Over the last couple of years it’s become increasingly clear that we need to change our habits in order to protect the planet we call home. There’s so much information out there, that it can feel overwhelming knowing where to start on your journey. Here’s a list of super simple eco-friendly swaps to get you started. The best bit is that most of them save money as well as the planet!
Ditch the bottled water
You know those disposable plastic bottles of water that you grab from the fridge without a second thought? Cutting those out is a super simple way to cut down on your waste. Pick up a reusable bottle and fill it up throughout the day. Our family carry reusable bottles with us all the time, and we’ve never had a problem filling them up whilst we’re out. It’ll also save you some money, as filling your bottle at home will cost you a fraction as much as buying bottled water, and at most places allow you to refill them for free.
BYOB (bring your own bags)
In England there’s a 5p charge per disposable bag in most shops to encourage people to bring their own with them. We were really pleased to see that this is also the case here in Maryland. Hopefully the charge will deter enough people, so we can phase single-use bags out eventually. Not only is it much better for the environment, they’re actually easier to use, as you don’t have to worry about the flimsy plastic ripping, or stretching, and breaking. Reusable bags are sturdy, often come in cute patterns, and you can get insulated ones which are great for transporting chilled/frozen items. Yes they have an initial outlay, but you’ll save money in the long-run as it won’t take long to make that money back in 5p bag savings.
Reusable coffee cup
I love to grab a coffee on-the-go as much as the next person, it’s my go-to for a little self care. But the disposable cups make me sad. Pick up a reusable coffee cup that you can use time and time again. An additional bonus for us parents is that a lot of reusable cups are insulated, so your coffee will stay hot for longer. Plus some coffee shops give a discount if you use your own cup (Starbucks offers $0.10 off your coffee), so it’s a winner all-round!
Reusable K-Cup for Keurig
When we moved to America, we decided to jump aboard the Keurig train. I’ve long despised the plastic, one time use coffee pods that Keurigs, and other similar machines promote. So before hopping onboard I researched and found that there was in fact an alternative. You can purchase a reusable K-cup that you put your own grounds into, before using it the same way you would a disposable one.
Reusable straws are something we jumped on early in our journey, as our girls love to drink through straws. We purchased metal ones that have a silicone tip, so you don’t have to have the metal in your mouth, but you can still enjoy the durability they offer. They also have different colored tops, which is great for avoiding confusion over whose drink is whose. We use ours at home, on picnics, and have taken them to restaurants too in a wet bag, so we could bring them home easily.
Do away with plastic wrap and tin foil, and pop your lunch in a box instead. No need to purchase one, you’ll likely have a container around the kitchen that’ll do the job. If you do decide to purchase one, I’d recommend looking for something good quality so it’ll last. We love our Lunch Bots brand boxes, they’re stainless steel, and have worked great for us so far.
There you have it folks, super simple eco-friendly swaps that will have a huge impact on the amount of waste you create. There’s no pressure to do them all at once, choose one to tackle at a time, and add a new one in once you feel comfortable.
Let me know your beginner zero-waste swaps!