Reducing Single Use Plastic at Home
I’ve never been into ‘new years resolutions’, but I do enjoy setting goals at all sorts of times during the year. Overarching my goals, however, are what I like to call ‘forever resolutions’. These are things I’ll continue to work on throughout my life because they align with my values. One of these ‘forever resolutions’ I hold is the reducing of single use plastic in Scott and I’s life.
We do well with shopping at the farmers markets, using our reusable bags, and storing items in glass as best we can - but we are not perfect and single use plastic is just apart of life sometimes. I’m not here to say to myself that I am to rid my life of it entirely or else I have failed - I don’t respond well to that mentality! I try to make conscious choices when I can, and pick up on small areas to improve in as they feel manageable.
Here is a list of a few things I have swapped in recent months to reduce our plastic load a bit. I hope one or two inspires you to make a similar swap too so we can all reduce our use this year and beyond. Feel free to drop any swaps you’ve discovered to be helpful in the comments section below to continue the inspiration as well! Happy new year to you all, may we be be kind and good to one another this year.
We replaced our bottles of hand soap, face wash, and body wash with bar soap. This was such a simple swap to do! When the soap is gone, it just disappears, no contribution to the landfill necessary.
Bar soap typically comes with little to no packaging - but make sure to look for bars that are not wrapped in plastic.
We use hand and body soaps from our local market, and Beauty Counter’s charcoal bar soap for our faces.
While I do occasionally pick up a carton of Eden original soy milk, or Oatly (when I can find it), I vowed years ago to stop buying cartons of almond milk.
This is the milk I go through most often, and making a fresh batch every 4 to 5 days cuts out one more plastic-lined carton that is going in our trash/recycling.
Plus this way I can get creative and cut the almonds with other nuts, such as hazelnuts - so tasty! You’ll always find me replacing a quarter cup of the almonds with brazil nuts too, helping me get in my selenium without hardly trying.
Purchasing nuts in bulk helps cut down on the use of plastic - even better if they come from the bulk bins and I remember by Eco Bag.
Getting rid of plastic razors, whether disposable or the kind that require expensive razor head replacement packs, are a great way to reduce your use of single use plastic.
I was nervous to try safety razors for a while, but after taking the plunge and giving Well Kept’s version a try - I’m definitely a fan!
These are solid brass razors that will last a lifetime, and only require a very cheap pack of replacement razor blades that are super easy to swap out when needed.
These do require me to use a gentle hand, and possibly miss a few hard to reach spots/boney knee areas at times because they are quite sharp. But I’ve decided the trade off is worth it to me.
Save citrus peals and submerge them in a jar of white vinegar for a few weeks, and presto, you’ve got all purpose cleaner!
Simply combine one part vinegar solution with one part water in a spray bottle. This is my first time making my own cleaner, so I don’t have many more tips other than this - but I’m really excited to get rid of one more plastic bottle purchase.
We’ve been using vinegar and baking soda for years to clean all sorts of things in our home (see a list of ideas on how to do so here) but I had yet to take the extra step to make our own cleaner.
This was so simple and cheap. There are a few surfaces you shouldn’t use vinegar on, though, so check online first before spraying it on everything.
I know if can be tempting when your week seems full to grab the conveniently chopped veggies in plastic containers at the grocery store. I’ve been there too.
But if you can help it, take a step back and purchase the loose versions using your Eco Bags, and pre-chop them yourself at home.
This will not only save you money, but reduce the amount of single use plastic going in your bin too.
We do this any week we bring home broccoli, cauliflower, and lately - kale too! Yes, you can wash and chop up kale ahead of time. Its so sturdy it will keep for at least five days when store in an airtight container (preferably glass).
Picking up a loaf or two of bread from a local baker will cut down on the single-use plastic bags discarded after every loaf purchased.
Our loaves of sourdough come in plastic-free paper bags, but you can also bring your own bread bag if you choose.
Simply slice and pop in a plastic bag in the freezer (we reuse our bag week after week). Defrost or toast when ready to use.
This is a great way to reduce plastic waste and support people in our direct community :).