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Wednesday, July 3, 2019

8 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Plastic Usage

It's Plastic Free July! 
While we are not plastic free, there are a few things that we do to try to limit our plastic usage. Living in Slovenia, we've learned a few things. Also, the trash system here is just amazing - yes, recycling is mandatory, but it is so efficient that the trash plant is off the grid and is self-sufficient, because they run it off of the bio fuel from the bio waste/compost. Wow!

By now, we should all know that plastic pollution is a huge crisis - especially when it comes to our oceans. We should each be trying to do our part. Here are some practical things you can do to take some of those first steps.

A local store here in Ljubljana carries these, and we gave them a try last month. This dish rag (which you would use instead of a sponge - which are big polluters) is great! It's made by a Finnish company  and you can find it on Amazon. You can wash it in the washing machine as needed, it does a great job washing dishes, after you use it, you just hang it up on your dish rack (or wherever), and as it dries it hardens back up. Once it's given you all it can, you can cut it up, and throw it in your bio waste (or regular trash, if you live somewhere that doesn't have you sort trash), and it'll biodegrade in 24 weeks!

We have a Nespresso coffee machine. For a while, we were collecting the Nespresso coffee pods and returning them to the store, but it was tedious, and smelled really bad, lol. So last week we decided to give these a try. Now, I'll be honest, they're not cheap, so we haven't made a full switch, but I feel like they're the future of these coffee pod systems. Their coffee pods are fully compostable - as well as their packaging! Even the plastic-looking-not-plastic wrapper the box comes in! (The only thing that has to go in the recycling is the box it was mailed in.) So, you can "plant" the pod in the soil of one of your plants (caffeine is good for them), throw it in your regular trash or bio waste, and it'll decompose in 4 weeks. AND the coffee tastes great!

3. Stainless Steal Straws
More and more places are banning plastic straws (and if you truly feel like your civil liberties are being taken away over straws, I suggest you Google search "persecution", in might put it into perspective). We have about 10 of them, and love using them. I like this set, because it comes with a little pouch to take it with you, so you can have it with you on the go!

About 4 months ago we switched most of our shower products to LUSH products. A big change was their shampoo bar. It comes wrapped in paper, and you can buy a little metal case to store it in (easier for air travel, as it can be in your carry-on). We weren't crazy about their conditioner bar, so we switched to their liquid one. That defeats the purpose, you say? Not so! They encourage you to return the bottles, and they reuse them. If you take in 5, you get a face mask! I'm currently at 3, and saving away! I also really like their lotions!

I LOVE my Bee's Wrap food storage! It's organic cotton coated in bee's wax and resin. I use them to wrap fruit, veggies, bread, snacks... they last for a year, even after multiple uses. Once they no longer "stick" (by the warmth of your hand), you'll know they're done. At this time, you can compost it, or use it as a fire starter! There is now a Slovene brand that just started, and I'm excited to try theirs once current ones are used up.

6. Compostable/Decomposable Kids' Dishes
We have both of these kids' dishes, and love them! The first picture is from By Lille Vilde. They are made out of rice, and are compostable. Although they are dishwasher safe, it says that they last longer if you handwash them. So we do. :)

The second set is by Petit Collage. They are made from bamboo, and the same things apply as the other set. They are super cute, and it's always nice to look over and not see plastic. :)

7. Wooden Toys

 We love fun toys at our house! Of course, a number of them are plastic, but we've found some companies who make wooden toys that we LOVE. Here are some of them:
MilaniWood is an Italian company that somehow managed to merge toys and games to where you can use free play, but also there are games with instructions for each set.

Le Toy Van has the CUTEST doll houses, and I can't wait to get our little girl one!

Viga makes really cute and unique toys - especially kitchen and food stuff. We have their macarons and donuts, and they are favorites!

You've probably seen the ads for the Kiwi Co monthly subscription crates. They encourage kids to STEAM projects (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) at their specific age level. I've been dying to try them, but the international shipping is a killer. We got a 50% off coupon. so we tried it, and are HUGE fans! You should totally do this!

8. Reusable Produce Bags
These produce bags are a really simple way to limit your single-use plastic consumption. Woohoo! :)

And there you have it! These are 8 easy ways to limit your plastic usage this month, and in the future. It really isn't that hard once you start, and if you try new, eco-friendly products every few months, you never know what you might find!

+ switch out your Q-tips for ones with paper or bamboo sticks

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