When I first started living sustainably almost a year ago, I had NO idea how to start eliminating the unneeded waste in my life. EVERYTHING is wrapped in plastic it seems like. But I came across an interesting rule when reading the book Life Without Plastic. This rule is used for a lot of different aspects of living, but it can be used to reduce your waste as well. It's the 80/20 rule. For low waste living, 20% of what you do can reduce 80% of your waste.
If you are new to trying to live low waste, then this is a great place to start! Living sustainably can seem overwhelming, but with a few minor changes in your life, you can already begin to reduce 80% of your waste.
1. Have a reusable bag / produce bag in your purse
I never know when I need to stop by the store to pick up a few things, so it's always nice to have a canvas bags rolled into my purse just in case. This is good for buying clothes, books, any food I buy at the grocery store and well, anything else!
2. Bring your own bottle - Everywhere.
I can't even express how much plastic I have avoided by simply having a reusable water bottle with me. I obviously fill it with water places, but I'll also pay for a "drink" at places like Chipotle and I'll fill my bottle up instead of using their cups. No one has ever said anything or acted weird about it!
3. Use a bamboo toothbrush
Every toothbrush you have ever used exists somewhere on this planet. Luckily there are now bamboo toothbrushes that are compostable! The bristles are still BPA free bristles but can be taken out and recycled when finished.
4. Say "No thank you"
This is one of the habits I have formed over the last several months and has reduced my plastic use a ton. I say "No" to receipts, straws, and grocery bags.
5. Reusable straws or no straws at all
Yes, I'm one of those people that uses a straw for everything. I use stainless steel straws and have them in my backpack, purse, car, house- everywhere. You can purchase these straws on my site or there's a ton of other options on other websites.
6. Make your own cleaning supplies
It will always be the world's biggest fail to me that marketers were able to convince us that we need 1,000 different products to clean our house. I didn't realize that for almost every cleaning "product" I make I use vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils. All of my ingredients come from my local grocery store and have made so many cleaning supplies for my house. The best part is it has saved me a great amount of money and well, amber glass bottles are cuter than Windex.
7. Make or buy reusable cotton rounds for removing make up
I'm not a sewer/knitter, so I bought my cotton rounds. They're great and are another money saver! Plus those Neutrogena make up wipes aren't paper, they're plastic so that's pretty terrifying.
8. Use a reusable coffee cup
This is a great swap to make for Plastic Free July because you have something in your house that will work right now! Half the time I just put a mason jar in my back pack or purse and use that for my coffee at coffee shops. I did the math yesterday and I have saved about 450 plastic cups from entering the landfill so far simply by bringing my own cup to a coffee shop!
9. Find alternatives to plastic packaging while shopping
This doesn't work for everything, but there are plastic free options that you wouldn't necessarily see if you weren't looking. For example, before I started buying bulk peanut butter, I realized that at my WalMart they had several brands of peanut butter in glass and I didn't even realize it. I now buy cat litter in cardboard, spices in glass, bars of soap in paper, and my rice in cardboard. Some options are out there, you just have to look for them!
10. Bring your own cutlery
This is an easy one because it takes up no space. I have my bamboo cutlery in the side pocket of my backpack and use it all the time. My favorite restaurant uses plastic cutlery so it's nice that I always have my reusable set on me.
Plus you don't have to use cute bamboo cutlery either! You can put some silverware in your purse or car and it works the same. So this one is a free swap too.
Thanks for reading,
Impact for Good