1. Ditch single use grocery bags.
This is huge. Check out these stats from biologicaldiversity.org:
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture.
It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile.
The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.
Plastic bags take 1000+ years to break down.
The best solution to single use bags is not to buy reusable plastic bags. While that is certainly better, these bags are still plastic and not biodegradable. They will eventually end up in landfills. So the best alternatives are those made of cotton or hemp or other compostable material.
When my cotton bags get dirty, I simply throw them in the wash.
Alternatives to plastic bags:
2. Ditch plastic baggies.
Yes, they are so so convenient for snacks. But a great and reusable alternative are reusable silicone bags, and beeswax wraps.
Alternatives to plastic baggies:
3. Shop in bulk
Think about it- essentially everything you buy is packaged. That is a LOT of packaging. You can easily reduce this dramatically by shopping in bulk. Bonus points- you save money and have a very spiffy and tidy looking pantry!
For shopping in bulk, take your own mason jars and/or small cotton bags for things like nuts and legumes. Ask the merchant to weigh the jars and write the tar weight on the lid so you are not paying for the weight of the jar. Most stores will have no issue doing this.
If they do, just use the bags/containers they provide and reuse them for next time.
Google search for a bulk store in your area! Of course, many grocery stores have a bulk section, but you’ll really hit the jackpot if you can find a store dedicated to BULK!
Some of my favorite bulk items are:
Baking ingredients such as cocoa powder, flour & sugar.
Grains & legumes
Apple cider vinegar
Items for bulk shopping:
Eco bag produce bags
4. Make your own multi-purpose cleaner.
The truth is, you don’t need a different cleaning product for every crevice of your home! You can simply make your own multi-purpose cleaner to reduce money and waste.
(note: not for use on granite or marble countertops - the vinegar can damage the natural stone.. But it’s great for everything else!)
½ cup apple cider vinegar (I use this because I can get it in bulk- but you can use white vinegar as well. Both of these vinegars you can get in glass jars.)
2 cups water
25 drops essential oil of choice (I recommend you choose a citrus or green oil, such as, lemon, orange, tea tree, or eucalyptus. They are super fresh and antibacterial as well.)
Mix ingredients together and pour into a glass spray bottle. Use as needed. (You can grab some glass spray bottles here! Use code ROOTFORFOOD)
5. Switch to a safety razor.
Plastic disposable razors have a very short lifespan. Per the EPA, we throw away billions of razors every year. Where to these end up? Landfills and oceans never to decompose.
On the contrary, safety razors are meant to last a lifetime! Only the razor blades need to be recycled and unlike multi blade razors, standard double-edge safety razor blades are fully-recyclable.
Grab yours here! ( promo code ROOTFORFOOD)
6. Switch to a compostable toothbrush.
3.5 billion toothbrushes are sold every year. We can assume that the majority of these are not compostable or recycled. Need I say more?
Grab your own compostable toothbrush here. ( promo code ROOTFORFOOD)
7. Switch to a menstrual cup.
Ladies, how environmentally friendly are your periods?
It is estimated that over 45 billion products related to periods are thrown away every year. This includes tampons, pads and applicators. Sadly, the Ocean Conservancy collected nearly 30,000 used tampons and applicators on beaches in just a single day in 2015. When tampons are flushed, they can end up in sewer systems and waterways. When they are thrown away, they go to landfill. Plastic applicators take centuries to biodegrade- cardboard is a better alternative.
Pads are majority made of plastic and therefore, are not biodegradable.
As an alternative, menstrual cups take a bit to get use to, but once you go to one, you will never go back! Seriously- this thing has changed my period experience. Grab yours here. You'll want a size A if you’ve never had children and a size B if you have.
8. Switch to Plastic Free Skincare!
My absolute favorite skin care line is Primally Pure. Not only do they use glass jars, they take their sourcing very seriously with ethical and sustainable standards! You can listen to their esthetician talk about their company, their product, and holistic skin care here.
Not to mention, this stuff has changed my face.
My favorite items are: