Shaving sustainably: safety razors

AVOIDING WASTE AT THE

There are so many disposable items that we use in the bathroom made of single-use plastic filling our landfills and oceans. One of the major culprits? Plastic razors. But before plastic single-use razors, there were metal ones! This week’s sustainable switch is from plastic razors to a reusable safety razor.

So what is a safety razor?

Safety razors are single-blade, metal razors that open in a butterfly clip to hold the
blades. I’ll be honest, mine sat on my dresser for a couple weeks before I worked up the nerve to actually use it. I’m pretty clumsy, so I was a bit nervous about cutting myself with this thing, but surprisingly I didn’t cut myself once! The key is to not apply pressure and just let the weight of the razor do the work for you, gliding it along at a 45 degree angle.

The perks of using a safety razor

So the obvious perk of safety razors is that it’s preventing tons of plastic waste. Just think
of how many times a year you’ve bought a package of plastic disposable razors and then
tossed them after use. This is honestly one of the easiest switches a person can make to be a little more Earth-friendly. Mine was only $10 on Amazon, so it’s way more affordable than disposables. Even if you buy the cheapest brand of disposable razors, you’d still spend at least three times that amount every year on razors. What’s even better about this safety razor is that my $10 razor should last me a lifetime if cared for properly. All you have to do take the blade out after each use and dry the razor and blade off with a towel to keep it clean and rust free. Each blade should last about a month.

Other ways to be earth-friendly while shaving

Another great way to be earth-friendly while shaving is to save on water. Don’t have the shower running the whole time, just leave some water in the bottom of the tub and swish you razor around in the water to rinse it.

Also, you can skip the shaving cream and just use bar soap or hair conditioner. This will save you money and it’ll keep loads of shaving cream bottles out of landfills. If you’re stuck on using shaving cream, try making your own! This will also save you money. I’m testing out recipes for making my own shaving cream and when I find my favorite I’ll be sure to post it!

 

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Sustainability reading list

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BOOKS

Garbology

Edward Humes

This is such an eye-opening book that every human on the planet should be required to read. Humes highlights our obsession with trash and the disposable, describing the issue very eloquently while making the issue tangible. I’ve never had an informational book that was a page turner that I couldn’t put down until this one.

Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson

The mother of zero waste, Bea Johnson’s book gives you a guide to going zero waste and provides lists, charts, and multiple resources to help you on your journey. My only tip for anyone who reads this book: keep in mind she goes above and beyond in every aspect of her life to be a zero-waster, and you do not have to! It’s all about baby steps and making switches that work with your lifestyle and of course, your budget!

Wear No Evil

Greta Egan

I just finished this one and it was a really great starting point for my quest to finding sustainable, Earth-friendly clothing. While she does suggest a lot of brands that are out of my price range, I love her ideas on how to tackle looking for clothing that lines up with your values!

FILM

Before the Flood

Documentary on Netflix

Leonardo Dicaprio holds a very special place in my heart. He is an amazing actor, but even better, he’s an active environmentalist. Check out his chilling documentary that unveils the issues we face with global warming and our problem with consumption.

 

PODCASTS

A Sustainable Mind

While I am subscribed to a ton of sustainability podcasts, this is the only one I’ve been consistently listening to. A Sustainable Mind features all sorts of interesting people who are doing their part to help the environment. I love listening to this podcast when I’m on long drives or on a walk or, when I’m feeling really motivated, the occasional run. 

 

I’ll be adding more of my favorite books, movies, and podcasts to this running list! Happy reading! 

P.S. If you want to be an eco-friendly reader, try buying second-hand or getting them from a library! I got all three of these books for under $8 a piece because I bought them used on Amazon! 

 

The cons of plastic water bottles

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Listen everybody. I have to tell you something you really don’t want to hear. Our plastic water bottle consumption is absolutely ridiculous. Whether you’re a tree-hugging hippy like me or not, plastic water bottle use is just not the best choice. Here’s why.

Cost

I hate wasting money, that’s why I’ve always found it kind of odd that people pay so much for bottled water. Then I found out that to get the recommended eight glasses a day it costs about 49 cents per year at U.S. tap rates, and for the same amount in bottled form it costs $1,400!! I think we can all agree that’s absolutely ridiculous.

Health

I’ve heard lots of people say bottled water is better or cleaner, but that isn’t true. Bottled water is regulated by the FDA, only requires weekly testing, and doesn’t share its findings with the EPA or the public. Tap water on the other hand, is regulated by the EPA, and requires over one hundred tests a month for bacteria and the results are made available to the public. Basically, bottled water is tap water sold in a plastic bottle. Sometimes it’s tested the same, sometimes it isn’t.

Environmental impact

Most importantly, plastic water bottles are terrible for the planet, just like every other single use plastic item. It takes the average water bottle 450 years for a water bottle to break down. Not only that, but manufacturing them burns 1.5 million barrels of oil a year.

When that water bottle does finally break down, it still doesn’t biodegrade. Plastic does not leave the Earth, it just gets broken into smaller bits. Every single piece of plastic you and I have consumed and thrown away will outlive us at least 5 times over, depending on how long we live. That sucks.  
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Are you convinced yet? I hope so. Save yourself some money and make an impact by changing this simple habit of buying bottled water. Swap for a reusable water bottle and put that money you saved to good use!

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Going without: A list of things I just don’t need

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Reduce waste (and save some money) by eliminating these products from your life. Simple.

 

Shaving cream

Shaving cream is expensive y’all. I stopped using it a long time ago because I’m very frugal and it’s a luxury item that I just don’t need. Bar soap works just as well, and it doesn’t get tossed in a landfill! Sometimes I use conditioner also because it makes your legs soft! I’m also looking into buying a shaving cream bar, but for now going without shaving cream is working just fine.

Straws

While there are some people with medical conditions who benefit from the use of straws, they are completely unnecessary for the general public. I will say this probably 100 times on this blog, because it’s so true. I don’t need a straw in my cocktail when I go to the bar, or a straw in my water when I’m out to eat. Saying no to plastic straws is such a simple thing that saves so much plastic waste. If you love drinking out of straws or require one because of a medical condition, reusable metal ones are a great option!

Plastic baggies for food (this is far from a Ziplock ad)

Plastic food baggies are another item that I don’t find very useful. I don’t buy them because they’re a waste of money and they create a lot of waste. Save yourself the cash and buy food storage containers instead of plastic baggies.

Single use drink cups

When I look back and think of all the waste I’ve produced from just coffee cups alone I cringe. No one likes it when their coffee gets cold anyway, so you might as well bring your own travel mug that will actually keep it hot. Better yet- make your coffee at home. You’ll save a lot more money making it before you leave in the morning. Because spending $5 on a coffee makes me cringe almost as much as the plastic lined paper cup it came in.

Plastic water bottles

Single-use plastic water bottle companies are my worst enemy. I don’t understand why people are willing to pay for cases of water when they already have it coming out of their fridge or tap. If you’re concerned with taste, try a filter. But I promise you, after a week or so, you won’t even notice a difference in taste. Get yourself a nice reusable water bottle and save that money (and more importantly, the planet)!

Dryer sheets

This one could just be because I’m cheap and don’t see a need for them, but I’ve never noticed a difference in the smell or static of my laundry when using dryer sheets. In fact, I don’t even use fabric softener because I don’t feel it’s necessary and I don’t want to spend the money on it (just another example of how cheap I am). If you have problems with static though, try buying dryer balls. They’re reusable, so it’s cost effective and Earth friendly.

Paper towels, paper plates, and plastic cutlery

Whenever I pack a lunch for work, I take a fork with me and wash it in the break room sink when I’m done. There are very few good excuses to use single-use plastic cutlery and plates. I understand the convenience of using them at holiday parties or birthday celebrations, but having a few of your friends and family pitch in and wash the dishes after your meal is a much better alternative than filling a garbage bag with plates, cups and silverware that will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. Plus, parties decorated with cloth napkins and real dishes feel much classier.

 

 

There are plenty of other things that can be cut out of my life to reduce my plastic consumption, but these are just a few I thought I’d mention because cutting this stuff out of my life was EASY! It saves me money and it saves the planet, so it’s a win-win.

What items would you add to this list?

Five sustainable switches anyone can do

It is the greatest of all mistakes to do nothing because you can only do little

The idea of being “zero waste” can be very overwhelming, and I had a hard time figuring out where to start. Here are a few basic things that I implemented into my life before I decided to switch to zero waste. Remember: it’s all about baby steps. If everyone does a little, we can achieve a lot (that’s probably sewn on a pillow or something, right?)

Say no to the straw

At restaurants or bars, tell your server you don’t need a plastic straw in your drink. Because you don’t. Straws are completely unnecessary, and eliminating straws is an easy habit to adopt. I’ll be honest here— sometimes I slip up and forget to ask, or when I do ask there have been times when the server still puts the damn straw in my glass. But I’ve tried to combat this by saying “please don’t bring me a straw with my drink” before I even place the drink order, because if you say the drink first your server might tune out the rest. This has been pretty effective so far.

Try reusable grocery bags

I’ve been using reusable grocery bags since I started grocery shopping for myself. It’s such a simple switch that saves so much plastic. Plus they’re much sturdier and there’s no risk of tears or struggles of carrying eight bags of groceries at once in an attempt to make one trip from the car to the front door. Now that I’ve switched to reusable bags, I can fit all my groceries in one bag that I carry on my shoulder. This one is kind of a no-brainer, guys and gals. If you’re looking for other ways to be earth-friendly at the grocery store, check out my blog post on sustainable grocery shopping.

Switch to a reusable water bottle

This one just makes sense. Plastic water bottles are a waste of money, they’re bad for the earth, and it’s bad for you to drink out of plastic. Nasty chemicals leach into your water when you drink out of plastic, on top of the pollution plastic water bottles cause. Buy yourself a reusable water bottle and refill it everyday. I have a Blender Bottle and a Camelbak that I’ve used for a few years, but I’ve recently switched to a stainless steel water bottle that I got from Walmart for about $5. It keeps my water cold much longer, it’s better for my health and it even tastes better out of the stainless steel bottle (in my opinion at least).

Ditch disposable dinnerware

Using paper plates, paper towels, paper napkins and single use plastic silverware is so wasteful. Like most things on this list, this one is a pretty obvious switch to make. Buying paper and plastic products is a major waste of money and it creates unnecessary waste. If you can’t live without your paper towel, try buying bar mop towels and keeping them in a basket on your kitchen counter rather than a roll of paper towel.

Electronic billing statements and junk mail

Sign up to receive your bills via email or pay them online, and unsubscribe from mailing lists of catalogs or magazines you automatically take to the trash after checking the mail. Think of all the paper you’ll save! Your planet thanks you.

Coffee made sustainable: reusable filters

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It’s no secret that college students love their coffee, but tossing out coffee filters filled with coffee grounds everyday isn’t the best way to dispose of them as far as the environment is concerned. Not to mention, coffee filters cost money, and I’m cheap. Fortunately, this week’s sustainability tip about coffee is earth friendly and cost effective!

I know what you’re thinking. Coffee filters are thin and probably disintegrate quickly and swapping is not going to make a big impact. Well, you’re right (sort of). Paper filters will decompose in landfills over time (and even quicker in composts), but the whole idea of being more sustainable is using less stuff and consuming less plastic wrapped crap, and reducing emissions caused by the production of said crap. There really isn’t a need for paper filters to be produced and packaged in plastic only to be tossed in a landfill.

When I first decided to live more sustainably, I knew it would startIMG_7011 with little changes, and making my coffee consumption more sustainable is one of them. Small ripple in the ocean, right? That’s why I switched to a reusable coffee filter made of surgical grade stainless-steel mesh and a bit of BPA-free plastic.

Using my new coffee filter is so easy. I just dump the coffee grounds out and rinse any stubborn remaining grounds in the sink. When I go on a cleaning streak and decide to clean my coffee maker, the reusable filter can be washed by hand or in the dishwasher.

The best part about this filter is that it only cost $6.75, and it will last for years. On average, a pack of 100 of the cheap coffee filters is about $7 or $8. A year’s worth of filters is still more expensive than this reusable filter that will last several years, so I’d say this is a smart move money-wise as well. It might not be huge savings, but my parents always say, “a fool and his money are soon parted,” so I try to save anywhere I can.

 

BONUS:

If you want to make your coffee consumption even more sustainable, compost your coffee grounds. They are a great item to add to your compost because they are rich in nitrogen and provide the bacteria in your compost energy to turn your food scraps into soil. Composting is on my sustainable switches to do list, but for now it’s all about baby steps to improving my habits.

Earth friendly toilet paper

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At first, toilet paper was not something I thought about much when considering sustainable living. Aside from the fact that it’s wrapped in plastic, I didn’t think there was much harm it was causing. I was wrong. Luckily, I found a toilet paper brand that is making a difference in more ways than one. I switched to “Who Gives a Crap” toilet paper in March, and it’s honestly one of the best decisions I’ve made as a consumer. Here’s why.

Sustainability

First and foremost, this company prioritizes the environment. The TP comes individually wrapped in papers with cool designs on them and are packaged together in a cardboard box rather than wrapped in plastic. You can choose how frequently you get shipments of toilet paper based on how many people live in your house. But that’s not all! The toilet paper itself is great for the environment. No trees were harmed in the making of this butt wiper. It’s made of bamboo, and there are limited chemicals added to whiten it (but they don’t use chlorine, inks, or dyes so it’s better for your bum too!).

Cost

My first thought was that this earth friendly toilet paper would be more expensive, but I was way wrong. Competing brands cost about 46 cents per 100 sheets of toilet paper, and Who Gives a Crap costs 25 cents per 100 sheets. Talk about a bargain for your bum.

They’re a philanthropic company

Who doesn’t love a company who gives back? As if I wasn’t already sold on the monetary savings and the environmentally friendly production and packaging, Who Gives a Crap donates 50 percent of their profits to help provide sanitation to people across the globe that can’t afford it. I can’t say enough about this brand.

 

Now for what you’re all thinking… the feel of the TP

I’m being completely honest when I say Who Gives A Crap is better than the brands that stock the shelves at Walmart. It’s sturdy and it’s not rough to the touch. If you value the feel of the toilet paper you use, you won’t be disappointed with Who Gives a Crap.

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Switching to Who Gives a Crap was one of the easiest switches I’ve made so far, and I highly recommend you all do the same! It’s all about baby steps when switching to a sustainable lifestyle and supporting brands that are kind to the planet. Make the switch today!