We all agree that pollution ruins a lot of beautiful places. It can feel overwhelming to think about cleaning up the ocean or cleaning up oil spills but there are things we can easily do to reduce our contribution to pollution without having to move to the woods and stop showering.
Here is a list of 5 simple ways to cut back on pollution in our everyday life:
1. Switch your dish soap & laundry detergent to a biodegradable eco-compatible brand.
Did you know there are soaps that not only get your dishes sparkling clean but also smell nice and break down into plant food when washed down the drain? Would you believe it if we told you not only do these soaps exist but they are cheaper than mainstream dish soap?! It’s true! Brands like Oasis soap make dish and laundry detergent that biodegrades into natural plant food! It’s our favorite for daily cleaning. Oasis cuts grease like a knife through butter and has a pleasant light citrus smell. If you want, add in essential oils to switch the smell up.
Why Make this switch: Antibacterial soaps contain ingredients that kill the natural bacteria found in the wild. This can do a lot of damage to the very bottom of the food chain, affecting all the animals in that ecosystem. There is also suspicion that the presence of anti-bacterial soap in the environment is contributing to resistant harmful bacteria. Even standard soaps can contain preservatives and carcinogens that are an unnecessary load on mother nature! While natural soaps are far better than antibacterial soap, even they can contain salt which is not ideal for plant life.
Why we love this change: It’s easy and honestly, we love this soap more than any other soap we’ve tried. It’s super concentrated, it should be diluted 1:1 for dish soap and 1 TBS per gallon for hand soap and surface cleaner. At .23 cents per ounce it is already cheaper than Dawn, even before it is diluted! Since this soap goes such a long way, it drastically cuts down on plastic use. It is so biocompatible that you can use your greywater to water your plants and they will love it! The soap breaks down into ingredients that work as plant food!
2. Switch your surface cleaner to a homemade mix: white vinegar, essential oils & water.
This simple blend cuts grease, breaks down hard water and kills germs. It evaporates in seconds leaving only the smell of whatever essential oil you use! It is food safe and totally non-toxic. You can get an attractive glass spray bottle to refill which actually adds to your style! The recipe is easy: mix equal parts water and white vinegar, add in 18-45 drops per oz of essential oil. Some of our favorite oils are rosemary, lemon, tea tree or lavender. For your kitchen or garage: orange oil is incredible for cutting grease, mechanics use straight orange oil to clean their hands and tools! Mix up lemon, orange & rosemary for the kitchen, Lavender & tea tree for the bathroom, really any combination will work all over your house.If you’re busy you can buy an amazing premade vinegar cleaner from the brand Aunt Fannie’s we use this cleaner all over our office and love it! It works like a charm and smells pretty good (after the vinegar evaporates lol) While buying a premade mix won’t cut down on your plastic waste quite like making your own, it will cut way down on your chemical pollution footprint. Do the best you can! Any change for the better is a good one.
Why make this change: Anything you can make in bulk so easily is a simple way to cut down on plastic use, think about how many spray bottles you throw away in a year (if you refill them we give you two gold stars) upgrading to a nice glass bottle not only stops all that trash but it looks good too. Marie Kondo would approve. Conventional cleaners often have the same harmful ingredients you’d expect: preservatives, harsh anti-bacterial agents, even allergens and hormone modulators. What makes surface cleaners even more suspect than most is that they take these ingredients and make them into an aerosol, wafting toxic chemicals into the air for you, your family and pets to inhale. No bueno. A study conducted on water contaminates discharged in municipal waste water found that alkylphenol ethoxylates (APEs) are harming the reproduction and survival of salmon and other fish. Fumes from some cleaning products may induce asthma in otherwise healthy individuals. A large and growing body of evidence links frequent use of many ordinary cleaning supplies at home or on the job with development of asthma and other respiratory problems. Here is a guide to household cleaners and your health by the Environmental Working Group.
Why we love this change: Making your own surface cleaner is fun and simple, just three ingredients (two if you’re not into scent) can replace the chemical soup that is most conventional cleaners. You can customize the scent, try cedarwood for a masculine twist that most brands miss, Geranium for a bright green floral or peppermint for a super clean and fresh feel. Never worry about accidentally spraying on food or surfaces kids and pets might lick (you know how it is) Clean your toddler’s toys, your chihuahua’s bowl even your toothbrush no worries.
3. Cut back on buying cheap crap you don’t need.
Seriously just stop buying junk when you are bored. We’re all guilty of doing this, opening up amazon or grabbing some junk in the checkout line we did not need. Just take a breath, count to 10 and ask yourself “do I really need this” and close your browser. You don’t need it, it won’t make you happy and it will become landfill junk you have to deal with later.
Why make this change: Buying things you really don’t need is like material junk food, it will make you spiritually sick, adding “things” to your life creates “to-do” items you have to take care of which adds to your anxiety. The less you have to manage the more calm you will be. Calm minds make good choices, good choices make happy people, happy people don’t need junk, it’s a virtuous circle that leads to less trash.
Why we love this change: It will make you happier and wealthier! You would be surprised how much money you spend on trinkets and unnecessary items in a year. Use that money to save for a vacation, to pay down your debt or buy better items that will last longer when you do need them. Every item you buy has to be shipped so not only do you save the trash that the unneeded item will eventually become, but you save all of the shipping materials too! Happier, wealthier, less junk to manage and less shipping supplies used – a quadruple win!
4. Switch to concentrated products.
Everything from make-up to toothpaste comes in concentrated forms nowadays. May we humbly suggest switching to our super concentrated toothpowder as a great way to cut down on waste. We brush at least twice a day and toothpastes are over 50% water, and ingredient that does nothing for your oral health but does increase shipping weight and the amount of packaging needed to house your paste. Switching to a toothpowder cuts down on shipping fuel and packaging since they do not contain water and are made of 100% effective ingredients allowing you to use less product.
Why Make this change: As we stated above toothpaste is mostly water which is heavy and unnecessary. Any added weight increases the need for fuel to move the product and the added volume of the water cuts down on the effectiveness and increases frequency you need to buy the product creating more plastic waste. It’s so easy to switch to powder and it’s more natural and effective too! Conventional toothpaste has lots of harmful chemicals and environmental pollutants like micro plastics. Switching to a natural toothpowder solves all these issues and makes your teeth cleaner too!
Why we love this change: Less packaging and less shipping. If you buy products that last longer you can maintain your quality of life while reducing your impact. As a bonus, the longer a product lasts the less often you have to run errands to go buy new stuff, giving you more time to do things you enjoy.
5. Get a cool double wall water bottle.
Today’s insulated water bottles are amazing! A good vacuum sealed double wall bottle will keep Ice in your water for two days or keep your coffee piping hot without burning your hands. They come in every size, color and lid configuration imaginable. A good bottle adds to your style; invest in one you love that is a great color or add stickers, paint or anything you can imagine to customize it. There is a bottle for every price point and don’t forget to check ebay. Nearly every restaurant and coffee shop will happily fill your bottle instead of a disposable cup and it will keep your drink hot or cold for infinitely longer than a paper or styrofoam cup. We love the classic Hydroflask for a great value product (Costco often has the knock off brand Thermoflask or Takeya, while color selection is limited you get 2 for the price of 1) if you want accessories like straw tops, slings, or cup holders for your ATV check out upscale Yeti brand who also offers custom powder coat jobs for a little extra dough. Also check out RTIC who hits a happy medium on price and features and also offers a crazy holographic tumbler if you’re wild like that.
Why make the change: Plastic water bottles are ugly, incredibly wasteful and leech hormone disruptors into your water and the environment. Birds, large fish and mammals can eat the caps and neck rings of water bottles which can plug up their gut and kill them. If you’ve been to a beach in the last 10 years you’ve surely seen a plastic water bottle, cap or neck ring washed up on the shore, ruining not only the romance of the beach but breaking down into micro-plastics over time. Americans throw away 50 billion paper coffee cups every year! These cups are coated with polyethylene plastic which makes them hard to biodegrade. Ask Starbucks to fill your bottle instead, they will be happy to do it and many brands make a coffee specific bottle model.
Why we love this change: It adds to your style while cutting down on trash and pollution. A good stainless steel bottle will become a dear part of your daily life, like your wallet or phone you won’t leave home without it. Adding stickers to it is a great way to express your personal style and help people figure out who it belongs to if you happen to leave it someplace. Also having a bottle on you increases the likelihood you will drink water! A great hack if you’re the type who forgets to hydrate. A good bottle will last decades if you treat it right.
There you have it 5 ways to help the environment without cramping your style. We hope this was a helpful list for you with some easy to apply ideas! Do you have more ideas? Comment below and let us know.