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How to Switch Out Bad Eco Habits


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Convenient Ways to Live More Sustainably

Have you ever thought about how many daily habits are formed based purely on convenience, like grabbing a single-use water bottle instead of something more sustainable? Isn’t it interesting how once formed, these habits can become almost second nature to us? But habits born of convenience can sometimes put a strain our pocketbooks—as well as the planet—without our even realizing it. Today, with so many of us working from home, I see a happy opportunity to break those bad habits and form new ones. And as we put our better habits into practice, in no time at all they will become second nature … and nature is going to thank us.

Water Bottles

Did you know that it takes up to 450 years for a plastic water bottle to decompose? Or that roughly 9 million tons of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year? Plastic has a stranglehold on our planet. It’s a big problem, but by avoiding single-use plastic water bottles, you and I can help loosen its grip. What’s more, replacing the single-use habit isn’t difficult.

Instead of stocking your fridge with earth-choking, single-use water bottles, round up those reusable bottles you probably have tucked away in the back of your cabinets. If not, invest in several for each family member. Be sure they’re BPA free so they don’t leach harmful chemicals. Clean them, fill them and store them in the fridge where the disposables used to be, so they’re ready to grab and go. I suggest investing in a good water-filtering pitcher as well. As you use each bottle, be sure to clean and refill it, so there’s always a cold one waiting for you.

Paper Towels

Here’s a thought to ponder: Every day, more than 51,000 trees are sacrificed to supply the paper towel demands of North America alone. That’s a lot of trees, every single day, for something we use once and throw away.

Paper towels are a staple in most kitchens, but the key to breaking your dependency is to put them away. Simply keep them out of reach. Instead, put reusable cloths and napkins where they’re easy for you and your family to grab. Also, have a place to put your used cloths, so you’ll know when a load is ready to be laundered (ensuring a steady supply of clean ones). Have enough on hand so you won’t resort to pulling out the paper towels.

Dryer Sheets

They may smell good, but dryer sheets are full of synthetic fragrances and can leave harmful chemicals in clothing, which then touches your skin.

You can easily replace your dryer sheets by investing in some dryer balls. They can be used over and over and they help reduce drying time, static cling and wrinkles. They don’t scent your laundry, but if you use the kind made from wool, you can add a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil onto them to impart a light scent. Mine are made from 100% New Zealand wool, which has high standards for social responsibility and animal welfare.

Mop Pads

Even though I don’t love mopping, I do appreciate how microfiber gets my floors super-clean without the need for wasteful single-use mop pads or harmful chemical-laden sprays. When the pads get dirty, I just toss them in the washing machine and then the dryer. No more disposable pads and no more cleaning solutions to have to keep buying. Oh, and no heavy mop bucket to lug around either.

comment_2What other easy changes can you think of to make a difference for your budget and our world? How about switching from plastic straws to stainless steel? Or using reusable silicone food storage containers and lids instead of plastic containers or single-use bags, wrap and foil? Our readers would love to hear your ideas for new habits that can help save the earth, reduce chemicals in our homes, put money back in your pocket and cut down on trips to the store.

Resources:

To live more sustainably, I’d have to give up convenience.

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Kim Metzger
Kim Metzger
6 months ago

When I know I’m going to be attending a banquet style meal I bring my own table service instead of using Styrofoam plates and plastic utensils. I HATE using plastic utensils so adding a fun reusable bowl is easy. I always have my ‘all day glass’ with me too.

Sue McIlwain
Sue McIlwain
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim Metzger

Love it! I have been in clubs 30 yrs ago and was always bring your own cutlery, plate, cup when we had a do! And brought mug to meetings always!

Kim Metzger
Kim Metzger
6 months ago

Just like it is a habit to take my reusable bags into the grocery store I also take one into the library with me. My library is happy to provide a bag, but they’re plastic. To help remember I keep my reusable bags in the cab of my vehicle not the trunk or backseat. I also put my library card in the pocket of my library bag.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
6 months ago
Reply to  Kim Metzger

Great ideas, Kim. Thanks for sharing!

Sue McIlwain
Sue McIlwain
5 months ago
Reply to  Kim Metzger

I need to remember bags! Always forget them and now most places wont let you use your own bags due to Covid-19. I need to be more diligent with this! Thank you for sharing how you remember bags!
Cheers!

Joan Sweeney
Joan Sweeney
6 months ago

With all this handwashing, I sure am using a lot of water!

Tracy Giesberg
Tracy Giesberg
6 months ago

Not to mention switching out the toxic chemicals! Which also saves the plastics too.

Julia Novak
Julia Novak
6 months ago

I need to do more period

Jenny snouffer
Jenny snouffer
6 months ago

Yeah I have a couple reusable hard plastic bottles that I use everyday for my water, from my refrigerator dispenser. I don’t mop very often but when I do I use an old fashioned cotton mop that u can wash and reuse. I just use water and a little Lysol cleaner. I just like Lysol knowing that it’s killing bacteria.

Sue McIlwain
Sue McIlwain
5 months ago
Reply to  Jenny snouffer

You should check into Norwex mop! It does the same with water, yes ma’am just water!

Doris
Doris
4 months ago

When buying take out that you’re going to eat at home or ordering in be sure to tell them that you don’t need cutlery, ketchup or mustard etc. You have all that at home so you can use your own. When forgetting your reusable bags at the grocery store or when they don’t allow you to take them in, simply take your groceries in the cart to your car and pack in your bags that you left in your trunk.

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 months ago
Reply to  Doris

Doris, thank you so much for these excellent suggestions!!

Stephanie Steinbronn
Stephanie Steinbronn
4 months ago

As a new Norwex Consultant, I have chosen to have as many orders shipped directly to me in one shipment, reducing the number of boxes being shipped. I have then purchased some reusable bags to sort and deliver individual customer orders in!

Moderator
Admin
Moderator
4 months ago

Great idea! Thanks for sharing, Stephanie!