Plastic Free Living
As Plastic Free July came to a close, I can honestly say that I have made some significant lifestyle changes over the past few weeks. This was my first time participating in the July challenge and I now have a whole new awareness for the amount of plastic we were using here in the Henesy house and on the go. So these plastic free adjustments weren’t just for July though, they’re forever!
Our plastic and single-use plastic seemed to come down to 2 categories: Eating and cleaning. Whether eating at home or out and about, there is a lot of plastic usage. And whether cleaning ourselves or the Henesy House, it seems almost every single cleaning product comes in some kind of plastic bottle, bag or tube…. Let’s change that.
- SO many things at the grocery store come already packaged in plastic. But we’re sure to use our mesh produce bags and our store lets us bring our own bags/containers for deli items.
- To-go coffee cup lids are a gigantic culprit and contributor to plastic waste. I have a few travel mugs that I love and am getting into the habit of adding one to my diaper bag for brunch and coffee shop stops.
- After just 2 weekends at the Farmer’s market I felt bad about the single-use plastic silverware we used. So I ordered us all travel bamboo utensil sets from Zero Waste Store to be totally plastic free at the Farmer’s market.
- We never use paper plates. But sometimes we host, and just in case, I bought eco-friendly, compostable plant fiber plates and wooden forks.
- For food storage, I use glass Pyrex containers and BPA free, PEVA reusable storage bags.
- Last month I realized almost every single personal hygiene product I used was packaged in plastic. Except bar soap. I’ve always liked bar body soap. I’ve been using these Dr. Bronner’s bars for a long time. Love the smells, they’re totally non-toxic and come packaged in paper!
- Same goes for hand soaps. SO many plastic pumps everywhere. I was super guilty myself. Why not just some good ol’ soap in a soap dish on the sink like grandma used to have? Even buying the refill containers only saves a couple of plastic pumps. To be plastic free, I’ve gotten a few extra bars and will try a DIY hand soap recipe in my amber glass pump I just ordered.
- Now shampoo and conditioners come in bar soaps too!!! These little round hair care bars by Zero Waste Store caught my attention and I had to give them a try. With all my hair I was curious how well the conditioner would work. But I was pleasantly surprised at how soft my hair felt! You literally just rub the bars right on your hair. The shampoo suds up nicely, and I worked the conditioner into my ends for a soft finish without that residue feeling. I got the Sunshine bars, which now make my bathroom smell like sunshine.
- For kitchen cleaning, I got another bar. This No Tox dish washing block. I just wet my plant based scrub sponge or Swedish dishcloth and rub right onto the block to get soapy. Found the perfect sized ceramic and metal soap dish for the block to sit in on the sink.
- For the tough stuff and our cast iron pans, which are basically the only ones we use, I got this little bamboo scrubber with coconut bristles.
Still need solutions for:
- Water – We bring our water bottles everywhere. I fill up mine and Lily’s every time we leave the house. But it’s Summer, and hot and water is über important for our bodies, so we usually drink it all. When we need more, away from home, the ONLY option seems to be buying more water…. in a plastic bottle.
- Other soaps – Laundry detergent (recently saw a picture online of a brand that’s bottle was recycled. Need to check it out), dishwasher soap, bleach, Oxyclean, window cleaner, and probably many more.
- Plastic containers – from plants and flowers are also somewhat unavoidable. But can be brought back to most nurseries and greenhouses.
- Misc – Dry cleaning hanger bags, children’s (and some adult) clothes hangers, travel toiletries…
*I know out in LA and maybe other very progressive cities, stores are starting to emerge that are basically refill stations for products and cleaners like these. Awesome!
Just now at the coffee shop, the man next to me complimented his friend on bringing his own stainless steel straw. My heart was happy. Though he was still drinking from a plastic cup, it was something. And it meant something… that our culture is changing. And for the better for Mother Earth! This man may have even inspired his friend to purchase his own stainless steel straw.
…And hopefully, I may have even inspired you to become more aware and more conscious in your own households! To be more plastic free in the way that you live and shop. If we all continue to use our consumer power to buy only eco-friendly and plastic free products, the manufacturers and society will follow suit. #GOALS are to get those refill stores booming and spreading into all communities! Even more serious goals is to invest our lifestyles and efforts in the well being of our Mother Earth. Which is investing in the future of our children and grandchildren!
Bamboo utensil set: Zero Waste Store
Children’s bamboo utensil set: not shown Zero Waste Store
Mesh produce bags: Amazon
Soap dish: Amazon
Dish washing block: Zero Waste Store
Bamboo scrubber: Amazon
Shampoo/Conditioner bars: Zero Waste Store
Dr. Bronner’s: Amazon or your local drug store
Amber glass soap pump: not shown Zero Waste Store