Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Reduce Your Use of Plastics

Over the past year, I've had one thought every time I throw plastic in the trash. "That _____ is going to be in a landfill FOREVER," I think. When you realize you're saying that about something every day, and then you hear a lot of municipalities are shutting down single stream recycling because China doesn't want our lazy, contaminated recyclables, and also take the time to think about how all that plastic is a petroleum product in the first place, well, it's time to look for better options. We've cut back on plastic in a major way this past year, and friends have asked for a list of our changes. Here you go! (Note, this blog does contain some referral links for which I am compensated if you make a purchase.)

#1 - No more disposable Swiffers. Yes, Swiffer dusters are great for pet hair. I really, really dislike using a broom for hair because it gets all tangled up and is just gross. But those disposable Swiffers are made of polyester (a coal and petroleum product) and are not biodegradable. I started crocheting a cotton version that works great!

#2 - We replaced shampoo bottles with Lush shampoo bars. The problem with bottled bath products is that you never quite get all the product out, and you could spend half an hour trying to rinse one out to recycle. So wasteful! Shampoo bars work every bit as good as liquid shampoo, last forever, and there is no waste at all. You buy it just like this in a paper bag at Lush (and they have metal, rust proof containers for storage).

#3 - We replaced nylon mesh poufs and shower gel with washcloths and homemade soap. Francis has even been selling his soap at the Heavy Anchor Farmers Market on Tuesdays! As for the nylon poufs, either they are disgusting or they are wasteful. Did you know you're supposed to replace them once a month? ACK. Once I heard that I was back to wash cloths.

#4 - We replaced our laundry detergent and dishwasher detergent with a Dropps subscription. That little pod on top of the box is plant based and dissolves in the washer! That whole cardboard box is 140 loads for $32 and it lasts us 4 months. The big bottle of detergent is 121 loads, supposedly, but that bottle has never EVER lasted me 4 whole months. Plus you will probably have a gummy patch somewhere near your washer from that dispenser cup no matter what you do. We have a Dropps subscription for laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dishwasher detergent.


#5. I learned about Woo Bamboo toothbrushes from Ibotta but I could not find them in any of our local stores, until we visited Fresh Thyme for the first time last weekend! Francis was the only one who really needed a new toothbrush, so he was the guinea pig. He says "it certainly is a toothbrush." What more do you need, really? Bamboo is a sustainable wood.

#6 - Little by little we are replacing our plastic food storage with Pyrex containers with silicone lids. Silicone is much more durable than plastic and can last a long, long time. Recycling it when it has reached the end of its life is trickier, but you can get a zero waste kitchen box from Terracycle

#7 - Eliminating sandwich bags is the trickiest of all, isn't it? This glass jar with a screw top lid is actually from a Jewelscent candle! You can also get reusable silicone sandwich bags from Stasher, and here are a few other food storage options. This is my most recent change in our house and it's a work in progress. 

Honorable Mention -  Single use plastic cutlery and straws. Ohhh the big debate right now with the straws. Look, I'm going to be honest. Stay at home mom with w drive thru addiction. The amount of straws that I could use in a year is so embarrassing. SHAMEFUL. My face is red.  OK I admit it, I lost my green glass straw (my "Starbucks venti straw") so I almost left this off the list, but I just ordered two new ones. No more excuses, no more laziness. (From me. That's no commentary on people who require a straw.) Simply Straws also has a great travel kit with bamboo cutlery and a glass straw, which we own and like, but we rarely eat at places that use plastic cutlery anymore.

Have you found other ways to reduce plastic in your house? I want to hear about it!


  1. This is awesome advice! I'm excited to try some of the things I'm not already using! Especially the shampoo bars!

  2. Typical liquid shampoos rely on unnatural synthetic ingredients that are added by the large companies that manufacture them en masse. Zero Waste Shampoo Bars