Many things in your home can be reused by you and yet why are they being thrown out or recycled? I’m not trying to call you out, it’s hard to change the way you do things everyday and I know that first hand. I used to buy ziplock bags and pack lunches with them thinking I was being frugal by not buying lunch out. I used to buy paper towels to clean my countertops with when this is one of the easiest swaps out there. Here are my favorite tricks and tips for sustainable living right now, though I’m sure I’ll have many posts with the same premise and new ideas!
Paper Towels are wasteful. You use them once, they soil and you throw them out. There are more sustainable brands and materials that you can get to replace conventional paper towels such as ones made of bamboo but you’re still buying something with a single use that will then be waste. An easy fix? Use cloths. You can get Unpaper Towels from Food52 but better yet you can use old clothes or sheets that you could cut into small squares. Simply stow them away under your sink, use them like you would a regular paper towel and toss them in the wash when you’re done. Easy peasy sustainable.
Plastic Water Bottles are a huge waste culprit. They are first and foremost a waste of money as they’re typically just bottling water from the faucet and profiting off of it. Worse than that, they’re single use plastic on steroids. The water is in a plastic bottle, and all the plastic bottles have a label and they’re all housed together in a plastic wrap type thing so you can buy more than one bottle. Easy swap is the ever popular reusable water bottle. I use a Porter and I love it. It’s dishwasher safe, lightweight, and made of glass with a sleeve to protect it from breaking. This swap also applies to reusable coffee mugs!
Shampoo, Hand Soap and Dishsoap containers can add up. You buy them not as often as other products and yet when they run out, suddenly your recycling is full of plastic that is filled with your products that you are wasting because it’s too hard to get the last bit out. My favorite swap for this is to buy Dr. Bronners gallon containers of liquid Castile soup. We use this for shampoo, hand soap and dish soap. It is concentrated which means you can use a certain ratio of the soap and water and put it into reusable glass containers. We use this for our hand soap/dish soap and these in our shower. They not only are more sustainable but they’re so aesthetically pleasing.
Parchment Paper, Wax Paper and Foil are items that can be easily swapped and the swap is honestly better than the original. Silicone Mats are the better option when baking in the oven. They can be used for baking, roasting, broiling and they can then be washed and reused over and over. We even have mini ones that we use in our toaster oven!
Cleaning Products often have hidden chemicals that end up down the drain or in the trash that then causes runoff into water ways. A good swap is to make your own with just a couple simple ingredients. We buy a large bottle of distilled white vinegar and mix in lemon peel or essential oils. We use this on our counter tops and stove. You can also use baking soda to clean many things in your household if you make a quick paste with water.
Tampons and Pads are a hugely accepted product that causes an enormous amount of waste. My life changing, easy, sustainable swap is to switch to Thinx Period Panties. One of my best purchases to date were Thinx period underwear. They make having a period so much easier by letting you just bleed into your underwear. They absorb the blood so quickly and they’re easy to rinse off in the shower and toss in the wash. Hang to dry and there you have it, zero waste period. Click the link above to receive $10 off your purchase of Thinx Period Panties, Thinx Btwn for Teens or Speax by Thinx.
Scratched Floors? I have a sustainable hack for that. Instead of hiring expensive floor refinishers that use chemicals and are expensive. Just simply clean your floors with Dr. Bronners soap, put mayonnaise on the literal floors, let sit for about 15-20 minutes (the deeper the scratch, the longer it should sit). Wipe it off, clean off the floors and look at the magic that just occurred, seriously.