People across the country are following recommendations to shelter-in-place and slow the spread of COVID-19 and we are all finding ourselves spending an unprecedented amount of time at home. You might notice things about your home that you didn’t before (were you always going through so many plastic soap bottles?) and may feel inspired to use this time to make meaningful changes and build better practices and habits. Why not start with a healthy home?
Everyone is impacted differently by this and we encourage everyone to find what works best for them to get through these trying times, but if you are looking for ways to make your home more “ocean friendly”, check out our room by room guide below. With current shelter-in-place orders, try to limit your outings to essential trips only. Many items can be found in common stores so make a list to get all your supplies in as few trips as possible.
First things first – perform a plastic audit! You have to know how much plastic is used in your home in order to make changes. If your whole home feels overwhelming, try starting with one room. Find all of the items in that room that are packaged in or contain plastic. The numbers might shock you! Becoming aware of just how much plastic is in your home is the first step to making smart swaps and creating an ocean friendly home.
- The Kitchen
- Buy a refillable glass bottle and visit a refill shop near you to stock up on dish soap. Many places offer scent customizations so pick one that you love. If you’re staying home, reach out and see if shipping or curbside pick up is available. COVID-19 Note: many stores are closed right now but may still offer online sales so you can have your favorite zero-waste products shipped directly to you.
- If you have a dishwasher, try tablets like these next time you need to re-up on detergent. They’re 100% plastic free, shipped in paper and you can get them online.
- Ditch single-use zip bags and try Stasher Bags. These bags are made with food grade silicone and zip closed to prevent leaks or spills. They come in a variety of sizes so you can find one to fit all of your needs.
- Swap your plastic tupperware for glass or stainless steel. These materials are durable and can easily reheat leftovers without worrying about chemicals leaching into your food.
- Instead of buying new bottles of spray cleaners each time, consider a more sustainable alternative, like this one. They provide glass spray bottles and tablets of concentrated cleaners. Just add water and voila! When you run out, simply buy a new tablet and keep cleaning. COVID-19 Note: natural cleaners are not effective against the virus. Try the CDC’s recommended DIY cleaner in a glass bottle to limit your plastic use while still providing effective viral protection.
2. The Bathroom
- Similar to dish soap, you can visit your local refill shop and fill up your glass bottle with hand or body soap. If there isn’t a refill shop, you can always buy in bulk to reduce the overall amount of plastic packaging used. Or, switch to bar soap! There are so many great options at grocery stores or from local artisans. Find yourself a cute soap dish and you’re all set! COVID-19 Note: many stores are closed right now but still offer online sales so you can have your favorite zero-waste products shipped directly to you.
- Making some changes to your oral health routine can have a big impact. Consider trying toothpaste tablets or mouthwash tablets. These innovative products get rid of wasteful plastic tubes and bottles and put all the benefits in a small tablet. Swap traditional floss for silk floss in a glass tube or pick up a bamboo toothbrush to completely eliminate plastic from your oral health routine.
- Ditch the toilet cleaner bottle and start using toilet bombs. You can get crafty and easily make your own or buy some online. Simply drop them in the toilet, let them fizz and the job is done. These can be used in your tub or sink as well, eliminating even more plastic cleaner bottles.
- Swap traditional shampoo and conditioner for solid bars. Love Beauty and Planet makes some great options for a 2-in-1 or plain ol’ shampoo. They also come in 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard boxes, so you can enjoy plastic-free hair care.
3. Around the House
- Freshen your space without plastics by getting an essential oil diffuser. You can get rid of plastic plugins or spray bottles and customize the scents to your liking. There are diffusers at every price point so find your favorite one and get started.
- Switch up your laundry routine to be more ocean friendly. Ditch dryer sheets and try reusable wool dryer balls or DIY dryer sheets and your favorite essential oil. Consider purchasing a laundry bag that will prevent microfibers from ending up in our waterways.
- Lower your energy use by turning off lights and appliances. Do an audit of your home’s energy efficiency. If possible, add solar panels or purchase renewable energy from your provider.
4. The Great Outdoors
- Take these simple steps to practice Ocean Friendly Gardening principles, or do a full yard transformation to install an Ocean Friendly Garden. You can abide by social distancing rules and still get in some sunshine by working in your yard.
- Start a compost bin! You can purchase one or follow this blog on how to make your own worm bin. The best part about the worm bins? Not only do they divert food waste, prevent greenhouse gas emissions, and give your plants a natural boost – they can even be stored inside.
During these trying times, it can be challenging to remain positive. By making some of these changes, you can feel good about making a difference and bringing positive change to your day-to-day life. Start wherever you feel comfortable and enjoy making your home ocean friendly!