You may have heard about the current effort to eliminate plastic straws, with companies like Starbucks, Royal Caribbean and Hilton pledging to find an alternative, and cities like Portland and New York City considering a ban on the plastic utensil.
This got us thinking... Are there things we can do to reduce our waste - to really make a difference about the junk we throw away - without drastically changing the way we live our lives?
Check out the ideas we learned about, and enter to win a package (valued at approx. $75) of cutting-edge, environmentally-safe items you'll actually love to use!
Beauty & Hygiene
You can easily find recipes for homemade deodorant or soap online. While we are impressed with the women who do this, we know that realistically, we barely have time to make dinner, let alone body wash. But we are intrigued by the package-free shampoo and conditioners that are trending right now. They come in bar form so there's no single-use plastic packaging and by all accounts, they work great - some say they are even better than the old stuff. Read on to see how you can win one below!
Another easy eco-friendly switch: items like bamboo toothbrushes, cloth make-up removers and metal razors. They're just as effective as the disposables. Plus, the toothbrushes can be composted, the makeup removers can be machine-washed and the razor blades can be recycled. Try if for yourself: Win a 4-pack of bamboo toothbrushes at the bottom of this post!
Making coffee at home? Don't forget to use a refillable K-Cup coffee filter. According to The Atlantic, 9 billion K-cups were sold in 2014, and most of them ended up in landfills. Reusable coffee filters are much less expensive than K-cups. Plus, you can use whatever coffee you want in them and they are quick to clean.
Getting coffee on-the-go? Instead of a disposable paper cup, bring your own reusable tumbler. Most coffee shops, including Starbucks, will put your drink in your own tumbler and some may even give you a discount. These cups keep drinks colder and hotter much longer than a paper cup. Right now, we're loving the BEAST cup because when we get home at the end of the day, we can just toss it in the dishwasher. Easy peasy. Even better? You can enter to win one below!
We would never tell you not to order take-out (we'd never get through the week without it!) but last time we ordered, we realized how much single-use items we threw away. So we've decided to try ordering one less time per week. Making dinner just one extra time saves us money, helps us eat healthier, and reduces waste, especially if we are mindful about the items we are purchasing.
One way to reduce plastic at the grocery store is to stop buying individually-packaged items. For example, next time you go to buy snack-sized nuts, chips, yogurt or squeezable applesauce, look at how much more expensive those are than bigger containers. Plus, look at how much more plastic is used to wrap those portioned servings. Why not reserve travel-sized foods for only when you are out and about, and not when you are home? For snacks and lunch at work or school, it's quick to package snacks in smaller sizes, such as reusable silicone storage bags, or reusable storage containers like the Rubbermaid Brilliance. They are healthy to use, eliminate plastic baggies that can't be recycled and are dishwasher-safe. Plus, they are part of the package you can win below!
There are also lots of ways to save food waste. Throw veggie scraps into a bag in the freezer and turn them into stock for soup. Or turn food waste into rich dirt and fertilizer by composting. According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S dumps about 133 billion pounds of food per year into landfills, which is about one third of the amount of food produced annually. Find out how easy it is to compost here.
The eco-friendly solutions available today are endless. From reusable wrapping paper and shopping bags to rechargeable batteries and solar-powered appliances, it really is easy to eliminate waste. And when shopping, think about what you order online and try to bundle it so less delivery boxes are used.
The key is not to overwhelm yourself. It's not all or nothing. Start off with a few small changes, and then incorporate better living strategies over time. You'll most likely save money, and you'll also feel better about the choices you are making.
What eco-friendly items do you love? Tell us for the chance to win a gift basket of awesome products, including: the shampoo bar & bamboo toothbrushes, BEAST tumbler and Rubbermaid Brilliance storage containers.
There are three ways to enter:
- Comment below by telling us the eco-friendly items you use, or would like to try.
- Click here to tweet: "I'm wasting less, becoming more eco-friendly, & entering to win the #SheSpeaksWasteNot giveaway, thx to @SheSpeaksUp bit.ly/2OSSDJB"
- Post a picture on Instagram (worth 5 entries) of your favorite eco-friendly solutions. Use the hashtags #SheSpeaksWasteNot, #SheSpeaks and #entry.
*One lucky commenter, Tweeter or Instagrammer will be chosen at random to receive the four items listed above. Giveaway is open through August 26th, 2018 to U.S. residents at least 18 years of age. Entrants must be a member of SheSpeaks. If you are not a member, click here to join. Winner will be notified by email.
Update: Thanks to all who entered. Congrats to our winner, SheSpeaks member VickiCoffey!