Updated: Dec 20, 2018
We as consumers can start leading the change to a more circular economy and create less waste. If you're new to zero-waste ideas, then here are 5 ways to simplify your everyday routine with reusable things.
1. Metal Straws
According to Lonely Whale, 500 million plastic straws are used in this country every single day, and to make it worse, we are projected to have more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. That's really not that far away friends. One way to combat this is to purchase reusable straws. Stainless steel, glass, bamboo, you name it, they probably make it. I've used these stainless steel straws for a few years now and love how super easy they are to clean and better yet, the non metal taste!
2. Eco-Friendly Bulk Bags
One of the easiest ways to reduce your waste is to start bringing your own reusable bulk bags to the grocery store. It varies by stores, but for most you just write the tare weight (what the jar/bag weights) so the cashier knows to subtract the weight from the total. I create a list on my phone and read it off to them. If this gives you anxiety (um, me my first trip), then head to the store super early so you know there won't be long lines and let the cashier know what you're trying to do! You can find the ones I have in the photo here on Amazon. They come in many sizes and even though they are quite light, the tare weight is listed right on the side.
3. Bar Soaps
Did you know it takes five times more energy to produce liquid soaps than bars? And 20 times more energy for packaging production. Liquid soaps 99% of the time come in single use plastic packaging, not to mention a laundry list of chemicals added in. The best bet is to try finding locally made soaps, made from pure simple ingredients. My favorite is Dr. Bonner's Tea Tree Castile Soap.
4. Reusable Bags
Bringing a reusable bag when shopping is one of the easiest ways to cut down on plastic pollution. National Geographic has an amazing article outlining the plastic pollution in numbers - i.e. 40 percent of plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded. Keep a few reusable bags in your car, keep a reminder note near your door, and encourage your local stores/government to consider plastic bag bans!
5. Reusable Mugs/Water Bottles
Starbucks goes through 4 billion cups a year...that's right, 4 billion coffee cups that are not recyclable and end up in our landfills. The good news is we can say no to to-go cups and start bringing our own. Whether it's for coffee, smoothies, water, there are so many options out there to help us eliminate that waste. I have an old Nalgene bottle and a Hydro-flask water bottle, plus a hydro-flask coffee mug and a few others that we've obtained over the years. Many places will even give you discounts for bringing your own which is a plus! My recommendation would be to find one you like and therefore more likely to remember it when you're heading out the door! Here are some of the best water bottles and mugs.