We are so far from from being a zero waste household it's laughable. But I'm constantly trying to remind myself that all the little actions can add up.
Here are 5 unexpected sustainable swaps I've adapted (sometimes and sometimes not 🙃). Sharing here in case it inspires you to sometimes or sometimes not adopt in your own home!
1. Refill cleaning supplies and toiletries
We are so used to getting in our car, walking into a store, buying what we need in pre-packaged form and toting it home in a flimsy plastic bag. When we get home the plastic bag goes in the trash and when we're done with whatever we just bought, the receptacle it came in goes in the trash, too.
Once my eyes were opened to how wasteful this is, it's hard to unsee it. BUT THERE IS ANOTHER WAY!
From laundry soap to shampoo, dog treats to tea tree oil- a lot of everyday items are available to be refilled in your OWN container instead of relying on the brands we're buying from to provide them for us. I love visiting our local refill store to stock up on soap, lotion and other necessities!
Shameless plug (and all the love) to my favorite refill shop in Duluth- Ren Market!
2. Wash your plastic shower curtain liner
Every time I share this tip on social media, someone's mind is blown. To be honest, it blows my mind every time, too.
Pop your plastic shower curtain liner in the washing machine with a few towels (this is key!), wash on a regular cycle with warm water and regular detergent and be amazed at how clean it looks!
3. Buy nothing/freecycle groups
Find your local buy nothing or freecycle group on Facebook for an easy way to acquire and get rid of stuff at no cost!
This is a great way to re-home items you no longer use and be sure that they will continue to live on (did you know- a lot of what's donated to thrift stores and charity shops ultimately gets trashed?). Whether you're on the giving or receiving end, being in a buy nothing group sure has its benefits.
4. Recycle your old undies and socks without solemates
Retold Recycling will take your holey undies or socks without a mate (please just give them a wash first)!
Purchase a single mailer bag or splurge on a subscription. Once it arrives, stuff it with stuff (they also take other textiles you're not sure what to do with) and send it back to be recycled!
They also accept these hard to consciously get rid of items:
The underwear that lives in the wayyy back of the drawer
The dog's raggedy blanket
Fabric face masks
The bridesmaid dress you never shortened and wore again
(Full disclosure: I begged them to give me an affiliate link because I was so excited about their services! Use code CARLI10 for 10% off).
5. Make do and mend
Join me as I get my Clothing Repair Clinic back up and running!
I'll be bringing my sewing machine and supplies to Ren Market the last Sunday of the month starting in January for the foreseeable future! I'll repair your rips, tears, re-sew fallen hems or fix your busted backpack straps while you shop.
BONUS: kill 2 birds with one stone (I'm looking at suggestion number 1 😏)! Ren Market is my FAVORITE refill store! So much love for this little shop in Lincoln Park.