumer footprint and thus contribute to a less wasteful world, however for the sake of attention spans I’ll leave you to ponder over these for now. Remember, less is more, and every small change counts.