Making the switch to a low-waste lifestyle can seem like a daunting chore, especially at first. Here are some convenient and sustainable adjustments that anyone can make in their homes today. You can start the process by taking a ‘plastic inventory.’ This activity can be fun for the whole family! You will be surprised at how many times a day we come into contact with plastic, especially in the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Once you evaluate how much plastic you use, you can then take small steps to replace those products with more earth-friendly solutions.
In the years of transforming my own home, I have made a point to swap out liquids for solids or powders. Why pay to ship water to the island when we have plenty of it here? Not only does it add to our carbon footprint by transporting the weight of the water, but the plastic never leaves our islands. It either ends up killing our sea life in our delicate ocean or it ends up in our nearly overflowing landfill. Did you know that 700,000,000 plastic laundry jugs are dumped into landfills in North America every year? That is just one example!
So what can we do about it? Join the #zerowastemovement! Every day there are more and more local companies offering plastic-free, eco-conscious products made with locally-sourced ingredients. You can typically find them at your local farmer’s markets, as ‘pop-up shops,’ or even as subscription/delivery services that will bring the products right to your doorstep! Here are some examples of locally-made products that you can find:
- Shampoo and Conditioner Bars: one bar can be equivalent to 2-3 plastic bottles of product.
- Tooth Powder/Paste in a Glass Jar: this cuts down on plastic tubes that are not recyclable.
- Deodorant Paste in a Glass Jar or Compostable Tube: this cuts down on plastic applicators that are not recyclable.
- Laundry Powder: concentrated, all-natural product, minus the water.
- All-Purpose Concentrated Cleaner or DIY Vinegar Cleaner: replaces the unnecessary extra bottles taking up space in your kitchen cupboard.
These are just a few small steps to get you started! For even more tips and tricks on how to make your home more sustainable, check out Zero Waste Hale pop-ups around Maui, and check out their Facebook and Instagram accounts.
Ashley Bowman is a plastic-free living advocate and curator of eco-conscious lifestyle products. For more tips and information visit zerowastehale.com.