This article was updated on December 28th, 2020.
The average American produces around 4.3 pounds of trash every single day, 1.6 pounds more than each American produced in 1960. With 365 days in a year that amounts to over 1,500 pounds of trash created by a single person…there are over 300 billion people in the United States. (yikes!)
With these mass amounts of trash ending up in landfills, our oceans, and our water supplies, our world will physically not be able to sustain itself if we continue to produce this amount of waste.
Inspired by Lauren Singer, otherwise known as trash is for tossers, we want to work our hardest to transition into a waste free lifestyle. Won’t you join us? Here are some tips on how to go #WasteFree in seven days.
Day 1: Showering and Shaving
Day 1 we’re focusing on waste free showering and shaving products. Let’s think of how many pieces of trash you carry into the shower. One bottle of shampoo, one bottle of conditioner (if you have only one of each of those), some body wash, shaving cream, face wash, loofah, razor…you get the idea. Each one of those items contain waste! Try swapping out products in plastic bottles and finding somewhere that sells bulk, where you can simply refill your bottle each time you go. As for shaving, shaving cream isn’t necessarily needed. Try using something simply like coconut oil that you’ve bought in a glass jar and swap that plastic razor for a metal safety razor.
Day 2: Dental Hygiene
Day 2, trust us, we’re not saying to give up on dental hygiene. There are plenty of ways to make dental hygiene waste free! Swap out your toothbrush for a wooden, or bamboo one. When it needs replacing recycle the wood! For toothpaste, there are plenty of #wastefree toothpaste recipes that contain zero chemicals, like traditional toothpastes, and you can store them in a small glass container. When it comes to teeth whitening, there’s no need to buy chemically induced disposable whitening strips. Baking soda works just as well! (Just be sure to recycle the cardboard.)
Day 3: Cooking and Eating
Day 3 let’s focus on cooking and eating. Starting with produce at the grocery store, there’s no need to use plastic produce bags. Stick with mostly fruits and vegetables and weigh them without the bags. It might take a few more seconds, but benefits are worth it! If you’re looking grains and legumes, bring a glass container to the bulk section of a health food store and stock up!
Day 4: Shopping
This next step goes for step 3 and 4: bring reusable bags! Store them in your car, or purse to make sure you’re never put in a situation where you won’t have them. As for other shopping, try doing wardrobe swaps with friends, or finding clothes and furniture at thrift or consignment shops instead of ordering online and receiving excess packaging.
Day 5: Menstrual Cycle
Menstrual Cup. Need we say more? (Tampon applicators are one of the main plastic pollutants of the ocean.)
Day 6: Coffee and Tea
We know, we know. Giving up your morning cup of (whatever) isn’t an option! If you’re buying grinds to make at home, try buying beans in bulk in a glass container and refilling it every time you run out. The same goes for tea! Instead of buying a box of tea bags, buy loose-leaf and use a reusable tea infuser. If you’re stopping by your favorite coffee shop in the morning, just bring your own reusable mug and forget the waste!
Day 7: Miscellaneous
If you’re using something, buying something or see something you’re interested in that’s primarily plastic waste, your best bet is to not purchase it. Find a waste free alternative instead!