How We've Reduced Our Single-Use Plastic Waste At Home
Hi friends! I wanted to share this blog post after seeing this article about trash being washed up on the beaches in the Dominican Republic. The images in the article are absolutely heartbreaking, and made me consider how we are reducing our single-use plastic waste at home. Let me start off by saying we are NOT perfect! We recycle as much as we can, compost when we can, but producing trash is something we still unfortunately do. That being said, we are conscious about our impact on the environment, and everyday strive to do our best to reduce our waste.
Below is a quick rundown of some of my favorite products to replace both plastic and non-plastic but generally wasteful items in the home! Do you have a particular waste-free product that you love that I didn't feature? Please share in the comments! Otherwise, I hope you all find this helpful and can try some of the products yourselves!! Enjoy!
Bees Wrap: This stuff has been the best natural and reusable form of cling wrap we could find. To be honest, we don't use the bees wrap a ton (since we find a lot of use for jars, etc.), but it is really helpful for sealing bowls that don't have a lid, or my personal favorite: on half a watermelon. It is still a great investment for your home and will be my go-to cling wrap replacement.
Food Huggers: Ok I don't use the Bees Wrap a ton, because we are OBSESSED with food huggers in our house. There are constantly 2-3 in the rotation at at time, and we always have produce that could use a hug (i.e. half a lemon or a tomato chillin' in the fridge). I need to invest in the avocado shaped huggers STAT!
Stainless Steel Straws: I feel like stainless steel straws are old news, but I am still shocked when I see plastic straws in someones house! Plastic straws are the EASIEST swap to make since we use them so frequently. I'm not saying keep a straw on hand for when you're out at a bar (but if you do that is amazing), just be more conscious about your straw usage when you are at home at LEAST. If you feel weird using stainless steel, opt for silicone straws (see below).
Stasher Bags: I honestly couldn't tell you the last time I purchased Ziploc bags, and I am SO thrilled about that. I have made it a habit to use Mason jars, or these amazing Stasher bags as my Ziploc alternative. I know they are a little pricy for a silicone bag, but hear me out...these things are the best option I've been able to find. I've purchased less expensive reusable snack baggies, and they have either ripped, fallen apart or the "zipper" broke. Total bummer. These are totally worth the price and I KNOW you'll find plenty of use for them.
Reusable Produce Bags: Similar to the Ziploc, we do not put our produce in produce bags at the grocery store, unless they are compostable (even then, we usually just throw our produce in our basket). These are great to have on hand, and to leave in your canvas grocery bags! I keep some in the trunk of my car, to have on hand when I am purchasing smaller produce items from the store.
Wool Dryer Balls: Dryer sheets are one of those sneaky wasteful things, because we don't usually think much about them. Typically, traditional dryer sheets are made from polyester and are not recyclable. Not to mention, they are usually loaded with "fragrance" i.e. chemicals which are both harmful for you and the environment. I purchased wool dryer balls from Parachute Home which have been a great investment. There are also plenty of options on Etsy as well!
Reusable Makeup Remover Wipes: I've shared these AMAZING wipes before, but figured I'd throw them in here as well. I use these almost daily. Either for applying my FAVORITE witch hazel toner, or for removing makeup, they are great! Did I mention they are machine washable? Goodbye cotton rounds.
Glass Jars: This should be a NO BRAINER, but it's amazing to me how many people opt for plastic containers when storing food. We love using Mason jars, leftover Hex Ferments kraut jars, and jam jars! I do think the one exception to the rule is buying high-quality, thick reusable plastic containers that can be used for years. However, glass is always better when shopping for storage containers. Especially when they look cute!
Tips For Reducing Your Single-Use Plastic Waste:
Opt against buying produce that is stored in plastic: Some grocery stores have a tendency of wrapping EVERYTHING in plastic. Why bundle three zucchinis in plastic when they can just sit out on a display? I never understood that. Thankfully, some grocery stores are making more of an effort to provide plastic-free packaged produce, or even offer compostable produce bags.
Don’t use plastic produce bags: Speaking of compostable produce bags, skip the plastic ones! Even if a store offers compostable produce bags, I almost always have my produce rolling around in the bottom of my cart. The only exception to that is if I’m purchasing nuts or grains in bulk and forget my jar or reusable mesh produce bag.
Visit the Farmers Market: Visiting the farmers market for your produce is usually an easy way to both reduce your plastic use, and support local business owners. In the summer we like to hit the farmers market for our fresh produce, Sauerkraut and bread. YUM!
Buy in bulk: You pack your own jar/bag and choose the amount you purchase (hopefully helping eliminate food waste)!
NO PLASTIC BAGS: It infuriates me that stores like Target are still using plastic bags. I get they are convenient and cheap to make, but why not even OFFER a paper bag? If you can remember, bring your own reusable bag. I keep like 15 in my car.
Skip the straw: I know it’s easier said than done, but if you’re able to, skip the plastic straw. It frustrates me when bars and coffee shops immediately shove a plastic straw in your cup. Thankfully companies like Starbucks are doing what they can to reduce their non-recyclable materials from their stores (still using plastic…but at least its recyclable??)
Give yourself room to grow (and make mistakes): No one is perfect. We all screw up and produce trash. But by making small changes daily, you can hopefully reduce your personal trash footprint, and help educate others in the process. It’ll get easier as you go!