In addition to being on a “health journey,” “fitness adventure,” “weight loss endeavor,” whatever we want to call it, I’m also on a mission to reduce the amount of waste I produce. I would like to start a series of small ways I have been able to (and would like to) reduce my waste production. I’m planning on splitting the series up by “rooms;” kitchen, bathroom, laundry, etc. Today, I want to go over a brief head-to-toe beginners guide that is practical and easy to adopt. I don’t have “low impact” substitutes for everything yet. These are very basic changes that you can make if you’re interested in learning how to reduce your environmental impact.
- Shampoo: Shampoo bars are pretty great! They usually come in cardboard packaging and last a long time. I have thick, coarse and dense hair and shampoo bars can still lather enough to reach my scalp. I like HiBar and Bestowed Essentials shampoo bars! HiBar also carries conditioner bars!
- Makeup Removal: Buy (or make) reusable cotton rounds. Put some oil on them and gently massage makeup off.
- Cotton Swabs: You can try a LastSwab! They have a standard ear-itching swab and a “beauty” swab. The standard swab is textured so you can clear away debris, and the beauty swab has a pointed end so you can make precise corrections or applications.
- Oral Hygiene: I use a bamboo toothbrush, which is compostable at the end of its life. A WaterPik is another great choice. It uses water to floss instead of the plastic string typically used. You can also use a tongue scraper or bamboo tongue brush. There are lots of sustainable toothpaste alternatives on the market. There is tooth powder, tooth tablets, tooth paste in glass jars, and tooth paste in recyclable packaging.
- Clothes: One of the more sustainable ways to buy clothes is second hand. Sometimes thrift shops have really cool finds! You can also buy secondhand directly from the previous owner. There are many online “thrifting” sites, like Mercari and Poshmark.
- Stomach(???): Eating and drinking also have an impact. Buy a reusable water bottle and fill it in public water fountains or an at home water filtration system. There are many ways to use food scraps so they don’t end up in the trash. Some examples include juicing them, boiling them and making a broth with them, blending them up and making crackers with them, and you can even compost them! You can also reduce your impact by choosing less animal products, as they have a more profound impact on the environment than common staples.
- Excretory parts: A lot of people choose to buy bamboo toilet paper because bamboo grows quickly and does not take much water to grow. A better solution (I’m biased because I have one) is a bidet. They will make you cut back on toilet paper use, and if you use a rag/family cloth, you can use even less.
- Feminine Hygiene: Reusable cotton pads and period cups are great alternatives to single use period products. I personally love Charlie Banana reusable pads. They’re very soft and absorbent. Period underwear is good for lighter flows.
- The only thing I can think of for legs is working out. You can rent or borrow equipment, or join a gym. You will have access to equipment and weights without creating demand for them by buying them.
This was just a basic rundown of baby steps I’ve taken so far. If you would like tutorials on how to make your own cotton rounds or family cloth, let me know! I will start on my room-by-room guide soon!
Are you into reducing your environmental impact? What alternatives have you tried? Let me know!