We hear about sustainability everywhere we go. Ads promote eco-friendly products. News stories about plastic in the environment play on our sense of guilt. But what can we do?
Being sustainable is not as easy as it sounds — or is it? Being sustainable does not need to be complicated or expensive. Something as simple as recycling your iPhone 14 cases makes a difference. All it requires is a little awareness and a personal commitment to help. Once we get started, being part of the sustainability movement can save us a few dollars and give us the personal satisfaction of knowing we are part of the solution. Here are six easy sustainable swaps you can do daily.
Recycle Your Tech
A new source of waste and pollution is tech. Modern society has increased the production of cell phones, tablets and other tech gadgets. While most of us trade in gadgets to be reused or recycled when we get a new one, all the supporting components clutter up our home.
The old phone is gone, but the chargers, cords and covers end up in a drawer and never seem to go away. At some point, we realize that we will never use that USB-A cord again, and we throw it in the trash. In the case of tech components, we can all benefit from an easy sustainable swap. Electronics recycling online is a responsible way to dispose of these tech components.
Reusable Grocery Bags
We have all heard about the environmental impact of plastic grocery bags. The production of plastic pollutes the atmosphere and groundwater. The vast volume of used, single-use bags contributes to exploding landfills. Paper bags decompose, but paper bags are not environmentally sustainable either.
Reusable bags or totes are an easy way to reduce the number of plastic bags in landfills. The term reusable can apply to ordinary grocery bags. Since plastic bags do not degrade, you can reuse them. You have contributed to the solution if you save and reuse a single grocery bag once or twice. For a more long-term reduction of plastic pollution, bags and totes can have a greater impact. A heavy canvas bag or plastic tote can last for years and replace hundreds of single-use bags.
Water Bottles and Coffee Cups
The production of single-use plastic water bottles and cups releases tons of pollution into the environment every year. Then, after we use them, the drinking containers end up in landfills or pollute the environment. While bottled water and plastic coffee cups are convenient, they are significant contributors to the pollution problem.
There are several substitutes for single-use drinking vessels. Reusable water bottles can reduce waste and save money. Investing in reusable plastic or metal water bottles can eliminate the cost of buying bottled water in single-use containers. If a daily cup of coffee is part of your routine, know that many coffee shops give you a discount if you bring in a reusable cup. And an insulated mug will keep your morning Joe hot for hours!
Glass Kitchen Containers
While resealable plastic bags, plastic wrap and foil are convenient and easy to use, they are all single-use items that are not sustainable. The production of single-use plastic containers contributes to atmospheric pollution. After use, they end up in a landfill. There are several multi-use alternatives to single-use plastics.
Glass or ceramic jars and bowls can last for years. Unlike single-use plastic containers, glass and ceramic will not stain or absorb odors. Glass jars with steel or heavy-duty plastic lids can store hot, cold, dry or liquid items. While there is an initial investment, the longevity of glass containers will result in savings over time.
Bamboo Paper Products
Traditional paper napkins, tissue, toilet paper and towels are all considered unsustainable products. Paper production requires hundreds of tons of trees to be harvested annually. Farming the trees needed to support paper production takes time and immense volumes of water. But, there is a sustainable alternative to wood-based paper products.
Switching to bamboo paper products is an easy sustainable swap we can all make. Bamboo can grow several feet a day with minimal water and consume more carbon from the atmosphere than trees. While bamboo processing is much the same as wood, growing bamboo is more sustainable.
Repurposing Used Cloth Items
Things wear out: Clothes get old and ragged; towels lose absorbency and get shaggy. When cloth items around the house get old, don’t throw them away since you can repurpose them as cleaning rags.
Instead of buying single-use paper towels and dusting rags, you can cut up old clothes, towels and sheets for use as cleaning tools. Make sure to cut off seams, buttons and zippers to avoid scratching. This will save money while reducing the amount of trash created in your home.
Moisten an old terry cloth towel with water or distilled vinegar to dust furniture or damp mop a hardwood floor. Your new, repurposed dust rag can be washed and used several times before it is beyond use.
An old pair of jeans can be cut up and used for scrubbing the oven or other greasy surfaces. The denim will hold up to intense scrubbing and can be tossed when the job is done. Repurposing is an easy sustainable swap that will reduce waste while saving money.
These are a few easy sustainable swaps we can use to start us on the path to reducing our environmental impact. Whether it’s recycling iPhone 14 pro max cases or switching to reusable grocery bags, small steps add up. It takes a little effort and thought to set us on the path to greater sustainability. You may even have some fun and save a few dollars.