Reducing your waste doesn’t have to be difficult. With these 10 simple swaps you will be on your way in no time to a healthier, sustainable lifestyle!
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If you really know me then you know that I always haven’t lived a sustainable lifestyle. I used to be ALL about convenience.
Washing dishes? Forget it, paper plates are the way to go! What about bottled water? Yep, used those too. In fact, I wouldn’t touch tap water with a 10 foot pole.
Let’s not forget about plastic bags from grocery stores. Straight into the trash they went too.
My point is, the environment did not mean much to me and today it hurts my heart to say that. I don’t remember what point I decided that I needed to start doing better. I’m sure I read something about it on a blog or someone’s YouTube channel but it eventually clicked with me that I needed to make a change.
I think it started with cloth diapers. One switch led to another and eventually I found my passion for sustainable living grow. You can read about why I made the switch to cloth here.
Now, I’m going to be honest with you. I am by no means one of those who keep years worth of trash inside a mason jar. I do my best to limit waste but I am also realistic and far from perfect. Sometimes we use the occasional plastic water bottle (gasp!) and we still have one garbage bag a week but that is such a huge step from the 3-4 we used to have!
Taking it slow and switching out products one by one is the best way to do it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and go back to your old convenient ways of living but soon you will find that reducing your waste is actually super simple!
Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
I feel like this is something we have all heard. When I hear this phrase it takes me back to middle school years of being on the “Green Team.” I love this though because it really is one of the most simple and easy ways to reduce waste!
I know most areas have curbside recycling. I know my area has several at schools and near restaurants in each community. They typically have it separated by sections of tin/aluminum cans, magazines/newspapers, cardboard, and plastic bottles.
Take advantage of this! Simply use an old garbage can or a recycle bin and put your recycled items in there instead of your trash can.
Done. Simple. Easy.
Reuse anything you can before buying something new. For example, I reuse smaller glass food containers as drinking cups for my 3 year old. He thinks its so awesome to drink out of them! I wrap gifts with brown paper sacks and have also used newspaper too. Your options are endless.
Swap plastic bags for canvas bags
Plastic bags are so overused and its really no trouble at all to bring your own bags to the grocery store.
I prefer to use 100% cotton bags because they will last much longer and when they are at the end of their cycle, its biodegradable! Most stores also sell bags made from recycled plastic. These you can often get for $1.00 or less.
You can get the bags I use HERE.
Swap plastic water bottles with stainless steel
The disposable water bottles may look pretty convenient but guys let me just say that bringing your own bottle isn’t so bad!
I have a stainless steel bottle with a screw top that I purchased on clearance several months ago. It is the handiest thing and is just a matter of filling it up and heading out the door. Because its stainless steel, it also keeps my drinks cold!
Swap plastic toothbrushes with bamboo.
Did you know that every single toothbrush that has ever been made is still sitting in the landfill right now? That is so crazy!
All it takes is a simple switch to bamboo! The bristles are not biodegradable but the brush handle is so after removing the bristles throw that sucker right into your compost.
You can find these bamboo toothbrushes HERE.
What is compost?
Compost is just a fancy word for organic material that has decayed and then used as a fertilizer. Its basically a hole in the ground with a mixture of organic materials such as leaves, sticks, vegetable clippings, egg shells, etc.
Once your materials have decomposed you will have a great fertilizer to use for your garden!
I’ve recently started my composting journey and I am SO pumped to give back to the earth!
Does that make me sound like an earth freak? It’s because I am.
Swap Shampoo & Body Wash for the bar version
I started my switch last summer and could not be more happy! I’m not only helping the environment but also my health because I am eliminating unnecessary chemicals that are often used in these products. The packaging is also recyclable so there’s a win-win!
Find my favorite shampoo bars HERE.
Swap Pads and tampons for a menstrual cup/natural alternative
This one is for the ladies!
Menstrual cups are very simple once you get the hang of it and can even be left inside for up to 12 hours with little to no risk of TSS!
For years I used regular tampons and pads without even knowing there was an alternative. When I finally heard about cups around 4 years ago I was a bit intimidated but soon came around to the idea.
I bought my first cup (Diva brand) when my oldest turned a year old. After a few issues I eventually figured out that it was not the right fit for me but Lena works great! I recommend taking this quiz from Put A Cup In It to help you decide which brand to purchase.
You can purchase a Lena cup HERE.
If you decide cups aren’t for you, there is another alternative!
Natracare makes pads, pantyliners, and tampons that are chlorine, plastic, and perfume free. They can even be composted! I was so excited when I discovered that.
Find Natracare panty liners HERE.
Swap new items for used
When you purchase something brand new you are supporting manufacturing demands which of course uses a lot of energy. Buy used as much as possible to not only save energy, but also money and keeping that item out of the landfill!
Consignment stores can be your best friend! I have also had luck buying off of Facebook Marketplace from local people.
Clothes swapping is another good idea to do with close family members and friends.
Swapping plastic straws to stainless steel
When people hear the word “zero waste” I’m pretty sure they think we are just a bunch of crazies with stainless steel straws!
For real though, they are pretty great! Am I right?
Plastic straws are incredibly wasteful and a ton end up polluting our oceans and harming innocent wildlife. Use Stainless or just simply say “no straw please” and you will not contribute to that problem.
You can buy an assortment of stainless steel straws HERE.
Swap Plastic Containers for Glass when possible
The next time you go to the grocery store look for items that are packaged in glass instead of plastic. I know sometimes this is a bit difficult depending what grocery options your area has.
For the most part though, I have found that many items have glass alternatives which is great! Glass is one of the best things you can recycle because unlike plastic it can be recycled again and again and lose little to no quality.
What does your family do to reduce waste?
Do you try to reduce waste in your home? Tell me what you do to help in the comments below!
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