12 Easy Swaps to a More Eco-Friendly Home

Welcome to today’s blog post!

First things first – have you heard of Plastic Free July? It’s a global movement against single-use plastic waste, and a brilliant step forward to reducing the trash on our planet. As we’ve come to know, the best way to help deal with our trash problem is to stop it at the source. As soon as I heard about this initiative, I knew I wanted to jump in headfirst and do my part. Not only for the month of July, but as a real life change.

I am not sponsored by Plastic Free July, I am just one of many that want to help spread their message.

However, I know that nobody is perfect, and that change can be daunting and overwhelming. But Anne-Marie Bonneau (the Zero-Waste Chef) said it best:

‘We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.’

Now that doesn’t sound so scary does it?

Before we get started, I’d like to preface this by saying it is better for the planet to buy locally if possible. But if you’re like me, and you just don’t have the time to get around town and hunt items down as often as you’d like, here’s a tip: try to buy your online items all at once, instead of one at a time, especially on sites like Amazon. This will help reduce the boxes and packaging you bring into your home.

Alright, let’s get to the list!

My Top 12 Ways to go Green:

Instead of single-use plastic bags, try:

1. Reusable Grocery Bags and Shopping Totes

Reusable bags are the easiest swap you can make. There are so many styles these days, there’s sure to be something that works for everyone!

Saje’s reusable bags that come free with your purchase are a great (and attractive!) way to store your totes – and they fit nicely in the top of your grocery cart!

I love these ‘net’ style bags. They fit a lot more than you’d think, and this set comes with 4 beautiful colours.

I also love totes that roll up into an attached pouch. These ones can be found here.

A big problem I’ve heard from many is that we simply FORGET to bring our bags to the store. Here’s a tip – after unpacking your groceries, put them all inside one bag (like my Saje bag above), and hang them on your front door handle. Next time you leave the house, bring them with you to the car. This is how Tristan and I never forget our bags anymore. I have two sets – one for groceries that lives in the car, and one for other shopping (clothes, boutiques) that stays by the front door. I often walk to work, so I’ve switched from a shoulder purse to a cute backpack (here is the one I currently use) with a couple of the rolled up totes in it in case I need to pick up some groceries on the way home.

Instead of single-use plastic produce bags, try:

2. Cloth Drawstring Produce Bags

You can find these white mesh ones with the colourful strings here. They come in 3 sizes, which is great for a variety of items – think lettuce, celery, and apples.

I also have this set of cotton mesh bags, and you can find them here. For personal preference, I like the second set better, but both types work great. Just be sure to transfer your leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower into a covered container when you get home, as they will wilt if you leave them in the bag in the fridge.

You can also find great totes and produce bags locally in Kelowna, at The Market Bags (they make them in the most beautiful patterns and colours!). I didn’t discover them until after I already had all of my bags, otherwise I would have ordered from here! If I should ever need more, this is where I’ll be shopping.

Instead of single-use plastic straws, try:

3. Metal, Glass, Silicone, or Paper Straws

You can find these almost everywhere now, from speciality stores to grocery stores. Mine were from a local dollar store. Another alternative – ask for no straw when out dining!

Instead of plastic wrap and single-use plastic baggies, try:

4. Cloth Beeswax Wraps

Here, I wrapped a couple of sandwiches in a Bee Moore Kind beeswax wrap, and tucked it into a cloth bag. Good for the planet, and I felt a little Parisian on my picnic!

We actually have a great local business here in Kelowna that makes beautiful Beeswax Wraps in a great variety of colours and sizes – Bee Moore Kind! I teamed up with owner Carlie Moore to show you a few ways you can use her products.

They can be used on bread, and other baked items.

Perfect for wrapping up blocks of cheese!

You can also wrap up sliced fruit and vegetables.

They work great as bowl covers as well. You can find info on how to care for the wraps on Carlie’s Instagram page, and she’s currently working on building a website for Bee Moore Kind. In the meantime, you can place orders directly to her through DM on Instagram. Carlie is very passionate about her work, and the planet, and I loved taking these photos for her!

Instead of disposable plastic soap pumps, try:

5. Bar Soap

Probably the simplest swap on the list – whatever happened to using a classic bar of soap? You can find great ones in minimal packaging at Homesense. I found a pack of 3 in a cardboard box for only $7.99! I put mine on vintage teacup saucers to prevent a mess on the edge of the sink.

If you still really have to have that liquid soap, see #6.

Instead of disposable plastic soap pumps, try:

6. A Refillable Glass or Ceramic Soap Pump

One large refill bottle still saves on the plastic that several smaller bottles with pumps would produce. I found this kitschy glass bottle in a local dollar store for just $5.99.

Instead of a disposable dish sponge, try:

7. A Reusable Dish Cloth

I know what you’re thinking, and no, these aren’t my real dish cloths! My real ones have seen a few too many spaghetti pots to make the cut into the photo. You can find all-purpose dish cloths at local stores like Homesense (where these white dusting cloths are from), Walmart, Jysk, and dollar stores. Side note, Jysk also has the BEST cotton tea towels of all time. Next time I go there, I’ll show you guys on Instagram. I am seriously obsessed with how great those towels are!

More on the dish cloths – you can also use them in place of paper towel to wipe down your counters and other surfaces. I’ve seriously cut down on my paper towel use in the last few years. I only use them to wipe down things raw meat has come into contact with (which is rare in our house as we don’t eat much meat), or to clean my toilets now. Dish cloths are more hygienic too – you do not want to know how much bacteria accumulates on sponges. Use a fresh dishcloth daily, and reduce that bacteria!

And that segues into #8 as well, because some things may still need a tough scrub:

Instead of a disposable dish sponge, try:

8. A Recycled Plastic Dish Brush

This one can be found here, however I did spy a whole line of these recycled plastic brushes at Real Canadian Superstore the other day. They’re not perfect, but combined with a dish rag, these will last you much longer than throwing away a sponge every few days.

Instead of disposable makeup wipes, try:

9. Face Cloths and Soap

It takes a little longer than a face wipe, but they’re more hygienic, and they save you money. To keep them fresh and clean, I wash mine after every use in my regular laundry – just make sure to hang them to dry between washes to prevent mildew. If you can’t break up with your wipes, just remember to never flush them, or any other ‘flushable’ personal wipes. Besides taking decades to biodegrade (if ever?), they damage sewage lines and clog pipes. If you must have them, toss them in the trash after use to save yourself a future plumbing bill.

Instead of paper towels and paper napkins, try:

10. Cloth Napkins

This is a fun one! Cloth napkins make meal time feel like an event. Just remember – they’re going to get dirty, so try not to care too much. My lovely friend Kayla gifted me these linen ones from Indigo that I save for special occasions, and I use a set of colourful plaid ones from Homesense for every day use.

Instead of disposable dryer sheets or plastic dryer balls, try:

11. Wool Dryer Balls

Probably my favourite switch on the list. I think these dryer balls are so cute, and feel so fancy in the dryer! I got mine here, but I later saw dozens at Homesense in the cleaning section.

And that brings us to the last, but not least on the list!

Instead of buying new, try:

12. Repairing Your Still Good Items With a Sewing Machine

Whether it’s torn or ripped clothing, curtains, bedding, pillow cases – if it can still be used, a sewing machine is a great investment to save your stuff! Donating your gently used items is also a better option than throwing away your things. As they say, your trash may be someone else’s treasure!

Did any of these tips inspire you to make some changes in your life? I’d love to hear your thoughts – drop me a comment and let me know how you’re going green these days! Don’t forget to subscribe on the right – then you can get email alerts when I put up a new post.

I am not sponsored by Plastic Free July, I am just one of many that want to help spread their message.

You can also investigate Plastic Free July further by visiting their Instagram page here, and there is even a Plastic Free July Instagram page for Kelowna as well!

Have a wonderful week guys,

xo,

Jamie

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