By now you’ve probably made some lifestyle changes to help your family be a little kinder to the environment. You likely recycle bottles and cans, papers, and plastics. Perhaps you take along your own reusable shopping bags whenever you go to the store. You carry around a refillable water bottle. You’ve been changing your lightbulbs over to CFL bulbs. That’s all awesome! So now I would like to challenge you to take it a step further, and consider these 10 easy and unexpected ways to live a greener life!
It’s really about giving more careful consideration to the way we buy things, the packaging involved in the products we use, and how to use less of it!
#1 Buy tube-free toilet paper
Think about it….. how many toilet paper tubes does your family use in a week…. in a month…. in a year? In our family of 8- it adds up to A LOT OF TUBES! But I wasn’t even aware that there is a better way to buy toilet paper, until now: Scott Tube-Free toilet paper!
Scott Tube-Free TP is an innovative product that eliminates the cardboard tube, which has been an completely unnecessary part of toilet paper for more than 100 years! Small steps like this can have a big impact on the environment! By eliminating the tube, Scott Tube-Free TP gives families an easy way to make a change that reduces waste without sacrificing quality. (And c’mon…. were you even aware that tube-free was “a thing”? But now that you know…. you have to give it a try!)
Scott Tube-Free TP is cushiony soft and unrolls just like any other toilet paper, but there’s no wasteful tube to toss at the end. By making a simple switch to Scott Tube-Free, you can save approximately 150 tubes per year (which is how many the average household uses annually, which means that mine uses at least double that)!
Scott Tube-Free teamed up with YouTube prankster Roman Atwood to demonstrate how the toilet paper tubes we use have a big impact on our world. The stunt uses 66,000 tubes, which is the amount of tubes Americans go through in just over 2 minutes!
#2 Skip the straw
When you think about it- a straw is generally a one-time use piece of plastic that we slurp through and then throw in the trash. But do we really need to use a straw when we drink? Start skipping the straw when you are dining out- and encourage your kids to do the same.
#3 Re consider how you store food
We usually have food left over at dinner time, and one of the kids is always assigned the job to put it into containers and store it in the fridge. But rather than having them use plastic wrap, zip-top bags and other items that are likely used once and discarded, we are switching to reusable containers. A great way to do this at no extra cost is to save your glass pasta sauce jars- wash them thoroughly, and then reuse them as storage containers.
#4- Stop buying single serve packages!
I know how super easy it is to buy single-serving food items so that the kids can easily toss them into their lunch bags and tote them off to school- but think of all of that excess packaging that we are using! Instead, teach kids how to create their own single-serving portions by buying larger sized products and divvying them up into reusable lunch-sized containers. Challenge yourself to go a step further and stop buying single-serve portions of microwaveable foods too. Teach kids how to prepare a single serving of mac and cheese (for example) from a large box of pasta, and milk and cheese straight from the fridge.
#5 Reduce what comes to you in the mail
Not only is a mailbox full of useless junk mail annoying- think of all of that paper that is wasted! Sure you can recycle it- but isn’t it better if it is never sent to you in the first place? Use CatalogChoice to stop unwanted sales catalogs and junk mail. And take it a step further and sign up for online bill pay for all of your credit cards and utilities. Consider canceling your newspaper subscription and get your news online instead. All of these things make an enormous difference in the amount of paper that your family uses!
#6 Buy bar soap over liquid
A recent environmental study found that liquid soaps require 5 times more energy for raw material production and nearly 20 times more energy for packaging production than bar soaps do. What’s more, consumers use more than six times the amount of liquid soap (by weight) than bar soap on a per-wash basis! Not to mention- think of how much your kids just allow to go down the drain!
#7 Choose cardboard or paper over plastic
When you forget to bring your reusable shopping bags from home (hey- we all do once in a while), choose paper over plastic. Cardboard can be more easily recycled and made into more products than plastic. And beyond shopping bags- consider product packaging in these terms as well. For example, pick pasta sold in a box vs. pasta sold in a bag.
#8 Always notice the packaging!
Is that bulk package of paper towels filled with individually wrapped rolls? Is that 2-pack of laundry detergent in the bulk aisle shrink-wrapped together? Each of these bundling methods actually uses additional packaging! And instead of buying microwave popcorn that comes in a paper bag that must be discarded after each use, why not switch to stovetop popcorn? Make packaging considerations like these part of your buying decision!
# 9 Add recycling bins to areas of the house other than the kitchen!
I’ll bet most of us have placed recycling bins in our kitchen or somewhere nearby to collect glass, plastic, paper, etc. But unless you also have a recycling bin available for use in your bathroom (for product packaging), bedroom (for dry cleaning bags and garment tags), and home office (for paper)- you might be tempted to toss something into the trash rather than recycle it. Make recycling an easy habit for your entire family!
#10- Don’t throw it out- donate it!
I write here about the importance of decluttering all of the time! But that doesn’t mean you should be tossing items into the trash! If it is an item that you are truly done using- try donating it through PickUpPlease or FreeCycle first!
What other ways is your family being kind to the environment? Please leave a comment and share your ideas!
Scott Tube-Free toilet paper can be found at select retailers nationwide and online. Visit scottbrand.com/where-to-buy/tube-free-tissue to find a store near you. And see how many tubes your household uses in a lifetime and get a Scott Tube-Free coupon at: TossTheTube.com!