Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Want to reduce your plastic in 2015?

Do you want to reduce the amount of plastic (especially disposable!) that you use in 2015?

Good first steps to take:
Bring your own bag when you shop.
Bring your own containers for drinks (waterbottle, coffee thermos).
Refuse a straw for your drink.
Don't use coffee pods! (Use a Chemex or French press--your coffee will taste better and cost less!)

Ok, so I did that.  What's next?  Try to pick one area at a time to change.  It will be easier, less overwhelming, and the changes will be more likely to stick.  Cleaning was where I started, and I found that to be an easy place to make changes, and also something that immediately saved me money.

How to use less plastic this year


Cleaning:
Clean with vinegar, baking soda, Castile bar soap and lemons.
Replace paper towels with cloth rags (cotton or hemp--microfiber is plastic!) that can be washed and reused.
Try soap nuts for your laundry.  Replace dryer sheets with wool dryer balls.
Get a mop with reusable pads that you can fill with a vinegar and water solution.

Food:
Replace plastic tupperware and takeout containers with glass or stainless steel.
Buy your dry goods from the bulk bin.  Cut out the boxed and bagged processed food.
Shop from local farmers when possible (and in season) for veggies and fruit.
Look for milk in returnable glass bottles.
Swap out non-stick pots and pans for healthier alternatives like stainless or cast iron.  If you are on a budget, or a college student, start out with just a cast iron pan--they are naturally non-stick and good for almost everything!
Use cloth napkins that can be washed and reused instead of paper ones.
Compost!

Personal care:
Use a shampoo bar instead of shampoo in plastic bottles.
Use bar soap in the shower.
Get a safety razor.
Coconut oil and homemade olive oil/beeswax salve for moisturizing.
Bamboo toothbrushes.
Baking soda/cornstarch as deodorant.
Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.
Find makeup with recyclable glass or aluminum packaging.

Household:
Look for clothes made from natural materials (wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp).  Buy used when you can.
When household items need to be replaced (dustpan, broom, brushes, etc.), choose well-made items made of wood, stainless steel, enamel, etc.
Write with a refillable fountain pen instead of disposable pens. (This is on my list for this year!!)
If you need a new piece of furniture, try looking for a pre-owned item made of solid wood.