Contributor: Paisley Turner
Reduce your plastic and disposable lifestyle
In today’s fast paced society, it is important to slow down and look at how your lifestyle impacts others and the environment around you. Almost every product you buy has packaging, most of which is unnecessary and non-recyclable. With waste becoming a more pressing modern day issue, isn’t it time you took a step back to see what you can do to decrease the amount of waste you produce?
The easiest way to start your journey to a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle is to change the everyday products you use to more sustainable and waste free ones. Society is changing the way it views waste and its impact on the planet and reducing the disposable and plastic purchases you make is one step towards a more sustainable world.
If you look around most bathrooms they’re often filled with plastic bottle after plastic bottle, however, there are now plastic free solutions and they’re easier to implement than you might think.
- Swapping from shower gels to soaps can drastically reduce the waste you produce. Shampoos and conditioners no longer have to be bought in bottles and are available in solid form such as bars. These bars encourage less packaging and waste and can be much easier to carry when travelling too. Another everyday essential that comes wrapped in plastic is our toothpaste – often in tubes that are not easily reused. A simple way to reduce this plastic usage is to buy natural toothpaste or tooth soaps, which come in biodegradable cardboard packaging or in glass jars that are easy to reuse and recycle. Toothbrushes are usually another plastic bathroom product, so why not swap to an organic, biodegradable bamboo toothbrush that is just as effective but not as environmentally damaging?
- Beauty products are also a large source of household waste; many of which are disposable but could easily be replaced by reusable ones. Disposable razors are plastic based and non-recyclable so why not swap to a razor which only needs its head replacing rather than the entire thing? Cotton pads that are used to remove makeup contribute massively to household waste. An easy, non-disposable replacement would be bamboo makeup remover pads, which are reusable and easy to wash. As well as cotton pads, wet wipes are another product of which many of us have become reliant upon because of their quick and convenient nature. However their environmental impact has become apparent as those that are flushed down toilets are moulding together and causing changes to the shapes of riverbeds. Wet wipes are difficult to replace, however biodegradable wet wipes are often available at supermarkets, but these should still not be flushed down toilets. The best solution, therefore, is to simply reduce our dependence on wet wipes. Instead of using makeup wipes, use reusable pads with a make up remover, and instead of anti-bacterial wipes, simply use an anti-bacterial spray and sponge. These small alterations to everyday routines and products choices would cause little change in your household, but huge changes in your waste output.
- One more step towards a more sustainable lifestyle is changing your laundry detergent. The most popular detergents often come in plastic bottles or boxes and although many of these bottles and boxes can be reused or recycled, the best option is to reduce our plastic usage all together. This can be achieved by purchasing soap nuts or soap berries, which are organic, biodegradable, natural products that are free of bleach, parabens and phosphates. They contain a natural soap which helps remove dirt and grime just like supermarket detergents and they come in plastic free packaging. They’re not only better for your waste output but also for your environment as some chemical based detergents can be toxic to aquatic life.
The most important thing to remember when starting your sustainable journey is to take it step by step. Don’t just throw out every cotton pad and toothbrush, but buy sustainable alternatives as the ones you currently use run out or require replacing. When it comes to reducing your waste, being a conscious consumer is key. It’s about taking the time to look at what you’re purchasing and question whether there is a more sustainable or waste free option and slowly your environmental impact will decrease.
Bio: Paisley is a 22-year-old Environmental science graduate who has just returned to the UK after 5 months in the French Alps. I’m passionate about communicating issues such as waste and hope to work within this field in the near future. Twitter: @envissuesbypais