Sustainability in the Household
Updated: Oct 26, 2021
(THE DAVINCI-CHARLOTTESVILLE) - Have you ever stopped to think about how much single-use plastic you use in one day? Some items may be obvious, such as single-serve yogurt cups or plastic water bottles, but what else do you use that is adding unnecessary plastic to landfills? In this article, I will break down where you can replace single-use plastics with a more sustainable alternative, and shed light on the future of plastic alternatives.
Food packaging is a significant contributor to plastic in landfills. One way to cut your plastic use is to bring reusable water bottles and coffee thermoses with you during the day. This will allow you to avoid plastic bottles and the plastic-lined cups you get at a coffee shop. Another is to avoid getting take out that is delivered in plastic or styrofoam containers. If you do receive a solid plastic take out container, reuse it for packing lunch to go. These containers are designed to hold food, so putting to use is a great way to reduce plastic waste.
When going to the grocery store, you can reduce your plastic waste in two major ways. One, buy reusable cloth or mesh produce bags. Buying fresh produce sometimes requires you to use plastic bags to package each type of fruit or vegetable, and by using reusable bags you can cut your weekly plastic waste. And two, choose to use reusable grocery bags or canvas bags instead of using single use plastic bags to carry your groceries out to the car. If you don’t have your reusable bags on hand, using paper bags instead of plastic is always a more environmentally friendly move.
Laundry containers and packaging are other contributors to plastic waste in our households. Detergents and fabric softeners often come in large plastic jugs, however, many people may not think to recycle them. To recycle these containers, all you need to do is wash out any leftover detergent. One way to cut plastic waste when doing laundry is to use plastic-free laundry detergent strips. These strips are shipped in cardboard or paper envelopes. These sheets are lightweight, pre-measured, are super easy to use, and allow you to cut back on your single-use plastic footprint. Another contributor to plastic use when doing laundry is dryer sheets. The single-use nature of dryer sheets makes them less environmentally friendly. Luckily, you can replace single-use dryer sheets with reusable dryer balls, which are made from wool. Switching over to wool dryer balls will also save you money.
Another area where many can decrease plastic usage in is when cleaning. Think about it: so many cleaning products come in single-use plastic containers that do not often get recycled. One way to reduce the amount of containers you buy like this to make your own cleaning solution rather than buying one packaged in plastic. To make an easy cleaning spray, combine one part water and one part vinegar, then add essential oils or lemon juice to suit your taste. This cleaning solution is safe to use on most surfaces, including carpet and tile. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent, and can help prevent mold and kill bacteria. In addition to this, using a wooden cleaning brush rather than a plastic one is a way to reduce plastic waste.
I am not sponsored by any brand, these links are suggestions from personal experience. Here are links to places you can buy products I have mentioned in this article: