It’s Plastic Free July and while we have no illusions that we can actually go 100% plastic free, it’s inspiration for us to try harder and do better.
As professional organizers, we see a whole lot of items end up in the trash. We try to do our part by working with the green hauling company The Junkluggers, but the fact remains that not everything can be donated or recycled.
Another hard truth is that one person may not make a difference. But we believe that a whole lot of people doing the best they can will spark change. Whether it’s buying less plastic or supporting a company that is striving to be clean, it all matters.
In that spirit, we’re sharing our seven simple swaps that you can make in your home today!
7 Simple Swaps
Budget friendly (or free!), these are things we do in our own homes. It’s nothing groundbreaking or revolutionary but they have made a huge difference in the amount of trash we produce and the plastic we use.
1.) Unpaper Towels
Unpaper towels or simple rags are a great way to reduce or eliminate the need for regular paper towels. We keep a basket of clean rags in the laundry room for any general cleaning around the house. Once you get into the habit of using them, you won’t unthinkingly grab paper towels to wipe up small messes. We also keep unpaper towels on the kitchen counter and they work great for pretty much everything! This particular brand comes with a durable cardboard roll so you can put them on your current paper towel holder.
2.) Silicone Covers
The best way we’ve found to reduce our use of single use plastic wrap is silicone covers. We use them in addition to glass food storage containers because they fit directly over bowls, plates, cans and bottles. This link has multiple sizes but make sure you measure anything you might use before you buy!
3.) Water Filter
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we all know we should be drinking more water. It’s not exactly something we love doing, but we do it anyway! But if we drink as much as we should everyday and use bottled water to do it, that would be a whole lot of plastic over the course of a week, month and year. But having cold filtered water in the fridge is an easy way for us to just fill up our reusable bottles and go – to the bathroom, because that’s where we always end up when we drink all our water :/
We love this cleaning solution! When you buy JAWS, you get one bottle that comes with two refill solution pods. It’s non-toxic, safe for kids and pets and it really works! When you run out, you just have to purchase the refill pods!
This new refillable deodorant from Dove is a game changer! There are so many eco-friendly deodorant options out there (let us know if you have a good one!) but sometimes the quality of the product is sacrificed for the environment. Dove is a reliable company so no worries about the quality. You just have to purchase their stainless steel reusable case once and refills are available when you need more. Think of all the plastic cases you can keep out of the landfill over the course of years!
This may seem like something that’s more trouble than it’s worth, especially if you have little ones running around, but it’s really just about systems. We have two tips for you that will make using cloth napkins easier – one, buy dark napkins! You may have heard the story about Kate’s Dorito loving husband. Long story short, a marriage may have been saved when Ann gave Kate beautiful red napkins because white cloth napkins and Doritos just don’t mix! There are so many options to choose from so be smart when you pick a design.
The second tip is to have enough napkins on hand that you can pop them into the wash whenever they get dirty. It should be an easy routine and ensuring that you’re never scrambling to get napkins on the table is the key to success.
7.)Eat At Home
This last swap won’t cost you a thing, and in fact, will probably save you money! If you’ve ever done a garbage audit, you probably have a good idea about where most of your trash is coming from. You know, the things you can’t recycle and feel guilty about throwing away. For us, the biggest culprit is take-out containers. So often the plastic isn’t recyclable, the restaurant adds plastic cutlery to the bag, plus a giant handful of paper napkins all add up to a lot of garbage.
Cooking meals at home cuts down significantly on all the things that get thrown away. You have control over how you shop and what you buy and making good choices at the grocery store can get your waste down to practically zero! If ordering in is a way of life for you and there’s no way you can give it up, try frequenting restaurants that are eco friendly. Some use compostable/recyclable containers and you can always request for them leave out anything you don’t want, such as the plastic forks and the extra napkins.
Progress Not Perfection
If you’re already doing all of these things in your home, we congratulate you! Way to get it done! If you think these changes are too small to make a difference, we encourage you to consider that millions of people making small changes every single day adds up in ways we can’t even imagine!