Plastic is a real problem. Up to 12 million tons ends up in the ocean every year and 79 percent remains in landfills, according to Ocean Generation and Global Citizen advocacy groups.
The effect on marine life and the planet are widespread as laws are passed, technology is developed and clean-up efforts continue. But we, too, can champion the mission in small ways.
At LooHoo, we’re committed to buying responsibly. Here’s how:
Cyndi Prince, Proprietress
I’ve used natural deodorant for years but all of them came in the traditional plastic holder. I learned about Routine Deodorant, a natural brand, at GoGo Refill in Portland, Maine. Now my deodorant is in a small tin that I fill up at GoGo. It smells great thanks to essential oils, and there’s no waste.
We’ve had so many different plastic floss gadgets in our house over the years so I was happy to get rid of all of them when our family switched to refillable floss. Dental Lace uses a glass container that is easily refillable (no waste) with floss that is silky, compostable and biodegradable.
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
This change took a little coaxing for my family to agree to. We usually have one or two shampoo and conditioner bars in our shower at once—right now we have Dip shampoo bar and Tree Naturals shampoo and conditioner bar. My husband, son and I have very different hair but both of these products work for all types. It’s nice to have a couple of scents to choose from—from a combo of tangerine and honeydew to bamboo and lemongrass. I love that there’s no plastic bottles to toss when all is washed and rinsed.
HeatherWasklewicz, Marketing Maven
We live on an island so "stocking up" is a way of life. We used to buy national brands in bulk, typically three-packs of toothpaste and toothbrushes because it was convenient and seemingly more cost-effective. Being part of the LooHoo team is what shifted my thinking.
Today I still shop in bulk but instead of plastic I buy 10-packs of bamboo toothbrushes. In addition, I now make my own toothpaste with three simple ingredients: peppermint oil, peroxide and baking soda. What a difference this small shift has made!
I don't particularly like sponges but the other dishwashers in my family prefer them. I used to purchase common national brands until I discovered plant-based eco-sponges made with wood cellulose and coconut fiber. They work great! They are long-lasting and I can get them in packs of 12.
Winter knees and elbows used to get treated with petroleum jelly—it was a staple for us growing up in the 1970s and ’80s. A big jar was always in our towel closet and seemed to last forever, but it was so goopy.
Cyndi Prince introduced me to Eu'Genia shea butter and now this is all I use to treat dry, chapped skin. This Black women-owned company offers a line of shea butters available in several scents (my favorite is grapefruit) and cute travel sizes. Their formula is smooth and incredibly effective. These tins cost more than your average jar of "jelly," but you only need a small amount to heal and the tins keep the product fresh.
Cathy Risling, Scribe Extraordinaire
Like many other Americans, I grew up with the bold scent of Formula 409 permeating the house on cleaning day. It’s what I knew.
But today, there’s scads of eco-friendly options that not only smell great, but also do the job. Natural cleaning solutions are gentle on surfaces and safe around people and pets. When combined with essential oils that are responsibly sourced and synthetic-free, how can you go wrong?
Once I tried Thieves Household Cleaner by Young Living, I was hooked. I love the autumn spice scent and it cleans most surfaces including greasy, grimy counters.
I know, I know, everyone’s been doing it for years. But I have to admit, my recycling has fallen short of consistent. Prompted by my pre-teen son, we purchased a large container and parked it outside of the kitchen. Now every bottle and can make their way into the larger recycling bin.
The best part, besides reducing waste, is my son is proud of his work, especially when he drops off the bags at a local recycling center and puts a few dollars in his pocket.
Don’t get me wrong; I love to save. But the main reason I have a drawer full of reusable snack, sandwich and gallon bags is the global picture.
Experts say the average household uses 500 of these bags a year. With two grade-school children, I’m sure we go through a lot more. So our family spends less, helps the planet and feels good about our small effort with a bigger impact.
How are you reducing, reusing or recycling environmentally harmful elements in your home?
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