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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello! ūüôā

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 ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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! ūüôā¬† 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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Blog for International Women’s Day~ Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

Girl in butterfly or flower costume

 

Hello and Happy International Women’s Day!

Gender Across Borders and CARE are hosting Blog for International Women’s Day 2012 today!¬† And this year’s theme is “Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.”

As a culture, as well as members of a global community, it is imperative that we are actively involving, educating and inspiring girls in a positive way.

How do we do that though?  Although this may seem like a daunting task, especially in the hustle and bustle of today, there are in fact many ways that we can do so just in our everyday lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ways to Connect Girls and Inspire Futures

1. Look at our own bodies in positive lights.  This may seem like this does not directly involve girls, but it does.  If we, the women of the world, do not look at our own bodies positively, how can girls who are growing up under constant media pressure that says anything bigger than a size 0 is not good enough?

By accepting and embracing our own bodies, flaws and all, and by radiating our love of our bodies, this could help even just one girl look at themselves in a more positive light.  The media tries to tell us, as a society, what type of body is acceptable, but we can help to lessen this pressure on young girls and teenage girls by saying and believing that this is not the case.

2. Talk about other girls and women (and boys and men) positively, including about their appearance, body, and personality.  Even if we all are able to accept and embrace our bodies, if we are judgemental towards another girl, woman, boy, or man, it shows our insecurities, as well as teaches girls a trait that does not help them to think positively about themselves, or others.

3. Tell a girl that she has a beautiful soul and heart.  Often times, we as a society focus on how beautiful a girl, or woman, is on the outside.  Yet, being beautiful on the inside is often more important in the long run.  Although some girls may feel this is cheesy, it will probably still warm their hearts to hear.

4. Genuinely compliment a girl.¬† This does go along with the previous suggestion.¬† So many girls I’ve known¬†that are my age just do not believe a person when they compliment them.¬† They believe that either they are just saying it to say it, or that they are indirectly suggesting something negative.¬† This is rather than just believing that someone is, in fact, being nice to them.

We can help so many girls overcome this mentality by complimenting genuinely, and by accepting compliments that others give us too.

4.¬†Be open to talking about topics that girls want to ask about.¬† So many topics still seem off-limits, between parents and their daughters, between sisters, between friends, and so on.¬† And therefore, there is often this silence.¬† Help to break this silence around various topics including menstruation, girl’s health, etc.¬† If we do not talk, who will?

5. Let a girl know that it is wonderful to be herself.  Remind her that being herself is much more important than being the most popular, or trying to be someone else.  And support her in the journey to find out who she is.

6.¬† Encourage girls to imagine.¬† Whether it’s imagining a job they may want when they grow up, re-enacting their favorite book or movie, pretending to be a mommy to their doll, or just playing make believe, let them dream.

And lastly, we need to help bring boys and men into the conversation as well.  Neither women nor men truly live separately in society.  So, we can encourage and teach boys and men to treat girls and women as equals, and not as objects to acquire, or beings to only take care of them.  We can do this partly just by acting and believing that we are equal.

 

Today is a positive day!¬† Just over one hundred years ago, women were not considered equal really anywhere in the world.¬† Now, we are in many places.¬† However, so many women are still struggling for equality.¬† And even here in the U.S., women still do not have equal pay to men in various jobs.¬† So, help to connect girls and help them believe that they are equal and that they do deserve equality, equal pay, and respect.¬† By helping to build girls’ self-esteems and confidence, we can help them to feel empowered.

Sometimes it is the most simple actions that can create a positive reaction.

Let’s get the conversation going! Do any of you have other suggestions to help connect girls and inspire futures?¬† Let me know by leaving a comment down below!

Want to check out the other blogs that are participating in this event?

Click here: http://www.genderacrossborders.com/blogforiwd/

Have a sunny day everyone! ūüôā

~Kim

Please Note: The image above is used under the Commons license, shared by The Field Museum Library on Flickr, and can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/field_museum_library/3405449438/