Every time of the year provides different opportunities to lower your waste impact on the environment. In autumn, especially with the consumer-focused holidays arriving, the chances to implement alternatives skyrocket! One statistic even states that 5 billion pounds of waste are produced from November to January every year in return products. Here are a few ways to lower your environmental footprint this fall.
1. Dryer Balls
While I’d like to say this idea was original, it was inspired by something a customer said the other day. While purchasing a bag of Refillism’s wool dryer balls, she said the cold weather was causing more static. I think we all know the annoying crackle of staticky clothes, and dryer balls are a good non-plastic alternative to dryer sheets. One great thing about them is that you can just rewash them if they begin to get dirty!
2. Chapstick and Lotion
Again, with the colder weather, I’ve already noticed my hands and lips getting dry. In 2021, around 40 million tons of plastic waste was produced in the United States. There are many chap stick and lotion brands out there in plastic containers, and thankfully there are plenty more non-plastic alternatives to help avoid the extra waste! At Refillism, you can find two lip balms. One is Woodburne Naturals orange lip balm in an aluminum tin that also comes in a vanilla flavor. The other is the organic infused lip balm that comes in a cardboard tube. We also have many lotion options like our hemp lotion, which you can use to fill your own reusable bottles with in the store.
3. “BYOC,” Bring Your Own Cup (and silverware, and straw)
Did you know that Starbucks will put coffee in your reusable coffee cups? Make sure you know how many ounces your reusable cup holds before doing this – it’s a great way to reduce single-use plastic waste from your pumpkin frappe! It can be a bit nerve-wracking to offer your own cup at first, but the employees will know what to do! Refillism has a cup made entirely from wheat straw. We also have bamboo utensil travel sets you can bring when eating out, reusable straws to use, and bento boxes that would serve well as reusable to-go containers for leftovers.
4. Track your plastic
With holiday parties and family gatherings just around the corner, it may seem overwhelming and unavoidable to create plastic waste. I feel this way too, and sometimes, buying the pre-made cheese platter or the party cups is something you must do to keep yourself sane. However, if you are wanting to reduce waste this season, a great way to start is to track your plastic waste and see where most of it is coming from. My Plastic Diary is an app that helps you do this, so that in the future, you can try to find more holiday plastic alternatives. Maybe you can thrift Halloween décor, or ask friends to help wash dishes after the party instead of buying single-use dishes.
5. Rethink Black Friday
In our consumer-driven culture, it can be very tempting to run out to the stores on Black Friday and take advantage of sales. Before you go out, remind yourself that just because something is on sale, it doesn’t mean you should buy it! Go out and shop for holiday gifts, or things you’ve been needing, but buying less will always benefit the planet more. Even better, wait for Small Business Saturday to make your purchases locally. If you do go out on Black Friday, be aware of what company you’re buying from, what ethics they hold concerning living wage and the environment and consider whether you could get a better deal at a consignment store or on Facebook Marketplace.
App: My Plastic Diary https://www.myplasticdiary.co.uk/
Nick, S. (2021) The real cost of Black Friday: The consequences of our problem with stuff. Frontier Group. https://frontiergroup.org/articles/real-cost-black-friday-consequences-our-problem-stuff/#:~:text=Every%20year%2C%20more%20than%205,on%20shelves%20to%20be%20resold.
Starbucks (2021) Starbucks brings back personal reusable cups to Starbucks cafes in the U.S. Starbucks Stories & News. https://stories.starbucks.com/stories/2021/starbucks-brings-back-personal-reusable-cups-to-starbucks-cafes-in-the-us/
Tiseo, I. (2022) Plastic waste in the United States - statistics & facts. Statista. https://www.statista.com/topics/5127/plastic-waste-in-the-united-states/#topicHeader__wrapper