As I lugged out another horrifying bag of recyclables, I promised myself to be more mindful about purchasing plastic. With that in mind, I asked Yasemin Ugurlu, owner of Reboot Eco in Chester, for some tips to reduce waste.
We are all becoming increasingly aware of the problem with single-use plastic, and there’s no better time than Plastic Free July to find new ways to phase it out of your life! More and more sustainable swaps and reusable alternatives exist, and below I’ve outlined some of our favorite tips and replacements to reduce the unnecessary plastic in our everyday lives:
- Replace plastic wrap with beeswax wraps. Beeswax wraps are a great reusable alternative to single-use plastic wraps. Use them to cover leftovers or half-eaten fruit and wrap sandwiches and snacks, among many other things. Beeswax wraps are a great non-toxic alternative and come in different sizes and fun designs – we recommend finding wraps that use a blend of beeswax, jojoba oil, and resin so that they last longer.
- Keep reusables with you on the go. Whether in your car or in your bag, keep a set of utensils, straws and a cup or jar with you when you’re out and about so you can say, “no, thanks!” to more single- use plastic (did you know paper coffee cups are lined with plastic and we throw away more than 50 BILLION a year in the US alone?). My “to go” bag also includes some clean takeout containers so I can use them to take leftovers home with me and avoid acquiring more.
- Remove plastic from your oral hygiene routine. Swap your plastic toothbrush for backyard compostable bamboo (but will biodegrade pretty quickly no matter where you toss it – our favorite type of material!). Bamboo toothbrushes are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and bristle types, and even as replacement heads for electric toothbrushes. Toothpaste tablets are a surprisingly easy swap – little tablets that you bite and chew before brushing into a foamy lather that rivals any paste packaged in un-recyclable tubes. Refills can be purchased in compostable packets.
- Remove plastic from your shower. Swap body wash for a bar soap made locally (so many great options!). Keep it lasting longer with a soap saver bag that’s also great for exfoliating. Switch to shampoo and conditioner bars to treat your hair and scalp more kindly and ultimately save money since you’ll need to replace them much less frequently. Do you have colored or finicky hair – there are bars for you, too (and they’ll be much kinder to your hair than liquid).
- Bring your bags. Most of us are used to bringing our reusable shopping bags with us by now, but are you also bringing produce bags with you? Plastic packaging can be hard to avoid in the grocery store, so head to the farmers market when you can and bring reusable produce bags with you.
- Remove plastic from your laundry routine. Unless you’re refilling and reusing your plastic laundry jug, of course! Laundry detergent is available in lots of non-toxic and plastic-free options now, so find what works best for you. Replace dryer sheets with dryer balls to reduce static and speed up drying time (pro tip: add a drop of essential oil for a fresh scent). If you really want to make your laundry environmentally friendly, add a device to collect microplastics in your washer (spoiler alert: our clothes regularly shed little pieces of plastic into the water stream every time they’re washed).
- Keep your kitchen counters plastic free. Refill your dish soap bottle or use a dish soap block (water free = longer lasting and no preservatives), and swap that smelly plastic sponge for a dish brush or machine washable fabric sponge. Ditch single-use paper towels for fabric ones or Swedish dishcloths (number 1 in absorbency!), and start using fabric napkins. These options are convenient, easy to wash and reuse, and reduce the cost of all those single-use items you keep having to restock.
- Keep food fresh with silicone. Whether it’s to wrap up snacks and lunches, prep food for the week, or pack away leftovers, silicone bags and covers are a great alternative to plastic bags and wrap. Not only are they dishwasher safe and reusable, they are also microwave and oven safe, so they can ramp up your food prep style and cut down on time.
- Reduce, reuse, repurpose. Reduce waste by buying only what you need – shop local whenever possible. Reuse and repurpose whatever you can to get the most out of what you already have. Use your creativity to make it fun and inspire others. Don’t consider yourself creative? Find inspiration online or in eco-friendly stores.
- REFILL! Not interested in solid soaps, pods, or tablets? Refill your containers with non-toxic liquid options at Reboot Eco, your local zero waste & refill shop. Making it easy to avoid plastic since 2021 😉
Are you interested in learning more about any of the above-listed options? Want more tips, tricks, guidance, and inspiration for your plastic-free journey? Come visit us at Reboot Eco anytime. Our team is ready to assist you in finding the sustainable swaps that are right for you.
Shop online: www.rebooteco.com
Shop in-store at 1 North Main Street, Chester.
Read more about Reboot Eco on The E List here: https://the-e-list.com/sustainable-goods-at-reboot-eco-in-chester/