Sustainable Swaps

As we’ve discussed, corporations, government, and individuals play a role in pollution (some roles are bigger than others however). Still, there are ways that one can be more sustainable on an individual level. There are small, inexpensive ways that one can add a little more sustainability to their lives.

  1. For those who use cotton pads/cotton balls/makeup removing wipes : They make reusable pads out of bamboo, which you can reuse multiple times by rinsing, and then throwing in the wash! I’ve personally made this swap, and I use mine almost every day. They work just as well as the cotton ones, and they’re as good as new after I wash them. I used to feel so bad when emptying my trash and seeing handfuls of little cotton rounds dump out, but I don’t have that problem any more!
  2. One swap that’s become quite popular nowadays is swapping paper or plastic bags for tote bags. This is a swap I’ve also made, and I really like it! I no longer have a collection of plastic bags inside another plastic bag, and instead opt for a reusable bag whenever I go shopping. One thing to note: If buying produce, it might be a good idea to clean the inside of the bag once in awhile, just to be safe. It might also be a good idea to go with a vinyl tote bag instead of cloth, if that’s what you’re looking for. I also think tote bags are a fun, easy way for people to express themselves. On top of that, it’s also an opportunity for you to support small artists, as many shops online sell them with original artwork.
  3. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. I made this switch somewhat recently, and honestly it feels just like a regular toothbrush! At first, I didn’t realize that the bamboo toothbrush was slightly wider than my regular toothbrush, which took some getting used to, but now I like it just as much. Fun fact: bamboo is antimicrobial (hence it’s popularity in kitchen utensils and cutting boards) which means that it is able to kill bacteria that still lingers on the toothbrush, unlike plastic.
  4. Swapping other hygiene items for bar and capsule versions of it. You can now buy your shampoo and conditioner in a bar form instead of a bottle, which means that there’s no empty plastic bottle when it’s done. The same goes for mouth wash, which you can get in a capsule form to cut back on plastic. I personally haven’t tried this yet, but I would like to. Unfortunately these swaps aren’t the most accessible, and are pretty much exclusively online at this point. Hopefully this changes in the future.

No matter your commitment to sustainability, remember to go easy on yourself. The society that we live in makes it near impossible to live a net zero emission life, so every bit helps. Maybe you’re a vegan who only eats organic food, but purchases their clothing from fast fashion producers. Maybe you exclusively thrift all your clothes but use single-use plastics. Any progress made toward being more sustainable is worth it, because it shows consciousness of your actions. The goal should just be to try to be as sustainable as we can be. Because ultimately, the most important sustainable swap is to swap inaction with action, by demanding more from the major businesses responsible for most pollution.

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