You can run, but you just can’t hide. It’s exactly how we’ve been feeling every time we turn on the news. Not a day passes that we don’t hear about a “natural disaster” caused by Climate Change. Believe ME, we know how easy it is to feel helpless, but we all have the power to change the world, and it starts with the products we buy.
What we DON’T buy sends a message to retailers and manufacturers that we expect them to operate responsibly. What we DO purchase gives the companies we support even more power to continue their work to change the industries doing the most harm to our environment.
Take Plastic. This synthetic material made from fossil fuels has been polluting our planet since 1907. Go to any store… ANY store… and you’ll be overwhelmed by the amount of plastic inside it. From produce (why wrap plastic bands around bananas?) to furniture, plastic is in every aisle… even in your local Co-op.
“He’s got plastic flowers growing up the walls, he eats plastic food with a plastic knife and fork, he likes plastic cups and saucers ’cause they never break…“
“Plastic man got no brain… Plastic man don’t feel no pain… Plastic people look the same…“
“But no one ever gets the truth from plastic man!”
We aren’t helpless. Collectively, we CAN fight off Plastic Man and do something about Climate Change… the time to act is now!
This month is Plastic Free July, so we’re listing 31 ways you can cut plastic out of your life. Start with whatever works for you until you find yourself doing them all and cut single-use plastic out of your life forever…
1. Say NO to plastic bags – bring reusable ones to the store instead.
If you forget your totes at home, be a conscious consumer and opt for paper instead of plastic to compost or recycle later.
No paper options? Damn! If there’s only a few things, carry them out… but if it’s just too much, take their bags, but PLEASE REUSE them as many times as possible – don’t just dump ’em in the trash!
2. Shop secondhand or choose companies that don’t use plastic packaging.
Steer clear of companies that sell and ship their products (garments, home goods, food, etc.) in single-use plastic packaging of any kind OR make it clear in your order comments that you want NO PLASTIC included with your purchase! Anything from plastic bags and mailers to bubble wrap and Styrofoam counts…
- We use eco-friendly envelopes from Ecoenclose made from recycled, recyclable (and often compostable) materials, and even encourage our customers to reuse this high-quality resealable packaging for exchanges/returns (or even their Poshmark sales)!
- We wrap our orders in un-bleached tissue paper that can be recycled or composted as well! (You may remember our reusable tote bags made from excess fabrics too…)
- We crafted recycled, recyclable USA MADE corrugated cardboard hangers to hang our apparel in Whole Foods stores and even use reusable stainless steel clothespins to hold up our bottoms.
CARE WHAT YOU WEAR
3. Opt for Organic Cotton and other natural fibers (Cotton Modal, Hemp, etc.) unless it’s reclaimed or recycled printed poly fabrics.
Hear ME out: We prefer poly for our workout wear and sleepwear because it’s lightweight, silky soft, wicks well, lasts forever and makes the bright prints we love POP, but as we know, plastic sucks and it’s polluting our planet, SO HERE’S OUR PLAN…
We’re currently working on developing an eco alternative that performs just as well as poly! Until we perfect it, we have decided to use fabrics that are made out of upcycled water bottles (AND save a few beautiful floral printed poly fabrics previously discarded by other companies who were just going to toss them in the trash… WHAT A WASTE, RIGHT?!) and turn ‘em into beautiful MAJAMAS EARTH bras and bottoms instead.
We feel good about pairing these reclaimed poly prints with high-quality USA MADE Organic Cotton and Cotton Modal solids in our collection to provide you with the most versatile sustainable athleisure we can… until performance fabric technology reaches the next level, of course!
PRO TIP TO WEARING POLY FABRICS RESPONSIBLY: Get a Guppyfriend wash bag or Cora Ball from EarthHero to help prevent shedding micro plastics from entering our water supply after leaving your washing machine. (Workout warriors, we’re looking at you!) See more laundry tips below…
4. Seek out bras that give support without plastic notions.
Peace out clasps, hooks and strap adjusters! Our eco-chic MAJAMAS EARTH Comfort Bras give a surprising amount of lift without all the extra waste AND we’ve got plenty of silhouettes, sizes, and colors to choose from.
Don’t forget – our Printed & Organic Bra, Panty and Boxer Brief sets are ALWAYS 10% OFF in our Gift Box bundles too…
5. Replace detergent bottles with paper bags filled with powdered laundry detergent or newly popular strips.
We LOVE that Meliora cleaning products not only keep our clothes clean without any excess chemicals going into our water, but they come in packaging that can be composted after it’s emptied out!
Pick up your first cardboard canister or paper bag refills in Original, Lavendar or Lemon scents.
6. Look for laundry baskets made from bamboo, wicker or wood.
They’re just as sturdy and hold just as many clothes, but are better for the planet!
P.S. If you’re already using a plastic one, don’t run out to replace it… Use what you’ve got first until it’s unfit to use anymore. Only buy new if you can’t find it thrifting and make sure it’s from a responsible company like ME!
7. Hang dry your clothes and intimates on a clothesline with wooden or (preferably) stainless steel clothespins.
Plastic ones crack and break easily just to end up in a landfill after a few uses… these will last forever!
* If you’re dedicated to the speed of your dryer, ditch single-use dryer sheets and try our reusable Felted Alpaca Dryer Balls.
USA MADE and handmade from 100% all-natural hypoallergenic felted alpaca fibers, these dryer balls have no artificial fillers, chemical dyes or perfumes, so you can protect your skin and clothing in confidence. In addition to softening garments and eliminating wrinkles, they save electricity by decreasing drying time up to 35%!
CARE WHAT YOU EAT & DRINK
8. Ditch plastic cups and drink lids and carry a reusable water bottle and coffee cup or use Aluminum disposable cups if you must go that route when entertaining.
Water and coffee are necessities, plastic pollution is not! (Did you know there’s even plastic coating inside some paper drink cups? YUCK!)
We’ve mentioned how much we LOVE Rifle Paper Co / Corkcicle reusables in previous plastic-free living posts and have a lot of luck finding pre-loved ones from secondhand sites like Poshmark! PLEASE be thrifty first before buying anything brand new, even if it’s from a trustworthy company.
9. Skip single-use utensils and use reusable metal or bamboo ones instead.
Keep your own set of cutlery close (fork, knife, spoon, etc.) to use on-the-go. We wrap ours in a hand-made cotton holder, but any covering can work!
If you’re looking to invest in an additional set, check out these Tiny Yellow Bungalow Bamboo Travel Utensils.
Be sure to speak up at restaurants or work places that don’t offer sustainable utensils and other zero waste options below…
10. Plastic straws SUCK – replace ’em with reusable metal, glass, bamboo or even paper straws (pretty much ANYTHING else).
Do we even need to tell ya how many end up in our fresh water, oceans and landfills? You should know this by now! BYO straw and keep it with your cutlery carrier mentioned above. Refuse to use ’em at bars and restaurants too – they’ll get the message eventually…
NOTE: We know that there are exceptions to these suggestions based on accessibility, so if you find yourself still using disposable cups, straws, or utensils, don’t fret… Just try to re-use and up-cycle them as many times as possible before recycling/disposing of them – GET CREATIVE!
11. Have your own reusable takeout container ready for restaurants that still package leftovers in plastic or Styrofoam take-out containers.
Request that restaurants start carrying compostable to-go containers too, for those times ya just need to order in. Also request the removal of any additional utensils, napkins, etc. that would normally come in copious amounts at the bottom of your bag. (They always end up in the bottom of your kitchen drawer or worse… in the trash!)
Just got one of Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Stainless Steel Airtight Food Storage Containers and it works like a charm. Nothing to be embarrassed about when bringing it into a restaurant!
12. Don’t purchase produce wrapped in plastic. Grow your own, grab it at a farmers market or get fresh deliveries to your door weekly/monthly.
For ME in the Midwest, it’s easy to plant your own organic herb garden (at minimum – even in your kitchen!) and grow tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, spinach, and kale in small raised beds or pots during the Summer.
You can even regrow veggies from your food scraps (green onions, celery, lettuce, etc.) in a small space too!
GET GROWING or support local!
13. Spoil yourself with fresh snacks and sides instead of those preserved in plastic.
We LOVE carrots with homemade hummus and other dips made from herbs and veggies we’ve grown ourselves.
14. Most tea bags contain microplastics… treat yo’self to a lovely loose leaf blend instead.
Each bag can be up to 25% plastic… YEP, you heard right! It’s used to help seal the bags and keep their shape when steeped in hot liquid. Steeping a single tea bag at brewing temperature can release about 11.6 billion minuscule particles known as “microplastics” and 3.1 billion “nanoplastics” into each cup… YIKES!!!
Not only is that bad for your personal health, but it’s bad for our planet too. Since plastic can’t be composted, it just sits in our landfills and seeps into our soil / fresh water supply.
For something that’s “natural” it’s not really respectful of nature, is it?! We’ll take our tea with zero plastic, please!
We love to support small tea brands like T-We Tea, Todd & Holland Tea and Birds and Bees Teas that offer plastic-free options that come in metal or glass canisters. All ya need is a reusable steeper and some MAJAMAS EARTH sleepwear… then you’re all set for tea time with ME!
15. Bypass single-use plastic wrap for reusable, compostable beeswax wraps.
These wraps are very versatile… cover bowls and produce or bread, wrap up sandwiches for lunch and open the most stubborn jar lids.
There’s more ma and pop products out there, but we LOVE that Bee’s Wrap pledges to protect our planet as much as ME!
16. Repurpose glass containers for additional food storage.
Preserving your own food reduces plastic pollution.
Homemade oat milk and veggie broth or pasta sauce stored frozen in mason jars, perhaps?
CARE HOW YOU CLEAN
17. Cut out cleaning products stored in plastic containers… Make your own zero waste DIY solutions and store them in glass.
It turns out a simple old-school vinegar solution can clean most surfaces VERY well…
Kathryn Kellog’s got some easy recipes for cleaners on her Going Zero Waste blog and The Unwaste Shop’s do the trick.
18. Ditch plastic bottles of liquid dish soap and use sustainable soap bars.
We LOVE that Meliora cleaning products come wrapped in NO plastic packaging (recyclable cardboard boxes or compostable brown paper). Each bar lasts a month (we’re w/o dishwasher!) so we buy in bulk to save on shipping and minimize our carbon footprint!
19. Replace sponges made of micro-plastics with cotton dish cloths or bamboo dish brushes.
We up-cycle old wash clothes, cut-up towels, and even t-shirts as cleaning rags.
If we have to buy heavy-duty dish scrubbers, we fancy FullCircle, Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Wooden Dish Washing Brush, The Unwaste Shop’s Bamboo and Palm Fibre Scrubber and other brands that use eco materials too!
20. Instead of purchasing paper towels wrapped in plastic, use small fabric scraps (mentioned above) to clean up counters and spills.
Gotta have paper for particular messes? Get it from brands like Who Gives A Crap that offer paper-wrapped products or try The Unwaste Shop’s Stylish Swedish Dishcloths that last over 200 washes and replace up to 17 rolls of paper towels!
21. Ta-ta, traditional toilet paper, these trendy TP rolls and forest-friendly tissues don’t come wrapped in unnecessary plastic.
Who Gives A Crap offers 100% Recycled or 100% Bamboo options that are individually packaged in paper to stay moisture-free, hygienic, and free of any inks, dyes or scents.
Bonus: They donate 50% of profits to help build toilets because they believe access to a safe, dignified loo is a basic human right (and we do too)! They’ve donated over $5.7 million to help provide proper sanitation for the 2 billion people in need. Now that’s a lot of toilets!
PERSONAL CARE & BEAUTY PRODUCTS
22. Boycott plastic toothbrushes and brush with bamboo instead!
In addition to having an organic antimicrobial handle, Brush With Bamboo’s toothbrush bristles are made with castor bean oil and are USDA Certified 100% Biobased.
This means they contain 0% Fossil Fuel AND can be composted, along with the handle and cardboard packaging, which isn’t made with any glue or tape either. They last just as long as any other toothbrush and don’t contribute to plastic pollution!
23. Replace plastic toothpaste tubes with recyclable alternatives like metal tubes of paste or glass jars of chewable tablets.
We’re pretty dedicated to David’s Natural Toothpaste, which cleans our teeth SO well and uses 98% USA MADE sulfate-free vegan ingredients (that actually taste good).
When we’re done with a tube, we just cut it open, clean off any excess paste and toss it into the recycling bin. Talk about zero waste toothpaste!
We’re eager to try tabs too, like Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Toothpaste Tablets.
While we’re on the topic of teeth…
24. Fare away from your average dental floss and find some that’s made of earth-friendly materials and wound in plastic-free packaging.
We’re thrilled with Terra & Co’s vegan floss made from anti-bacterial activated charcoal, bamboo fiber and coconut oil / candelia wax which removes buildup and whitens teeth at the same time!
As if that’s not enough, it’s made from minty essential oils that are anti-inflammatory and taste great AND it comes in recycled cardboard packaging too.
We’re proud to say we learned about all of these great oral care brands from our friend Jessie aka Tiny Yellow Bungalow, who sells all of these on her site!
25. Replace disposable razors with a Safety Razor or Epilator.
2 billion single-use plastic razors are thrown away each year… Help prevent some of the pollution with this perfect plastic-free alternative from Eco Roots.
Made of zinc and stainless steel, this double-sided safety razor not only performs well on normal (and even sensitive!) skin, but it will last for a SUPER long time with good care… all ya have to do is replace the stainless steel blades every so often.
OR opt for an Epilator that lasts for years and pulls the hair out (nope, not as painful as it sounds… promise!) Hair grows back softer and you won’t find yourself needing to use it more then once every 3-4 weeks.
26. Boycott plastic shaving cream bottles and aerosols… Soap bars are the BEST!
Not only does Eco Roots’ Organic Shaving Soap Bar leave your skin feeling silky smooth and helps reduce razor rash, but it’s USDA Organic, vegan and USA MADE with organic coconut oil avocado oil citrus essential oils and lavender – SO soothing!
As if that’s not enough, both of these items come in zero waste packaging that can be composted or recycled.
27. Peace out single-use plastic beauty products – we’re getting glass, metal and compostable cardboard containers.
We LOVE high quality, cruelty free, toxin-free, vegan natural beauty products from companies like Dirty Hippie Cosmetics (makeup: mascara, eyeshadow, concealer, blush, etc.), and Mad Hippie (skincare products).
28. Ditch your plastic deodorant tubes for recyclable glass or metal jars and compostable cardboard push-ups.
29. Take care of your hair with biodegradable hair ties and a bamboo brush.
Terra Ties hair ties are made of organic cotton and natural rubber material that is odorless, long lasting, and can easily break down when put in the compost.
The average hair brush consists of a plastic handle, a plastic cushion base, and plastic pins, BUT this Wood Hairbrush has a bamboo handle with beeswax finish, and a natural rubber base. The bamboo pins give a gentle massage to the scalp while brushing without causing static.
Bamboo is biodegradable, naturally antimicrobial, and one of the most sustainable resources on Earth. Natural Rubber is derived from the sap of rubber trees and is a plant based ecological material. (Thanks again, Tiny Yellow Bungalow!)
30. Boys, this one’s for you and your quarantine beards!
Tell your plastic grooming products to get lost… Chicago’s very own Soap Distillery has the BEST beard-oil that smells like your favorite after-dinner cocktail and is presented in a beautiful glass container too! (Our personal fave? Bourbon Body Oil!)
And last, but definitely not least, the easiest plastic-free swap…
31. Invest in good ‘ole fashion bar soap instead of using plastic pumps or bottles.
Soap Distillery strikes again with their high-end handmade boutique bar soaps that are palm-oil free, made with olive oil and smell like delicious cocktails and drinks. They’re dressed in recyclable cardboard boxes and soon-to-be compostable bags. Light up one of their unique Scented Candles while you’re at it too!
If you’re REALLY in love with your liquid options, re-fill your bottles with liquids (body soap, shampoo, conditioner, etc.) from places like The Unwaste Shop Refill Station.
Psst… It’s not too late to take your Plastic Free July Challenge pledge and discover even more ways to practice sustainability at home, work and on-the-go!
Be part of the solution with ME this summer (and ALL YEAR LONG) and don’t be afraid to SPEAK UP at the stores you shop at – let them know that you’d prefer to shop with NO PLASTIC, PLEASE!
LET ME KNOW:
HOW ARE YOU PRACTICING A PLASTIC-FREE LIFESTYLE?
Please share your own thoughts with us – let’s get a conversation started in the comments below!