In 2011 an initiative began to help the world reduce its plastic waste. This initiative has been coined as “Plastic Free July”, which challenges people to stick to a month of no plastic, and adapt better habits and practices that reduce plastic waste and adopt lifestyle changes. In light of this effort, we'd like to recommend some easy ways to reduce single-use plastics. Reducing your plastic is a personal choice and a personal journey. More and more brands are transitioning to eco-friendly ingredients and packaging, allowing consumers to make environmentally friendly choices. Thatʻs not always the case though, and there are times when making things from scratch will be your best route. Scout out the internet for a plethora of DIY products you can make at home. We challenge you go plastic free for a month. Here are a handful of recommendations:
Toothpaste: Each year billions of plastic toothpaste tubes end up in landfills and oceans. As an alternative try opting for toothpaste tabs, powder toothpaste, or making your own at home with a few simple ingredients. I love toothpaste tabs because you can store them in a jar and either refill them at a bulk shop or order from a company that ships refills in compostable packaging.
Toothbrush: We all grew up on the plastic toothbrush that needs to be changed out every few months. Over a lifetime, can you imagine how many that adds up to, and then multiply that by the billions of people in the world! Yeah, that's a bit much. There are plenty of alternatives for this, including bamboo toothbrushes and toothbrushes that you can purchase replacement heads for. If you're feeling super earthy, you can always use your finger :) Pro Tip: If you are a Hawaiʻi peep, then you have probably experienced your bamboo toothbrush growing mold (we live in a humid climate). To prevent that, you can keep it dry and store it in an area thatʻs well ventilated aka not in a cup. However, below Iʻm suggesting a brand that offers a sturdier option.
Recommended brands: RADIUS
Shampoo and Conditioner: So Iʻm sure you already know what Iʻm going to say, but yes, there are great shampoo and conditioner bars out there. They significantly reduce plastic lurking around in your shower, and they are much more aesthetically pleasing. Go ahead and get yourself one. Note: It may take time to find one that suits your hair needs the best. Trial and error. Experiment and experiment until you find what works best for your strands.
Recommended brands: Hawaiʻi Soap Company
Feminine Products: Ok, this one is for the wahine. Swapping over to a menstrual cup and reusable products like period underwear may seem uncomfortable at first, but itʻs definitely a game changer. While itʻs not for everyone, itʻs worth a try.
Food: This one is hard to get away from, but with the right preparation you are ready to tackle the market. Get yourself some of those mesh bags for produce, and keep those on you. Say goodbye to plastic produce bags forever! Mesh bags are washable and reusable - winning! What about everything else?! Tip: If you shop at the farmers market, not only will you be supporting local and more nutritious food, but many times you are able to buy food without all the extra packaging. You get what you pay for. While it is challenging to eliminate ALL plastic, the idea here is progress, because none of us are perfect. If you are able to purchase food in bulk, thatʻs also another great way to go. Last but not least, you can go with the tried and true, make it from scratch! Yes, it takes more time and effort, but it can save you money, you avoid buying processed food, and you dodge single use plastics.
Recommendations: Find a local farmers market on the West side of the Big Island.