In honor of Earth Month, Oola’s Everyday Sustainability is here to inspire you to become more eco-savvy! We’ve rounded up our favorite green products, lifestyle tips, and guides for living a sustainable life.
It’s no secret: As humans, we use way too much plastic. It’s durable, easy to manufacture at a low cost, and useful for many different purposes. So, we use it for just about everything.
Our toiletries and bath and body products are made of plastic. Our to-go containers and coffee cups include it. Much of our furniture incorporates it. Our grocery store purchases use plastic containers or wrap. Our cars, planes shoes, clothing, home products, appliances, and technological devices are made of—or partially made of—plastic.
While these plastic products may be convenient, they are also destructive to our planet.
Many types of plastic take at least 400 years to break down. This poses an enormous problem for the planet and the waste we’re contributing to it. Plastic also poses a threat to wildlife and ecosystems. An estimated eight million tons of plastic end up in our oceans every year.
It’s important that we find ways of reducing our everyday plastic usage. It’s a simple but impactful way to help out our planet.
Read on for some ways to use a little less plastic, every day.
Bring Reusable Bags
The Bring Your Own Bag principle of living green is one of the fundamentals. It’s such an easy thing to do—and it’s a switch away from single-use plastics that can make a measurable difference for our planet.
And it’s not enough to just switch to paper bags. These single-use bags also have a huge impact on the planet. So, be sure do your research on which reusable bag material is best, buy a few reusable bags, and actually bring your bags every time you go grocery shopping! The planet will thank you.
Bring Your Own Cups and Utensils
Just like with grocery bags, reusable utensils and cups are pretty much always better long-term.
Picking up lunch to-go? Opt out of plastic utensils and be sure to use regular metal ones or on-the-go wooden ones instead. Grabbing a cup of coffee on your way to work? Remember to bring your travel coffee tumbler. Every to-go cup that we can keep out of the landfills is a win for the environment.
Find Alternatives to Trash Bags
First off, recycle and compost what you can. That’ll make a dent both in your landfill contributions and in your use of plastic trash bags.
Second, do what you can to eliminate plastic trash bags from the house. In some cases, going without a bag at all can work (just spray out the trash can often!). When that’s not an option, there are non-plastic alternatives for trash bags that work just as well.
Do Away With Plastic Bath Products
One of the biggest household plastic culprits is the bathroom. A quick peek into most bathroom drawers, cabinets, or showers reveals that the majority of our products are made of plastic or in plastic containers. When we’re done using the products, most of us just toss them in the trash—leading to a ridiculous amount of annual waste from beauty and bath products alone.
Consider using wooden toothbrushes and brushes and buying bottles and containers made from something other than plastic. Other switches like bars of soap instead of bottles of body wash or ordering shampoo bars from eco-stores are easy ways to cut back. Also, it never hurts to just cut down overall on disposable products and find alternatives—or make your own!
Become an Eco-Parent
Anyone who’s a parent knows how many diapers babies go through in a year: a lot. And the majority of disposable diapers are made from plastics that just end up in landfills and take years to decompose.
Reusable cloth diapers are a perfect alternative that can eliminate the need for all that diaper waste. They might sound like a nightmare, but once you get the hang of them, they’re pretty easy to handle, wash, dry, and use again. And they don’t have all those icky chemicals that so many disposable diapers have.
Say “No” to Plastic Straws
Plastic straws have been the talk of the eco-town the past few years. And for good reason. For the majority of us (though not all), plastic straws are ultimately an unnecessary convenience that we could most likely do without. They add so much extra plastic waste each year—and it’s time to move on from this oh-so-20th-century bad habit.
Best to specify “no straw” if you’re at a restaurant or getting an iced drink on the go. If you’re madly in love with drinking out of straws, consider buying a reusable straw that you can take with you—and slurp away to your heart’s delight.
Pick Non-Plastic When Shopping
When we’re in the grocery store, we’ve got dozens (if not hundreds) of decisions to make. Want a way to simplify decision-making—and be a lot more green in the process? Opt for non-plastic containers.
Buying milk or non-dairy milk? Go with the paperboard cartons (and recycle them!). Buying peanut butter? Get a glass jar instead of a plastic jar. Or, better yet, find somewhere you can get peanut butter in bulk and bring your own container!) Picking up some hot sauce, soy sauce, or another condiment? Glass bottles are pretty much always an option—so pick them over plastic!