Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic in Your Life AND Save Money! The Using Less Plastic Challenge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! 🙂

Ok, so the image above of women wearing plastic face protection from snowstorms may have not caught on (thankfully), most of us can still reduce plastic in our lives very easily!

Here are some simple ways to reduce plastic in your life (adding onto my previous Using Less Plastic Challenge Posts).  Most, if not all, of these simple steps help you save money in the long run too!

1. Switch to body oil to moisturize your body.  Most lotions come in plastic tubes or plastic bottles.  By switching to body oil packaged in a glass bottle with a metal lid, you help to make sure that the packaging is truly able to be recycled.  Just make sure that your skin is damp (just after taking a shower is a good time to moisturize skin with oil), and you do not need to use very much.  A small amount really goes a long way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  Switch to handkerchiefs.  This may seem like it does not actually have to do with plastic, but it does.  Most disposable tissue boxes do have a plastic window around the opening where you grab a tissue from.  Handkerchiefs are so much more economical (only have to buy them once and they last for years) and you can just throw them in with any wash load you wish.  Plus they feel, and are, so much softer on your nose!  The above image is my collection of handkerchiefs that I have been using for several months now 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Switch to at least a couple natural homemade skincare products.  I know it is hard to switch all of your skincare products over, but even just switching over one or two helps to significantly reduce the amount of plastic consumed.  Honey is an awesome cleanser (the only one I use at this point) and fresh lime juice is a wonderful acne and acne scar treatment.

Click here to see My Skincare Routine for Clear Skin Naturally post about how I use these!  You will also save money by switching to these if you typically use a little bit more pricy cleansers and treatments.  Also, you will not have as much visual clutter in your bathroom.

4. Switch to a safety razor.  What is a safety razor?  It is like a disposable razor, but rather than throwing the razor away, or buying new cartridges and throwing the old ones away, you buy a metal razor (some do have plastic handles) and you just replace the blades.  I have not bought a safety razor yet (I’m using up my disposable razors first) but many people who do use them say they give closer shaves, and that you do need to use a lighter hand when using them (ever notice how much pressure you have to use with disposable razors to shave?).

Now, you can buy a new safety razor, but they are expensive (the cheapest I’ve seen is $60 and up).  So, why not be extra nice to your wallet and the Earth by buying a vintage one? (You won’t be using vintage blades- essentially you’ll only be reusing the handle).  You can buy a vintage safety razor at some antique stores, www.etsy.com, among other sites.  And replacement blades can be bought in bulk on Amazon and are much less expensive compared to the replacement disposable cartridges.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5. Buy some of your clothes secondhand.  Although while researching I do not get a definite yes or no answer, most polyester (if not all) is actually plastic.  Have you heard of the polyester clothing made from PET bottles?  That’s why that is possible.  So, by buying some of your clothes secondhand, you help to reduce the amount of clothing made of thermoplastics, and also help to reduce the amount of clothing discarded yearly.  Buying secondhand also helps your wallet!  If you have a little bit more money to spare, organic cotton, or hemp, clothing are also nice alternatives to man-made.  The image above is a beautiful blue striped sweaterdress that I found at a local thrift store for $2.50!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6. Make your own laundry soap with castile bar soaps!  Even if we ignore the possible health problems of conventional laundry detergents (including even ones such as Tide Free & Gentle), these along with even most eco-friendly laundry detergents are packaged in plastic.  We can simply avoid this constant buying of laundry detergent packaged in plastic by making our own!  Above is a photo of the container I am using at the moment to hold my laundry soap (It is an old castile liquid soap container.  I plan to switch to a glass container at some point) and an old laundry detergent lid that has the measurements on it.

How to: Take one bar of castile soap and grate 1/3 to 1/2 of a bar.  Bring about one gallon of water to a boil.  When the water is boiling, stir the grated soap into the water, until it dissolves.  Let it simmer for another 5-10 minutes, stirring occassionally.  Then, take the pot off the stove and let the laundry soap cool for a couple of hours (or until it is completely cool).  Lastly, place into a container of your choice.

And there you have a wonderful laundry soap!  I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Castile Bar Soaps.  They smell amazing, and their Baby Mild one is nice if you are very sensitive to scents, or if you have young children.  My three favorites are Lavender, Peppermint, and Baby Mild.  They are a little less than $5 a bar of soap.  You can buy the Lavender and Peppermint scents at Target, or you can buy all of their scents on Dr. Bronner’s site at www.drbronner.com. So, you are paying $2.50 for laundry soap that is safe for the planet, safe for you, you are saving money, and you are reducing the amount of plastic consumed! 🙂  It’s a wonderful feeling.

I’ve found that I use the same amount of this laundry soap as I did with conventional laundry detergents.  If you have not used castile liquid soap to wash your clothes before, I have read that it may take a wash or two for your clothes to get the residue of the previous detergents off.  However, I have not found this to be the case, even when I switched from conventional detergents over to a castile liquid soap I bought (it was so expensive though).  Also, this laundry soap works nicely even in hard water!  I have extremely hard water, and it cleans wonderfully in it.

So there are some simple ways to reduce plastic!  Have you tried any of the suggestions above, or have any others to add?  Any questions?  Leave them in the comment section!

Have a sunny day!

~Kim

Please Note: The image of the women wearing the plastic snowstorm protectors is used under the Commons license, shared by the Nationaal Archief on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509756/  All the other images shown are my own.

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. demintedmint
    Apr 03, 2012 @ 22:41:38

    I am so glad to see another woman/non-elder using hankerchiefs! I have to explain to people all of the time why I carry a bandanna in my back pocket, that it’s not just “for style”.

    • sunnymothernature
      Apr 04, 2012 @ 16:02:41

      Hi Demintedmint!

      Yes, it’s awesome to hear that someone else uses handkerchiefs too! It is crazy just how many people have forgotten what a handkerchief is. Your comment about how you have to explain to people that it’s not for style made me laugh 🙂

      Maybe we should start a handkerchief club to get the word out cause handkerchiefs rock! 😉

      ~Kim

  2. NaturaliiZ
    Mar 11, 2012 @ 10:16:57

    Oh I see. Somehow like thermal water, maybe. That might be hard to find! Here in my village there two fonts of water, I don’t know if it is the same. But it isn’t good to drink, they say. Well I drank of that water for quite some years and I’m still alive.

    Thank for your tips!

    • sunnymothernature
      Mar 11, 2012 @ 12:45:45

      Hi NaturaliiZ!

      Spring water is similar to thermal water, but springs do not have to be hot water while thermal springs typically are (at least, that’s how the words are used in the U.S. 🙂 ).

      I should’ve put this in my previous comment, but in the U.S. most bottled water is called spring water. Whether all of it actually comes from springs is out for questioning. However, the quality of water used for bottled water was what I meant 🙂 I didn’t want to say look for tap water that you could fill your own container with at a store, just because some stores have chemically-treated water as the water they use to refill. So, that would defeat the purpose of trying to get better quality water 🙂

      That is really cool about those two in your village! That’s fascinating that they say it’s not good to drink though. I have no idea if it’s the same or not 🙂

      You’re welcome! By the way, I wanted to tell you that I really enjoy reading your blog! Although I feel that Google Translator does not really give it justice sometimes 🙂
      ~Kim

  3. NaturaliiZ
    Mar 10, 2012 @ 05:27:52

    I guess it’s more expensive than castile soap. So, I might think on your suggestion. Did you heard that washing machines don’t like glycerin? I’m afraid of ruin mine :))
    What about the water, what kind of water do you use to make laundry soap?

    • sunnymothernature
      Mar 10, 2012 @ 10:09:24

      Hi again NaturaliiZ!

      When I looked up marseille soap, I noticed that it was more expensive too 🙂

      I actually hadn’t heard that about washing machines not liking glycerin! 🙂 You could add about 1/4 to 1 cup of white vinegar to your wash load. White vinegar acts as a natural way to remove build-up (which is what I’m assuming would be the problem?) 🙂 White vinegar is also a nice natural fabric softener.

      I personally use our well water, which is our regular tap water (we have hard water). I think using tap water is fine, as long as you plan to use the laundry soap up within a couple of months. (I typically use mine up in about four months) If you have city water, or any water that is chemically treated though, I would suggest seeing if a store around you has either spring water you can fill your own container with, or maybe using distilled water. The washing machine obviously uses the city water to clean. I just am not sure how well the mixture will last if sitting for a long time with the city water. Maybe if a mixture of castile soap and city water is used up within a month or two it’ll be ok? 🙂

      I’ll have to see if I can convince my boyfriend to let me use his city water to make him some laundry soap and he can experiment with it 😉

      Have a sunny day!
      ~Kim

      • NaturaliiZ
        Mar 10, 2012 @ 15:43:55

        I’m sorry I don’t know what is spring water, I’m curious!
        I guess I’ll use distilled water. About the vinegar, can it be Bragg’s organic raw apple cider?

      • sunnymothernature
        Mar 10, 2012 @ 18:03:11

        Hi NaturaliiZ!

        Spring water is water that is typically collected from an underground body of water, or where that body of water reaches the earth, which is also known as a spring 🙂 Hopefully that answer makes sense 🙂

        If you are washing dark clothes, Bragg’s apple cider vinegar might be okay, but apple cider vinegar does have a color to it, so it can (and probably will) stain clothing. So, I definitely recommend white vinegar (it is clear), or maybe some other type of vinegar if it is clear 🙂

        Have a sunny day!
        ~Kim

  4. NaturaliiZ
    Mar 09, 2012 @ 15:31:56

    Great post! I’m thinking of doing my laundry detergent also, but with marseille soap.

    • sunnymothernature
      Mar 09, 2012 @ 18:08:06

      Thank you NaturaliiZ!

      That’s awesome that you’re thinking of making your own laundry soap! I have not heard of marseille soap before, but when I researched it, it sounds like it is very similar to castile soap. Let me know how it works for you! 🙂

      Have a sunny day!
      ~Kim

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