Last week we celebrated Earth Day. The holiday was a good reminder of how beautiful and precious our home planet is. It reminds us that we need to change our lifestyles and consumer behaviors if we want to protect our planet. Plastic pollution has become a major issue, especially in the oceans where trillions of tons of plastic waste are getting accumulated into the habitats of marine life. Here is a list of products you can buy to help reduce your plastic footprint.
1. Metal Straws
Many businesses and local governments have been making major efforts to eliminate plastic straws and replace them with eco-friendly alternatives. Paper straws have replaced plastic straws at many food and beverage businesses. To further reduce plastic waste, buy a metal straw for your home and bring it with you when you go out and purchase beverages.
2. Glass Containers
Use mason jars or glass containers with glass lids for your food. Unlike plastic, glass can be recycled an infinite amount of times and maintain its durability. Plastic food containers have also been found to have a chemical called BPA in them. BPA can be harmful to your health as it has been linked to brain damage, immune system deficiencies, behavioral issues, and abnormal metabolism. Storing food in glass containers is much better for your health and the planet than plastic storage containers.
3. Compostable Utensils
Plastic utensils can be convenient if you're throwing a big party or if you are on the go. Next time, try to buy compostable utensils which are made from wood or plant starch. It takes them only a few months to break down, whereas plastic can take over a hundred years to fully decompose.
4. Reusable Coffee Filters
Using paper filters to make your daily cup of coffee can add up in the landfill. Buying a reusable coffee filter will save trees from being cut down and reduce the amount of trash you throw out. Having to clean out the filter can be a minor hassle, but it's worth the extra minute out of your day to help the environment.
5. Beeswax Food Wraps
Rather than using plastic saran wrap to cover your leftovers, use beeswax food wraps instead. You just cover your bowl or container just like you would with plastic saran wrap and it preserves your food just as well. They can be easily washed with cold water and mild soap. Beeswax food wraps can last up to a year and easily compost at the end of its lifespan.
6. Reusable Water Bottle
Billions of plastic water bottles are used every year, using a reusable water bottle helps you save money from continually buying plastic water bottles and reduces the amount of trash. Most reusable water bottles are also BPA free so it benefits your health as well. One reusable water bottle can replace over 200 plastic water bottles a year.
7. Reusable Grocery Bag
Save plastic and paper by bringing your own cloth or mesh grocery bags when you go to the store. Keep one or two in your car so you are always prepared. You'll probably forget to bring your bags at first, but after a while, it will become a habit.
8. Bamboo Toothbrush
A toothbrush that is made out of bamboo can biodegrade in just six months. However, the bristles are still made out of nylon which is not biodegradable so you have to pluck out the bristles when you're done with your toothbrush and compost the handle. The packaging for bamboo toothbrushes are usually made out of cardboard rather than plastic.
9. Menstrual Cup
Every year thousands of pounds of menstrual product waste are dropped into our landfills. A menstrual cup is an eco-friendly alternative to manage your period. One cup can last up to ten years which will reduce your waste and save you money in the long run.
10. Bars of Soap
All of our soaps, shampoos, conditioners and other shower products come in plastic bottles. Using bars of soap eliminates the need for plastic. When you are done with the soap, there is nothing left to be thrown away so it is great if you are trying to go waste-free.
11. Low Pressure Shower Head
A low-pressure showerhead can decrease your water usage by half. This reduces your water usage and saves you money on your water bill. And with today's technology, low-pressure showerheads can give off a similar pressure as a regular shower head.
12. Organic Q-Tips
Q-tips are made out of plastic meaning they will take hundreds of years to break down. While they are small, Q-tips are used regularly by most of the population creating a substantial amount of waste. Next time you are at the store try opting for organic cotton Q-tips that have a biodegradable stick.
13. LED Lightbulbs
LED lights are much more efficient, emit more light and have a longer lifespan than regular light bulbs. They are almost free of any harmful chemicals so when they are thrown out in the landfill. LED light bulbs are also significantly cheaper saving your wallet and the environment.
14. Compostable Trash Bags
Putting our waste into a plastic bag to throw away just creates more waste. Using compostable trash bags are to break down within a year. When it breaks down, it doesn't break into micro pieces of plastic that can damage our ecosystems. It is a much eco-friendlier alternative that costs about the same price as regular plastic ones.
15. Recycled Paper
Paper in landfills has been found to be one of the major sources of methane release into our atmosphere. Purchasing recycled paper helps the air quality, saves trees, and reduces energy and water usage. And, with today's technology recycled paper has a quality level similar to non-recycled paper.
These products can reduce your waste, especially the amount of plastic that goes into the landfills and pollutes our oceans. Small changes add up over time and can make a difference in saving our planet.