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It seems counterintuitive to tell you to go out and buy stuff, especially when I'm touting all the benefits of waste reduction. But sometimes we need to invest in the right stuff - things that will last a lifetime instead of a few months. Or things made from natural or biodegradable materials instead of plastics.
In the past year we've made a lot of changes in our home. Yes, there are still plastics, but as much as possible I'm trying to invest in better quality items that won't end up in landfills. I don't actually enjoy shopping, which helps me keep my life pretty minimal - but I DO enjoy buying products that are good for Mother Earth.
So here's a roundup of some of the things that have helped me reduce my household waste:
Terra 20 makes it easy to reduce waste when it comes to laundry cleaning supplies and personal care products. Buy one container that you get to reuse over and over!
I've switched all of my own makeup to natural/organic brands that I can recycle at the Terra20 store. I'm probably spending a bit more on products, but I know what I'm putting on my face is not harmful to my body (and I love the minimal packaging like I found with my eye shadow!)
I bought these mesh produce bags from Amazon and they're the BEST! I love that they have handles, and they are able to carry a pretty heavy load. Many produce bags I've found are long and skinny, and annoying to put fruit into!
Kids LOVE straws, but plastic straws are terrible for the environment, and end up polluting our oceans. Glass is not an option with kids, so I found these awesome stainless steel straws from Amazon. The kiddos are in love!
My house is now overrun with jars!! Shopping zero waste, I needed to bring all sorts of different shapes and sizes with me to fill up on goods. Giant glass jars are best for things like cereal, pasta and flour. Smaller mason jars work well for nuts, seeds, teas and so on. I love the wide-mouth mason jars for ease of filling!
I own the Abeego beeswax wrap, and it's truly amazing. If you're hoping to ditch the plastic wrap, this stuff can be used in its place (and reused for up to one year!) It does eventually start to break down. I got mine at the Extraordinary Baby Shoppe in Hintonburg!
Technically (at least according to the city) you're supposed to dump your pet's waste down the toilet. Seriously?? That's just not happening over here. We put dog poop straight into the green bin if it's in our backyard, but for walks, I rely on biodegradable poopy bags. I realize it still takes a serious amount of time for these things to break down, but I feel slightly better about myself when I buy them ;)
I use snack bags for myself at work, and a co-worker once asked me if it was a change purse! I found that pretty hilarious. These little bags are great for anything - sandwiches, wraps, crackers, dried fruit etc. They are very easy to wipe out, and I have put them through the wash occasionally!
If you've got the space and your kids are fascinated with creatures, you'll love a worm composter. Why have one when we have a city compost program? Well, just think about all the energy that goes into that city-run programs. The fossil fuels burned with the garbage trucks, and the energy used to break down all the organic materials. If we funnelled some of our organic waste into our own systems we'd be helping out Mother Nature! Plus, the soil you get is awesome for your garden!
Alright, I know you've GOT to own a travel mug. But did you know it's not a great idea to put hot liquids into plastic? It breaks down the plastic and leaches all sorts of nasty things into your yummy coffee or tea. Go with stainless steel if you can, and remember to bring it with you wherever you go. I have one for the office for my daily coffee, and then one that I use for weekends and travel. You save $0.20 at the cash, and the landfills will love you forever!
Do you have any products that have helped you to reduce your waste? Leave a comment below!