Commercialism is all around us. We're pressured to buy, encouraged to think we need to, and often the products we buy are designed with obsolesce and dependency in mind. It can be a never ending cycle of wastefulness if we let it. These are a few items that we think you can skip!
For the most part, air fresheners are largely unnecessary and really only cover up smells. Instead of masking odors, consider trapping them! Use boxes or jars filled with baking soda around the home to absorb odors (be sure to poke holes in the lid first). If you like, you can make them really cute with a bit of twine, ribbon, or decorative paper. Plain baking soda works well, or add a few drops of your favorite essential oils for a sweet smelling boost.
Soap With "Microbeads"
Found in everything from hand soaps to facial cleaners, toothpastes to moisturizers — these microbeads are marketed to us under the idea that they'll help scrub away grime, gently exfoliate, and more. The truth is that they aren't good for our skin and they're even worse for the environment. The small nature of these microbeads makes them especially hazardous to marine life as they flow from our drains to the ocean, where they are impossible to remove.
Single-Use Mop Pads
They sound convenient, but at what cost? For the price of a couple of packs you can purchase a handful of reusable cloths that will fit onto the same pad. If your brand doesn't offer reusable cloth pads you might have a look at sites like Etsy for more eco-friendly options.
Unless you’re on-the-go and in a pinch, bottled water is a waste of resources and money. Most bottled water is nothing more than municipal tap water - filtered at best. You can save a lot by investing in a reusable water bottle. I recommend stainless steel or glass for the best flavor, and also because they won't leach toxins into your water like plastics can.
Traditional cleaning products are not only filled with caustic chemicals, they also leave residues on the surfaces in your home. Making your own cleaning supplies is surprisingly easy and effective. My favorite method is a 50/50 mix of white vinegar and water, plus a few drops of my favorite essential oil.
Gone are the days of your grandma’s rubber pants, stagnant diaper pails, and complicated folding methods. Today’s cloth diapers are trendy, highly functional, and easy to use and care for. Not only that but they'll save you a lot of money (up to $1500 per child!), all while reducing your carbon footprint!
Foaming Hand Soap
I love foaming hand soap, but there’s no need to spend money on water. Purchase regular hand soap refills or your favorite liquid castile soap instead. Add a bit to the bottom of your foaming pump container and fill the rest of the way with water. Give it a shake and you’re good to go!
It’s easy to create your very own spice mixes, and as a major bonus they won’t contain unnecessary and cheap sweeteners or anti-caking agents. Plus your version can be tailored to your tastebuds for a fraction of the cost. Mix them up in air-tight containers for easy access.
Shelf salad dressings are full of all sorts of unhealthy ingredients. You can save so much by making your own dressings, not to mention that fresh tastes so much better! My go-to recipe is 1/3 Raw Apple Cider Vinegar and 2/3 Organic Olive Oil, add a dash of onion powder, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning and I'm ready to go!
Cheung, Pui Kwan, and Lincoln Fok. Evidence of Microbeads from Personal Care Product Contaminating the Sea. Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol. 109, no. 1, 2016, pp. 582–585., doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.05.046
Take Back The Tap: The Big Business Hustle of Bottled Water. Food & Water Watch, 24 Jan. 2019