I’ve learnt from my own experience that trying to live a more conscious and sustainable lifestyle can be quite overwhelming at first. What’s important here is to slowly incorporate more and more sustainable option in your day-to-do life, rather than trying to go vegan, be entirely plastic-free and a minimalist all at once. For some of you this radical change will work, but me and maybe a few others rather take it slow. My point being that we should all make changes, in whether way is most suitable for us, as long as we are in for the long run. Veganism, sustainability and consciously living aren’t just trends right now. In order to act against climate change, plastic-pollution and the extinction of various sea-animals and mammals we have to be consistent with our choices, which means that we have to consciously decide ourselves for the plastic-free option every single day.
In this post I’m focusing on reducing plastic-waste with just five easy and affordable swaps that won’t have a huge impact on your personal life, but will make a huge difference for our planet.
More than 1 billion toothbrushes are thrown away per year in the US alone, a huge amount of which lands in the ocean, where it endangers turtles, dolphins and many other sea-animals. Plastic toothbrushes are technically undestroyable, since they aren’t biodegradable, cannot be burnt and are hardly ever recycled.
This problem can be solved quite easily, though. Many companies now offer toothbrushes made of bamboo. Those are vegan, cruelty-free and come in 100% recycled and recyclable packaging. The alternative brushes also come in various colors and offer a variety of different bristles.
At the moment I’m using the Humble Brush from The Humble, a Swedish company that produces eco-friendly and socially responsible toothbrushes, toothpastes, chewing gum and cotton buds. I leave a link for you to check them out here.
Another brand I would highly recommend is Hydrophil. The company is based in Germany and offers vegan, sustainable and water-neutral hygiene products. Here is the link to their website.
Reusable water bottles
We all know the struggle of being out and about and once again having to buy some water in a bottle, which we quickly empty and then dispose in one of those bins on the street (or even throw into landfill).
Not only is that a rather expensive habit, it’s also very dangerous for the environment. Plastic water bottles are usually only used once and since they are mostly thrown away on the go their recycling rate is rather low.
To work against that you could get yourself a pretty reusable water bottle made of stainless steal.
Chilly’s Bottles offers such bottles in various seizes and designs along with coffee-cups and food pots.
My bottle was gifted to me and is from a brand called savedbygrace.
Once you got hold of such a bottle just make sure to always bring it with you. In order to not forget to fill it up before you leave the house you could place it somewhere you’re bound to come across in the morning, for example next to your car-keys, your coffee-machine,…
Keep-cups and thermos bottles
A coffee-to-go is often a life-saver in between meetings or long car-rides. The cups it is served in are one of the trickiest products to recycle. Most coffee-to-go cups are made of some kind of foam or cardboard which is lined with plastic on the inside to prevent the cup from soaking up the liquid. That is obviously convenient, yet impossible to recycle, which means the most sustainable option is to just stop using these cups althogehter. Which of course doesn’t mean you can’t have your coffee-to-go anymore, because that would be really rough. All you need to do is to invest in a biodegradable, reusable keep-cup made of bamboo or glas. Those cups work just as well as the traditional coffee-to-go cups, only you can use them time and time again. And they mostly are dishwasher-save so that’s a plus as well.
Once you got such a cup, e.g. from Chilly’s Bottles or KeepCup, all you have to do is to bring your cup along with your to your preferred coffee-shop and ask the barista to kindly put your order in your reusable cup. Apparently, some coffee-shops in the UK even offer discounts for those who bring their own cup, which allows you to actually save money, while saving the planet.
But if you want to take it one step further and save even more money, you could always fill up one of those thermos bottles at home and take it with you. Good thermos bottles will keep your drink warm for up to 12 hours, so that should have you covered as well. You can grab your’s.
Recyclable, unbleached toilet paper and kitchen roll
The production of hygiene-paper requires a lot of chemicals, which cause pollution in water and landfill as well as deforestation in a lot of areas. Therefore, using recycled, recyclable and unbleached hygiene-paper is the more eco-friendly option here. I leave links to brands that offer those brands here for you: Seventhgeneration, Sustainablesupply
Last but not least, please use reusable cutlery. Many of us need to grab some food on the go and a daily or weekly basis, which is more often than not served with plastic cutlery. You can reduce the plastic-waste caused by that easily by investing in one or two sets of stainless steel or bamboo cutlery, which you carry around with you.
If you like to drink with a straw, please get a metal or bamboo one. Plastic straws are super dangerous for sea-animal and since there are great alternatives, not really necessary.
And then, there are those plastic containers in which take-away food is served in. That waste can be prevented if you simply bring your own, reusable container and ask to put the food in there.
So there you have it, those are five sustainable swaps for starting your journey into sustainability and consciously living.
Please make sure to not be too hard on yourself. We still live in a world where plastic-consumption is the norm and sometimes a lot more convenient than plastic-free alternatives. It is therefore totally fine to make some mistakes, just don’t beat yourself up about it. Acknowledge the mistake and try to come up with a way to make it better next time. That way you’ll slowly get better and better in reducing your plastic-waste.
I hope you found this post informative and helpful and if you have any recommendations for me please leave them in the comments down below.