So today I figured I’d talk about something near and dear to my heart: little ways to be eco-friendly. There’s so many articles out there that discuss the standard ways to help reduce waste, such as reusable bags and coffee mugs; but as someone who really tries to cut down on their daily waste I figured I’d share some other tips I use that go above and beyond! I really hope I don’t have to explain to y’all why you should care about the environment, but if you really don’t, think of it this way: the less waste you produce, the less often you have to take your trash out! No matter what, it’s a win-win, really.
Step One: Invest in Reusable Bathroom Products
This one is a big one for me, as so many products we use daily in our life are disposable. Yes, it may save you a few minutes of time, but at what cost? These things pile up in our garbage, and produce loads of trash over time. One of my all-time-favourite products to use to avoid this is reusable makeup wipes! These towels are fantastic for a number of reasons. First of all, they remove your makeup with just water — no chemicals required! Just wet the towel, wipe off your makeup, wash the towel quickly after and your set. Another bonus is one of these towels can last for months — which leads to a whole lot of savings in the long run. Another similar product I’ve just recently started to try is reusable cotton pads. I haven’t used them for this purpose yet, but I’m pretty sure you could use these to remove your makeup too. I, however, love them for applying toner and other serums to my face. I go through cotton pads like crazy, so I’ve definitely noticed a drop in the amount of waste I produce since I’ve started using these!
Another one that I love, although not really a bathroom product, is reusable wool dryer balls! These relatively cheap wool balls help replace the need for disposable dryer sheets, which I used to go through like crazy. These things seriously last forever as well; I haven’t had to replace them since I bought them. There’s a little bonus too: you can simply leave them in your dryer and not even have to worry about throwing anything in before you dry your clothes, which makes life a bit simpler.
Something else to consider is compostable bathroom products. Plastics, such as toothbrushes, can make their way into the ocean and environment, and take years to break down (and may not ever completely disappear — as a lot of plastic products just break up into micro plastics). One way I love to reduce my plastic waste is with bamboo toothbrushes! This is by far one of the simplest ways to cut down on plastic, as it has no effect at all on your day-to-day life. Think about how many toothbrushes you go through in a lifetime — and how many you can stop from damaging the environment by choosing a more eco-friendly option.
Step Two: Reusable Kitchen Products
The next couple of tips I have are for reusable products in the kitchen! I’ll start with one you’ve probably heard of before: metal straws. There’s so many options out there, but the one I chose to link is the one I use. It’s compact and portable, making it easy to carry around with you daily. Not only that, but the package comes with a little cleaning device so you can clean it immediately after use! Many metal straws out there aren’t collapsable, making them a pain to carry around, but this one makes it easy to never use a plastic straw again!
Another great product I’ve come to love recently is reusable produce bags. These mesh bags completely eliminate the need for disposable plastic produce bags. They’re light, making it easy to carry them around when you’re planning to go grocery shopping. Disposable plastic produce bags have always been a huge pet peeve of mine, since you really can’t repurpose them for much else. Ever since I started using these, I’ve cut down so much on plastic waste! They really are so smart to carry around.
One last one I just purchased but haven’t had time to try out yet is Bee Kind Food Wrap! I just came across this in the grocery store and am super excited to try it! Not only is it supposed to be better than plastic wrap for so many reasons other than simply cutting down on plastic waste, but the company was founded by an alumna of my sorority. Currently, you can only buy them in store in British Columbia and Ontario, but they have an online store in case you don’t live in the area and were hoping to try them for yourself!
Step Three: Food and Eating Habits
Next up is a couple of tips I have in terms of your eating habits that can help out the environment daily. I’ll start with an easy one: buying non-perishable products in bulk! Not only is this often a much cheaper option, but it can be a waste-free one, too. Anything from pasta, to rice, to quinoa, to seeds, nuts and beans can easily be purchased in bulk at your grocery store! To help eliminate waste entirely, I often use the produce bags I mentioned above when I get the products, and then transfer them into glass jars like the one pictured above when I get home. There’s really no downside here: you get to help eliminate waste and save money while you do it!
Another thing you can try, while it is a lot more challenging, is going vegetarian or vegan. I’ve been a vegetarian since last August, and it’s improved my life in so many ways. There’s countless meal prep options out there to check out, so it honestly has made me eat a lot healthier since I started. On top of that, cutting out meat saves gallons of water and more every day. I’m not really an expert on all this, but I’ve found some info on just how much of an impact it can make here.
Now, I know this can be tricky for a lot of people, both for dietary reasons or just because you love meat. So I have a couple of suggestions if you’re not ready to take the full leap:
- Try a flexitarian diet. When I cook for myself, I make 100% vegetarian food and have not purchased or used meat in cooking since last August. However, it can be super hard to cut out entirely and I know personally I’d miss a lot of my favourite foods if I did that. So, what I do is when I eat out, if I want something with meat in it, I’ll get it. Yeah, people kind of tease me about being a “bad” vegetarian, but overall my meat consumption is down probably 95% from where it was last year, which is still better than nothing.
- Try being vegetarian just one day a week! It can help you transition into a more heavily plant-based diet, but even cutting out meat products for one day can still have a huge impact on the environment and the meat industry.
- If you still want to eat meat every day of the week, try to buy your products locally or from small farms. Huge mass-meat factories are nasty for so many reasons outside of the damage they do to the environment, so you’ll be doing yourself a favour anyways.
Step Four: Repurpose Old Items
Okay, one last tip for you guys. Something I love doing is reusing old items and making them new. If I ever get a product in packaging I love, I find a way to make use of it and eliminate the need to purchase a product that would have done the same job! My favourite two examples, pictured above, are my David’s Tea tins and old candles. The tiny golden tins David’s Tea packages individual tea samples in I found to be perfect for containing items such as earrings, necklaces, paper clips and elastics in a tidy and safe way. As for candles, I really love candles and have gone through enough of them in my life to repurpose them for just about anything — here you can see them holding my cotton swabs for when I mess up my makeup, but they also make great makeup brush/product holders, pen holders, containers for cotton balls/pads and more! It’s really up to you how you repurpose old products and make them new. But ultimately it’s a small but great way to help reduce a little waste, save a little money and dare I say have a little fun with decorating!
So, that’s it from me for now! I hope you all can find at least one tip in here to help you cut down on your daily waste, even if just a little bit. Cutting down on waste isn’t easy and is certainly not something you can change entirely overnight, but trying out a few of these hacks will hopefully help change your lifestyle a bit to help save our planet!