Updated: Aug 6
More and more people are becoming aware of the negative impacts our actions have on the environment. Check the news today and you're bound to see some horrible event that is either the direct effect of global warming, or a direct contribution to it. There is no doubt that things will be even more devastating than they already are if we continue on without a care.
With the magnitude of pollution humans have created on this Earth, many people think the actions of one person won't even make a difference, so why bother? I hear that time and time again. But what if everyone started doing simple things to help reduce their carbon footprint? Not only will that mean more people making a difference, but also increased activism and a shift in consumerism. We do not have control over what major corporations do but we can encourage them to evolve and make changes to their manufacturing practices and offer greener alternatives by way of demand. Worth a shot, right?
If you've been paying attention, it's probably no surprise that non biodegradable materials, like most plastics, are bad for the environment. Many of these items end up sitting in landfills polluting the Earth because they cannot break down. Or they will end up in the ocean, which greatly endangers and kills marine life.
While recycling should be done whenever possible, keep in mind that not all plastics are recyclable. To make things even more complicated, some seemingly non-plastic items, like paper coffee cups, actually contain a layer of plastic inside, and therefore cannot be recycled either. That being said, it's a safe bet to avoid single-use items all together!
DITCH & SWITCH
Here are some simple swaps you can do for a more sustainable home.
If you were traumatized by the video of someone pulling a plastic straw out of a sea turtle's nose like I was, then you probably vowed to only use eco-friendly straws from then on. That is the sad reality of what happens when our trash ends up in the ocean. There are plenty of alternatives to plastic straws, like stainless steel and paper straws that you can buy to keep at home. Many restaurants have already made the switch too, and we love to see it.
Plastic Wrap, Baggies, & Containers
You can easily ditch these single-use food storage items and get glass containers and reusable silicone food storage bags and lids. This pack of silicone storage bags and lids came in all different sizes, which has been great for storing vegetables and freezing veggie burgers.
When checking out at a store, consider bringing your own reusable tote bags rather than getting plastic bags. I love using this tote that I got in support of all the rehab and rescue work that Sesame the Opossum does.
Skip the plastic bags when you're picking out a fresh bunch of kale or a couple of avocados. Instead, bring your own mesh produce bags. I bought a pack with a few different sizes from The Vegan Warehouse, and they have been perfect for shopping and storing veggies.
Used in skincare routines, cotton balls and rounds are convenient, but they create a lot of waste. Ditch and switch to an alternative like these reusable cotton rounds I found at The Vegan Warehouse. They are washable and last a lot longer.
Plastic Water Bottles
While plastic water bottles can be recycled, replacing single-use water bottles is one of the easiest things we can do. There are plenty of reusable alternatives like stainless steel water bottles, and even ones with built in purifying filters. You can also replace paper coffee cups with a reusable alternative that will keep your drink nice and hot for hours, without the waste.
Toothbrush & Toothpaste
Did you know there are eco-friendly alternatives to plastic toothbrushes? Same goes for toothpaste tubes. Switch to a toothbrush made of biodegradable bamboo and toothpaste tablets instead.
Disposable Plates & Cutlery
For convenience reasons, paper plates and plastic utensils may be used when access to a dishwasher or sink is not available. They may be tempting for those who simply just don't want to do dishes (we have all been there). But did you know once they are contaminated with food, they cannot be recycled? Ditch the single-use plates and utensils and stick with ones you can simply wash and reuse.
Paper Towels & Napkins
Like paper plates, paper towels and napkins cannot be recycled after being contaminated with food. Besides that, paper towels, napkins, and tissues cannot be recycled due to the fibers they are made from. Stick with washable and reusable cloth napkins and eco-friendly alternatives to paper towels, like those made from bamboo or washable cloth.
These are just a few of the things we can do to start making a difference for a greener planet. Don't hesitate to ditch & switch to eco-friendly alternatives!