Reducing plastic in your home – part II
In honor of Earth Day and South Orange River Day I wrote about how we can reduce plastic in our home on our grocery shop, which is one of the main ways we bring so much packaging into all our households. But there are also lots of other ways that you can reduce your plastic use and waste in your home.
Storage & Tableware
The way we store our food and use disposable tableware can typically use a lot of plastic. Here are some ideas to adapt your storage solutions:
- Use glass bottles to store tap water and other soft drinks in the fridge. They also look pretty on the table as well when you have guests to visit.
- Choose glass or stainless steel food storage containers, and reuse what you have.
- Use wax wrap instead of cling wrap, or use biodegradable cling wrap instead
- Don’t buy single use disposable plates and cups; melamine ones can be used for outdoor eating and indoors especially with kids and there are so many lovely designs out there to liven up your table. Also if you have to buy disposable, try and buy biodegradable items such as bamboo cutlery and tableware.
- Try and buy your food in bulk where you can and decant into pretty mason jars.
How much plastic do you have in your bathroom? When I look in my cabinet I cannot believe how many plastic bottles of lotions and potions are hidden away there. Use up what you have and then switch to products that you love and that use less plastic.
- Refillable bottles and dispensers are a great way to reduce plastic but also bring some color and texture to your bathroom
- Products that contain microbeads such as face and body scrub have been banned in some countries due to the beads getting into the water system. Avoid buying them and use natural products with salt or sugar instead.
- Use a facecloth instead of face wipes. Wipes are really clogging up sewage systems and even the biodegradable ones take a long time to break down. Protect your drains as well!
- Use bamboo toothbrushes which are biodegradable.
Clothing with natural fibers such as cotton, wool and linen are not only better for you because they are more environmentally friendly but they are also more breathable. Synthetic clothing can release hundreds of tiny microfibers into the water and air every time we run our washing machine or tumble dryer. If you do wash clothing made of synthetic materials here are some tips to lessen the damage the microfibers cause:
- Fill up your washing machine – creates less friction and fewer fibers are released
- Use a cold water setting – higher temperatures can damage clothes and release more fibers
- Consider switching to a liquid laundry soap. Laundry powder “scrubs” and loosens more microfibers.
- Dry spin clothes at low revs
Out and About
Of course when we leave our homes everyday we can also use less plastic, so when you are out and about:
- Don’t buy bottled water but buy a reusable drinking bottle and fill with tap water instead – make sure everyone in your household has one and keep spares for guests
- Carry a stainless steel travel mug or water bottle at all times for coffee and other drinks.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers and bags, and if you have to use ziplock bags – wash them an reuse.
Most of us already have a lot of plastic in our homes – don’t resign it straight to the recycling bin (not all plastic is recyclable). Use what you have until and replace items as needed. At first it is hard to get out of bad habits and make these changes in our homes, but if you swap out items one by one and encourage others to do so as well, you can really make a difference to the environment in your home and local community.
If you have any ideas about how to reduce plastic in your home, please share with us; we’d love to hear from you!
In the mood to read more? Check out these related posts: Spring Cleaning; Green Cleaning Products; Eco-Paint for your home; The Incredible Baster; Beekeeping in early spring; Reducing plastic in your home Part I