This year, there’s been a global movement toward zero-waste! But we all don’t need to be completely zero-waste to make a difference.
Here are three habits you can switch TODAY that will have a huge impact tomorrow on your plastic use.
1. Swap out your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash
Take a look in your shower — is it full of plastic bottles? We don’t often think of our beauty routine as a place to make changes to our plastic consumption, but there are many, many ways to make change here.
Make the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars. Lush has an entire line of package-free shampoo bars and solid conditioners you can use over and over again without the guilt of a giant shampoo bottle that may or may not get recycled (even it you put it in your recycling bin).
Need another reason to buy from Lush? Their products are against animal testing, vegetarian, and handmade!
A quick search on Amazon also pulls up dozens of other plastic-free options (with minimal packaging) if you want to go that route and try out a couple kinds to see what’s right for your hair.
As for body wash — just switch to a bar of soap. Most soap these days comes in cardboard boxes (which can be recycled) or no packaging at all.
2. PLEASE stop drinking out of disposable water bottles
Most of the trash I pick up on cleanups is disposable water bottles. Most of the trash in our oceans is plastic. This is one simple thing you can do (with a simple solution!) that cuts down on pollution.
Quoting my own blog post from 2013:
Not only is plastic made out of oil, but most people do not recycle. If they do recycle, sometimes the facilities where they recycle don’t take the recycling to the recycling plant and instead throw it in the trash, leading the bottles into landfills and into the ocean. If the plastic is not biodegradable, which most bottles are not, the carcinogens in the plastic seep into the ground, polluting the ground water. If the bottles make their way into the ocean, they make a dead spot, ruining the delicate marine ecosystems. Also, it is almost impossible to remove the plastic from these areas in the ocean.
Sadly, we still have these issues today. But seriously — buy a reusable water bottle.
3. Cut out plastic wrap and plastic snack/sandwich bags
Another source of disposable plastic in your house is plastic wrap, plastic snack bags, and plastic sandwich bags.
One solution is to just store your snacks in Tupperware (hey, at least you’re using it over and over again, no matter what it is made of!), but if you can’t do that, I’d suggest switching over to a more reusable option.
If you have to use plastic wrap, switch to Beeswrap or another beeswax-based food cover. You can also use it to store veggies, sandwiches, and other food items in your fridge. Just wash it with cool water and you can use it over and over again.
For plastic storage bags, Stasher really is the best bag you can buy (believe me, I’ve tried several brands. They may be expensive to stock up on at first, but you can freeze them, cook in them, wash them in the dishwasher — and they’re completely leak proof once sealed. Once you buy a set, you will never have to go back to disposables.
For dry food, I love Nordic by Nature bags (the prints are very interesting), but a quick search on Amazon reveals tons more of these to choose from if these aren’t your style)
Making a new habit takes some time, but once you switch, you’ll be wondering why you didn’t do it in the first place! And as Stasher says — it’s time to rethink plastic.