If you have stumbled upon the Kosmatology blog, you probably already live every day like it’s Earth Day. But April 22 is a great excuse to take a minute and examine the easy things we can all do to step up our eco friendly game. Whether it’s fixing a bad habit or trying a new product, there are so many ways that we can be a little more green, but sometimes it can be a little confusing. After all, there is still an ongoing discussion about whether paper or plastic bags are superior for the environment, which I thought was an argument settled long ago! It’s easy to get lost in the many factors that go into what are the BEST options for the environment, which is really to live a zero waste lifestyle as much as possible. To that end, here are a few choices which acknowledge that sometimes waste happens, but can be done in a way that is better than the traditional options in that they are reusable or can be composted.
Bamboo toothbrushes: These are a new find for me! These beauties look cool in a bathroom (bonus if your storage space is less than ample and your toothbrushes are visible) and once you are done with them you can throw them in your compost pile because - they are made of bamboo! Be sure to look out for the bristle material, you want to make sure you can find a natural fiber option if you plan to compost. I found a great little breakdown on several brands here. Be sure to check bristle firmness, reviewers found some to be too hard.
Disposable Dining: I don’t love doing dishes after a party, but I really loathe using one time use products. As a result, you will see dishes piled in my sink after we have friends over, which is fine by me, but it can be anxiety provoking when we have friends over and we eat outside with my vintage dishes; however I just found these very cool palm plates that can be composted! I don’t think I’d feel so badly keeping these around the house for when I’m in a pinch, especially as BBQ season approaches, and since these are made with fallen palm leaves, I won’t have to worry about their sourcing. A quick search gave me options for cutlery and cups, so you can upgrade your whole BBQ scene at a cost that works with a budget in mind.
Grocery Shopping: We eat a lot of fruits and veggies in my house. And I can’t stand the amount of those little plastic baggies I use just to grab a variety of foods each week. I recently snagged a set of bags similar to these to help me change up my grocery game, and I am so excited to use them. I know this brings us back to the paper vs plastic vs cloth issue referenced above, but I am a serious reusable bag person (I have some grocery bags that are older than my children), and I know I will use these faithfully for a long time, which I hope offsets any negative impact. I also love that I can wash them and use them for different things, like snack bags for the kids’ lunches or for picnics.
Straws: Straws are a staple of dining out, but they can have devastating effects on aquatic wildlife, much like plastic bags. The easiest solution is to just say no to the straw! Pick up your cup and drink from it like you probably do at home! The easiest way to solve a trash issue is to simply not create more trash. But I get it, sometimes you need a straw, especially on the go. Enter the reusable straw - this one takes a little training to establish a habit. I invested in a set of bamboo straws over the summer, and I love them. My straws have a cute carry case that I can keep in my purse with about 8 straws, after I clean a few and a pile is starting to form on my counter-top, I remember to place them back in the carrying case. You can also buy metal or glass reuseable straws, whatever appeals to you most. Many sets come with a cleaning brush and it really takes just a few seconds to clean a straw. If this sounds like torture, then paper or wheat straws are available and if you compost them, they will eventually break down.
I hope this brief list gave you at least one new idea. It’s difficult to eliminate disposable products completely, especially when you have children in the house, but sometimes a simple change can have a big impact and one switch at a time adds up after several years.
Please let us know of your favorite swap below, there are so many ways we can make the world a little greener, and we love to hear from you!