10 Simple Sustainable Switches You Can Make

I’m not sure about you but I am terrified of what is to come with the future. We have already begun to see some of the crazy weather patterns, like tornados, hurricanes, earthquakes, and so on, that will surely become worse as time goes on. We’re witnessing extinctions of hundreds, if not thousands, of species of animals. The very landscapes we live on are being shaped by all of this chaos, half of Florida is projected to be under water in the next few years and California is just one bad earthquake away from becoming an island.

But I’m not here to scare you or blame you. I think at this point, we all ultimately know that big corporations that have no regard for life or this planet, just their profit, are what is truly to blame for our current situation. This, however, does not completely absolve us of all of the single use non-recyclable products we have been littering about the planet. Every piece of plastic ever made is still on this planet, somewhere. So I decided to create a list of the everyday plastic things we use that we can eliminate to minimize the amount of damage we have been and still are contributing to this planet.

  1. 1. Your Single Use Water Bottle

    Single use plastic water bottles are probably the most commonly used and disposed of single use plastic items found. My recommendation would be to switch to reusable bottles, however I would recommend taking the extra step and getting a glass or metal bottle instead of a plastic one. Glass and metal bottles are known to be easier to recycle versus higher quality plastic.

  2. 2. Your Toothpaste

    Most people don’t think about where their toothpaste dispensers go after they’re done with them. Well, they’re made of plastic so they don’t go very far. Different companies nowadays offer toothpaste in tablet form, two main companies (Bite and Lush) produce them. Keep in mind that even though you’d be able to get the toothpaste tablets at a Lush store near you (and far as I know the same cannot be said for Bite), their packaging is made out of plastic while Bite’s packaging is glass. Win some, lose some.

  3. 3. Your Toothbrush

    In the same way that toothpaste dispensers don’t magically disappear after you’re done with them, toothbrushes also don’t magically disappear. According to National Geographic, “a billion toothbrushes will be thrown away in the U.S. this year.” I recommend making the switch to wooden toothbrushes! These can be bought online or even at local stores like Target and TJ Maxx.

  4. 4. Your Single Use Straw

    Single use plastic straws have been at the forefront of the campaign against plastic even though it only accounts for 0.025 of the eight million tons of plastic that flows into the ocean every year. There are many alternatives to plastic single use straws nowadays though for people who don’t specifically need plastic bendy straws like eldery or disabled people; there are metal straws, single use paper straws, bamboo straws, etc. Most of these alternatives can be found at stores like Target.

  5. 5. Your Single Use Plates

    Many people don’t think of their plastic or styrofoam single use plates as damaging to the environment but they are. They are incredibly difficult to recycle because of the leftover food particles and cannot break down. Paper plates are a common alternative but some new research has shown that they don't easily degrade as one would hope, so a better alternative I’ve found are fiber plates! You can find them at a local Whole Foods.

  6. 6. Your Single Use Shopping Bags

    In a lot of places, it has become a growing trend to tax single use plastic shopping bags and for good reason. Single use plastic shopping bags are one of the most common plastic item to be thrown out, so much that they are ending up in the bellies of different animals effectively starving them because their body can’t process the plastic or intake anymore nutrients. This is why I have committed to go 100 percent no single use plastic bags. Basically any store, from Walmart to TJ Maxx, sells reusable cloth bags that you can buy and use for your shopping.

  7. 7. Your Online Shopping

    I love online shopping as much as the next person but there’s a lot of things to consider with online shopping. Shipping from far distances take a lot of fuel, whether that be to fuel a plane or a truck. I always prefer to shop from local mom and pop-up shops because there’s no burden of shipping an item and it supports your local economy and that business.

  8. 8. Your Laundry

    Growing up, I’ve always been taught to wash my laundry in warm water. However, there are plenty of positives in using cold water over using hot water for your laundry. Using cold water versus hot water or warm can make a big difference in your energy consumption and isn’t any less effective in cleaning your clothes. Cold water uses 1/10 of the energy that hot water does!

  9. 9. Your Browser

    I have always used Google for everything. Ecosia is a new browser which is similar to Google. The main difference between the two is that Ecosia uses 80% of its profits from ads and clicks  to plant trees. According to Ecosia, they have planted over 62 million trees in South America, Africa, and Southeast Asia. Visit their site https://www.ecosia.org/ if you’re interested in downloading the browser or learning more about them!

  10. 10. Your Period Products

    People who have periods are estimated to have about 456 periods over 38 years. That’s a lot of periods and period products. Things like plastic tampon applicators and the plastic wrapping for pads aren’t biodegradable. Today, there are more options when it comes to period products! The most popular products are menstrual cups but there are also period panties, reusable pads and the classic tampons without the plastic applicators available. The Divacup is the most popular menstrual cup and you can buy it from their site. There are also some affordable options from different brands available on Amazon if you’re on a budget. The most popular period panty is Thinx, and they are also online only. Gladrags is the most popular brand when it comes to reusable pads and also sell menstrual cups on their site! Last but not least, o.b. sells tampons without an applicator or with a plant based applicator and  are also online only.

This list isn’t all encompassing but it is a start and that is what matters most! Taking a few steps, or even just one, is better than taking none. I hope that this article has led you to be more mindful of the everyday things you utilize and their impact on the environment. I hope that this article has as well encouraged you to make some small change to be more sustainable.