(and what I’ll replace them with)
As with any person embracing a lower-waste lifestyle, the process has been slow and steady. As tempting as it is, it wouldn’t make much sense for me to get rid of everything I owned as soon as I saw my first documentary about plastic. Economically and environmentally, the best thing to do is to use up everything you have before you replace it with a zero-waste option. Here are 5 single-use plastic products around my house that I still have (and what I will be replacing them with once I’ve used them up):
single-use plastic toothpaste
My husband uses an absurd amount of toothpaste. It’s just a fact. After constantly running out of toothpaste, he decided to buy a bulk order of the largest tubes of toothpaste I have ever seen. This feels like it was almost a year ago. This was when I was pretty new to my journey into zero-waste products and before he was fully on board. Now, we just keep finding this toothpaste in the closet whenever we run out of the last tube and it seems to never end.
When we finally get through ALL of the toothpaste we have on hand, we’ve decided that we will replace it with this Natural Toothpaste from Package Free. I’ve looked into zero-waste tooth powder and other toothpaste alternatives, but I’m not sure my husband is ready into the plunge with paste alternatives just yet. I have been eyeing the mouthwash tablets, however, and am excited to try new products out to replace old ones.
single-use plastic soap dispensers
One of the first things I replaced in the house with zero-waste alternatives was soap. I am extremely fortunate that, even though I live in a small village, a local shop in the village offers zero-waste products (shout out to Freehand Market, who carries Fillaree products). Here, I am able to buy hand soap, conditioner, dish soap, and many other products in bulk AND bring in my own containers. It’s awesome! Prior to moving to the village, I had not embraced the zero-waste lifestyle and had a house with 3 bathrooms. I had these plastic dispensers for each bathroom and for the kitchen and brought them with us when we moved. As the soap has run out, I have replaced it with soap I buy in bulk from the store because I do not want to throw these plastic bottles away. Yes, I long for the day to replace them with nice-looking and cleaner glass bottles or with a metal pump for a mason jar. For now, though, I will keep refilling these plastic bottles because it is a more economical and more environmentally-friendly choice.
single-use plastic detergent dispensers
I’m honestly ashamed to even show you this photo of my laundry area. This is probably the source of the most single-use plastic in my house right now. Look at how many bottles I have! And it’s so. much. plastic. Big yikes. Even though I did buy one in a larger container, which is technically better than in smaller containers, it’s still a lot of plastic. Recently, we overhauled our plumbing, which was already a little on the sensitive side. We live in the country on a well and things are a little…iffy. We have to be so careful with everything that goes down our drain. Between trying to replace single-use plastic and trying to find something a little friendlier on our system, it’s time to overhaul our detergent. When we use up the rest of this giant bottle of detergent, we’re going to be replacing our detergent with bulk powders sourced locally or from Package Free.
single-use plastic cleaning products
Looking under my kitchen sink, all I have to say is “yikes”. Over the years, we have collected a LOT of different cleaning supplies, all in plastic bottles. Why do we have 3 different bottles of window cleaner? Who knows, but we have them and it’s gonna take years to get through it all. We have so many specialty cleaning products, too. It’s amazing how convinced we all are that we need 10 different types of cleaners for each room. Not only is it visually messy, but it’s unnecessary and extraordinarily wasteful. As we get through the cleaners, I will be replacing them with various recipes online. The primary cleaner being part water and part white vinegar mixed in a glass spray bottle.
single-use plastic hair products
This one is a doozy, y’all. When I started analyzing the biggest sources of plastic in my life, my personal care items were one of the largest categories. Specifically, my hair care products. I have extremely curly hair and it has taken years to perfect my routine and products. My hair is extremely sensitive to products and it’s hard to get everything juuuust right. I’m still convinced, however, that I can have a zero-waste hair care routine and not compromise the appearance of my hair. While I’m reaching the end of many of my hair-care products, and after much research, I’ve finally found what I hope to be a solution to my issue. I’m excited to be trying out the products from Simply Curls Co. Not only do they have products that are made for curly hair (and all the products I want), but they also offer non-plastic containers and a really awesome refill option, where you can ship your containers back and get them refilled.
It’s a long process to go zero-waste. This process takes a while. It’s so hard to not be hard on yourself when you’re starting out on this lifestyle. It’s so tempting to round up every plastic item in your home and get rid of it forever and replace them with zero-waste products. The best choice is to wait out your existing products. You can feel that much better about your lower-waste alternatives once you replace the old ones.
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