It doesn’t take an environmental science degree to know that reducing our waste will have benefits now and in the future. It’s hard to drive down the street or walk around without seeing plastic bags or packaging flying around or littering the roadsides. Plastic free products are not readily available and quite honestly, if a product doesn’t come to you in a plastic package doesn’t mean it did not produce some plastic waste along it’s journey to your door.
I manufacture and sell products that I promote as waste free. Even my website is called Waste Free Products. But in all honesty, I can’t make a soap product without getting plastic barrels of oil and ingredients that are packaged beyond my control. Can I be thoughtful in the procurement of those ingredients? I sure can and do! I use my best judgement with what I have to choose from but I don’t have the ability to control all aspects of the supply chain. No one really does
What we, as consumers, do have control of is the last few steps of the supply chain. We have control over what is the right fit for the way we want to live. If we want to live plastic free or try using zero waste products, looking at how the products are packaged is a great start. Second step is how they are delivered to you.
As a waste free products pusher, it’s important for me to understand the value of waste free products before I can begin to ask others to buy any waste free household items. I was recently asked what I thought the most important reason to shop for waste free solutions and found I could not pick just one reason why.
Here are my top 5 reasons to buy waste free household items
RECYCLING IS NOT WORKING:
I recall a few years back National Geographic did an investigative report about how much plastic was accumulating and not being recycled. It was like 90% of all plastics were NOT being recycled. I remember thinking, how can the number be that high. Seems like most households having recycling bins and seems to fill them up so how could the number be that high? The truth is, the number is that high. We are learning more and more about how recycling is not working. Even as recent as 2019, we learned that most of the plastic waste we shipped overseas to other countries to ‘deal with’ has now made it back to our soil (USA) and we have no idea what to do with it. So recycling isn’t the answer we hoped it would be. This is the best reason to buy waste free and plastic free packaged products.
NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE DISPOSABLE:
For instance, back in the 1920’s disposable facial tissues were introduced by Kimberly-Clark and they were called ‘Kleenex’. They marketed to people that it could improve hygiene. We now know that cloth handkerchiefs are just as good. They are easy to make and wash with your regular towels. It takes no additional water or time to use a handkerchief. Besides, they are way more comfortable and eco-friendly than using tissue paper, even if it is made from recycled paper. I make my own by cutting us soft fabrics that are no longer usable for their original purpose.
FOR YOUR HEALTH:
My whole life, there has been a roll of aluminium foil in the kitchen drawer. My grandma used it, my mom used it, even I used it up until about 10 years ago when I learned more about the link between aluminium and disease. It was easy to make the switch and stop using it. I bought a silicone mat for my cookie sheet and a glass baking dish with a lid. Simple. Just last night we had fast food, which is what we call frozen food. The oven heating instructions on the burrito said to wrap the burrito in foil and place in the oven. The aluminium foil is intended to keep the moisture in as it cooks. I get why frozen foods company recommends to use foil because most people have it but I wish they did not put that on their instructions! I placed the burritos in my glass baking dish and put the lid on and place it in the oven. They came out perfectly. No wasteful aluminium foil needed. Now if they could only package their burritos in a plastic free wrapper, I’d be thrilled!
SUPPORT COMPANIES THAT CARE:
All companies start out small. I’m sure you’ve heard the names Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos. They both started their multi-billion dollar business from their garage! All ideas start somewhere but none will be successful without the support and belief from others. If no one wanted to order online, Amazon would not be successful. If no one wanted to use a computer at home, Microsoft would not be nearly as successful today.
The next Amazon and Microsoft are out there but with any luck they start with an eco-friendly foundation! Back when these two guys started their empires, plastic waste was not the problem it is today. So when you find a small company offering solutions to a global problem, support them! Step outside your comfort zone and buy from them. You might just be pleasantly surprised and one day you might even say, ‘Hey, I bought from him/her back when they shipped from their garage.’ Now imagine owning stock in a company like that!
LEAD BY EXAMPLE:
It’s hard to understand how much plastic waste we contribute to the next generation(s) without really seeing the numbers through the decades. Take a look at this graph from the EPA for a great visual of the increase in the amount of plastic waste disposal over the years starting in 1960.
Almost 30 million tons of plastic has been put into our landfills and this is only in the United States. Imagine what the number really is when we factor all the landfills from around the world!
We can not keep ‘burying’ our problem in the dirt nor can we keep burying our head in the sand about this accumulation. Plastic waste is a problem that is not going away! Using zero waste products or plastic free products is not the sole solution but it does point us in the right direction of reduction. We need to show the next generation we care, about them and the planet. We do not own this world, we are merely renters and at the rate we are using disposable plastics, we do not deserve any of our deposit back. [pun intended]
Can we really expect the next generations to care about us or their future when it is literally hanging in the balance by the actions we take today? Think about it next time you have the option to buy a shampoo in a plastic bottle or a shampoo bar in paper packaging. Think about it next time you toss a resealable bag in the trash after using it one time. Is taking the time to wash and reuse it really that difficult? Choose plastic-free packaging or a waste free product next time you have the option and hold yourself accountable so no one else has too.