This is an objective post, since these swaps were easy for me to make but that doesn’t mean, that they are easy for everyone we’re all different and we all have different struggles – so we are all on a different path and at stage towards a more sustainable life.
My advice would be: if a change seems uncomfortable to make – skip and move to a different one, but don’t give up. Maybe later you can go back and tackle it again. Maybe you discover a better way doing it in the meantime. Maybe you will always have one or two things you cannot do and that’s ok too. But it worth trying. In my view it’s more important to have a holistic approach when it comes to sustainability. Working towards to a more sustainable life and world is the best we can do and it is in fact all we have to do. Lately, I hear lots of people chatting about how it is a journey and doing it imperfectly is actually perfect because we are doing what we can. You know those people in the news holding up a little jar with their yearly waste proudly. Well, good for them. But also, good for you, good for us taking little steps and changing mindsets. That’s what matters the most. What do you think?
But getting back to this post. Let me list the things that were the easiest for me to change (and of course there will be another post coming with what I’ve found the hardest to change).
Ditching the single use plastic water bottles is probably the easiest, cheapest and even: healthiest swap. The biggest chunk of all the plastic waste produced consist of single use drink bottles. Putting them into the recycling bin is a lie to yourself since only about 9% of the plastic gets recycled – which is shocking. But there’s only so many times a plastic bottle can be recycled anyway, as it’s the worst quality plastic material of all. Not only bottled water companies sell you just water you have a universal right to have access to freely (so basically they just sell you plastic, very expensive plastic in fact) but also plastic particles that leech into the drink in the bottle and you drink them. Opt for stainless steel but the BPA free plastic bottles are also perfectly safe.
Reusable make up remover pads
This makes literally no quality difference in use, only that you just have to rinse it after use and wash it in the washing machine after every other use. Not at all that hard. Saves money too. They are small and made of cotton, you’d think. But the sheer amount we use of them – that’s the problem. (Plus of course their plastic packaging.) Most pads and wipes are disposed of in landfills, and despite claims to the contrary, most are not biodegradable and do not rapidly break down, creating too much trash to fit in our landfills. Single use is never sustainable. No matter if it’s claimed to be biodegradable or not.
Whilst it might take a little while to get used to shampoo and conditioner bars because we are so used to the texture of the bottled shampoo (not necessarily, but for some, that’s for sure), the soap bars that replace hand wash and shower gel bottles are one of the easiest swaps in my view. They save so many plastic bottles used and thrown away! Also, more often than not, a lot kinder to your skin for soaps are mainly really just some vegetable oil combined with lye and essential oil.
Whilst I know – because I’ve been told so – some people cannot drink without using a straw because of certain heath conditions, probably the majority of people can perfectly live without using straws. For most drinks you do not need a straw, just use your lips. Right? Glass of water or juice – no straw needed. Wine or beer – no straw needed. Coffee or tea – no straw needed. An occasional smoothie? Or Pina Colada? Yes, maybe then. Make sure it’s a stainless steel or bamboo straw then. Simples. Just skip the plastic straw please. The discarded straws – like everything else – often ends up in seas endangering animals. But I’m sure this is no news to anyone.
I’ve been using them for about 2-3 years now. Whilst they still have plastic bristles, the body and the packaging is plastic free. Throw the bamboo body into the compost bin and the carton box is the easiest to recycle. For me, it didn’t take any time to get used to it since I was using manual toothbrushes anyway. And these days you can even buy a bamboo head you can fir on your electric toothbrush. Plastic manual toothbrushes are a real problem for they also end up in waters and we just use too many of them.
What was the easiest swap for you?