A recent story I wrote for Shondaland, on dealing with a new phenomenon called eco-anxiety has caught the attention of a bunch of people recently. As a result, I’ve been bombarded with questions about what I use and what I use to lessen my own household impact on the earth.
Below, I’ve put together a running list (with links) of the products I have bought, use, and can personally recommend. These are my favorite ways to cut down on plastic, single-use items and do my part to help slow global warming.
Remember, you don’t have to be perfect. Small changes help.
To make it easier for those who are time-pressed, all the images below are linked to the Amazon page to purchase them if you want. There are also in-line links included, as well.
These Cool, Packable Utensils
Some people aren’t a fan of collapsable or screw-in style cutlery as a replacement for the plastic stuff. I, however, carry a small purse or (yes) a belt pack and needed something compact.
I chose to go with these colorful utensils that I found on Indiegogo. I bought the additional TSA-compliant knife attachment (for those times when I need to fly with them–just remember to remove the regular knife attachment!) and straws for both me and my partner. Sadly, the straws are a real disappointment, and while the Outlery set isn’t perfect (there are some fitment issues that we were able to resolve), it does the job. It’s a bit heavy because it is stainless, but I like it. I did also purchase the silicone boxes from Outlery, as well.
After a bit of searching online, though, I found a collapsible set on Amazon that I would totally buy. It’s similar to the Outlery set, more affordable, and it has the right kind of straw!
This Affordable Reusable Bag (That isn’t Stasher)
Many people really love Stasher bags, and they recently became available at Whole Foods. Having tried a few varieties of reusable silicone bags, I actually don’t love them. Sure they are “easy” to close (though I find that they aren’t really), but they smash everything down super flat–which doesn’t do wonders for tomatoes or soft foods. Who wants a smooshed sandwich?
Instead, I use (and gift) these slider style silicone bags. They are dishwasher safe (I flip them inside out on the top rack of the dishwasher and let it do its thing), and easy to close. I’ll post a video on my social media to show how they close.
This Bees Wax Alternative to Plastic Wrap (That Works!)
In my effort to cut back on plastic, I’ve swapped out all our plastic wrap for these eco-friendly Bees Wax wraps. They work great, and you warm them up with your hands to seal them. I like to use them to wrap bread for storage or, as you see here, even fresh veggies.
I just give them a gentle wash with lukewarm water and some dish soap and then hang them to dry. They do eventually lose their stickiness, at which point you can use the cloth for other things (patches maybe?). They usually last me about six months of regular use before they lose their tackiness.
These Washable, Reusable Bamboo Paper Towels
Getting away from non-renewable paper products can be tough. After all, the stuff you can buy for cheap off the supermarket shelves is soft and easy to just toss after one use. But the damage it does to boreal forests, the Amazon, and the world is tremendous.
As a result, we’ve made the shift towards using renewable bamboo products instead. That includes bamboo toilet paper, and these reusable, washable, paper towels.
I use them for a couple of days then toss them in the washer and dryer. They come out fluffy and soft and work great for smaller not-so messy spills. While I still do use paper towels for other things, this has really helped me cut down on my disposable paper usage.
We’ve also made the switch to bamboo toilet paper. After a few trials and errors, my favorite from Amazon is this brand. It’s soft and doesn’t leave any residue (eww) and comes from renewable bamboo. I plan to give the new company, Who Gives A Crap a try next. I’ll update when I do.
These Reusable Produce Bags That Help Keep Your Produce Fresh
Those damn plastic bags that hold produce are incredibly wasteful, and they just end up in landfills and eventually in our oceans, trees, and skies. Who wants to contribute to the microplastic build up in our world?
Instead, try these mesh bags that have tare weights on them. I use them at the grocery store (the cashier can use the tare weights printed on the tags so that you don’t pay for the weight of the bag or toggle) and the farmers market and have never had a problem. Bonus, they keep your produce fresher, longer, too!
The Bottom Line on Going More Green
While it’s hard to go completely zero waste, you can take these small steps to go just a bit more green. I’ll continue to add products and update this post as I find new things I love. I’m going to venture into greening my beauty routine next!