Most of us are familiar with the phrase “reduce, reuse, recycle.” But just because you’re familiar with the motto doesn’t mean you actually know what to reduce, reuse and recycle.
One of the easiest ways to reduce your home’s environmental impact is to avoid non-biodegradable products.
But what does biodegradable even mean? And why is that better than recyclable?
When something is biodegradable, it means that microorganisms like bacteria can break the item down. This basically means that the earth can assimilate the product on its own. Biodegradability significantly reduces an item’s environmental impact and the time it will sit in a landfill.
Before you Google “how to give up every non-biodegradable good,” it’s important to realize that going completely green isn’t easy (or even possible) for most people. Purchasing only 100% cotton items can be costly, and avoiding items like disposable diapers can be way too time-consuming for a new parent.
The truth is that greenifying your life is nuanced, and there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach. That said, you can make changes to reduce your environmental impact without driving yourself crazy in the process.
Here are favorite ways to reduce waste and extend your favorite product’s lifecycle:
- Instead of buying plastic or glass bottles, purchase a reusable water bottle!
- Aluminum cans are a biodegradability no-go. Investing in a soda maker instead will save you time and waste!
- Many restaurants package their food in styrofoam, which can make your choice in the matter slim. While calling every place you order take-out from and asking them to switch to recycled paper bowls may not be possible (or normal), you can make a mental note to frequent those about businesses that do opt for eco-friendly packaging.
- Just because aluminum foil and plastic wrap are kitchen staples doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them! There are many eco-friendly alternatives you can use to preserve your leftovers.
- Straws have taken the heat lately for all of the items on this list. If you haven’t purchased a set of reusable straws yet, what are you waiting for?
- Many cities have banned plastic bags because of how bad they are for the environment. Get a cute set of foldable, reusable bags to use instead!
- If you’re anything like us, you probably start your morning with a cup of coffee. But did you know plastic-coated milk cartons can take years to biodegrade? The good news is that you can easily make oat or almond milk at home. These DIY recipes are cost-effective and fun!
- Did you know you can refill your ink cartridges? This DIY shows you how to prolong the use of your ink cartridges using a bottle of ink and a syringe.
- While all toilet paper is technically biodegradable, truly biodegradable TP is septic-safe and breaks down much faster than your standard roll from the drugstore. No.2 toilet paper is made from bamboo, a renewable resource, and is biodegradable to boot.
At No.2, we advocate for everyone to educate themselves and make as many sustainable choices as they can. Start with the changes you can make from this list and incorporate more as you get more comfortable!