At JCS-Group, we know waste. When you need experts to help you gather and properly dispose of trash, junk, and stuff, we’re your people! But just because we are waste experts doesn’t mean we want people to create more of it than necessary. We care about our clients, but we also care about our planet and the environment we’re leaving for future generations.
The Environmental Protection Agency reports that Americans generated 267.8 million tons of waste in 2017. Let’s read that again: two hundred, sixty-seven point eight million tons. That’s equivalent to 53.6 million 30-yard residential dumpsters!
We all can take steps and change our habits to cut back on waste and give the Earth some room to breathe. And don’t worry! You don’t have to cut things out of your life entirely! Replacing some of your everyday household items with eco-friendly alternatives can drastically reduce the volume of your household’s waste. Here are ten replacements you can make today to give our planet a better future.
Organic Cotton Dish Towels & Bamboo Paper Towels
Paper towels are sneaky. You start by just grabbing one or two, and before you know it, the whole roll is gone! These single-use sneaks can easily be replaced with organic cotton dish towels to do the same job, but get washed and reused hundreds of times over. You can also find reusable bamboo paper towels with a similar texture and feel to traditional paper towels.
Reusable Grocery Bags
One family in the U.S. uses about 1,500 plastic bags per year. Even if you save your plastic grocery bags to use as trash bags later, they still end up in a landfill or worse, flying loose in the ocean, forest, or local park.
Instead of using more plastic bags every time you go shopping, switch to reusable grocery bags made of canvas, cotton, or mesh! They’re just as convenient but way more durable. These washable, reusable bags have a reinforced bottom panel, and extra-strong straps for those large grocery hauls.
Shower Timers & Low-Flow Showerheads
Showers are necessary, but they can take a significant toll on the environment because of the amount of water they use. A shower timer is a simple solution that will help you keep your water use in check, and some models come with Bluetooth or radio functions to take your shower concerts to the next level!
If you’d rather take the “set it and forget it” approach, this low-flow showerhead from Niagara is a budget-friendly replacement that will reduce your shower’s water and energy usage by 30%! It is adjustable to a 9-jet turbo massage (yes, please) and maintains a consistent flow rate no matter how the water pressure fluctuates.
Biodegradable Garbage Bags
Even when you reduce your waste production, you have to throw away your trash in something! Plastic trash bags are just as culpable as plastic grocery bags when it comes to harming our environment. Rather than adding more plastic to the mix, find some biodegradable trash bags that are BPI certified! They’re about the same price as name-brand trash bags but will break down much faster than traditional plastic options.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, more than half of your home’s energy consumption is due to heating and cooling costs. A programmable thermostat gives you more control and helps you curb those costs! Google’s Nest Thermostat is the first programmable thermostat to earn an Energy Star, and the app gives you visibility to how much energy you use and where. That way, you can make informed decisions about your energy usage and make adjustments to lower your household consumption!
We get it, sometimes using regular dishes is just too much, and you need some paper plates or plastic utensils to just toss at the end of the day. Rather than the traditional paper and plastic materials, why not try out some compostable options? Compostable silverware may look just like their plastic counterparts, but they’re much better for the environment. If you’re hosting a party but want to stay sustainable, check out this set of compostable dishes made from sugarcane fibers!
LED Light Bulbs
Brace yourself – LED lightbulbs use at least 75% less energy than traditional lightbulbs! Not only does this keep your wallet happy, but it also keeps the planet happy. Less energy usage means less heat production (yep, light sources emit a LOT of heat into the atmosphere), less demand on power plants, and less greenhouse gas emissions to produce that energy. Replace the lights in your home with LED bulbs to increase your home’s energy efficiency and save the planet some power!
Beeswax Cloth Wraps
You know when you’re trying to get a plastic wrap from the roll to the dish, and it clumps together, sticks to your arms, and feels like a WWE wrestling match? What if you could ditch that feeling forever and benefit the environment?!
Beeswax-coated cloth wraps are an excellent alternative to plastic wrap since they’re easy to use, easy to clean, and easy to reduce your carbon footprint. One sheet of beeswax-coated cloth can last for a whole year – much longer than a single-use piece of plastic wrap!
Compostable & Reusable K-Cups
Your morning coffee is essential, but if you’re using a Keurig coffee machine, those little plastic cups are stacking up in your local landfill! Rather than tossing a cup (or two) every morning, try using compostable K-Cup substitutes, or reusable K-Cups that you can fill with your favorite coffee! No more plastic pods stacking up, and if you have a compost pile, old coffee grounds inside compostable pods are an excellent source of nitrogen!
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
Over 550 million shampoo bottles end up in landfills every year in the U.S., and those plastic bottles pose a risk to the environment just as much as plastic bags do! Some shampoo companies are changing the game with eco-friendly glass bottles, but others are taking it one step further, offering shampoo and conditioner bars. Just as soap comes in bar form, now our hair products can too! And shampoo bars aren’t limited to highly-exclusive, expensive brands. Check out these options from Target and Lush for sustainable (yet affordable) alternatives to plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles!