Sustainability Tips: Plastic is in what?!
There are plastics in almost everything, but we’ve got five easy swaps to reduce plastic waste, plus tips on best recycling practices, and some of our favorite recycled polyester styles for summer.
There are plastics in almost everything – including in your clothing. An easy place to start is by avoiding or swapping out the big four: grocery bags, plastic straws, to-go coffee cups, and plastic water bottles. However, if you’d like a challenge, take inventory of what you are tossing, even in the recycling. Can you identify plastic items that can be reduced or replaced with more sustainable options? Keep reading for some inspiration on where to start.
Gift Wrapping Paper Alternatives
Swap wrapping paper and gift bags for scrap fabric or old t-shirts that won’t be accepted at a thrift store. Traditional wrapping paper is made with plastics and has a low recycling value. You can opt for recycled alternatives, from shops like Wrappily or use an old t-shirt or tablecloth that might have ripped. Not only does this help reduce waste, but it will save you money too!
Swap individually wrapped tea bags for loose-leaf tea. Traditional tea bags are made with plastic. This helps keep the integrity of the bag while soaking in hot water. A study at McGill University actually found that a single bag would release more than 11 billion microplastic and 3 billion nanoplastic particles into each cup of tea. Yikes! Some grocery stores will sell loose-leaf tea or you can shop online. In fact, a local business here in Sparks, Nevada called BlendBee allows you to create custom blends of tea and ships nationwide.
Tooth Brush Alternatives
Swap your plastic brush for a bamboo one! Bamboo brushes substitute the handle but not the bristles with biodegradable bamboo (a quick-growing plant that has proven itself to be a sustainable option). Bristles of bamboo brushes will still be made of nylon, which is not sustainable but is recommended by dentists (other biodegradable options are too abrasive). We like this one from WooBamboo, which comes in zero-waste packaging.
On that note - why not swap your dish brush for one with a bamboo handle as well? These ones from Siempre Eco can last up to a year of tough scrubbing and have replaceable heads when the time is right.
Swap bottled body wash for a bar of soap. Not only does this swap help reduce plastic use not only for the bottle but also for the bottle pump, but soap bars might actually be better for our skin. Have you ever compared the ingredient list between body wash and a bar of soap? Bars of soap, like Dove, can be found at any grocery store or drug store.
There might be plastics all over your home, but they might be recyclable. Some shampoo bottles or yogurt containers, for example, require that you tear the label off before chucking in the blue can. One way to be more mindful of this is to check out recycling requirements when shopping. Can you purchase a bottle of dish soap that is recyclable over one that is not? Also, note what number is on the bottle:
Numbers 1 and 2 are the easiest plastics to recycle and are generally included in local pick-ups.
Numbers 3-6 are more difficult and may require recycling at a specific collection center.
Number 7 is very difficult and sometimes may not be recyclable at all.
What does recycled plastic become: our clothing!!! That’s right, our line of recycled polyester clothing is made from PETE recyclables, or plastics with the number 1 recycling symbol. While we cannot take plastic out of the equation (or degrade them), we feel proud that we can at least reuse the existing material to create our clothing. Here are some of our favorite recycled polyester styles for summer: