Conscious consumption – or being cognizant in using reusable products in lieu of single-use, hard to break down ones – is nothing new.
We decided that this is the year to REALLY try to reduce our carbon footprint, so I took to the interwebs to find the best ways and products to make it happen!
Check out the 8 most commonly used reusable products below!
Conscious Consumption Products 101
Reusable shopping bags were one of the first main stream “reusable” products that I can remember. Back in the day we would keep the plastic bags from the supermarket and use them as lunch bags or as garbage bags for our small garbage pails.Plastic bags can take from 15 to 1,000 years to break down. Paper bags are the lesser of two evils in that they decompose easier than their plastic counterparts.
Reusable shopping bags have come a long way. You can pick them up at practically any supermarket, big box retail store, online – you name it!
Something people don’t realize when it comes to reusable bags is that you need to wash them periodically. They carry fruit, veggies, dirty canned food, etc. that can harbor bacteria. Cloth bags can be washed in hot water, whereas bags that are made from recycled bottles would have to be hand-washed and line-dried.
Most plastic straws are not easily broken down. There is no “safe” way to recycle or degrade them without the further use of chemicals that could negatively affect the environment.
I have to preface this section with the fact that I do not like paper straws. I am all for the “no plastic straw” campaign, but those paper straws get soggy and gross. That is why I opt for reusable plastic, stainless steel, and glass straws!
Did you know that an average person buys 13,000 plastic single-use water bottles, costing about $20,000? Aside from that insane fact,
Reusable plastic bottles are a mainstay at our house. I personally like the stainless steal bottles because it keeps the water super cold. Glass bottles are also great, but you do have to be super careful not to break them – take it from my experience!
My newest favorite reusable bottle is the insulated DYLN water bottle. By utilizing a VitaBead diffuser, I can create alkaline water on the go – and it stays cold for up to 24 hours! Alkaline water has been shown to boost immunity and neutralize the acidity in your body, which is caused by stress, environmental toxins, and poor diet.
Reusable Coffee Cups
I thought that all single-use coffee cups were recyclable (of course, not the styrofoam ones). The inner lining is made of a combination of paper and plastic making the cup both leakproof and keep in the heat. There are some coffee shops that will recycle the single-use cups BUT they have to be discarded onsite, which is rare.
Hence the need for reusable coffee cups!
Yetis and brands similar in design are perfect as reusable coffee cups. Your beverage will stay hot (or cold) for hours upon hours. If you drink your coffee anything like I do – over the course of a few hours – you will greatly appreciate a Yeti.
The first time I used produce bags was after I received them with my Lotus Trolley Bags (another type of reusable shopping bag that is great for organizing your groceries as you pay for them!).
Produce bags were the last reusable product that we started using. A lot of the stores we frequented offered biodegradable bags, but why not skip those and use bags that can simply be used over and over?
Below are some of my favorites!
Even though fabric napkins may slightly increase your laundry load, they are a great alternative to paper napkins or paper towels.
I recommend getting a few sets so you can swap out when one gets dirty. If your family is anything like mine, you’ll need a few sets to enforce the conscious consumption realistically!
Even though there are plastic containers that are BPA-free, I am still a bit wary about warming up food in one of them. I opt for glass jars and containers whenever I can. They cost a bit more but are usually oven and microwave safe, and freezer safe as well!
I recommend saving and reusing any glass jars you get from food – baby food, tomato sauce, etc.
Silicone Food Bags
Swap the plastic zippered bags for reusable silicone food bags. I don’t recommend packing our kids’ lunch in them unless he or she is responsible enough to bring them home and not accidentally throw them out.
What products do you recommend to enforce conscious consumption?