Small Changes You Can Make to Help the Environment: Part 2

Earlier in the year, I posted some easy environmentally friendly changes anyone can utilize to lessen their impact on the planet. I am happy to report that we successfully implemented each of those changes (if you missed that post, check it out HERE).

Now that Spring is finally here, I wanted to share five new ways to lessen your impact on the environment. Making small changes over time can make a huge difference.

Let’s jump right in!

Toothbrushes.

Did you know that nearly 4.8 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced each year? That’s a crazy amount of plastic, chemicals, and BPA’s just waiting to pollute our oceans. Plus, as recommended by the ADA, they should be replaced every 3 months. If you’re a family of four, it can add up pretty quickly. It’s a plastic waste nightmare waiting to happen!  It’s easy to keep that extra plastic out of a landfill.

A better option:

Bamboo Toothbrushes.

Bamboo is a great option. It’s more durable and healthier to use than plastic, and it’s stronger than wood. Bamboo is naturally anti-microbial so it helps keep bacteria at bay. Best of all, after it’s disposed of, bamboo will naturally decompose without releasing toxic chemicals as it breaks down.

Bamboo toothbrushes are becoming more popular and the options are increasing. Here are a few choices that we love!

I particularly like the brushes with charcoal bristles (which I linked below), but those can be a bit more rough. If you are new to bamboo toothbrushes, or have sensitive gums, I would suggest starting with a nylon bristle option first.

Face Rounds/Face Pads:

I don’t know about you, but I go through quite a few face rounds/face pads every night as I get ready for bed. My night-time routine looks a little like: One for taking off my makeup and another for any lingering eye makeup removal. Then one to wipe off the last traces of my face wash and to apply my toner before bed. Over time, this creates a lot of waste.

When I asked myself what some of the most used items in my bathroom were, these easily stuck out. I wanted to find a better option, but still something that was just as effective (and portable).

A better option:

Reuseable Face Rounds:

I was super pumped to find these bamboo-based face rounds online. I fell in love with them immediately. They are strong enough to do the job (aka remove that waterproof mascara) but gentle on my sensitive face. More importantly, they stood up to multiple washings in the washing machine. Bonus, they come with their own laundry bag! They also dried quickly so I didn’t need to worry about bacteria or mold growing.

So I recommend either of these options for a re-useable, more sustainable choice for makeup removal.

During the holidays, I searched for more reuseable face rounds for gifting. I planned to include the same re-useable rounds I loved in the beauty bags I was gifting my girlfriends.  However, during my search, I came across these amazing hemp face rounds. They sounded so good, I had to order them on Etsy! They are eco-friendly, machine washable, reuseable, and effective! They handled my makeup removal and product application perfectly!

Feminine Hygiene:

In keeping with the bathroom trend, let’s decrease our environmental impact in the feminine hygiene area. Over a lifetime, women use approximately 10 thousand tampons. That’s a huge number!

Hopefully you are already familiar with the studies and shocking components that make up the majority of womens’ feminine products. Things like chemicals, pesticides, chlorine, fragrances, etc.

Let’s start with the cotton crops. Often, pesticides and herbicides are sprayed over the cotton to ensure the crops are protected from insects or bugs and that the cotton can continue to grow.  Then, in order to actually produce the tampons, they add more chemicals to treat cotton and wood pulp. Bleach and similar chemicals are used to clean and prepare the raw materials to make the finished product.

If you think about it, each month you are putting a lot of chemicals and unnecessary ingredients ‘down there’ in a highly absorbent area. Further, the applicators are often made of plastic containing BPA which is yet another harmful chemical. These applicators do not get recycled and instead, you guessed it, end up in the landfill or the ocean.

Let’s increasing our feminine hygiene health while decreasing our environmental footprint.

A better option:

Organic cotton tampons with cardboard applicators.

If you really dislike a plastic applicator, there are several companies that offer a plant-derived plastic applicator for their organic tampons.

Another great options is a Menstrual Cup. These devices are made from medical grade silicone. They take a bit of time to get used to, but are really effective and provide excellent protection without unnecessary chemicals. Plus they are reuseable and can be easily cleaned and sanitized!

Now, let’s venture out of the bathroom and into the kitchen.

Produce Bags:

How many times do you reach for a little plastic produce bag while you are shopping? You know, the ones that are strategically placed throughout the fresh food section of the grocery store? I’ll admit, we used to bag each of our fruits and vegetables (by type). Our meat often got its own little plastic bag too.

Not anymore! Those bags are notoriously hard to recycle and while you can reuse them at home for some tasks, they really are not that durable.

A better option:

Reuseable Produce Bags:

In an effort to cut down on plastic use, we stopped bagging our produce at the grocery store. We already wash the fresh fruits and vegetables when we get home, so putting it in a bag seems rather redundant and wasteful. For those rare occasions when we want to bag something, we simply use our re-useable produce bags.

Here is the variety pack we ordered for durable, reuseable produce bags that meet all our grocery store needs!

This brings me to my final environmentally conscious choice.

Paper Towels.

You would be hard pressed to find a family that doesn’t love paper towels. We can be fairly messy and have gone though our fair share of paper products. As the new year started, I really pushed to reduce our paper waste. Much to everyone else’s horror, I started with the item we used the most, paper towels. For the sake of all the trees and the landfills, I am glad we made a change.

A better choice:

Cellulose Cloths:

In the quest to decrease paper towel consumption, we discovered re-useable cellulose cloths. If you aren’t familiar with Cellulose, it has amazing capabilities. These re-useable squares are highly absorbent. They can pick up 15 times their weight in water. Cellulose is naturally derived and dries quickly. To put it into perspective, one cloth does the work of 17 rolls of paper towels. Seventeen! That’s a lot of reduced waste! Plus, if you love them a little too much and need to send them on their way, they are compostable!

We have been using them for months and have yet to find a mess they cannot tackle. Give them a try today! You wont be disappointed.

Here are the ones we have:

I hope you enjoyed these tips for how to reducing your environmental impact as we head into Spring. Join me on the quest to make a difference in our planet and for our future.

I'd love to hear your thoughts!

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