Right Under Your Nose

On my quest to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I am constantly reevaluating old habits to see if there are ways I can improve.   What I’ve been fixated on recently is packaging.  I’m realizing there are extremely simple ways to cut down our consumption of resources and reduce waste.  Below are 3 simple tips:

  1. Lose the Body Wash and Reconsider Soap: Soap needs to make a comeback!  The other day I was listening to a report on NPR about how women and men are using less soap these days in exchange for body wash.  That fact sounds fine until we think about the environmental impacts.  Packaging for body wash usually consists of a plastic bottle as opposed to a thin plastic covering or cardboard packaging for soap.  The report also mentioned that body wash is predominantly water, which is an inefficient way to wash and a waste of resources.  Less packaging, fewer resources, and a lower carbon footprint for a product that works just as good (if not better!)– let’s bring soap back!  
  2. Buy Products That Use Creative Conservational Packaging: We just ran out of hand soap and I purchased a Method gel hand wash refill bag.  Method explains that by using the bag instead of a plastic bottle, they have reduced the product’s environmental impact by 83%!  (Of course, as I’m writing this I realize I should probably eliminate liquid hand soap altogether and just use bar soap for the reasons aforementioned…)  Also, just because a product looks smaller, be sure to read the labels closely—you may be getting the same bang for your buck, just with less packaging.  For example, the cereal I am eating right now is made by Nature’s Path Organic.  They give you the same amount of granola, but they use a smaller box.  To the untrained eye it may appear to be a smaller portion, but the only thing they’ve eliminated is less air in the cereal bag (and less cardboard box).  California Baby also uses less packaging by selling their products in a concentrated form.  It appears that you get a tiny bottle of baby shampoo/bodywash for your money, but since it is concentrated, you just need to use a teeny tiny amount.  My 6 month old son gets a bath every day and I haven’t even used half of the 8.5oz bottle.  These companies get the big picture, and are thinking about how to sustain their product so that it exists in the future.
  3. Listen to The Dave Matthews BandThe band has always been vocal about their involvement of environmental awareness, and on their current tour they are setting up Brita stations at concert sites to encourage their fans to use paper cups instead of purchasing plastic bottled water to conserve resources and reduce waste.  Instead of buying bottled water for your home, perhaps install an in-home filter system or purchase a Brita filter yourself.  On the go and need a bottle of water to take with you?  No problem!  Purchase a (super cute) reusable Klean Kanteen or Sigg water bottle, fill it with your filtered water, and keep it in the fridge ready for you to grab and go.