4 Easy Sustainable Swaps for Beginners
While we know that the main polluters of the planet are the large companies refusing to take action. That being said, we still need everyone to be aware of their impact on the environment and to take steps to reduce individual effects. This alongside campaigning for change to policy and global attitudes is how we’ll make a real difference.
So, you’re ready to get started with being more sustainable and eco friendly. Then you Google ways to be green and become overwhelmed with all of the options. This is where we started! It can be so daunting trying to begin going zero waste, we’re not all the way there yet either. What’s a good swap? How easy is it to maintain this new habit? Do you have to buy expensive products to get started?
We’ve done the beginner work and we’ve got these simple swaps you can make, that you’ll actually be able to stick to.
Swap cotton rounds for sustainable bamboo ones
If you’re someone that wears makeup or follows a skin care regime chances are you have seen cotton rounds in your bathroom. If you’re a big fan of makeup you’ve probably got an instagram worthy jar filled with them at this very moment.
You would be completely forgiven for thinking that these are cotton, made from plant fibers, they can’t be bad for the environment, right? The problem is that farming cotton and producing these products takes its toll on the planet. Chemicals from the manufacturing process pollutes rivers and damages wildlife. The other damage is the amount of water used to produce conventional cotton. About one kilogram, the size of a t-shirt, can take more than 20,000 litres of water to make. This is before you even consider that these cotton rounds come wrapped in plastic.
A simple swap you can make is to opt for reusable bamboo rounds. We love these ones from My Little Eco Shop. This set has 20 cotton rounds, comes with a bamboo wash bag and arrives quickly in sustainable packaging. You can use these and wash them again and again. We switched to these specific rounds a few months ago and we’re never going back.
Reusable face masks
Next time you’re in public, count the number of disposable masks lying around on the floor. On a recent walk we counted no less than 16 masks lying in the gutter! Not only is this dangerous for humans, these masks could be contaminated, they pose a real threat to wildlife. We’ve seen far too many reports of animals becoming entangled in the ear elastic and suffering the consequences.
If you can’t dispose of these masks correctly we suggest giving reusable masks a try. As of September 2020 the UK government is still recommending that we wear masks indoors and reusable masks will help to cut down on the waste generated while still keeping you safe.
That being said if you feel more comfortable with a disposable mask or you don’t feel you can properly disinfect a reusable mask then by all means continue as you are.
As always, check with your local authority for mask recommendations and regulations.
Reusable menstrual items
It has never been easier to make the switch to reusable period products. Next time you use a pad or a tampon pay attention to the amount of plastic wrapping you’re throwing away.
The wrapping, the applicators, the backings and then the pad or tampon itself has plastic in it! Then add up how many of these you use and send to landfill each month, then times it by 12 and then by the number of years you’ve had a period. The cost alone at this point will make you fall over before you consider the amount of plastic sent to landfill!
Reusable period products help the environment by being mostly plastic free and saving you money. We won’t lie there is an upfront cost, but once you’ve made that switch you’ll be able to reuse that product again and again without having to spend more money or worry about running out.
There really is something for everyone: pads, menstrual cups and period underwear are some of the best places to start. If you’re someone that has a period, we really recommend you looking into this. Most places even create a beginner kit so you can get started straight away and give these products a try.
Reusable food wrap and plastic bags.
We’re all trying to cut down on food waste An easy way to do this is to save leftovers and store produce correctly in your fridge. If you’re currently using cling film to seal leftovers you could end up going through a lot of plastic. It’s a sad fact that only 32% of all plastic is recycled, that’s up to 68% of plastic floating around the environment and more worryingly the oceans.
We suggest switching to reusable wax wrap to seal your leftovers and preserve foods. If you’re vegan there are now beeswax free wraps you can use so you can keep animal products out of your life. These aren’t vegan but we love using these ones from The Beeswax Wrap Co.
On a similar note, to cut down on plastic from sandwich bags you can find reusable bags that come in a variety of sizes and are perfect for carrying your sandwich to work or storing veggies in the fridge. It’s even easier than ever to have a plastic free kitchen.
Ultimately, whatever switch you can make right now will make a difference. The more of us that make these changes and show we don’t want single use plastics the more businesses have to adapt to meet consumer habits.
We do live in the real world though and we know that these things do cost money at the beginning to get set up. These items can be found for cheaper at local shops and online we’ve just recommended some ones that we know and love. Even if you can only do one of these things right now, it’s the perfect place to start becoming zero waste and being more eco.