91% of plastic isn’t recycled, according to National Geographic, and 40% of all plastic produced is packaging, used just once and then discarded. That includes plastic water bottles, to-go coffee cups, and grocery bags — it`s a big part of our everyday shopping life, which leaves a terrible impact on the environment. So making even small eco-friendly choices while going for groceries can make a huge defference for the planet!
We here at Bright Side were very impressed by this statistic and made a compilation of inspiring and easy tips that you can follow to make your shopping more environmentally friendly. And we believe they can make a huge difference!
1. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.
First of all, plastic toothbrushes are made of rubber, crude oil, and petroleum as well as some extra plastic in the packaging. And electric toothbrushes are no better — they leak out acid toxins, which causes a lot of harm to the oceans, wildlife, and the environment when they’re discarded into landfills.
Bamboo toothbrushes, on the other hand, can take around 6 months to compost, while a plastic one takes hundreds of years to fully break down. So switching from a plastic to a bamboo toothbrush is an easy, but effective way to immediately reduce plastic waste in your household.
2. Use metal straws.
Plastic straws are a really big threat to the ocean — they often end up there and injure animals, so choosing a reusable straw over a throwaway has a big impact already. Think of how many plastic straws you use in a week or a month — we bet it`s a lot!
Stainless steel straws will serve you for several years, they don’t affect the taste of your drinks and you can find them in different sizes — from regular water straws to thick bubble tea ones.
3. Shop in second-hand stores.
Consider buying your clothes in second-hand stores. Not only can it be fashionable, but it also helps reduce textile waste and its environmental footprint, because old clothes would otherwise end up in a landfill. Why buy something new, which requires a lot of water and other resources from Earth to be produced and delivered to you, when you can give old clothes a new life?
4. Try food sharing.
If someone has some leftover food (e.g. they just bought too much), they can leave it in specially designated open places with a fridge and someone else, who needs it, can pick it up for free. That’s another great solution to the problem of food waste! Almost every big city has a foodsharing initiative — Toronto, Berlin, Warsaw, Hong Kong etc.
5. Choose reusable food wax wrap over plastic wrap and containers.
Discarded plastic bags and wrap pieces either get into soil and release toxic chemicals or end up being eaten or choked on by marine animals. Reusable wax wraps are a great alternative to them — cotton napkins covered in beeswax are non-toxic washable wraps that you can use to wrap your sandwich, preserve your fresh fruit or greens, or cover a bowl of leftovers.
6. Go shopping with your own bags and containers.
One way you can avoid buying products with a lot of packaging is to bring your own, reusable, shopping bags. You can have a big one for all your groceries and smaller ones for fruits and vegetables that would otherwise be put in plastic bags. You can also take your own containers to the butcher to avoid extra packaging.
7. Replace teabags with tea infusers.
A lot of teabags come in individual packages, they’re also mostly bleached with chemicals to look white, not to mention a big waste of paper and metal. Reusable tea balls, on the other hand, are a much more healthy, cost-effective, and eco-friendly alternative.
Just buy regular loose-leaf tea, which lasts longer than a tea bag package, and put it into the tea infuser — that’s what a reusable tea bag looks like! You can empty it and use again and again.
8. Buy local food.
If you avoid imported produce, there will be fewer CO2 emissions. The food you buy locally doesn`t travel as far as the food that`s imported and doesn`t require as much packaging. By choosing to buy from local farmers, you help mitigate climate change.
Separating bio-waste like vegetable peels, eggshells, scraps, and food leftovers will reduce the amount of garbage you produce by almost 50%. If you have a garden, it’s easy — you just dig a hole in the ground and bury your compost.
If you live in an apartment, you can put bio-waste into a Ziploc and keep it in the freezer so it doesn’t smell, or use a trash can and then bring it to a compost pile at a farmers market, a community garden, or give it to city services or to farmers through an app called ShareWaste — there are people who will be glad to take your compost.
10. Choose reusable products for feminine hygiene.
Give up pads and tampons, most of them have chemicals and toxins, and they also aren’t doing any good for the environment. On average, women use between 11 and 30 tampons per cycle, over a lifetime, that means between 5,000 and 14,000 tampons per woman.
You can switch to a menstrual cup, which you can use for 5-10 years, a pair of period underwear, or reusable cloth pads. They are eco-friendly, don`t contain any chemicals, and also they are a real money-saver compared to buying pads and tampons.
Do you already do any of these things to make your shopping more eco-friendly? Do you know any other tips? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!