It's no secret that the state of our environment is in danger these days. The stats are fairly scary and make me want to hide in a corner. However, I have made a conscious effort this year to reduce the waste in our home, reuse as much as I can and refrain from buying unnecessary things. Here are a few things I've completely cut out of our home this year, and some small changes which have made a great impact on our lives!
1. Paper Towels
This was an easy one to cut out. I was noticing we were hardly buying paper towels, and when we would run out we would do just fine without them. Ultimately, I just donated our paper towel holder and cut the stuff cold turkey. If there's a spill, we use tea towels. Are they all ragged and stained? Absolutely. But I'd rather have 10 ratchet tea towels than hundreds of single-use paper towels in my garbage!
2. Makeup Pads & Wipes
Kick it old school and use a washcloth. Much better results and way less impact on the environment. I also ordered THESE reusable makeup pads to remove nail polish and eye makeup. Simply throw in the wash and use time and time again.
3. Shampoo / Conditioner in bottles
You don't realize just how much plastic you use until you look around your shower and see the various bottles for shampoo, conditioner, leave-in treatments, body washes & scrubs. Typically I am pretty good with finishing what I have before purchasing new products, so when I finished my last bottle of shampoo I knew I wanted to try something different. I was introduced to the Unwrapped Life shampoo & conditioner bars through Instagram and immediately placed an order. I was a little skeptical at first but the reviews were promising! I am currently on my fourth order of these and let me tell you, I am not going back to plastic bottles ever again! I'm actually upset I did not discover these sooner.
4. Dryer sheets Again, this was a fairly easy swap out as I didn't really purchase dryer sheets on a regular basis. But as a new mom, I do a small load of laundry every day and need quick dry times. I made the switch to THESE wool dryer balls and they have been a total game-changer. I have specific ones I add essential oils to, for my bedsheets and towels. They are certainly an investment upfront, but they have dramatically cut down my drying times - saving both time and energy.
5. Plastic Scrubbing Sponges So often when our old Kitchen sponges go fowl, we throw them out without any second thought. Out of sight, out of mind. But a lot of the sponges on the market these days are plastic and will take years to break down. THESE walnut shell scour sponges are all-natural and actually work!
6. Tin Foil Gone are the days when you're scrambling around your kitchen, ready to roast some veggies but you're out of tin foil. I recently purchased THESE silicone mats and they have been a life-saver. They are insanely easy to wash and make the perfect gift for someone who has everything.
7. Produce bags Stop using plastic produce bags at the grocery store. Just stop it. And while I'm lecturing you, stop putting your bananas and oranges in these bags, too. They're already wrapped in their own skins! With so many mesh produce bags on the market, there just isn't a need for these plastic baggies anymore. So ditch the trash and make a conscious effort!
8. Request no plastic cutlery or napkins in your takeout order. This one is ridiculously easy to do. When you're placing your order online, simply request no napkins, plastic cutlery nor straws in the instructions of your order. Write it in caps lock if you must! If everyone did this, restaurants will clue in and start giving less and less.
9. All-Purpose cleaners. I didn't realize just how easy and effective making your own cleaning solutions was until I started doing it this year. Vinegar is my #1 go-to and I mix it with anything. Add in some essential oils, baking soda, and lemon juice and you've got the perfect bathroom cleaner! And best of all, no chemicals! I love the blog Clean Mama for simplified cleaning solutions!
10. Bottled water. This one boggles my mind. I absolutely cringe when I see people in line at the grocery store with cart full of cases of bottled water. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. We have the cleanest tap water at our disposal, free for our consumption and there are people out there literally paying for water?! I carry a Swell water bottle around everywhere I go. I prefer metal over plastic, as it keeps my water at the perfect temperature all day.
Are you ready to make these changes? I know some of them do require an investment up front, but they will pay themselves off in the long run! Tell me, what small changes have you made around your home to reduce your impact on the environment?
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Thank you so much for reading!