4 Ways to Become More Environmentally Friendly Overnight
Updated on March 7th, 2017 to include a fourth way to become environmentally friendly overnight.
1. Never Buy Another Disposable Razor
Razors are the epitome of marketing. Neatly designed to speak to our feminine side or make us feel like a man. I don’t know about you but I fail to find my identity in a razor.
Razors all basically do the same thing and are generally regarded as expensive for what they do. If you believe Gillette, the cost of razors are so high because they have many, many scientists on staff. Companies like Gillette find new and different ways to market the same thing to us. Five blades, three blades, thinner and finer blades, “flexball technology,” “sensor excel,” razors for sensitive skin and the list goes on. Many razor companies make money not only on the initial sale of the razor but the overpriced and very not eco-friendly refills.
Not only does your razor eventually end up in a landfill — never to degrade but many times razors come wrapped in more packaging than what the razor equals out to by itself.
Let’s do some simple math. According to this source, a woman shaves 12 times a month and 7,718 in her lifetime. Based on these numbers a woman will shave for roughly 643 months in her lifetime, or 54 years. What you spend on disposable razors varies so much depending on what and how often you buy. Maybe you spend $500 in your lifetime or maybe you spend closer to $4k according to this source. Either way, there’s a cheaper and by far more environmentally friendly way. My favorite is the Merkur Long Handled Safety Razor. It’s double-edged so you can use both sides of the razor to shave. I’ve been using it for about a year and I expect this razor to last a very, very long time. Merkur razors are made from pot metal and chrome plated so it will not rust.
This razor is just shy of $30 on Amazon so even if you have to buy more than one in your lifetime the cost is far and away cheaper than disposable razors. With this razor the only thing you need to buy are the razors themselves. What’s great about this is you can experiment with different types of razors to see which ones suit you best. A pack of 100 cost about $13. There are two small screws on the underside of the main part of the razor, which easily come unscrewed for easy razor replacement.
The Merkur razors are a thing of beauty too and you kind of feel like a baddass in the shower.
2. Never Buy a Plastic Toothbrush Again
Plastic toothbrushes, inherently are not biodegradable.
If you think of the nearly 350 million people in the US and Canada alone and consider that they probably get through an average of 3 toothbrushes per year, that is over a billion toothbrushes, with ever larger plastic handles, tossed in the garbage annually. (Source)
There are a handful of eco-friendly alternatives such as toothbrushes with replaceable heads, or toothbrushes made from 100% post-consumer recycled #5 plastic. My favorite alternative at the moment are Bamboo Toothbrushes.
This brand, “Brush With Bamboo” not only is the toothbrush biodegradable but so is the packaging. These brushes last as long as any other plastic brush and are very comfortable. While you’re at it you can get some floss that does not come in a plastic box or some 100% biodegradable silk floss!
Michael Davidson, a dental hygienist in a suburb of Houston, says most new toothbrushes are designed for their looks, with fancy handles or different-colored bristles. (Source)
Have you noticed a trend with the last two products, the razor and this toothbrush? The products are designed to be exactly what they are and nothing else. A beautiful razor and a simple toothbrush. As a society we’re blinded by shiny, flashy things — even in the form of toothbrushes.
3. Never Buy a Bottle of Water Again
This is a big one. It feels as though many of us are aware of how bad bottled water is for the environment yet bottled water doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon so let’s look at some facts.
“Bottles used to package water take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade and if incinerated, they produce toxic fumes. It is estimated that over 80% of all single-use water bottles used in the U.S. simply become litter.”
- Source: The Water Project
“Rather than being recycled, about 75 percent of the empty plastic bottles end up in our landfills, lakes, streams and oceans, where they may never fully decompose.”
- Source: FoodAndWaterWatch.org
“It is estimated that 3 liters of water is used to package 1 liter of bottled water.”
- Source: The Water Project
“It takes over 1.5 million barrels of oil to meet the demand of U.S. water bottle manufacturing. This amount of oil far exceeds the amount needed to power 100,000 for a year, which does not include fossil fuel and emissions costs of green house gases needed to transport the final product to market.”
- Source: The Water Project
Bottled water is convenient but so are the alternatives, especially when we take into consideration the price we pay with regards to the damage we do to the environment. Thankfully, there are some great alternatives to buying bottled water.
- BPA Free, FDA Approved and Made in USA
- Bobble filter is equivalent to 300 water bottles that won’t go to landfills
- Compact dual cup filtration system w/ press mechanism — works like a French press
- Filters 16oz (473ml) of water in 15 seconds
- Replaceable Filter removes chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria and protozoan cysts
- Filters up to 264 gallons (1,000 liters) of water down to 0.2 microns
- Removes 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria (> LOG 6 reduction)
- Removes 99.9% of waterborne protozoan parasites (>LOG 3 reduction)
- 1 water filter can replace 300 standard 16.9 ounce water bottles
- Filter sits inside water bottle, reducing chlorine taste and odor, often found in tap water
- BPA-free water bottle features carrying loop, drink spout and is top rack dishwasher safe
4. Never Throw Away Another Coffee Cup Again
Let’s start with some stats:
- Half of the world’s plastic goes into products that are used only once
- 1 million disposable cups end up in landfill every minute and one cup may stay in a landfill for up to 50 years
- Coffee cups are lined with polyethylene, contaminating the recycling stream; they are not as “recyclable” as marketed
Thankfully, the solution is easy and cheap: buy a reusable coffee cup! There is only one brand I’ll mention here because I believe they are by far the best and it’s KeepCup. In addition to being stylish, comfortable to hold and drink from, KeepCup is on a mission to encourage the use of reusable cups to do away with disposable cups as much as possible. You can read more about some of the sustainability aspects on their site here and go shopping for your very own KeepCup here.
What a KeepCup is Made Of
KeepCups are barista standard, which means the cups are designed to work with coffee machines, which will make your barista happy as well. I have two, one for the office and one for home, I love them. One side effect that I didn’t expect was the positive feeling of using my KeepCup everyday, knowing that I was actively not contributing to a landfill. Get one today!