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In 1970, the very first Earth Day took place as a way to engage the public in the movement to protect and save our planet. Over fifty years later, Earth Day still serves “as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes.” Hundreds of environmentalist organizations hold events, fundraisers, and more to aid in the fight for a cleaner planet each year around this time. While contributing to these movements is important, the everyday decisions we make have the biggest impact on our planet. By making one or two sustainable swaps in our everyday routines, every individual can make a huge impact. 

Reusable Period Products

While it may seem intimidating at first, reusable period products such as menstruation cups can cut down on your waste as well as save you hundreds of dollars in the long run. One menstruation cup, such as the popular DivaCup, will cost you around $40 but last up to 10 years! In comparison to buying a $10 box of wasteful tampons every month, the cost of a menstrual cup is worth every penny. Menstrual cups may take a few attempts to get the hang of, but once you do there are many other benefits to them besides being easier on your wallet and the environment. Menstrual cups can be worn for longer periods of time, safer than traditional tampons, and can even be worn during sex. If a menstrual cup isn’t your thing, there are also many companies that make easy-to-use reusable pads and panty liners. These products are also affordable and much more eco-friendly! 

Reusable Baking Sheets

I love to bake. But with all my baking, it seems that I’m always having to repurchase parchment paper to line my baking sheet with. Recently, I have discovered reusable baking sheets. For between five to ten dollars, you can purchase a reusable baking sheet that will last you through hundreds of baked goods and meals! 

Bare Bar Soap

Another sustainable swap you may not have thought of is switching from liquid soap in a pump to bare bar soap. Between hand soap, body washes, shampoo, and conditioner, most people go through a lot of plastic bottles. While soap bottles are only a fraction of the plastic waste that ends up in landfills, switching to bare bar soap makes a big difference. Over 552 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills each year! Not only is bare bar soap more eco-friendly, but it is also often cheaper than pump soap. Many companies, such as Ethique, make bar soap of all kinds. From body wash to hair care products, you are sure to find a bar soap that fits your needs. 

Reusable Cloth Makeup Removers

Swapping your makeup wipes or micellar water for reusable cloth makeup removers cuts down on not only the amount of waste that ends up in landfills but can also save you money. Makeup and beauty stores such as Ulta carry these makeup remover cloths at an affordable price. To use, simply soak in warm water and gently wipe away your makeup. After each use, just throw them in the washing machine with a load of laundry or by themselves. Most packs of these cloths come with around five cloths so you will never run out before your next load of laundry! 

Sustainable Toothbrushes and Toothpaste

Both sustainable toothbrushes and toothpaste are readily available on websites whose aim is to reduce plastic use such as Plastic Free Pursuit and Grove Collaborative.  For about the same price as less sustainable options, you can purchase a bamboo toothbrush or eco-friendly toothpaste tabs that you can feel good about using. 

While these aren’t the only sustainable alternatives you can switch to, they are a few of the simpler ones anyone can try. Not only will you be reducing the amount of waste that ends up in landfills each year, purchasing and consuming these products is something that you can feel good about!

Hanna Berretta

App State '23

Appalachian State sophomore majoring in Communication Science and Disorders.
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