There are five reusable products that can really help to reduce waste and create a more planet friendly lifestyle.
- Reusable coffee cup: Disposable paper cups affect the environment negatively. Besides creating a steady supply of waste, disposable cups also demand a large consumption of natural resources and emit high levels of climate-changing green house gases. Because so many disposable paper cups are used throughout the world, the actual environmental affect can be staggering.
Considering that most reusable mugs are designed to be used for 3000 uses, the positive environmental impact of reusables can be enormous.
Stainless steel or ceramic mugs do not leach harmful chemicals into hot beverages.
- Sturdy food storage containers: Reusable containers can be used for left-over food storage or for waste-free lunches or for avoiding disposable to-go containers with take-out foods. Any container will do and there are many choices to fit everyone’s lifestyle. Product choices range from stackable stainless steel tiffins to Silibagz. Avoid any plastic containers with a #3 (PVC) or #6 (polystyrene) as these are toxic plastics.
School lunches are a major source of waste in Ontario – the average student’s lunch generates a total of 30 kilograms of waste per school year, or an average of 8500 kilograms (18,700 lbs) of waste per school per year.
- Reusable shopping bag: Best choice of bag is a cotton or nylon bag that can be recycled in textile recycling at the end of life.
According to research conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, somewhere between five hundred billion and one trillion disposable bags are used each year around the world. Plastic bags, while only used for an average of about twelve minutes, and when not recycled remain in landfills, oceans, and other places for thousands of years.
- Reusable water bottle: Fill your own bottles with tap water to easily avoid loads of unnecessary waste. Stainless steel bottles are the best as they don’t leach. If you’re going for a lightweight plastic, make sure it’s a “safe” plastic (#1, #2, #4 or #5) free of the hormone-disrupting chemical Bisphenol A (BPA). Be wary of aluminum bottles as their linings can leach and may contain BPA unless otherwise labeled.
Single-use water bottles are often not recycled properly and are discarded as litter .Over 37,000 plastic beverage bottles were picked up in the 2015 Great Shoreline Clean-up.
- Durable Utensils and Reusable napkins: Avoid disposable by having a pair of reusable utensils in your bag or glove compartment.
Use cloth napkins; it is estimated that 17 trees are cut down for every ton of non-recycled paper
These are useful staples for a Zero Waste lifestyle. Experience tells us that as you get used to incorporating these products into your routine, it is an easy habit to maintain.