Updated: Aug 7, 2018
“Did you know that the first toothbrush you ever owned is still in a landfill somewhere?” This is one of my favorite facts to drop on people when discussing plastic waste. In fact,
Here onboard SV Gemini we have been making great efforts to reduce the amount of waste we create in our daily lives. Although we are lucky to live in a relatively clean bay, we still see trash float by our boat all the time. Most of the time what we see littering our picturesque backyard is made out of some form of plastic. It’s up to all of us to do our part by changing our habits to support a more waste-free lifestyle.
We have been doing our best to reduce our waste & by doing so we’ve saved some extra dollars to go towards our cruising fund by buying in bulk, choosing whole ingredients instead of packaged premade snacks, discounts on coffee at local cafe’s for bringing our re-usable cup, not to mention the many trips down the dock we saved not having to lug trash to the dumpsters so often!
So here you have something to get you going on the plastic-free train -- we have compiled a couple of our favorite tips & tricks to easily reduce your daily waste. Give them a try and let us know how it goes for you! What are your favorite waste-free products or habits?
Shop in Bulk. Many grocery stores have bulk sections where you can buy bulk grains, nuts, snacks, dried fruit - you name it! They normally offer plastic bags for customers to use for these items, but we have replaced them with homemade bulk bags, sewn out of a floral sheet I had that didn’t fit our bed. Granted it did take me about 2 hours to make about 8 bags, but they were free and an easy plastic substitute. If sewing is not your thing, give these bulk bags a try. These mesh bags have also come in handy for buying veggies, especially mushrooms & small peppers that tend to fall through the shopping cart!
Keep your favorite reusable cup with you, always. Whether you like stainless, ceramic or glass find a cup that works for you. Keep it with you at all times in your bag, car, on your desk at work, wherever. You will find that it’s more handy than you think, I like to use mine for coffee, water, smoothies, soups, milkshakes, etc. We have the Kuuma 20oz Tumblers and we love them as they are much more affordable than big name brands, but they keep things hot/cold for super long.
Go to your favorite takeout restaurants & ask for your meal in your own tupperware. We have just recently tried this at a couple of local spots & have had great success! This may not work at every restaurant, as some can be very strict about health codes & cross-contamination. Our main suggestion is that the container you bring is very clean, with an easy and secure lid, making it difficult for them to say no. We’ve done this a couple of times now and trust me it feels great to indulge in your favorite takeout without having any trash, not to mention you can throw any leftovers directly into the fridge!
Go thrift store shopping! Take Macklemore’s advice on this one and get into thrifting. You can find amazing deals on glass jars, dishware & clothes which will not only help your pocket but also the environment. Finding items that would otherwise be thrown into landfill is a great way to reduce your waste & outfit your boat or home inexpensively.
Make your own beauty & cleaning products. There is something very satisfying about making your own body lotion or sunscreen. I have loved experimenting with different ingredients, recipes & essential oils creating homemade sunscreen, deodorant, toothpaste, laundry detergent & lotion. There are many great recipes here to try, which is where I have found most of my favorites so far!
Make your kitchen sink plastic-free. Jack’s cousin Morgan introduced us to the idea of using a luffa as a dish sponge! If you cut a thin slice of a large luffa it works as a great scrubby sponge & holds soap just as long as a conventional dish sponge. If you prefer scrub brushes for your dishwashing days, then check these out to replace your plastic one!
Reuse, reuse, reuse! This can apply to so many things in our daily lives. We have most of our plastic waste come from our food choices. Get yourself setup with a meal kit that lives in your car with: silverware, bowl, cup & stainless or bamboo straw. Check out these different types of food wraps/containers: Food Huggers, Bee’s Wraps, & Stasher Bags. I am dying to get some of the Stasher Bags, since I have the other two and love them! We made our own Bee’s wraps (instructions here!) The most economical reusable container I’ve found is a simple glass jar from any pasta sauce, or salsa. Any of these options are great ways to take lunches to work, keep veggies fresh in the fridge & keep the landfills empty. Huge contributors to plastic waste such as toothbrushes & disposable razors can easily be swapped for items like bamboo toothbrushes & stainless safety razors.
Advocate, tell your friends. This one is probably the most important of them all - spreading the word. Tell your friends what you are doing to decrease your waste, share tips & products with them so they too can get inspired. There are tons of Instagrammers, Youtubers & Bloggers out there with an abundance of information on pollution & recycling info, not to mention suggestions & tips to a plastic free life. Check out some of my favorite people/groups on social media battling the war on plastics: Plastic Free Mermaid, Plastic Free July, Changing Tides Foundation, the Seabin Project, Take 3 for the Sea.
Thank you for reading and please share any of your favorite facts, tips, blogs, books, etc on plastic waste & waste-free living!
Two the Horizon Crew
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