Our society has become one of consumerism. We buy, we use, we throw away. This kind of mentality has contributed largely to the ever growing waste problem. Landfills are filling up with our disposable products faster than ever before with no end in sight as consumerism continues to grow. But fear not, this post isn’t all doom and gloom, it’s here to provide you with some simple swaps to lower the waste coming from your home.
Now we’re not suggesting that you run out and buy every single one of these items at the same time. We are simply providing you with some options should you ever notice that “hey, my bathroom is full of plastics, what can I do to get rid of them?”. Making gradual swaps over time will improve your home and the environment just as much as buying it all at once. For certain things, you don’t even need to buy anything, pickle jars are great for storing homemade pasta sauce and old yoghurt containers make great lunch time to go containers.
Here are our suggestions for simple sustainable swaps!
Dryer Sheets → Wool Dryer Balls. Traditional dryer sheets are made of plastic and therefore must be thrown in the garbage. This plastic also breaks down in your laundry, contributing to the microplastics problem. Ditch the dryer sheets for some wool dryer balls. These are made of natural fibres and can be reused many times.
Tampons → Silicone Menstrual Cup. Between the wrappers, applicators and the actual tampons themselves, there is no end in sight for the amount of waste we will produce each month thanks to our monthly menstrual cycles. Multiply this by roughly 40 years and we have a big problem. Switch to a silicone menstrual cup to lower your monthly waste stream. Most menstrual cups can hold a significantly larger amount of fluid and can be used for 8 years or more.
Disposable Razor → Metal Safety Razor. If you’re looking for a closer shave, ditch the disposable razor for a metal safety razor. Not only is the shave nicer, but metal safety razors come with recyclable metal blades, reducing the size of your waste footprint.
Cotton Rounds & Face Wipes → Washable Fabric ones. The average person washes their face twice a day, so why not use a washable fabric cloth instead of disposable face wipes. Even if the wipes say they are biodegradable, they’re really not unless under the perfect conditions. You can now get microfibre face cloths that melt away makeup and washable cotton rounds if you use any other sorts of products on your face swap.
Plastic Bottles → Bar Products. Is your shower filled with bottles, leaving no space for anything else? Try swapping out some of your bottled products for bar formulations. You can now get shampoo and conditioner bars, body wash bars, hand soap bars and more I’m sure. The limited amount of packaging required for bar products means more product and less waste.
Plastic Cling Wrap → Beeswax Wraps. The clingiest relationship of all, our love of plastic cling wrap. Let go of the past and embrace the future of alternative food wraps. The most popular being beeswax wraps which are made of a cloth coated in beeswax which repels moisture and keeps flavour in. The wraps are foldable and moldable meaning they can fit most bowls/containers. Other popular alternatives include fabric covers or silicone lids.
Paper Towel → Cloths. While a roll of paper towel on the counter is convenient, it is also very wasteful if you don’t portion them properly. And while they can be made from recycled paper, there are still better alternatives out there. Reusable paper towel rolls exist and they are great! They are much more absorbent and can be reused time and time again.
Tea Bags → Tea Strainer/Steeper. There’s nothing like a hot cup of tea on any day! It’s a comforting drink but can also be wasteful. Pre-packaged tea bags are not recyclable and due to the staples or other adhesives in the tea bag are often not compostable either. Never fear though, you can still enjoy a hot cup of tea by using reusable tea bags. Just fill them with your favourite loose leaf tea and steep away. Or use a metal steeper for loose leaf tea to make your favourite brew
Disposables → Reusables. Moral of this story, swap out as many disposable products for ones that you can reuse. Make swaps that are easy for you, start simple and you’ll have an impact. It might not be the most noticeable to everyone, but a quick peak in your trash can or recycling bin will speak to the actions you are taking. Your garbage will fill up less and so will your recycling. Small swaps will have the largest impact down the line and you don’t have to break the bank doing it. Reuse, reuse, reuse! That’s the purpose of a lot of sustainable products, is to reuse over and over again without having to throw out and re-purchase the product! The best way to get more impact is to share the swaps you have made with those around you! Tell your friends, your family or the whole world even!