This page is a place where I will put some really useful and creative ideas I've found to reduce waste and make your own healthier products. I am all about versitile items that have multiple purposes (think coconut oil: Great for cooking and for skin & hair!). I'll also add links to sites that have even more great ideas!
The products we purchase and items we consume have dramatic consequences, not only for our own health, but for the health of the ecosystem in which we live. Even if the product itself is harmless, the packaging and processes for producing it can have severe ramifications. Plastics have only been widely used since ~1950, yet they have now literally made their way around the planet.
Plastic is never disposable, it does not break down and disappear. It only degrades into smaller pieces which attract harmful chemical pollutants and can be consumed by living things. Once these enter the food chain, they stay within it, becoming collected by each higher consumer, concentrating toxic chemicals or filling stomachs leaving no room for actual food. Plastic in the oceans has become a major problem as there are currently massive areas with more plastic than plankton in the middle of our ocean basins. Humans are a part of this food chain too and can be adversely affected by the plastics and chemical pollutants that accumulate at every link in the chain. Even if you don't eat seafood directly, fish meal is even more condensed and is fed to many types of livestock.
While it may not be possible to remove all of this plastic from the oceans, it is possible to decrease the amount that enters water. Not only does that mean beach cleanups, changes to storm drain design, and regulations for dumping trash, but it also means we need to change how and what we purchase to reduce the amounts of plastic that are produced. FYI, recycling of plastic is better than not recycling, but definitely not as good as just using less.
Just think for a second about how many items you use in a day that involve plastic. It's mind-boggling. While it may be difficult for many of us to imagine life without plastic, most of us know someone who has lived well without it. It can be done. Here I will post some of the great ideas I have tried to reduce my own use of plastic. Some are pretty obvious (stop using plastic bags for groceries!), while some may be more obscure. First, be more conscious of your plastic use, then you can start to figure out ways around it. Be creative, I love trying new ideas!
Reusable grocery bags. Get them, use them, love them. Not only can you get large bags, but you can also get small bags to use for bulk items and produce. These are perfect for your local market, and for occasional grocery store trips. Just toss them in the washer to clean and hang to dry. These are some examples: to purchase online www.amazon.com/flip-tumble-5-Pack-Reusable-Produce/dp/B002UXQ7QQ, or in person at stores like www.crateandbarrel.com/
Liquids. Find a store that lets you refill your own bottles of things like olive oil, balsalmic vinegar, even peanut butter, and liquid soaps. Save your jars, wash them, and reuse them. Some places I've found for refills: www.weolive.com/, obpeoplesfood.coop/
Make your own. Making stuff yourself can be really fun, you can choose fragrances or no fragrances, learn new uses for things you never realized, and you don't need to purchase more packaging! I've made my own face masks (pumkin, olive oil), hair treatments (coconut oil), and cleaners but there are so many great simple and cost effective ideas out there!
This stuff can do anything... almost! It is solid at room temperature, so may seem a little different from the oils you are used to, but worth a try! For health benefits, always buy food grade and unrefined coconut oil, hydrogenated oils (in processed foods) should be avoided. My...