Heading into a New Year is so exciting! There’s something thrilling about turning the calendar to a fresh page! So many possibilities lie ahead of us! It’s a chance to start fresh and who doesn’t love a clean slate?
One of my Resolutions this year is to become more aware of my environmental impact. I want to start doing a few things each month to reduce my overall impact!
By starting small and making sustainable changes, I really believe we can make a difference. By the end of the year, I want to look back and see that all these small changes and adjustments really are adding up and making a difference!
Real change (in any area of life) is lasting and possible when it consists of these two things: 1) is easy to add into your routine and 2) something you can adapt to quickly.
So having said that, here are the first five changes I am making this year to lessen my impact on the environment!
Let’s start with some easy adjustments that you may not even notice, but the Earth will!
1. Toss that Body Pouf/Bath Puff! You may not know this, but those things are breeding grounds for bacteria! They slough off dirt and dead skin cells, which get trapped in the mesh netting, and then hang around in a damp shower until the next use. That’s the perfect recipe for mold to grow. Yuck. These body poufs are made from plastic, and if you are replacing them as often as suggested (about once a month) that adds up to a lot of plastic waste in our landfills!
- Environmentally Friendly Swap: Try a Sea Sponge. Sea Sponge is a natural, biodegradable beauty product. They do a great job lathering and cleaning our bodies! Plus, turning a sea sponge into a shower-friendly exfoliator does not require any chemicals and produces significantly less waste than making a single plastic body pouf. The sponges are harvested in a way that allows them to re-grow without fear of over-harvesting or becoming endangered. Plus they lack a nervous system, so they do not feel any pain when being cut. It’s an easy swap to lessen the plastic burden on our landfills, improve your health, and keep you squeaky clean!
(If you don’t like the idea of using a sea sponge, just try a plain old washcloth that can be laundered and reused! You probably already have one of those in the linen closet!)
2. Upgrade Your Dental Care! Toss that traditional floss (and abandon those plastic flossers). Traditional floss is made form plastic and usually coated with chemicals to give it that glides-between-teeth characteristic. Plastic flossers have the same type of chemical-laden floss plus a plastic handle! They are all single use items and that adds up to a lot of plastic waste.
- Environmentally Friendly Swap: This year we are trading our traditional floss for a Water Pik. A Water Pik is an electronic flosser that uses water to do the flossing! It creates a powerful jet-stream to clean between teeth and under dental appliances/brackets etc. Its backed by the ADA and has been shown to be three times as effective as traditional dental floss and causes no waste! You simply use plain tap water to keep your teeth and gums healthy! Thats a win for you and the Environment!
There’s a Water Pik for everyone in the family! They are available in a variety of colors, a cordless option, and even an option for kids!
3. Just Say NO to Plastic Straws! Our culture is obsessed with single use disposable straws! Americans use them at a rate of about 500 million straws PER DAY. Thats a crazy number. While restaurants and some areas of the country are starting to do their part to reduce straw usage, it’s still a huge problem. Did anyone happen to catch the video of a marine team pulling a straw out of a sea turtles nose? It’s heart breaking that these (and other) beautiful animals are being affected by our senseless plastic consumption! Companies are struggling to find an acceptable alternative as they are beginning to realize the environmental impact plastic straws are having on our planet.
- Environmentally Friendly Swap: Reusable straws. Companies are scrambling to find a more environmentally friendly substitute to plastic. We now have paper straws and bamboo straws among other options. There are stainless steel straws, but if you are someone that likes to drink warm beverages or coffee through a straw, then a stainless straw may result in a burn or scald on the lips, as the metal transfers the heat of the drink to the lips of the drinker! Yikes!
In researching straw alternatives to use, I came across these silicone straws (the pictures are clickable). They are the exact ones we ordered to fulfill our non plastic straw needs! We ordered the regular size (on the left) for every day needs and the larger size (on the right) for thicker beverages, like smoothies and milk shakes! The silicone is pliable, so they fit into even the most narrow top or lid and the material doesn’t transfer heat, so no burned lips. Plus these sets even come with a tiny brush so you can properly clean them! So easy!
4. Improve Your Meals on the Go! Do you meal prep so you can grab and go in the morning? What about packing lunches for the kiddos? Disposable sandwich bags and plastic wrap are another area our family is targeting to reduce waste and decrease plastic consumption.
- Environmentally Friendly Swap: We have found durable and reusable baggies and containers for our daily needs. They are perfect for our morning muffins, sandwiches, afternoon snacks, etc. There is a reusable container in just about every size to fit almost any need! They clean up like a dream and are always ready for the next item to pack.
We found these fun reusable bags, containers, and beeswax wraps to make sure things stay fresh and help eliminate waste!
5. Single Use Batteries! This is probably the easiest and most no-brainer swap our family is making this year. Batteries are in almost everything! Yet most of us buy disposable batteries in a huge pack, store them in the fridge or in a drawer and never think about them until we need one. When our remote, toy, or bluetooth device won’t work anymore, the old batteries get thrown out (not the right way to dispose of them) and we put new ones in its place, and all is back to working order.
- Make the simple swap to rechargeable batteries. They can be used for anything that needs a battery. You simply charge them and they are ready to go! They can be used (and reused) hundreds of times! They create less waste, and take up less landfill space, because they aren’t thrown away. There are less chemicals found in rechargeable batteries when you compare them to regular single use batteries. Plus, they use less energy overall, because it is more efficient to recharge and reuse batteries than it is to make new ones. All you need are rechargeable batteries and a simple battery charger. You can even charge the batteries before you need them, so they are ready to go when you need a fresh one! Your devices won’t know the difference, but you’ll feel good about decreasing waste and helping the environment.
Like I mentioned at the start of this post, it’s all about making small changes and swaps that add up! I am starting with these five things and adding five new things each month (I’ll be sharing my changes with you)! It’s our goal as a family to make this year full of conscious, environmentally friendly choices.
Bonus swap: If you are still consuming bottled water, please, PLEASE treat yourself to a reusable bottle! This is a swap that I feel many of us made long ago, but if you haven’t joined the trend yet, now is the perfect time!! Let’s decrease the plastic on our beaches and in the ocean one straw, bottle, and piece of plastic at a time!
Leave a comment and let me know what you are planning to do to reduce your impact on the environment in the new year!