Recently, I’ve been evaluating how wasteful I am day to day, and what I can do to minimise the amount of damage my lifestyle inflicts on the environment. The more I’ve learned about the materials that feature in our everyday lives – from the plastic our food comes wrapped in, to the products we use to keep our homes clean – the more I’ve realised that so many things I rely on are simply not sustainable. The good news is that there are ways to co-exist with the planet and create less of a detrimental impact through minimising the daily waste you produce. Read on for 6 easy tips…
1 | Use a biodegradable toothbrush
The fact that normal plastic toothbrushes, which we probably go through 3-5 of a year, will linger in landfill year after year is truly shocking. With that sobering reality in mind, I decided to give a bamboo brush a go and picked up the Planet Loving toothbrush by PearlBar* on LoveLula. The brush, which PearlBar claims to be 100% biodegradable, has a handle made from sustainable bamboo and charcoal-infused bristles made from “eco-enhanced nylon”. While the bristles are much softer and feel less effective than their plastic counterparts, I haven’t noticed a negative effect on my dental health so am overall pleased with this brush. They do a “medium” strength brush with, I presume, harder bristles, so I’d be interested in giving that one a try.
NB If you’re vegan, make sure you double check that your bamboo brush does not have bristles made from pig’s hair!
2 | Give up single-use takeaway coffee cups
Disposable cups make me so sad you guys. Businesses don’t seem to care that millions of them end up in landfill every year; hell, they even release them seasonally in pretty, collectible designs to keep people coming back for more. I’d love to see the disposable cup head the same way as the plastic bag and carry a fee as a deterrent. Thankfully some places are catching on; Abokado and Department of Coffee and Social Affairs (which I’m lucky enough to have a branch of in my office building!) already offer discounts if you bring your own cup. In the meantime, why not purchase a stylish KeepCup? They come in loads of different designs, feature replaceable components and give you the option of making your hot drink at home and taking it with you on the go. You can read more of my thoughts on KeepCup here.
3 | Wash your clothes with soapnuts
If you’d told me a year ago that there was a way I could clean my clothes effectively and naturally while creating no waste at all, I wouldn’t have believed you. Then I found out about soapnuts, a dried fruit shell which acts as a detergent and is 100% vegan and chemical-free. Simply pop 5 or 6 soapnuts in a small canvas bag and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil (I use orange) and witness the miracle of nature! My clothes come out clean and fresh every time, and I’m no longer buying synthetic detergent in plastic packaging.
4 | Use steel straws
Summer might seem like a long way off (at least in this neck of the woods), but I’ve gotten in there early by ordering reusable straws. I love ordering iced coffees during the warmer months, but it can create a lot of waste in terms of single-use plastic straws. These stainless steel straws (which came with a nifty cleaning device) will come in handy for that, and I’ve already been using them for my morning smoothies and occasionally at bars.
5 | Consider the sustainability of your menstrual cycle
If you’re someone who menstruates, you’ll know that it can feel like you’re producing a lot of waste every time. Not only do a lot of tampons and sanitary towels contain unnatural materials, they also are not very environmentally friendly. What you use during your period is personal and I don’t want to be dictatorial; for full disclosure, I still sometimes use that dreaded tampon brand with their orange plastic applicators, because I never could get on board with applicator-free tampons. However, I invested in a Mooncup around two years ago, and am so glad I did. While it does take some getting used to, it has made my period more manageable on the whole and creates virtually no waste. There are so many different options for sustainable menstrual products out there, and I’d definitely recommend giving them a try.
6 | Quit your face wipe habit
Ahh, face wipes. A makeup remover staple for the chronically lazy. Going through a face wipe a day is pretty wasteful, so instead I’d suggest stocking up on a few muslin cloths for your skincare routine. With the help of a little warm water and cleanser, they are very effective in removing makeup, while gently exfoliating at the same time. Not only are face cloths much better for the environment, they’re far less expensive in the long term. Give them a try – your skin and the planet will thank you.
With the future of the environment up in the air, it’s our time to take responsibility for what we can and do our best to make a difference. Doing so can be cheap, easy and carry hidden benefits, so what have you got to lose?
If you have any tips on going zero waste, leave them in the comments!
*This post was not sponsored, but I did not have to pay for these products