A few months ago, my son went on a three-night class trip at a summer camp style environmental and educational center. They hiked, made it through ropes courses, had bonfires, sang songs, and learned about ways to treat the earth better. He came home bursting with ideas to “green up our home,” and his excitement was infectious. While we had implemented some sustainable options around the house like cloth napkins and towels, recycled regularly, and even planted our own garden each spring, I knew there was much more we could do.
Statistics show that the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of trash each day (compared to the global average of 2.6 lbs). In a country of over 237 million people, that adds up to more than 700,000 TONS of trash a day. But what if making just a few small changes could reduce your number?
With his recycled tin can cup in hand, my son and I came up with a list of ways we could try to decrease the amount of plastic and disposable items we used on a daily basis without spending a ton of money or making things too difficult on ourselves and our packed schedules. It turned out that we were easily able to come up with a handful of ways to get started that used barely any time or money.
We discussed bringing our own containers to get bulk products at the store instead of purchasing bags or cartons of beans, rice, oats, spices, etc… I told him about a Facebook conversation I read that encouraged me to bring our own reheatable containers to restaurants in case of leftovers, so we wouldn’t have to rely on plastic or styrofoam. And we committed to continue making our own earth friendly homemade laundry detergent. Each month we’ll pick a handful of new ways we go greener. Little by little it adds up.
I recently had the chance to try some new products from EarthHero, and each one has helped us ditch the plastic and live a little greener. One thing I really dig about their site is that you can look up sustainability features for each product to see exactly where materials are sourced from, where it’s made, what it’s packaged in, any environmentally friendly certifications, as well as options for “end of life,” (i.e. some companies will take back items to recycle into new ones!).
EarthHero Bamboo Utensil Set
We’ve gotten into the habit of asking for no plastic ware whenever we get takeout food. Did you know that about 40 billion individual plastic utensils are made every year? One way to still enjoy a meal on the go without contributing to all that waste is with EarthHero’s bamboo utensil set. Made of sustainable bamboo and recycled water bottles, the set comes with a fork, knife, spoon, and set of chopsticks, all in a recycled fabric sleeve. Plus, they’re super easy to wash, won’t stain or absorb flavors, and can be heated, so great for soups (and cleaning in dishwashers!). Pop these in your kid’s lunchbox or leave in the car for easy use when out and about!
I’ll admit that despite the cloth napkins and towels I use in the kitchen, it’s been hard to give up my plastic bags. But with these silicone snack bags by Stasher, I have no excuse. They seal similar to Ziplocs, and can be stored in the fridge and freezer or warmed up in the microwave or oven, making them super versatile. Plus, they’re easily washable (either by hand or top of the dishwasher). Invest in a set for your kitchen and say goodbye to one use, disposable plastic bags! The snack bag is perfect for wrapping up a block of cheese, taking some trail mix to work or school, or filling with chopped veggies for an easy-to-grab snack from the fridge.
It can be tricky to find good substitutes for plastic wrap, especially when all I want to do is seal up a ½ onion to pop in the fridge. Small Hugs’ food huggers is the perfect solution. These truly multi purpose food savers are flexible enough to cap an onion, seal our cat’s food can, and somehow mold to the shape of any vegetable or fruit, from pepper to papaya. The 6-pack is great as it comes with a pair each of three different shapes, so you’re bound to be able to cover most items. Bonus, Small Hugs offers a lifetime warranty, so these BPA and phthalate free covers will truly last you a lifetime, making them more than worth the initial investment. Plus, they come in super bright colors, which is always festive.
Plastic straws produce a lot of waste—at least 500,000,000 of them are thrown out every day in the United States, with millions of them ending up in the ocean each year. At the same time, there are some people who rely on plastic straws, and an outright banning of them would be incredibly ableist. However, there are alternatives, and folks who are able to use them, should! While I often bring my own mug or cup places, it hadn’t really dawned on me to bring along my own straw until I got the FinalStraw Collapsible travel straw.
It’s small enough to toss in a purse, briefcase or backpack, and you could even attach it to your keys. Then, the next time you’re out to lunch and order a drink, you can pull it out to save a straw. In addition, since the straw bends in quarters to be able to pack away, pulling it out and setting it right makes you feel like a wizard with a wand (at least according to my son).
Before I got the Cora Ball’s microfiber laundry ball, I had no idea that microfibers from our clothes eventually end up in our waterways. According to EarthHero’s site, it’s even estimated that NYC alone has 6.8 BILLION microfibers flowing into its harbor each day. But you can stop that at the source when doing your laundry. Cora Ball works by trapping and securing threads in its “spindles” that can be easily cleaned as microfibers collect. They catch around 26% of microfibers that shed from your clothes per load. Plus they’re made from 100% recycled plastic, and you can eventually recycle it after using it for years and years.
A few months ago we ran a story reviewing shampoo bars, and ever since then, these low waste cleansers have been on my mind. I’ll admit upfront that I’m a bit precious with my hair. Between the various bold colors I dye it and my temperamental curls, I have my own no/low-poo thing going on, however, I’m also not the only one in my household. This shampoo bar is perfect for my husband and son. It smells fresh, is quick to lather, and doesn’t leave their hair filmy or dry, just clean! Plus, it comes in a reusable tin, which my son has already put to good use for some of his trinkets (though the aluminum is also recyclable).
My 12-year-old spends a lot of time listening to music and John Mulaney comedy albums. At least now he can do in an eco-friendly way. These over the ear bluetooth headphones from House of Marley are not only sustainable, but they’re super stylish. Made with recycled aluminum and fabric, they include a slick inlay detail of FSC certified wood. While they are wireless (allowing my drummer boy to easily thrash around while playing to music), they come with a wire if you want to connect directly to a phone or other device. Even cooler? House of Marley plants a tree for every item purchased, and has so far planted over 25,000 trees. So, treat yourself to some super sweet sounding headphones and make the planet a little greener in the process!
EarthHero is an online marketplace that’s here to change the way we shop–making shopping, and living, sustainably easier than ever. At EarthHero.com, you can shop thousands of curated products that align with your personal values–from Made in America to plastic-free, vegan, cruelty-free, and beyond!
Your choices make changes. EarthHero makes it easy for you to vote with your dollar, and create a brighter future with every purchase.
And, just for you, our Grok Nation reader, we’re offering a 15% off code: groknation (*Good until 5/8/19. Cannot be applied to sale, paired with other coupons, or used on TerraCycle products or gift cards)