Growing up in a third world country, recycling was never a priority; recycling was a lifestyle. You didn’t have to separate glass from paper because some guy on a donkey, going through your trash, always did the work for you. That wasn’t his job, it was his daily hustle.
Sunday morning, bright and early, you hear a chant from a guy asking for bottles for sale. He collects bottles, sometimes buys the fancy glass ones from you, and resells them to big companies needing to use recycled materials for lower prices.
Coming to America
When I moved here, the obsession with recycling and going out of your way to recycle surprised me a bit. At first I didn’t think I had to, thinking the trash collection company did the sorting and took care of that part. I couldn’t help but wonder, will we have to recycle this much if we just reduce the amount of recyclable shit we use daily?
That’s what got me into evaluating everything that I use daily and thinking about how I can do something even better than recycle; reduce my use of plastic, and invest in products I can reuse instead of recycle and buy again.
How I reduce and reuse
That’s when I learned about the company Grove Cooperative through a Facebook ad one night while browsing the net. It’s basically a company that ships you glass bottles and a tube of concentrated cleaning liquid that lasts for months, and that would be the only thing to be bought again instead of full plastic cleaner bottles that even the organic, natural cleaning supplies use. Once the tubes were out I could simply buy the big tube of soap, made out of basic essential oils, and refill the glass bottles I have at home. Same for hand soap, glass, and all-purpose cleaners.
For cleaning wipes, I chose to use microfiber towels instead of paper towels. By the way, if you have to use paper towels for anything, remember you can compost them!
Shopping bags, snack packs, utensils, and more!
This initiative made me think more and more about how much plastic I am using and how I can eliminate this unnecessary waste. That’s when I came across the company Mighty Nest. They sell reusable things like shopping bags, reusable plastic snack packs and eating utensils. I now carry a utensil bag containing a bamboo spoon, fork, and even chopsticks. I added a metal straw for my casual trips to a coffee shop. Of course I carry my own reusable water bottle, and coffee cup, every time I go through a drive through. Believe me, it makes a difference!
The last thing I’ve discovered recently is the reusable face wipes! I use so many cotton rounds to take off my makeup and apply toner. That’s when I came across this company that sells cloth face rounds that come with a little mesh bag, so that you can throw them in the washer and clean them to be reused again! Think about all the cotton you can save everyday and night when substituting with these cool, reusable face wipes!
Ok, one last crunchy reusable product, I promise. If you are a woman that still gets her period, you know how much of a pain in the ass it is to use and buy tampons! They are expensive, not always comfortable, and full of chemicals. Well, I did decide to start using a menstrual cup. No matter what you have been told your whole life, period blood is not gross, or smelly; it’s just a body fluid that’s totally neutral. A menstrual silicone cup holds up for 8 hours before you have to change and clean it. That’s the equivalent of 8 tampons and leaking risks all day.
So there it is; after writing this, I realize how much I’ve reduced my use of products by simply buying some reusable products that prevent me from buying more shit. All in all, this country uses so many unnecessary products that could easily be replaced to make an impact. If you feel inspired to do the same, holla at me! I see you!