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Swap the Small Stuff for a Plastic-Free World

Swap the Small Stuff for a Plastic-Free World

You’ve got your hydro flask, your chic, custom-made handbag for quick trips to the grocery store, and you wouldn’t think of going out to eat without your eco-friendly metal straws. But are you doing enough? 

You’re not new to the problems of plastics. If you’re really ready to do your part, you don’t have to eradicate all plastic from your life, but you can make a really big difference by making some small changes that add up–sometimes they add up pretty quickly.

Small Swaps for Big Change

A little bit here, a little bit there–not only will you feel better about your choices, but the environment will benefit. Get your friends and family onboard, and who knows what you can accomplish. 

By the way, we already know you’re doing the obvious swaps, so let’s look at some you maybe haven’t considered.

Organic, plastic-free hair ties: Why let your hair be the culprit, especially when you’re just looking for an easy way to get it out of your face. These little beauties work great, and you don’t have to worry about them hurting any of the ocean’s residents.

No more takeout containers: We’re not suggesting you stop getting takeout or bringing home leftovers, what we are suggesting is that you bring your own reusable containers. This trend is starting to pick up steam, and why wouldn’t it. Not only are you cutting back on the plastic, disposable containers that restaurants use, but your own glass containers work so much better for reheating.

Not just water: You already know how water bottles are the scourge of the earth, but what else do you drink out of plastic? Soda, juices, power drinks–anyone? You can do better by looking for products with plastic alternatives or making your own drinks at home with a juicer or a soda maker and then using reusable bottles

Convenience meals: You’re busy, you don’t feel like cooking, takeout has too many calories, so you grab a convenience meal. The problem is that they come in plastic packaging. They’re also full of salt and preservatives and other things you don’t want to eat. This is easy enough to remedy. Make double batches of your favorites foods when you do cook, and then freeze the extras in reusable glass containers.

Say NO to microbeads: Once upon a time, not so long ago actually, personal care products were filled with plastic microbeads. These beads were in everything from toothpaste to age-defying skin creams. The bans on microbeads began years ago and are sweeping the globe, but what about those products you buy online? Are they microbead-free? Try the search at Beat The Microbead to check. 

Garden options: When spring hits, do you come back from the local nursery with tons of sprouted seedlings in plastic containers? Skip the plastic this year, and sprout your seedlings at home, or buy plants that come in biodegradable containers. If you must buy plastic, see if the nursery will take back the plastic and recycle it.

Bar soap: It’s a little thing, but it can mean a lot. Think about how much plastic is used to create a liquid soap container. Even if you’ve bought a cool looking ceramic one, the refill soap comes in plastic.

Rethink toothpaste: A company called Bite has some toothpaste options that help you eliminate plastic and save the environment. Beyond that, it’s more than a little fun to try a different method of brushing.

Beeswax wraps: Beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap is all the rage, and you can buy it in your favorite grocery and department stores, but you can also make them yourself.  

Making beeswax wraps is a fun DIY project, and you get to pick your own fabric and patterns. Try these easy instructions:

♦ Find 100% cotton fabric, wash, and cut into desired sizes

♦ Pour 2 tablespoons jojoba oil into a double boiler with 6 tablespoons pine resin and 1 cup beeswax

♦ Stir and melt

♦ Preheat oven to 300°

♦ Lay fabric on a baking sheet

♦ Brush fabric with your beeswax mixture

♦ Pop it in the oven for 3-4 minutes

♦ Pull the trays out, flip the fabric and repeat the brushing and baking steps

♦ Hang wraps to dry

Make sure you’re cleaning your wraps with cool water and gentle detergent. If they start to deteriorate, you can pop them back in the oven at 300° for a few minutes, and that should rejuvenate them a bit.

Homemade cleaners: If you love a little DIY, then try switching from premade cleaning products sold in plastic containers, to homemade cleaning products. You can buy glass containers for storage or just hold onto those plastic containers you already own and refill them. 

If you have the time, a little research into the ingredients used to make cleaning products will really open your eyes. You’ll find that not only are you helping out by making your own products and cutting back on single-use plastic, but you’re also helping the environment and yourself by using safer ingredients. This is a win/win all the way around because many people report that homemade cleaning products do an even better job of making their house spic and span.

Living Well

You know that being healthy is more than having a good check-up at the doctor’s office. It’s an attitude and an approach to life. A healthy person is concerned about their physical and mental health, the health of those around them, and the relationships they foster, and they’re concerned about the health of the environment.

Plastic drinking straws became the target of 2018, and individuals, celebrities, and then major restaurant chains started doing their part. Will using your own carryout containers be the focus of 2020? If you do your part–maybe.

In the meantime, keep doing what you can to reduce plastic, and follow LiveWell on Facebook @livewelllabsnutrition and Instagram @livewelllabs for more tips on living a life of health-lightenment.