I have been seriously pondering my own sustainability practices during the pandemic, and I largely credit this to the fact that I have been working from home since March. Therefore, I have had the time to consider the ways in which I am unnecessarily wasteful. Here are a few things that I have implemented, or plan to try, to reduce, reuse, recycle and use fewer chemicals and chemical-laden products.
Use Eco-Friendly Bathroom Cleaners: Long ago I began using household cleaning products that contained fewer chemicals. Brands such as Ecover (Available from Thrive Market and Amazon), Seventh Generation (Available from Target, Thrive Market and Amazon), Dr. Bronner's (Available from Thrive Market, Target and Amazon), Method (Available from Target, Amazon and Walmart), Mrs. Meyer's (Available from Target, Amazon and CVS) and JR Watkins (Available from Target, Amazon and Walmart) are among my favorites. I find that it really makes a huge difference knowing that my bathroom is not necessarily filled with chemicals, and these brands make products that are effective. Therefore, I never feel as though I am sacrificing efficacy, and I don't have to worry that I am sending more chemicals into the ocean.
Switch your Towels, Rugs and Shower Curtains to Organic Cotton: 100% Organic Cotton is not filled with chemicals and it is easier on the environment and your skin. These items are widely available, and many are quite affordable. You can find them at Crate & Barrel, The Company Store, Amazon, Target and West Elm.
Eco-Friendly Skin, Hair and Body Refillable Sizes: Whenever possible purchase larger sizes or refillable bottles. Brands such as Rahua and L'Occitane have begun making refillable bags for some of their products, and it is much easier on the environment.
Recycle Every Bottle, Jar and Tube That You Can: The catch is that you have to clean them out well enough to ensure that they will actually get recycled. I use a dish pan filled with warm soapy water to clean out those containers– that way I am not wasting water in the process.
Washable Facial Pads Instead of Cotton Balls: I have not yet made this transition, but here are a few that I am considering: Reusable Cotton Rounds (from Amazon), Paula's Choice Reusable Cotton Rounds (from Paula's Choice) and WellBe Set of 7 Cosmetics Cloths (from Nordstrom). I really don't like the idea of so many cotton balls and pads making it into the landfill because of me, therefore this is a transition that I plan to make soon.
Eco-Friendly Cotton Swabs: I have yet to try these, but here is the one that I have been thinking about trying: LastSwab Basic is a reusable cotton swab that I have seen advertised online, and I am very curious to try one.
Switch to Metal Razors Rather Than Disposable Plastic Ones: Eco-friendly reliable razors are far more environmentally friendly than plastic disposables– even for travel. I made that switch a while ago, but found a lot of cool eco-friendly razors on Amazon, and plan to pick up one of them for my husband.
Waterpik instead of Floss, or Eco-Friendly Dental Floss: Waterpik Whitening Professional Water Flosser (WF-05 White) offers a teeth whitening component by simply placing the whitening tablets in the device one– enabling one to whitening their teeth while flossing. It is easy to use and it effectively flosses while whitening the teeth. It is the perfect device to consider if you are seeking healthier gums, whitened teeth and fresher breath, and you don't dump miles of used floss into the landfill. ($79.00- $99.00 from Walgreens, Target, Walmart and Kohl's). Waterpik Sidekick ($99.99 from Waterpik and Amazon): The Waterpik Sidekick is wonderful for traveling, and comes with its own travel case, but it is also wonderful for daily use, and its compact size makes it perfect for people with limited counter space.
Toothbrushes made From Recyclable Materials: Preserve makes affordable toothbrushes from recycled materials ($3.49 each from Amazon and Preserve), and they have a recycling program when you finish using your toothbrush. I have used many of their toothbrushes, and I like them a lot.
Switch to Organic Toilet Tissue: Pure Planet makes my favorite eco-friendly toilet paper (Available from Pure Planet Club). This is double-length 3-ply Tree-Free rolls feature 300 sheets per roll with 36 rolls per box. Their toilet tissue is 100% natural, plastic-free, plant-based, septic-safe, vegan-friendly, cruelty-free and BPA-free, making it the most guilt-free toilet tissue available. Made from renewable bamboo, so it’s recyclable, biodegradable and sustainable.
Replace Your Lightbulbs with LED Bulbs: LED bulbs are more energy efficient and they are quite easy to find. Amazon has a large selection of them, and I have had really good luck ordering from them.
Replace Plastic Shower Liners with PVC-Free Versions: I ordered mine PEVA Shower Curtain from Amazon, and have been quite happy with it. One of our bathrooms has a glass shower enclosure, which is preferable to replaceable liners, but our other bathroom requires a shower curtain instead. So unless we end up adding a glass enclosure in that bathroom, I will continue to order PVC-Free liners when I need to replace them.
Call the Plumber if You Have Leaky Fixtures: We had a leaky faucet and a running toilet, and it is shocking how much water it wastes. Those are simple fixes for a plumber and it will not only be a more sustainable choice, but you will also save a lot on your water bill.
Overall Assessment: Small changes make a big difference over time, and I am really happy that I have made these changes. Have you begun to make eco-friendly changes in your household? If so, how?
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