Reducing Plastic in Our Lives!

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Here is some great advice for reducing plastic in our lives from PSP Members. Please feel free to email us with more ideas and we’ll add to this article!

Health/Lifestyle

  • Switch from body/facial wash to bar soap.handmade-1139554 640
  • Use bar conditioner on your hair - mine has never looked better. 
  • Use Tom’s bar soap for the kids.
  • Buy plastic/packaging-free soaps at Lush
  • We buy gallon bottles of California Baby hand soap and refill smaller bottles around the house.
  • Switch to toilet paper that’s rated A on the NRDC list
  • Find eco-friendly toilet paper and tissues: https://us.whogivesacrap.org
  • Use Bamboo Toothbrushes
  • For those who get their period, Thinx underwear are amazing.
  • Switch to cloth napkins.

Cosmetics

Bags & Storage

  • Use mesh or net bags for loose produce vs pre-packaged or plastic bags.
  • Bring your own reusable bags and containers to the farmer’s market.
  • Always carry a few reusable bags withyou.
  • Try to do takeout/leftovers in your own containers. Smaller restaurants are more likely to let you do this.  
  • Use reusable silicone baggies for leftoversand food storage. Most are dishwasher-safe. 
  • Use reusable sandwichand snack bags for kid’s lunches/snacks. 
  • Sew up some little cloth bags out of an old sheet to use for bulk items.
  • Take the labels off large glass bottles and use them for leftovers. It makes leftovers more visible which seems to create less food waste. 
  • Wash and repurpose small clothbags like shoe bags and the cloth bags that sheets come in. Use them for buying fruits and veggies. 
  • Use STASH bags for lunches and snacks.

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Cleaning

  • Blueland sells you one bottle and then you can buy dissolvable tablets for cleaning windows/multipurpose, etc. 
  • Meliora Cleaning Products. 
  • Norwex Cleaning Cloths. 
  • Use white vinegar and baking soda to make your own cleaning supplies.
  • Make your own spray cleaner with vinegar, water, a few squirts of dish soap, and some eucalyptus essential oil.
  • A regular squirt nozzle screws perfectly onto a large Bragg's Apple Cider Vinegar bottle!
  • Repurpose what you already have...use old baby washcloths instead of paper towels!
  • Buy concentrated cleaners and mix with water – here are two options: Grove & JAWS
  • www.cleancult.com
  • Use concentrated cleaners & laundry detergents. 
  • I use Dr. Bronner's for almost everything (dishes, hand soap, general cleaning). It does come in plastic, but if you buy in bulk and dilute, it eliminates many other plastic bottles.

Household and Kitchen Supplies

  • Stainless steel straws (easily hand washablecoffee-cup-coffee-mug-ice-keep-cup-830590). 
  • Insulated stainless steel bottle for kiddo’s purées - instead of using pre-made pouches.
  • Silicone lids/stretch covers instead of cling wrap.
  • Kleen Kanteen insulated cup -  it’s one of my most-used refillable containers
  • Subscribe to Mighty Fix – they send eco-friendly products for $10.00/month.
  • We've significantly reduced our use of plastic wrap and aluminum foil by
  • purchasing a set of silicone lids
  • Reusable insulated travel mugs may need to be used up to 1,000 times to be a win over just getting your coffee in a paper cup!
  • Metal containers for storage and packing lunches.
  • Bento Boxes for lunches.
  • Scrubber brushes with replaceable heads that cut down on plastic. 

 Laundry:

  • Seventh Generation products that come in a paper bottle with very thin plastic liner so you can easily separate them and recycle.
  • Dropps for laundry. I believe that the casings are made of a plant-based product. I've also read that most consumers don't measure liquid detergent very carefully and end up using way too much, so pre-measured pods like these are helpful for avoiding overuse. 
  • Soap nuts for laundry. 
  • We switched to powder detergent. It comes in cardboard boxes rather than the thick plastic ones and then we recycle the cardboard box. Also I believe powder is less likely to promote mold growth in a front load washer.

Food:

bulk items

  • Buy in bulk for grains, beans, and cereals.
  • I've been composting by putting a metal bowl in my freezer to collect food scraps (no flies this way!) and either take it to GAP farmers market or in the bins on the block to compost. We've cut way down on garbage bags because we have so much less garbage.
  • I buy milk from Union Market -  you get money back when you bring in your glass containers.
  • Make your own yogurt! We make ours in the Instant Pot.
  • I try to talk to my son about why we don’t buy pouches or single serve items where we can avoid it.

Local places to shop:

  • Package Free Shop is great! They're in Brooklyn but ship for free on orders higher than $25.00. I use their dish washing brushes and pot scrubbers. I've recently purchased a metal razor, sunscreen in a metal container, shampoo bar, and some kitchen scrub brushes from them.
  • There’s a great line of bulk soaps/cleaners/detergents called Common Goods that are available at Annie's Blue Ribbon on 5th Avenue. This cuts down on all the extra shipping, packaging etc.
  • Buy cleaning supplies at the Co-op if you are a member.
  • We shop at Whole Foods and they have a number of options for reducing plastic. You can bring your own jars for filling with nut butters. They don't advertise this, but just ask and weigh your container before filling. I've found them very accommodating. You can buy cheese from the deli (wrapped in paper which may or may not be lined with plastic...not sure)rather than the dairy cooler. Same with meat and fish - buy from the counter to reduce plastic.

clothes-swap

 

Inspirations:

  • #zerowaste on Instagram has great ideas when you feel ready for new challenges.
  • Loopstore sells existing brands using reusable packaging. 
  • Check out the blog Trash is for Tossers I just made my own deodorant from a video on there! Lots of great ideas and follow their Instagram too.
  • Follow @zerowastechef on Instagram for interesting tips and ways to prepare food.
  • This blog has excellent ideas and the products are amazing, affordable, and in sustainable packaging with sustainable ingredients. 
  • Try to use less electricity and energy at home. Do what you can to better insulate your home. Reduce your household's food waste.
  • Host or attend a clothing/gear swap! PSP hosts two baby/kid clothing and gear swaps in the spring and fall as well as two swaps for working moms. Check our calendar for the next PSP swaps!

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