5 easy eco-friendly swaps

Easy adjustments to help you get started on your road to eco-friendly living and they're super easy!



Going green is sometimes misunderstood as being costly, demanding, and stressful. A sustainable lifestyle entails that we, as people, produce as little waste as possible from the assets we use every day. The goal is to use goods that will last longer and reduce waste both now and in the future. Our small actions have the greatest influence. So, begin painting your sustainable path now, but don't feel obligated to complete it in a single day!



A sustainable lifestyle entails that we, as people, produce as little waste as possible from the assets that we use everyday


Here are five simple eco-friendly substitutions to get you started:


1. Plastic water bottle ⇢ Reusable water bottle


75% of plastic water bottles are not recycled and wind up in landfills or the ocean, causing environmental damage¹. Most plastic takes around 450 years to break down in the environment.


Consider carrying a reusable water bottle with you. There is a wide variety of steel or glass options to choose from. Every time you carry your reusable water bottle with you you are saving one plastic bottle from ending up in a landfill or being devoured by wildlife. This quick snippet powerfully explains the life cycle of a single-use water bottle and could change how you use plastic forever.




2. Plastic bags ⇢ Cloth bags


Plastic bags are the most common type of garbage found across the globe. It might take up to 1,000 years for plastic bags to break down [2]. It has the potential to clog up rivers and trigger natural disasters. Switching to cotton bags may help the environment while also saving you money. The ones that wear out may also be used to clean your windows.



Plastic bags take upto 1000years to break down




3. Paper towels ⇢ Cloth Towels


While paper towels have a low carbon footprint ( ~ 0.06 lbs of CO2), they still contribute to deforestation, global warming, and an ever-increasing trash problem when used in large quantities³. Any footprint of cloth towel can be negated if old rags of t-shirts, bedsheets, or jeans are used. The swap to cloth saves the unnecessary destruction of wildlife habitat!



4. Liquid Soaps ⇢ Soap Bars



Production of liquid soap requires three times the energy of a bar of soap and comes in packaging that is difficult to recycle or dispose⁴. Bar soaps perform just as well as liquid soaps, with far fewer chemicals, last longer and cost less as well. As a result, they, have a significantly lower environmental impact than liquid soap. In fact, shampoo and conditioner bars are the latest trend. Switch to shampoo bars and save more plastic bottles from entering landfills.



5. Disposable Pads/Tampons ⇢ Menstrual cup/Cloth Pads


On average, a woman uses 350 packs of plastic sanitary pads in her lifetime⁵. A normal non-organic pad is expected to take 500–800 years to decompose, and because plastic makes up such a major portion of these items, it will never fully biodegrade⁶. A good place to start would be with cloth pads. A menstruation cup would be a better option. If properly cared for, it could last you between 5-10 years.


I produce a lot less waste now than when I first started my quest to reduce my carbon footprint. In the words of Anne Marie Bonneau, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”

I am one of those million people. How about you?😊😊😊


Are there any simple swaps that you have made that have helped you reduce your waste? Or are there any challenges that you face in trying to reduce your single-use consumption of items? Let us know in the comments below.



Resources


1. The lifecycle of plastics 2021, www.wwf.org.au.


2. UN Environment 2018, SINGLE-USE PLASTICS A Roadmap for Sustainability, 5 June, p. 12.


3. Reduce The Carbon Footprint of Your Paper Towels 2019, Terrapass.


4. The Science of ‘Seinfeld’ -- How Much Was Actually True? 2020, ZME Science.


5. The Ultimate Guide to Feminine Hygiene n.d., Duquesne University School of Nursing.


6. Peberdy, E, Jones, A & Green, D 2019, ‘A Study into Public Awareness of the Environmental Impact of Menstrual Products and Product Choice’, Sustainability, vol. 11, no. 2, p. 3.



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