Plenty of people are looking for ways to be more environmentally responsible these days, and though the way you live in your own home might seem like a small way to contribute, the truth is that every little bit helps.
So if you’re concerned about the single-use products you have in your kitchen – water bottles, plastic baggies, paper towels, plastic wrap, etc – then take a look at these ways you can start to think about cutting back.
#4. Ditch your paper towels.
Americans toss 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year, so getting rid of them could make a big impact. You can easily cut up old t-shirts or towels to wipe down surfaces (just make sure you wash them in the laundry if you use them to clean up raw meat).
Another alternative is bamboo paper towels that break down in landfills after just 45 days, and can be re-used about 100x. You use them like rags, but toss them after a week or so of daily use.
#3. Invest in alternative storage.
Plastic bags are handy, and replacing them will be an up-front investment. That said, it’s not hard to spend more than $100 on single-use items every year, so you can tell yourself it will be worth it in the end.
Try Stashers, heavy-duty reusable silicone zip-top bags you can freeze (or microwave). They’re functional and durable. Fabrics coated in beeswax are good for wrapping sandwiches or covering bowls – you can get variety packs from Bee’s Wrap, Abeego, and Etee (or grab them at Trader Joe’s), and a Bento Box is all you need for packing daily lunches.
#2. Think before you buy.
You’re used to doing things one way, but if you remember to stop and analyze every decision, it will be easier to make ones that benefit both your family and the environment. Consider the packaging on pasta boxes, ask Amazon to ship your orders in as few boxes as possible, stop using so many plastic bags to separate your fruits and veggies at the store, and so on.
Little changes really add up.
#1. Really commit to recycling.
Most Americans believe they’re recycling enough to feel okay about it, but we’re still lagging behind the rest of the civilized world by quite a bit – in fact, we recycle only about 30% of what we could. Your local recycling center likely has guidelines that affect what you can and can’t recycle – to get more availability, look into a service like TerraCycle.
It’s a pack-and-ship, zero-waste box that accepts a wide variety of items and if you get a group of friends or neighbors to chip in for one of the bigger ones, it’s cost-effective too. The company recycles, upcycles, or reuses materials, and offers programs for recycling hard-to-fit items like water filters and aluminum candy wrappers.
Do your part, people!