Reusable Paper Towels are an awesome direct alternative to regular disposable paper towels. I get it if you can't let go of the traditional paper towel for gross cleanups like toilets and pet messes, but I am a firm believer in the right tools for the right job, while also minimizing waste in all the areas we can. Reusable paper towels, like the Kliin ones that I use serve all of my regular kitchen paper towel uses as well as general housekeeping, like the windows! Another huge benefit is the $$$ savings. Let's be honest, paper towels aren't cheap... well not the ones that work. And if you are going to stick to paper towels, you are probably sticking to the ones that work best. (I won't mention any names)
2. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Every plastic toothbrush impacts the environment. One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually! That is absurd, but such an easy problem to fix! I love my bamboo toothbrush, it cleans my teeth just as well as any toothbrush that the dentist has snuck in my post appointment goodie bag, and I can put it in the compost when it gets old (not the bristles though). Bristles are still made of nylon, and I don't think we will be going back to the traditional horse hair version any time soon (hopefully ever). Yes, it was a thing. Google it.
3. Shampoo Bars
Like a bar of soap, except for your hair! The size of the bar is deceiving for how long it lasts - up to 6 months, and replaces around 2-3 bottles of shampoo! There are so many options out there, depending on hair type and overall preference. The Fixer
shampoo bar from unwrapped life is my go-to, it has a lovely scent of lavender and essential oils that heal your hair and scalp. Airport security is made easy while travelling with these, and your suitcase is kept safe from any potential spills!
4. Stainless Steel Straws
It may seem like the trendy item of 2018, but the reusable straw is here to stay. While straw pollution only amounts to a very small percentage of the plastic waste on our shores and in the ocean, their size is what gives it the highest potential to endanger marine life. I love these nudemarket straws
, because I have 4 different colours including silver, black, gold and rose gold. They make a handy dandy cocktail marker, or even a morning coffee stir stick!
5. Produce Bags
Those thin plastic bags in the produce section are the worst and they are used for about 15 minutes, and only once. To be honest, your asparagus doesn't really need an extra layer of protection since you'll (hopefully) be washing it at home anyways, but these bags are nice to keep everything together in your cart, and in your fridge. Netted produce bags let the grocer see what you are buying, and lets your produce last longer because it isn't suffocating in plastic (tied up in a bag like this will speed up their rotting process). You can even use these bags to hit up the bulk section and stock up on nuts, dried fruit or beans!
6. Travel Cutlery Kit
Do you cringe every time you have to grab a plastic fork to eat with while dining out? Cause same. Double cringe if the fork is wrapped in even more plastic. Sadly we can not rely on vendors to give us sustainable alternatives, but we can bring some ourselves. Keeping reusable cutlery is a great way to avoid this extra plastic use that may sneak up on you when you're out and about. Wrap them in a reusable napkin and keep it in your car, your purse, or even in your pocket (the bamboo ones are so light, you won't even notice).
7. Reusable To-go Cup
My checklist before I leave the house: keys, phone, wallet and most importantly, to-go cup. I was never a big bottled water person anyway, but this has changed my life because I am pretty sure before I got my reusable water bottle, I was just unknowingly dehydrated. Now I probably actually drink the proper amount of water a person is supposed to in a day. For me, going reusable and plastic free isn't just about saving the planet, it is also about making healthier choices for myself.
8. Hair Ties
Why should the popular thin black elastic and be replaced with a plastic free one? I spend a bit more money on my KooShoo plastic free hairties, and I haven't lost a single one, nor do I intend to. Hair ties are one of those dispensable things that if we lose we are like, whatever. But little black hairties might also end up getting eaten by a little bird or squirrel, and you have to buy more, putting more plastic in the world. My hair ties are a part of my outfit now and I don't take them for granted, not like the goodies.
9. Menstrual Cup
I'll keep my opinion to myself about how menstrual care isn't covered under the Health Care Act. But the menstrual cup is a money saver for sure because you buy one and done! No more monthly last minute trips to the drug store, no more buying one other random item that you don't really want or need so that you aren't just buying tampons...you know you've done it.
10. Beeswax Wraps
There are two main things I use my beeswax wraps for on a regular basis: covering leftovers and opening jars. For making lunches for on the go I trend towards a bento box so that my food doesn't get squished, but at home these are used on the regular. I also have peace of mind knowing that harmful chemicals aren't leaching onto my food and that they are naturally antibacterial!