Wish me a happy birthday with these 3 ridiculously easy swaps that help the planet
Hello! It’s my birthday! Which means today you should be nice to me and read this. :)
A few months ago I was inspired by the Zero Waste community to start cutting back on the garbage I produced. As it turns out, many of the environmentally-friendly swaps I made ended up being cheaper, prettier and major upgrades to their wasteful counterparts.
Here’s a quick top three of my favourite swaps so far. As a birthday gift to me, give one of these a try! ✨ You won’t be disappointed.
Compostable Bamboo Toothbrushes
Bamboo brushes look a heck of a lot nicer than their plastic counter parts and are about the same price.
Most plastic tooth brushes go straight into the landfill and take literally hundreds of years to break down. If you use four brushes per year (the recommended amount), you alone will be putting at least 240 tooth brushes in the landfill by the time you’re 70. Now multiple that by the population of the North America and… :(
With a bamboo toothbrush, you can toss the handle in the compost and the bristles in the recycling.
Refillable Safety Razor
The metal razors are lovely looking and make me feel very fancy in the morning. The shave has been great and since replacement blades cost a mere 10 cents each, it’s way cheaper than the plastic alternatives.
Like toothbrushes, most disposable razors stick around for hundreds of years before they break down. They’re also gimmicky, ugly, and really don’t make sense economically; why keep buying handles when you really just need to replace the blades?
With a safety razor, you keep the handle and collect the used blades in a jar. When you have enough (in a year’s time or so), you can bring them to your local drug store to be recycled.
Reusable coffee cups
I love these things! They collapse to about an inch high, making it easy for me to toss in my bag or pocket. I get so many compliments from baristas on it and several coffee shops offer a discount when you bring your own cup. It’s also just great to always have a cup on you; I’ve also used it for water at movie theatres.
Many traditional disposable coffee cups have a waterproof lining, meaning they can’t be easily recycled and end up in the landfill, at a rate of about 60 million coffee cups per year. While the silicon these cups are made of are not biodegradable, silicon is much easier to recycle.
But wait, there’s more
This list could go on much longer! If you’re interested in making more upgrades, Lauren Singer (trashisfortossers) runs a fantastic blog and youtube channel. Lauren has been living Zero Waste for four years now and in that time, has generated only a single mason jar of trash. It’s incredibly inspiring and highly recommend checking her out
Something else to think about
Every disposable item has several levels of waste. The raw materials need to be collected, like chopping down a tree to make paper. Those raw materials need to processed, which for most products, consumes many gallons of water. The product needs to be manufactured, which takes electricity, more water, and also creates garbage. The product needs to be packaged and shipped (and keep in mind the materials it is shipped in also to be manufactured). Whether the product is delivered by car or plane, that will also consume resources.
And then, finally, after that great journey, the disposable product itself reaches you, where it will serve you for anywhere between 10 seconds (a paper napkin) or a few months (a toothbrush), and then go in the landfill where it will potentially sit for over 100 years. Very anticlimactic.
Switching to a reusable option seems like a small thing, but because of the many steps a product takes to be made and get to you, the most trivial change can have huge impact. 🌈