22 Single Use Items That You Can Ditch
There are so many single use items that we (myself included!) use on a regular basis without even thinking about it... plastic bags, Styrofoam cups, plastic utensils... the list could go on and on! While these items may add some convenience to our lives, they have an extremely negative effect on our health and environment and are honestly - when we stop to think about - quite wasteful. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by all of the waste that society is causing, I want to encourage you to take a deep breath and start where you are and to do what you can. Change occurs when collectively we begin to make different choices in the way we live and in the actions that we take. Below is a list of 22 single use item that you can start to shed from your life. They are things that I personally found were no longer serving me and that were defiantly not serving the planet, and so, I slowly started swapping them out for more sustainable options. For example, instead of using so many paper towels, I now use dishtowels. Instead of using to-go cups when I'm out and about I do my very best to remember to bring my reusable thermos. It's things like this that can make a difference.
Single Use Items That You Can Ditch
Bottles of cleaning fluids*
To-go coffee cups + lids
Plastic grocery bags
Styrofoam cups, plates, and clam-shell boxes
Plastic cups, plates, utensils, and clam-shell boxes
Plastic water bottles and containers
Paper napkins and paper towels*
Invest in some re-usable glass, travel-size containers to transfer your beauty products into. (You can label the bottles with masking tape and a pen) For bars of soap opt for a metal, travel-size soap box or a small mason jar.
Instead of reaching for a box of Kleenex consider using a handkercheif. You can use standard ones or cut up some old t-shirts into small squares. You'll find that they are a lot more comfortable on the nose than even the softest tissue.
Besides saving us a little bit of money each month my favorite thing about cloth napkins is how they instantly elevate a meal. Even if it's something as simple as garlic toast and salad, the meal feels a lot more special than if I had used a paper napkin. Learn how to design your own set of napkins here.
Utensils & Straws
Water Bottle & Thermos
When it comes to reducing the consumption of plastic in our lives I feel like switching from plastic water bottles to reusable ones is one of the easiest moves to make. Pretty much all coffee shops, restaurants, and even flight attendants don't have any issue with them. The only challenging thing is remembering to bring it along with you!
Cloth bags are something you can never have too many off because they can be used for just about everything! I have a set of cloth sacks that I will with bulk food when I'm at the grocery store; a set that I'll use when packing for a trip; and then some that I use as a shopping bag when I'm out in about.
Holistic Cleaning Products
I have to admit that this is the part that I am still working on as so many cleaning products are stored in plastic containers.** As I shared here, our family is on a journey of making our own holistic cleaning products which minimize the use of chemicals and plastic. Some swaps that we can make? Use a sturdy cloth instead of paper towels, natural bristle brushes instead of a sponge, metal or glass bowls and containers instead of plastic ones.
* We still have a roll of paper towels on hand that we use for catching the occasional cockroach (gross, I know).
** As you can clearly see in this image here, our homemade multi-use cleaning spray is currently stored in a small plastic container. We are going to be ordering a couple of these beautiful, more sustainable glass ones soon. I'd also like to note that while we do make a lot of our own cleaning products, the vinegar and castile soap that we purchase unfortunately comes in plastic containers. I am hoping that someday, they will be sold in glass, as they are two staple ingredients in our cleaning.
***If you are looking to live a more waste-free life, I encourage you to take a look at Bea Johnson's book Zero Waste Home and to check out these posts: