March 05, 2019 5 min read
We all know we should make “greener,” more sustainable choices in our homes. But sometimes it feels overwhelming like we don’t know where to start. I mean, sure, we’d all love to be zero waste (if only to take out less trash!), but getting started can be daunting.
So here are ten easy changes you can make in your house -- from products you can swap for greener options to places you can try shopping in your neighborhood -- to create less waste, live more intentionally, help the planet, and (bonus!) save some money.
Here is a list of things that we can do to help with starting sustainability practices. For me, breaking things down into little things I can try makes a huge difference. So I have 10 things you can do to help with sustainability and responsible use, and honestly, they work really well for a family to do together.
They aren’t long or cumbersome, and honestly a lot of them you can just do once. I like to do things once a month to have a focus for the whole month and that is doable for us. But maybe you guys want to do one of these a week or whatever…
1. Switch from plastic to glass containers.
Remember: You don’t have to jump into these all at once! Take one day at a time, change doesn’t happen overnight.
This doesn’t mean you throw away all your plastic containers and spend $6 million on new containers, but maybe it means getting one set of glass containers and rotating out the plastic ones. Not only is this helpful for the environment, it’s excellent for your health. Did you know that heating things up in plastic releases plastic into your food? (Which is bad.) So glass is good for the environment and very good for you. We love these from amazon.
One bar can replace 3 to 4 bottles of shampoo. Again this is excellent for the earth, but it is very good for your scalp and your health. Most shampoos are filled with plastics, petroleum-based products, and preservatives. All of those things are going right onto your scalp. Using a shampoo bar, you are not only nourishing your scalp, but you are keeping your head healthier as well as your body. (You can also snag our shampoo bar on amazon.)
Also, bars are a zero waste shampoo, since there’s no bottle to throw out when it’s done (and no awkward scooping/slapping out the last drops of product!). The last time you wash your hair, the shampoo bar just melts in your hands.
3. Shop at a secondhand store.
Instead of buying something new for clothing, see if there is something at your local Goodwill or thrift store. Good for your budget and good for the environment, you are helping things not end up in a landfill and hey you’re saving money.
Choose the kind of straw that you want: silicone or stainless steel. They can be long, or short, bent neck or straight… great options. Find the type that works best for you, if you’re not sure where to start, here is a great variety pack from amazon.
5. Start a compost pile in your back yard.
This doesn’t mean every single day you have to compost, or that this is your new life. But maybe after a meal prep where are you prepped a lot of veggies, instead of just throwing those out and put them in a container and that afternoon or the next morning put them in your garden. Good for your soil and again it doesn’t add to the trash. Eggshells and coffee are amazing for your soil. I love this video about composting your kitchen scraps-- super simple and easy.
Bonus points: Use your compost instead of buying fertilizer this spring, thenpat yourself on the back for thiszero waste lifestyle choice!
6. Try using Stasher bags instead of plastic ziplock bags.
I love that these Stasher bags can go right in the dishwasher, or in the oven, or in the microwave, or in the freezer… These are actually better than Ziploc bags in that and they’re good for the earth since they help avoid single plastic use. You can find stasher bags on amazonor on their website(where they also have great recipes!)
Bonus points: You can take these to the store and use them aszero waste produce bags instead of wrapping up your veggies in those single-use plastic bags.
7. Carry your own reusable water bottle or coffee mug.
It’s cheaper to fill up a water bottle at a water fountain than buying a new bottle of water. The same holds true for coffee -- if you bring your own reusable mug, most coffee places give free refills! Plus, that’s one less plastic water bottle or styrofoam cup in the landfill.
Also, if you forget your reusable bottle and you get a cup of water at a fast food place, keep refilling it. So even if something is intended to be a single-use cup, by reusing it you are upping its number of uses :-) Oh, and you can recycle it when you’re done.
Instead of having their artwork just on random pieces of paper (kids love to find computer paper and just use 600 sheets at a time) use a sketchbook so that it all stays together. This has been a game-changer for us because it seriously decreases the amount of paper we have all over our house, and all their stuff is together. Also, who doesn’t love a cute sketchbook? I pick them up at the Target Dollar Spot (usually $3) or at Micheal's for $5.
So, for example, our foot cream can be used for feet, or any dry skin, also for any topical relief (bug bites, scrapes, burns...etc. In fact, here is a post with 7 different ways to use our foot cream). Try having multiple needs met by one product. It's also available on Amazon.
Whether it’s leggings your kid put holes in the knee--cutting them off and making them into shorts. Or it could be doing crafts with old clothes… Did you know that socks make incredible dolls? :-) And we all have some single socks lying around, or maybe you have a dress that is too short and you want to convert it into a top. I love this youtube video of thrift store flips. So inspirational.
What are some other easy ways to incorporate zero waste living? Share your secret ninja hacks with me in the comments!
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