Five easy ways to swap single use for sustainable
03 September, 2021
When you’re on your sustainability journey, it’s all about making small changes to create big ones. Focusing on single-use items is one of the best places to start. Since we’re all well versed in reusable bags by now, it’s time to focus on the other areas we can reduce our waste. Here are our five favourite single-use swaps!
Did you know that, in the United States alone, one billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every single year – that’s 50 million pounds of plastic waste. Imagine how many are tossed out globally?! While you obviously can’t go without this essential, there are thankfully some sustainable swaps you can try to make your dental hygiene habits a lot more sustainable. For one, why not opt for a bamboo, silicone or biodegradable alternative? Failing that, you could switch to an electric toothbrush – ideally, a non-plastic one – to ensure your toothbrush lives a longer life.
Did you know that (pre-COVID, at least) some restaurants will let you bring your own containers in for takeaway? It certainly goes against the norm and can mean rocking up a little earlier to pick up your food, but if you can remember to ask the staff at the restaurant if it’s something they can offer when you place your order, it can save a lot of plastic. Better yet, if restaurants realise this is something that customers want, they’ll be more likely to implement their own policies moving forward. Win, win!
One sneaky way to create a lot of plastic waste is by purchasing processed foods – more often than not, they come wrapped in loads of plastic packaging. While it’s important to dispose of these soft plastics properly when they do come into your life, the goal should be to reduce before you opt to recycle. Lucky, whole foods are seriously good for your family, anyway! Try shopping at your local farmers’ market or trying to recreate your children’s favourite snacks yourself. And, when you do need to buy pre-packaged foods, try to find versions with recycled packaging to send a message to manufacturers that they’re on the right track.
Thanks to their toxic contents, finding a way to give a second life to your cleaning products can be tricky. Instead, why not choose a refillable option that allows you to reuse the bottle time and time again? Plenty of companies offer these kinds of services – first you buy the bottles, then receive pouches of dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent or antibacterial spray whenever you need a refill. It’s so easy! On the flipside, you could try to make your own natural versions of your favourite cleaning products (like these recipes for all-purpose cleaners)
The fifth and final place you can start to become more sustainable is your food storage. Whether you’re wrapping up leftovers or packing snacks for a day out with your family, for decades we have turned to single-use options. Nowadays, there are much more sustainable options on the market! If you need to cover a bowl or plate to put into the fridge, beeswax wraps are a great solution to cling film (you can even make your own). For snack storage, we love the wide variety of plastic-free, reusable snack pouches and containers on the market.
Can you think of other sustainable swaps you could make in your day-to-day life?
Enjoy some of our favourite sustainable tips, arts and crafts, and more ways that you can help the planet in your own home, here!