Written by: Lydia Mendel, social @blueland
We committed to starting the new year with new habits for a renewed planet. As we wrap up the first month, we have five swaps for everyday items to help turn your resolutions in a plastic-free reality!
- Plastic-Free Toothbrush
If you can start your morning off plastic-free, you’ll set the tone for the rest of the day. Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush. It’s recommended to replace your toothbrush every three months which means you’re likely throwing out at least four toothbrushes every year. Most toothbrushes are made from plastic, rubber and nylon. Because toothbrushes are made of mixed materials, they are very hard to recycle. Instead, most end up in a landfill.
Make the switch to a bamboo toothbrush and ditch the plastic waste. When you’re ready to swap out your bamboo toothbrush you can pull out the bristles and compost the bamboo handle. You can also upcycle your toothbrush and use it to clean tough corners instead of composting it.
2. Reusable Mug
Before you head out the door, make sure you grab your to-go coffee mug. Cutting out single-use coffee cups can save on a lot of waste and is easy once you get in the habit! Globally, we use 16 billion single-use coffee cups every year. Take a step to reduce that number by remembering your reusable mug. Bringing a reusable mug is also a great way to cut down on plastic waste from plastic water bottles. If you forget your reusable water bottle, no worries! Just rinse out your mug and it can serve both purposes.
3. Reusable Utensils
One of our favorite swaps for this year is swapping out single-use plastic utensils for sustainable, reusable cutlery instead. Most plastic cutlery is made from plastic #6, which means it’s very difficult to recycle, and usually doesn’t get recycled at all. Instead Plastic cutlery ends up in landfills and our oceans! Even worse, a lot of plastic cutlery is made from black plastic, adding even more difficulty to recycling it.
Instead of reaching for a plastic utensil when you get takeout, bring your own! You can carry utensils from home or get a to-go set to make sure you never forget an extra set. Sometimes, we end up with plastic utensils even when trying to avoid them. If you order takeout, specify to the restaurant that you don’t want plastic utensils. Popular take-out services are already asking their customers to opt-in and choose to receive plastic utensils rather than opt out, so it’s already
4. Compostable Band Aids
Accidents happen, but wouldn’t it be great if you could take care of cuts and scrapes without plastic waste? Most band aids have some plastic in the bandage itself or in the packaging. Even fabric band aids tend to include strands of plastic fibers. Because band aids are usually made with some plastic, they aren’t biodegradable, and instead must be thrown in the trash. Patch Strips make 100% compostable band aids. These band aids are non-toxic, plastic-free, latex-free and made from sustainably sourced bamboo! Patch strips make it easy to make the switch.
5. Plastic-Free Dish Sponge
Kitchen sponges are riddles with bacteria and should be disposed of every two to four weeks. That means, a typical household will go through at least twelve sponges every year. Most sponges can’t be recycled or composted because they’re made of plastic, so instead sponges go straight to the landfill. New habit? Ditch the sponge and try out these sponge swaps for a plastic-free alternative!
Dish brushes, silicone sponges and unsponges are all great alternatives for conventional sponges. Dish brushes are durable and easy to use, and hold less bacteria than a normal sponge. You can find dish brushes made from bamboo and plant fibers, and recycle or compost the parts when you’re ready for a new one! Silicone sponges last forever and they don’t hold bacteria like a normal sponge. They can take a little getting used to, but they’ll cut down on a lot of waste! Finally, try out unsponges, which can be made at home from old cloth, or you can purchase them online! These can be washed in the washing machine so they stay clean and can be composted when you need a new one!
These five easy swaps are perfect to help you stick to your new habits and help renew the planet this year! Which ones will you try?