Consumerism and commercialism run rampant in our society. Almost daily all of us are assaulted by multiple advertisements for so called “lifestyle” products promising to improve our quality of life and make everything magically better. In most cases these products aren’t really needed, and will produce additional waste, contributing to the growing number of landfills operating in America. Today we’ll address a few of those items and eco friendly swaps!
Air Freshening Products
In most cases, air fresheners don’t actually eliminate smells as much as they mask to help reduce them. Many come in aerosol cans that include multiple harsh chemicals that you truly don’t want in your home. Instead, try using materials that remove the odors! Try using jars or decorative boxes filled with baking soda and coffee beans to trap and neutralize odors. These boxes can be decorated with ribbons, twine, or photos and prints.
Most bottled waters are nothing more than filtered water. Instead, try using a metal or glass reusable water bottle and a filtered pitcher or, my choice, a Brita filtering water bottle These bottles will save many single use bottles from ending up in a landfill and provide you with hydration for many months if not years.
Many of us prefer straws to consume our favorite beverages, and often times plastic straws are the easiest to obtain. You just grab a few at whatever your guilty pleasure fast food place of choice is and can be set for a while, right? Well, there are better options. Instead, try using a collapsible stainless steel straw! These can be put on your keychain or purse and taken virtually anywhere. You might also love bamboo straws which are reusable, and ultimately biodegradable! They will help you enjoy your favorite beverage without producing waste that will find its way to the ocean and harm precious wildlife.
Paper napkins are often treated with chemicals that greatly increase the time frame of their biodegradation. Instead, try buying washable cloth napkins or making your own cloth napkins. These can help reduce a large amount of the waste a household produces.
Paper towels much like paper napkins are often treated with many harsh chemicals. Instead, try using washable cleaning cloths or microfiber towels that will last for years — and the cheaper the better. Cheaper washcloths tend to be rougher and more pilly – which works perfectly for cleaning! Do keep in mind that microfiber is less than ideal because these fabrics do still contribute to microplastic pollution. These towels are washable and absorbent, along with being non shedding which helps with cleaning glass or other surfaces.
Menstrual Tampons & Pads
Tampons and pads are the most widely used items for those who menstruate to manage their periods, but there are other, more sustainable (and healthy) options. Menstrual cups as well as menstrual discs are alternatives that are reusable and create much less waste than disposable tampons and pads. A menstrual cup averagely costs between $25-35 while the average cost of a years worth of tampons is $50. Menstrual cups can be washed and if properly maintained will last upwards of 10 years, yielding big savings.
These are just a few things you can replace the items you often buy with that after initial cost will not only help you produce less waste, but also save you money over time. Often we wonder through life forgetting the little things and the impact they can have on the Bigger picture of our lives and ecosystem. With a little conscious thought, we can help the world and ourselves!
Have a favorite swap I missed? Let me know!