Sustainable Swaps for Everyday Life

It is no secret that as human beings, we create e an immense amount of plastic waste. Using plastic products has become an almost essential part of our everyday lives. Whether it is making coffee in the morning or brushing our teeth before bed, every part of our day involves plastic. Trying to switch to a zero-waste lifestyle can be overwhelming. This guide breaks down some of the easiest ways to be more sustainable in your everyday life. 

Single-use plastic is a growing issue amongst plastic waste. The Plastics Oceans reported that out of the 300 million tons of plastic being produced every year, 50% is single-use plastic. This plastic is often just used for a few minutes, but stays on earth for thousands of years. Simple switches for products you use everyday can one day make a big difference. 

For many people, coffee is the biggest deciding factor in whether or not a day will be good. To gauge how people get their coffee, five people were surveyed. Out of the five people, three people use Keurig coffee makers with single K-cups. For each cup of coffee, one K-cup is used. These are small plastic cups that hold the coffee grounds. The best sustainable switch for Keurig K-cups are reusable K-cup pods. These are mesh pods that allow you to put in your own blend of coffee grounds. These can be found on Amazon and at Target and Walmart. A single pod can last up to four years. This may seem like a small switch, but it would cut down greatly on the amount of plastic waste. 

The next thing many people do after enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning is pack a lunch. Whether you are making a sandwich to eat later, or throwing together snacks to eat on the ride to work, plastic is involved. You may use plastic cling wrap to wrap up a sandwich, or small Ziploc bags to hold your snacks. An easy switch to these plastics are beeswax wrap. Beeswax wrap is exactly what it sounds like. The beeswax allows the material to stick together in any shape so that you are able to wrap sandwiches, cover bowls, or even turn them into snack bags.

Beeswax wrap can be harder to come by since it isn’t a very common grocery store item yet. Luckily, it is very easy to make your own. All you need is a piece of cotton fabric, jojoba oil, pine resin, and beeswax. These are all things that you can find at your local grocery store or health food store. Once you have all of your materials, throw them into the oven on a cooking sheet and then let it dry. These wraps are washable and can be reused for up to two years. Not only does this save the planet, but it also saves your wallet. If beeswax isn’t your thing, no worries! Reusable silicone snack bags can be found at almost any grocery store now. The only downside is that these are on the pricier side, and have to be produced in a factory, which increases the carbon footprint of the bag. Despite this, it is still a better alternative to single-use plastic bags. 

The kitchen isn’t the only place that single-use plastic is prevalent. The bathroom holds a plethora of different kinds of plastics that will soon end up in a landfill. These things include your toothbrush, soap, shampoo, conditioner, razor, and even your hairbrush. The first swap you can make is to trade in your toothbrush for either a bamboo toothbrush, or an electric toothbrush that would only need the head of it replaced. These are both good and cheap alternatives to the regular plastic toothbrush.

The next swap you can make in the bathroom are soap bars. It is easy to find hand soap and body wash in the form of a bar of soap. Placing these in a dry area will give them the same lifespan as the plastic items have. Shampoo and conditioner is also available in soap bars. These are harder to find and often aren’t at stores like Target and Walmart. If you google shampoo and conditioner bars, a variety of different brands show what you can buy. You are guaranteed to find some that you like. These are priced reasonably and do the same thing for your hair.

Razors are another product that add to the plastic graveyard in your bathroom. Replacing razors with traditional metal razors has become more and more common over the years. It is now very easy to find different brands of razors in stores such as Walmart and Target, that carry razors that only need the blades replaced. This saves a ton of money and a ton a plastic.

The last big switch you can make in your bathroom is your hairbrush or comb. Many hair brushes sold in stores today are made with plastic handles and plastic bristles. Not only do these plastic brushes and combs break easily and damage your hair, they also contribute to plastic waste. To be more sustainable you can search the web for ethically sourced wooden hair brushes and combs. These last way longer and also have a lot of positive effects for your hair and scalp health. All these swaps are affordable and help you do your part in taking care of the planet. 

After reading this, you may be eager to go out and buy new sustainable products and put them to use right away. Just remember to use up what you have first, and then you can use your new products. Don’t throw out perfectly fine shampoo and conditioner bottles just so you can use your soap bars. This may seem overwhelming but it is definitely worth it to start adding these things into your life. Plastic waste is consuming our planet, and it is our responsibility to do what we can to stop that.