Many of us would love to say that we lead a zero-waste or plastic-free life. And yet, with so many everyday consumer products arriving fully wrapped in plastic packaging, this goal can seem unrealistic and unattainable.
It doesn’t have to be. While you may not be able to become truly plastic-free, you can certainly make a few adjustments to your consumer habits, significantly reducing your personal contribution to plastic waste. In doing so, you’ll also be having a small yet substantial impact on the battle for cleaner oceans and a less cluttered planet.
1) Wrap food items in beeswax.
Beeswax, in this instance, refers to a food-safe, reusable wrapper that’s made from fabric, pine resin, and yes, actual beeswax. These wrappers can be purchased online or at home goods stores. Because beeswax clings to itself, it can easily be used to cover sandwiches or other food items, making it the perfect, reusable option for sandwiches, school lunch items, and leftovers. Ditch the plastic baggies and cling-wrap in favor of beeswax!
2) Replace plastic containers with glass.
There are actually a number of reasons to replace your plastic food storage containers with glassware, not least the fact that plastic leeches harmful chemicals into your food. But for our purposes today, we’ll just note that glass lasts far longer than plastic, significantly reducing the frequency with which you need to discard old or worn containers.
3) Invest in cotton produce bags.
Next time the grocery store cashier asks whether you’d like paper or plastic, tell them neither one! Stockpile some reusable cotton bags that you can use to tow your groceries to and fro. After all, plastic bags, even if you reuse them a time or two, end up in the landfill pretty quickly.
4) Use bamboo toothbrushes.
Here’s one that may surprise you. The next time your toothbrush needs to be junked, replace it not with a cheap plastic one, but with a sturdy bamboo toothbrush. Once bamboo brushes reach the end of their usefulness, you can actually compost them, rather than contributing to further plastic waste.
5) Wash your hair with a shampoo bar.
A shampoo bar is basically a bar of soap, only it’s intended for your hair. For our purposes today, it’s simply worth noting that shampoo bars give you a good lather without the need for a discardable plastic bottle.
6) Stop using sponges.
You may not realize it, but the vast majority of sponges contain plastic. And of course,they end up in the garbage sooner or later. You can avoid contributing to plastic waste by using dish cloths any time you do the dishes.
There are countless decisions and micro-decisions we make every day that either expand or shrink our environmental footprint. By thinking through our choices, even the tiny ones, we can become more sustainability-minded.
At WasteXperts, we’re big believers in living low- or even zero-waste lives. We’d love to tell you more. Read our blog archives for more insight into sustainable living.