Reduce Waste with 5 Simple Swaps
I will be the first person to admit that I become discouraged when reflecting on the eco-conscious habits of my household.
-Are we creating too much trash each week? Are we recycling everything our city allows?
-Can we reduce our single-use consumables more?
-And for the love of everything holy, when will they learn to rinse the yogurt container before putting it in the recycle bin???!! (Is this just at my house? Honestly.)
But the truth is, taking better care of our planet doesn’t rest on the shoulders of a few folks making all the big changes, it rests on the shoulders of all of us folks making little changes, a few at a time.
In honor of Earth Day this month, let’s look at 5 simple swaps you can make to reduce waste and live a more eco-conscious lifestyle.
Swap 1: disposable water bottle for reusable water bottle
Most of us have a reusable water bottle somewhere around the house. Give it a good wash, and bring it whenever you leave the house. It will encourage you to drink more water, and keep you from the impulse buy at the store when you are thirsty.
TIP: if you want to purchase a new water bottle, look for one that fits in your car’s cup holder.
Swap 2: paper napkins for reusable napkins
Cloth napkins are a simple way to reduce your household’s waste. It is a one-time financial investment that will pay for itself after a couple of months, and a quality cloth napkin can last for years before needing to be replaced. They can be sewn for a simple project, or purchased from second hand shops or yard sales.
TIP: Choose a cotton fabric that feels soft and is absorbent. No one will want to use a cloth napkin that feels scratchy or doesn’t actually function well. We need face wipers and mess cleaners, not crumb catchers. That’s why we have dogs.
Swap 3: single-use bags for reusable bags
Many of us have a trunk full of cloth and reusable plastic bags, but sometimes we go into the store without them. So when the clerk asks, “Would you like bags today?” We guiltily say yes. We have all been there, let’s not beat ourselves up about it. Consider keeping one folded in your purse, or stick a note on your dashboard.
TIP: If you do forget them, simply put the groceries directly into the cart, and bag them once you are at your car! You know you like the way you bag things best.
Swap 4: washable cloths for paper towels
Paper towels serve a purpose, and I am not here to tell you never buy them again. When the dog vomits on the floor, cleaning it up with a reusable rag makes a gross adulting moment worse. However, when we clean the bathroom mirrors or wipe down the kitchen counters, a rag or washable microfiber cloth works just as well as a paper towel. Reducing the number of paper towels we use over time makes a tangible difference in how much waste we create.
TIP: keep a few small cloths under the bathroom sink so you aren’t tempted to use TP to wipe up that toothpaste blob.
Swap 5: single-use packaging for reduced, reusable, or compostable packaging
Some companies (like LB Love Organics!) are listening to customer requests for reduced packaging. This means that instead of selling a product inside a box (like a hand cream or lip balm), companies are doing away with this excessive packaging. Look to see if your favorite products are reducing the amount of packaging used.
TIP: If you have a compost bin, you can choose products in compostable paper packaging.
LB Love Organics offers our shea butter-based hard lotion bars in reusable, recyclable metal tins with no added external packaging. We also offer our cult-favorite lip balms and deodorants in waxed-lined recycled paper tubes, so all you have to do is remove the label and stick the empty tube directly in your compost bin!
Each of these microchanges are small swaps that over time makes a large impact on reducing our waste. While we may never understand why the words “Please rinse the yogurt container before recycling” are so baffling to certain family members, we can feel positive about the impact we are having on our environment, one swap at a time.
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