plastic garbage

Renee,

Last week I calculated my plastic consumption like you suggested and I was a little surprised by the outcome. I want to do better! But there are a few things I’m stumped on how I can reduce or get rid of them, especially cleaning containers, toothbrushes, and other body/beauty care. Do you have any tips for me?

Laura

Laura, 

Do I? They don’t call me Ask Renee for nothing! 

The two main plastic bottles in my cleaning arsenal are a gallon jug of white vinegar and a large bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Castile Soap.

Vinegar can be used as an all-purpose cleaner, drain cleaner, mop solution, grease remover, toilet bowl cleaner, dishwasher cleaner, laundry booster, fabric softener and much more.

Similarly, liquid castile soap has many uses – everything from dishes and laundry to your dog and your own body/hair. I even went through a phase of using it as toothpaste. Best part is that both vinegar and castile soap are also gentle on the Earth.

For other cleaning supplies, look for bulk and refillable options. For instance, Mrs. Meyer’s makes a multi-surface concentrate that can be mixed with water to make an all-purpose cleaner. Ecos and EO sell hand soap refills that can be used in a soap pump. One large bottle and cap/pump/sprayer is better than 5+ bottles.

Toothbrushes may seem impossible to reduce. I mean, I’m not gonna tell you to brush your teeth less. But you can get a toothbrush that has less plastic waste. I use one from Radius that has a recycled reusable handle and replacement heads. Preserve also makes a toothbrush that has a 100% recycled handle made from yogurt cups. 

When it comes to body and beauty care, seek out products with minimalist packaging and plastic. Choose bar soap over body wash. Use a razor that has a reusable handle with replacement blades. 

Thanks for remembering that reduce and reuse come before recycle, Laura! Good luck with your plastic plan and tracker.

Piece out,

Renee

Renee Sweany is NUVO's green living advice blogger.

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