After realising how common plastics and other single use items have become in our daily routine, it is difficult to justify using certain items.
Here is a list of 10 reusable swaps that will help reduce your waste:
1. Plastic Bags to Reusable Bags
5 trillion plastic bags will have been consumed in 2018. Depending on where you live, supermarkets and stores still give out free plastic bags to pack your groceries in.
Typically, they are made of cotton, jute or a cotton and jute mix.
We keep our large reusable grocery bags in our car and I fold up a smaller cotton bag and keep it in my handbag in case it comes in handy.
2. Plastic Water Bottle to Reusable Bottles
Admittedly, this is a lot easier when living in a region where tap water is clean and drinkable.
A stainless steel water bottle – Chilly’s Bottles are a good alternative. It keeps drinks cold/hot for up to 12 hours, this has been extremely useful living in a hot desert climate.
Please note that your health and safety should not be compromised for the sake of being zero waste.
3. Disposable Coffee/Tea Cups to Reusable Ones
99.75% of disposable cups, in the UK which has facilities to recycle these, are not recycled and most to-go coffee/tea cups are lined with plastic, which allows it to hold the liquid in the first place.
- Trying making your coffee or tea at home and putting it in a good ole thermos you found at home
- KeepCups are a popular option (I do not drink coffee or tea on the go, so I have never used one)
5. Plastic Toothbrush to an (almost) Compostable Toothbrush Made of Bamboo
According to my dentist, I should change toothbrush at least every three months, amounting to using a minimum of 4 a year. It’s horrifying to think that every toothbrush I have ever used is somewhere in a landfill or polluting our waterways.
For the past two years now, I have been using Environmental Toothbrush. The bristles are not compostable but I simply pull mine out with pliers and put the rest to compost. it’s better than nothing at all!
5. Bottled Shampoo/Conditioner/Soaps/Deodorants to Package-Free Bars
Why I made the change is pretty. self explanatory, no? I have not made the transition to not using shampoo at all, yet. All of these can be bought at Lush.
The solid bar shampoo I use now is from Manège Botanique – handemade in France with no sulphates, parabens, palm oil or phthalates.
6. Plastic Bags to Weigh your Produce to Cotton Ones
Pretty self explanatory again.
I purchased some at my local Coop, but before this I used old pillow cases. This was slightly problematic because they were not see through but in most cases they were okay to use.
7. Disposable Razor to Safety Razors
Again, if this is something you will use almost everyday or multiple times a week, why is it disposable in the first place? These razors used to be a thing of the past but recently there has been a spike in usage. They give a cleaner, fresher cut as well.
Rather than buying a brand new one, I now use my dad’s old one.
8. Plastic Straws/Stirrers to Reusable Straws
These are one of the top five items found polluting beaches and ingested by marine life. If we will only use it for around 10 minutes, why is it made of a material that will last forever? Sometimes, we’re even given two for one drink…
There most common types of reusable straws are bamboo, glass and stainless steel.
I use a stainless steel straw, bought at my local zero waste store and it has been quite the conversation piece at bars! It is usually kept in my handbag and cleaned with a pipe cleaner.
Recently, I have also seen bars and restaurants get creative by using pasta as stirrers or straws or even chopsticks.
9. Tampons to Menstrual Cup
If you menstruate, think about every tampon you have ever used, these have all gone straight to landfill. As if this image is not repulsive enough – I have come across used ones that made their way to the ocean. Ew?!
A menstrual cup is a reusable and healthier option. I’ve been using a Mooncup since Sept 2014.
(Reusable pads are also an option, but I have never used one so I cannot have an opinion.)
10. Plastic Cutlery to Metal or Bamboo Cutlery
I usually keep a set of cutlery I took from my kitchen at my desk at work and in the car. Some find these heavy and would rather buy lighter reusable bamboo cutlery instead – whichever works best for you!