Today, most products are created with convenience in mind and we are slowly replacing well-made products that last with single-use plastic. In an effort to be more environmentally conscious, we have made a list of ways that you can be zero-waste right now! Here are some easy swaps you can implement to make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Ditch paper towels and replace with 100 percent cotton towels
Not only are cotton towels more effective at cleaning, but you will save money in the long-run. Keep a good stack of cotton towels around for cleaning, using as napkins, and whatever else you may need them for.
Make sure to store enough cotton towels; grabbing a cotton cloth has to be as easy and mindless as grabbing a paper towel. You don't want to worry about not having enough. It also has to be just as easy to toss the cotton towel. So have a basket to put the dirty towels in after. If there is no system set, you will probably revert back to using paper towels.
2. Get a reusable water bottle and fill it daily
Instead of buying plastic bottles of water, invest in a reusable bottle. You can also purchase a water filter if needed to refill it at home if you can't use tap water. Reusable bottles can be used at home, the gym, and at work.
3. Use Wool Dryer balls instead of disposable dryer sheets
What are wool dryer balls? They are literally wool balls that you put in the dryer that separate items from each other in the dryer, letting air circulate more efficiently, therefore helping your laundry dry faster. They also fluff and soften your load while reducing static. Each ball can be used for hundreds of loads, unlike dryer sheets.
The more balls you have in the dryer, the less time it will take to dry your load. So it's also an energy saver! You can purchase wool dryer balls or you can look up DIY wool dryer balls and make your own from wool yarn.
Another plus of using wool dryer balls is that you won't be exposed to any toxic chemicals that may come from fabric softener and dryer sheets. And if you would like to add a fresh scent to your laundry, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the wool balls.
4. Try using soap nuts for cleansing instead of store-bought detergent
Instead of using detergent from the store, why not try a natural soap that comes from a fruit called a soap nut?! Soap nuts are the dried husks of the soapberry. The shell contains saponin, which is a natural surfactant that does the cleaning.
It is a non-toxic sustainable option to replace anything that you may need detergent or soap for. You can put them in a muslin bag and toss them in the washer with your load or use it to make an all-purpose cleaner for the house.
It's great for those with sensitive skin and has been used for centuries around the world. Each berry can be used multiple times and because it's a fruit and not a nut, it's safe to use for those with nut allergies.
5. Keep reusable market bags in your car and actually use them
Stores are beginning to stop carrying plastic bags, but we should all try to bring in our own reusable bags to help save trees and pollution that comes from producing paper and plastic bags.
The one big problem about reusable bags is that sometimes we forget to bring them! We would recommend to have enough available and to store the bags in your car. It's easy to forget to grab bags on the way out so if they're already in the car, you won't have to worry about them. Once you unload the groceries, put the bags back in your car. If you prefer to store them in the house, have a spot for the bags so that you can easily remember to grab them and go.
6. Invest in glass left-over containers
It's much safer to store hot food and microwave in glass than plastic because of the toxic chemicals in plastic. It's also more cost effective because plastic containers will absorb food smell and germs and you will end up replacing them. In the end, glass is safer for you and the environment.
7. Purchase cotton bulk-bin bags and buy dried goods in bulk
Buy reusable bulk food bags and buy dried foods like nuts and grains in bulk. Make sure you have an airtight container to store the dried goods in after. You can also purchase reusable produce bags for your fruits and vegetables.
8. Buy toilet paper that is individually wrapped in paper, not plastic
Self-explanatory, choose toilet paper wrapped in paper and not plastic. There is also an option for 100% recycled toilet paper made from recycled paper.
9. Skip using a straw at a restaurant
Another step towards keeping plastic out of landfills is to not use straws at a restaurant. Say no to a straw or don't use it if it's placed on the table. It's one step closer at a more sustainable world.
10. Use cloth handkerchiefs instead of tissue
Keep handkerchiefs around the house to instead of tissues. Use handkerchiefs to wipe off stubborn eye makeup or wipe a nose. You can also carry some handkerchiefs around in case you need them throughout the day.
If you are sick, it may be better to use recycled tissue and dispose of it, as you don't want to be carrying around an infected hanky.
If you start implementing even one of these tips, it will help reduce the carbon footprint that you leave. We challenge you to make as many of these changes as you can because not only will it save you money but you can feel better knowing that you're helping the environment and can be avoiding toxins that you may be exposing yourself to. Leave us any comments below on your progress or any other tips that you may have to go zero-waste. Happy Earth Week!