Where to Start: The 5 Easiest Swaps

*header image from Medium

I know there’s a ton of seasoned pros out there; people who have been doing less or no-waste for years and inspire me to follow suit. But most of us are just learning of the movement & recognizing the importance of taking action now.

It seems overwhelming knowing there is a massive problem, but not knowing where or how to start… or maybe you’re thinking you have to be completely zero-waste to make an impact— but you don’t.

You can start right here, right now. Today.

Here are my Top 5 Easiest ways to make a big impact starting now. Easy in the sense that the transition was painless and affordable, although still hard to turn your new process into a habit. (The average time it takes a person to form a new, positive habit is 66 days!)

  1. STOP BUYING WATER BOTTLES. Seriously – it’s so 2016. Here’s some facts to make you hold on the Fiji bottles and check out this amazing, long lasting, insulated S’well bottle instead…
    • Bottling water releases 2.5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually
    • It takes 1.5 million barrels of oil—enough to run 100,000 cars for a whole year—to make plastic water bottles + transporting bottles burns even more oil
    • Nearly 90% of water bottles are not recycled & wind up in landfills -> they take thousands of years to decompose
    • Want more facts? Read here.
  2. Buy Reusable Grocery Bags. I get it, it’s super easy to just use whatever the check out lady has… Or you forget your reusables in the car, or at home, or wherever. But I’m trying to make a conscious effort to not leave the house without them and if I leave my bags in the car – go back and get them, (even if I have the kids!). When I use Shipt – I ask for no plastic bags and they’ll happily bag in paper. You can buy them literally anywhere & you don’t need anything fancy because it’s just transporting your vegetables. Still need convincing?
    • Plastic bags aren’t biodegradable, they photodegrade – breaking down into smaller and smaller toxic bits.
    • They take 400-1,000 years to break down.
    • Sea animals eat them, we eat sea animals = we eat plastic bags.
  3. Swap out your Plastic Toothbrush. Like mentioned above, toothbrushes never biodegrade. Every single toothbrush you’ve ever owned still exists, most likely in the ocean. :O 1 Billion brushes are thrown away each year in the US. That’s mind blowing… Next time you need a toothbrush, swap it out for a super easy to use, biodegradable bamboo toothbrush. I’ve started using Humble Co (they have kids + adult sizes), but there’s lots of brands out there now – and honestly it feels pretty much the same while brushing.
  4. Wash your Laundry in Cold Water. I already wrote a post about how to green-up your laundry process, but in case you missed the memo – put your load on cold water! It’s better for your clothes and for the environment. 34 million tons of CO2 emissions would be saved if every house in the US used only cold water for washing clothes.
  5. Eat Less Meat. You don’t have to go vegan or even completely vegetarian (I’m not!), but I’m significantly reducing the meat I eat. Here’s a clip from a Guardian article that hopefully will convince you…

“Avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way to reduce your environmental impact on the planet, according to the scientists behind the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet. The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% – an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined – and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.”

That’s it! Start here and you’re well on your way to less-waste and a happier home.

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