We were born into a society of ‘quick fix’. A society where temporary remedies fail to address underlying problems. One of these is plastic pollution.
Single-use plastic is something the nearly everyone uses on a day to day basis, without thinking of the harmful effects it has on our environment.
I have recently become super engaged in zero waste living and thought that I’d share some of my favourite zero waste ‘swaps’ which I have invested in and some which I still would like to invest in to build my zero waste ‘kit’.
Let me know in the comments below what your fav zero waste swaps are and what you are doing to reduce the single-use plastic in your life!
Bamboo is a very fast growing plant, known to be the fastest on earth. It grows well without the use of any chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or ANY irrigation! This makes it a very great plant for all things eco-friendly, like bamboo toothbrushes.
Bamboo toothbrushes are a simple solution to something the majority of us use, plastic toothbrushes. The bamboo brush itself is biodegradable and you can get certain types with more eco-friendly bristles (or even activated charcoal infused bristles!), as well as different colours so that your family can tell whose toothbrush is whose.
A lot of companies that make bamboo brushes will also take your brushes back at the end of their life and recycle them. Furthermore, bamboo brushes cost the same amount as the plastic variety, so why not make the switch?!
Mesh Produce Bags
How many plastic bags are used each year? Well… 160,000 bags are used per second- meaning 5 trillion plastic bags are used every single year. Aside from the fact that plastic never degrades, it just breaks up; pieces of plastic are eaten by fish and other marine life which cannot be digested. Consequently, species are becoming extinct faster than ever before.
So, do your bit and use mesh produce bags. They are an awesome reusable alternative to single-use plastic bags and come in a range of sizes to suit your needs. Fill these lightweight bags with your favourite fresh produce. Great for taking to the local farmer’s markets, they work well for other uses around the kitchen and home too!
Bees Wax Wrap
You have probably heard about beeswax food wraps before. They are a fantastic alternative to plastic wrap and are everlasting. I love wrapping bread rolls, cakes, cheese and half cut fruit/vegetables in my Bees Wax Wrap! They work so well, I love Bee’s Wrap wraps in particular as they hold even the smallest things really well! Bee’s Wraps also use GOTs certified Organic Cotton to create their wraps and you can compost them at the end of their ‘life’.
They are washable, reusable and compostable, and come in a range of sizes for different food items.
Stainless Steel Razor
The EPA estimates 2 billion plastic razors are thrown away each year. They are super hard to recycle and are one of the many things that enter our landfill by the mega amount, each year.
So, good thing there is such thing as Stainless Steel razors. They are life lasting and only need replacement blades.
This one from VIKINGS comes with 5 replacement blades, has a micro comb system to prevent accidental cuts
Reusable Sanitary Pads and Menstrual Cups
The average woman will go through 12,000 to 16,000 disposable pads, pantyliners, and tampons throughout her lifetime. That’s A LOT of waste! In a disposable pad’s life cycle, its biggest environmental impact is during the manufacturing process- although think about shipping and packaging impacts too! This is when the raw materials (including fossil fuels and oil to produce plastic) are used.
Make the switch to a trash-free period with a cloth sanitary pad or menstrual cup, the cloth pads come in many different colours and patterns and the menstrual cups come in a range of sizes and shapes!
Stainless Steel (or Bamboo) Straws
500 million straws are used in the United States each year! That could FILL over 127 school buses each day, or more than 46,400 school buses every year. This is horrible, and that fact is only factoring plastic straws. The sooner we begin to use less plastic straws, the better. It is not too early or late to stop!
I have always loved the idea of sipping away at a drink from a straw, and just before I started Ethically Engaged I had come across these horrendous facts and researched further to find a better alternative. Reusable straws, whether that be stainless steel or bamboo, they both reduce plastic waste by a tonne and they last a lifetime! If you are worried about hygiene with them, they come with a straw cleaner for after each use.
Stainless Steel Lunch Box
If you are constantly ‘on the go’, a lunch container is a necessity! You can buy a range of different sizes and compartments to suit your needs.
Glass Jars are an awesome option as part of an eco-friendly home. Not only can you use them for kitchen staples like flour, rice, and oats, but they work great for laundry powder and holding toothbrushes in the bathroom just to name a few ideas!
DIY TIP: use a paint pen or piece of chalk to label your jars!
Your daily coffee ritual is hurting the environment. Americans throw away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups every year, and 2.5 million plastic beverage bottles every hour. Are you surprised?! And let me tell you that styrofoam cannot be completely recycled… the cup you ‘dispose’ of today will still be present in a landfill in 500 years time.
Switching to a reusable cup = less plastic. Disposable cups are lined with polyethylene and have a polystyrene lid, making them unable to be recycled. They also promote a throwaway culture of one-time usage.
Reusable cups come in many different shapes and sizes, most of which are barista friendly. And, they, on the other hand, promote a larger movement of eco and sustainable living! They come in all different colours, themes and sizes so go check them out NOW! Small acts will make a phenomenal difference, so make the switch!
Yes, we have all heard the word before. Spoon + Fork = Spork. I mean, it’s so logical! Anyways, having a spork on hand reduces the amount of plastic cutlery being thrown into our oceans and landfill each year. You can get them in bamboo or stainless steel form and they are the perfect item to keep in your bag!