Happy Earth Day!
It's no surprise that I enjoy living as sustainably as I can. My motto is "Progress over Perfection" because while I try my best, I'm no where near perfect. The last few years I've tried finding the best alternatives to the products I grew up with and continued using into adulthood. You know: paper towels, paper plates, plastic wrap, plastic sandwich bags, foil, straws and other disposable items.
I always told myself that it would take too much time to stay on top of cleaning reusable products and it was just easier to throw out the disposable ones. Or that it would cost a lot, the list of excuses goes on and on. Once I started making the switch I realized just how easy, responsible and cost efficient it all was.
What I thought to be essential & their alternatives:
They were one of those things that I knew I needed to part with but they were the last to go. They're so easy to just use and throw out and not have to worry about again. We realized we were going through a ton of them especially with having a toddler, and we knew we needed to do better. I came across a local to Cincinnati refillery, Fill More Waste Less and hit the jackpot. They have natural unbleached terry towels that we have used for a few months now and love. We have 10-15 of them that are washed and we haven't had to think about buying paper towels since.
It's just something that is supposed to be in your pantry, right? Well, thats what I thought but.. wrong. I searched high and low for a good alternative that came from a company that was ethical and was happy to find Beeswrap. It's made of organic cotton with beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin in Vermont. They're relatively easy to wash.. just use cold water, dish soap and hang to dry. We have them in various sizes. The sandwich size is good for well, sandwiches of course. We also have the variety pack with small, medium and large and the bread size to wrap up baked bread-I've used it to store banana bread. They last up to a year and are compostable when they're unable to be used any longer.
Plastic Sandwich Bags
My husband and I did the math and we used approximately 60 plastic snack/sandwich bags per month minimum.. just from him packing his lunch for work. Thats a ton of plastic being thrown out. I didn't have to search very hard for this alternative because when I read reviews and none compared to the Stasher bags. I bought 2 or 3 just to see if they were worth the hype and I was HOOKED. They're incredible and we have 8 or so now. You can dishwash them, microwave them, put them in the oven, on the stovetop in a pot, use them for years and years.. etc. Nothing else that I could find even compared. They have them in a wide range of sizes and colors and they're made of silicone vs plastic like other alternatives. We've had ours for almost a year now so that means we've saved at least 720 Ziploc bags from ending up in the landfill.
Disposable Cups (Water Bottle & Coffee Cup)
This one was the one of the easiest for me to switch out. The hardest thing to remember though is to take it with you! Luckily, the reusable water bottle and coffee cup that I use are collapsable so they both fold down into themselves and I can easily store them in my belt bag or even pocket. I get mine from WOLFPACK (link for 10% off) and they're the Stojo brand under the Home/Practicals section. Both are incredible because I'm able to take all the pieces apart and just throw them in the dishwasher so they get cleaned thoroughly.
I enjoy the reusable glass straws from Poketo. They come with their own little carrying bag and case that store in your purse easily and don't leave that metallic taste that metal straws do. It seems expensive just for straws but what is comes down to is cost per use and after awhile it starts to cost next to nothing.
Disposable Retail & Grocery Bags
Remembering to bring my reusable bags was the hardest part of making this switch but, when you have bags that preform fantastically they're easy to remember. I can't say enough good things about BAGGU bags because they're simply incredible. Some things I love about them are: you can fold them down into their little pouches, they have a wide range of patterns, they hold up to 50 pounds, come in a variety of sizes and they are all machine washable.
My thoughts were similar to the paper towels - time consuming and messy to switch out. Surprisingly it wasn't! I purchased the reusable coffee filters from WOLFPACK and they have worked incredibly for me. When the coffee is done, i dump the coffee grounds, give it a rinse and then throw them in the bin with the reusable cloths so they can all get washed together.
Other Miscellaneous Favorites
I purchase a lot of my skincare products from Skin Foodie; a company that values the use of reusable glass containers and organic/natural ingredients. Whenever I get an order in I can count on them not sending me packaging that contains plastic and I can reuse any of the glass containers once the products run out- hello cute little succulent planters.
Another area I've tried to eliminate plastic was with my son's toys. I've tried my best to order wooden/natural material toys for him versus plastic. Great children's toys brands are Odin Parker and Bitte. Odin Parker even gives back with each purchase and donates meals to children in need so, win win.
Pads and tampons I've learned by looking at statistics are incredibly wasteful. This last year I've started using the Flex Cup which like everything else was an upfront investment but over time has saved me much more. Easy to use, clean, sterilize and also cuts out the harsh chemicals that can be found in hygiene products today.
Purchasing through a local refillery has also been something that has come in handy. I can place my order, set my glass jars out the next day, they come and pick them up and then deliver within 2 days. Its an easy way to get clean and cruelty free products and also to cut back on unnecessary waste. We get our cloth towels, dishwashing pods, laundry detergent pods, teakwood and agave fiber dish scrubber and a few other things from Fill More Waste Less. They offer much more than that which I'd like to utilize in the future but its game changing having a local refillery and definitely something to look into.
All that to say.. like I said previously, progress over perfection. Any little bit you can do can go a long way in the grand scheme of things. If you have any other alternatives that you enjoy and use, let me know in the comments!
Thanks for following along :)
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