8 Products To Help Reduce Your Single Use Waste
Living a sustainable, eco friendly, and low-waste lifestyle in a world that is filled with disposables every place you turn.... is not that easy! Being prepared and having a few reusable essentials on me [at almost all times] has helped me significantly reduce my single use waste. This post is not sponsored, its merely some of my favorites that I hope can become some of your favorites-- or remind you of something you already have that fulfills the same role!
1. Reusuable Straw [mine are from Hummingbird Glass Straws]
Reusable straws come in a variety of materials including glass, metal, bamboo, a thick reusable plastic, and silicone [which is a great option for those with disabilities]. They take up relatively no room in your bag. Keeping one or two of these on hand with me at all times has helped me refuse using a single use straw hundreds of times. The bad thing about straws is that they aren't recyclable. If you forget your reusable cup, you can at least recycle it. There's no "better" way to dispose of a single use plastic straw. I love glass straws the most, but all of the options listed above are wonderful! And if you have to use a single use straw, opt for one made of paper.
2. Straw Sleeve [mine is from StrawSleeves on Etsy]
#1 and #2 go hand in hand because I'm sure once you buy your reusable straw you're going to be wondering how you can bring it around with you without it getting dirty [don't throw it in a plastic bag!]. Straw sleeves are awesome little fabric cases to protect your reusable straw. Mine's made from reclaimed denim, which makes it even cooler [right?!]. Pro tip: stick two straws in your straw sleeve so that you can offer one to a friend when you grab some iced coffees together!
3. Reusable Cutlery [mine is from To-Go Ware]
I've heard two stories: 1. Plastic utensils aren't recyclable so don't put them in the bin. 2. It's not cost effective to recycle plastic utensils so most recycling plants refuse them anyway. Either way, bringing your own is easy and reduces your use of single use plastic. The phrase goes "REDUCE, reuse, recycle" because that is the order you should follow. I love To-Go Ware because all of the bamboo utensils come in a cute case to keep them all together and clean. The case is made from recycled bottles too! I keep a set of these in my car glove compartment and a set in my handbag.
4. Reusable Water Bottle [mine's from Yuhme]
Plastic water bottles are a huge offender in the world of single use plastics. How easy is it to go thru half a case or MORE of water bottles in a single day?! Carrying a reusable water bottle with me has helped me to stop buying [zillions.... okay, maybe thousands] of water bottles, and I've ended up saving money in the long run. Unfortunate truth: I used to drink from single use plastic water bottles everyday, for over two decades of my life. I would buy them by the case, in BULK! I've been using my Yuhme water bottle for over a year. Prior to purchasing this bottle, I had a different reusable bottle that I gifted to a friend! Yuhme water bottles are made from sugarcane [so cool!] and purchasing one helps them provide clean water to those in need.
5. Reusable Coffee Cup [mine is from Stojo]
Did you know that disposable coffee cups are made from paper with a plastic lining that makes them extremely hard to recycle? It's estimated that OVER 2.5 billion coffee cups are thrown away each year. Think about those long lines at the coffee store where you see numerous humans walk out with multiple cups every hour!! Coffee cups were a difficult one for me to ditch... until I met Stojo. I so often would forget my reusable coffee mug, or it would be in the dish washer, or a thousand other excuses as to why I didn't have it on me. I found myself in the constant moral dilemma of "I really want coffee/tea but I forgot my reusable mug." I hated feeling like I had to restrict myself from enjoying parts of my day that I love [mid-afternoon latte on a cold winter day!]. But I also hated that I would have to use a disposable cup to enjoy that luxury. The Stojo cups are collapsable and take up such a small amount of space. It folds down to be the size of the lid, about 1-ish inches in width, and weighs hardly anything. I keep it at the bottom of my handbag, and since I've bought it, I've had peace of mind that I always have a reusable coffee cup with me and can enjoy a warm beverage without hurting out planet. Thanks, Stojo!
6. Reusable Zip Lock Plastic Bag [mine are from Stasher]
How many different times a day do you reach for a disposable bag? To carry something that might leak, to store open food, to organize your pantry, to organize your desk drawer, to freeze fruit in [anyone love frozen grapes?!]... there's a ton of reasons why sealable plastic bags come in handy. Ditch the single use plastic bags for reusable, sealable silicone bags. I've seen other ones on the market, but Stasher bags are the best [in my opinion... they stay closed, are sturdy, seam to be impossible to rip!]. The upfront cost is more [like many zero waste items], but you only have to buy them once and then you will have them forever! I've had mine for almost two years and they're as good as new.
7. Reusable Bag/Tote [mine is from Remember Me Green]
Going to the farmers market, the library, the grocery store, picking up a few items at the drug store-- most of these places will package the items you're buying in a single use plastic bag to carry them home with you. Bringing your own bag is one of the original and most commonly used zero waste initiatives that I personally see tons of people doing [so awesome!]. I keep a few in the trunk of my car so they're always on me. My reusable bag is from Remember Me Green. They make their bags out of repurposed NYC billboards [eco friendly win!] and they're large enough and sturdy enough to hold everything and anything!
8. Reusable Facial Rounds [mine are from Marley's Monsters]
How many of us use disposable make up removers or facial rounds to cleanse our faces?! I used to use multiple make up remover wipes everyday PLUS cotton rounds to apply my toner. When becoming more eco-conscious, I swapped to organic cotton rounds and a micellar water to remove my make up. Then I discovered Marley's Monsters and have been using these bamboo facial rounds ever since. They feel so soft and luxurious on your face, and they last a really long time! Warning: if you wear a lot of black make up, they may get slightly stained, but I would suggest avoiding bleach-- you don't want that near your face and it's not eco friendly either. I just accept that some new "black designs" on them after numerous uses. They still work just as well!