As a consumer it is difficult to get away from plastic, it
really is everywhere. My family is trying to slowly find alternatives to
plastic, some things are easy, others not so much.
The objective is to reduce the amount of plastic coming into
our house, whether or not it is recyclable is not the issue – it’s not enough.
We need to reduce, reduce, reduce.
I’ll start with the two main rooms in the house and
highlight little things that are easy to do.
- Bread – we go through at least 3 loaves of bread
a week, and it all comes in plastic bags. The 3 loaf packs you buy at Costco
also come with yet another bag around the 3 bags. The only alternative I’ve
found is making my own bread or buying it from a local bakery that uses a paper
bag or a bag you bring them. Making your own bread is really not hard – I was
shocked how easy it was. It just takes time since it has to sit and bubble for
hours as the yeast works, so plan it out if you want to try it. Search no kneed
bread online and you will find dozens of recipes and videos.
- Kitchen sponges – these little guys are the
worst – you go through tons of them. Instead purchase reusable clothes or make
your own like my mother in law did for us, she simply knits little squares and
they work perfectly. They get a little smelly after a few days but as long as
you ensure they dry after use and you wash them frequently it’s not a big deal.
For a scrubber, I bought a biodegradable one for 6$ but I find it very stiff –
so I made my own brillo pad by saving the plastic netting that avocados or
citrus come in and then rolling them all into one, tying it at the end. It
works really well!
- Yogurt – those tiny yogurt drink bottles or even
the basic individual yogurt containers drive me crazy. Kids of course love them
but they are horrible for plastic, and sugar! I make my own yogurt drinks for
my kids but simply adding milk to yogurt, not rocket science. I also tend to
only buy plain yogurt of a higher fat content and sweeten ourselves with maple
syrup, I’m still using plastic but the big yogurt containers are pretty easy to
reuse and we don’t go through as much of it when it’s a bit of a procedure to
make a snack. It all goes in school lunches in a reusable thermos every day.
- Produce bags – Please, if there is one thing you
can do at home it’s to please stop putting everything in a plastic produce bag.
Anything in it’s own natural wrapper such as oranges or potatoes do not need a
plastic bag. You can buy or make reusable ones or simply not use them, just think
about it before you tear that bag off. Sometimes you need it for meat, I get
that, but just think before you tear. And bring leave your reusable shopping
bags in your car, that way you won’t forget them every time like my husband
- Shampoo is a hard one – I have recently
purchased a few different shampoo bars and am trying them. They work great on
the kids hair but not so much on mine. You can refill your shampoo bottles at
certain no waste grocery stores, however this can be costly if you are on a
budget. You can also make your own out of apply cider vinegar but that one
doesn’t seem that appealing to me! So this one is still in transition, but the
shampoo bars are only about 2$ online and you can order a bunch and use on kids
hair very easily.
- Soap – this one is so obvious it pains me to see
the aisles of body wash in the drug store. You know you can buy soap for a
quarter of the price of that plastic bottle right? It’s the easiest transition
to make. For hand soap I purchased a large bottle of castile soap and simply
refill the soap dispenser along with the recommended water and it’s great! Much
less expensive too.
- Razors – I have to confess I haven’t actually
stopped using plastic razors yet simply because I still have about 40 of them
from various mega pack purchases over the years. But, I promise to NEVER buy
another plastic razor and instead buy only blades to refill the razors we
already have that need blades replaced. I swear I will do this.
- Teeth – I wish the dentist didn’t keep giving me
free toothbrushes with floss and dental pics all in a little plastic bag, I
have asked them not to but they are still giving to their other 100 customers a
day. There are great alternatives, you just need to know where to find them.
I’ve seen them at natural/no waste food stores and also online – bamboo
toothbrushes and silk floss. They aren’t much more than their plastic
counterparts. Toothpaste is hard one, I haven’t seen alternatives for that
packaging unless you make your own, which is an option, just not for my family
with receding gums and picky kids.
- Feminine hygiene products – obviously this one
is a necessity. Everyone is pretty much given a free pass here since it is
whatever you are comfortable with, but please investigate reusable pads and leakproof
underwear, it’s come so far so fast and you can not really justify a plastic
pad, wrapped in an individual plastic wrapper anymore.
- Deodorant – you can actually purchase all
natural deodorant with a reusable dispenser online, but only in the US. This is
the next product on my investigation list – I haven’t really found alternatives
stinky teenage boys would use outside of the standard plastic ones at the drug
store. To be continued…
Whatever you do just do something – small things do matter.