As an American it is rather difficult at times to live a sustainable lifestyle. In order to live a more plastic-free lifestyle, things off the top of my head that I am willing to change are personal care containers such as soap and toothpaste. If I was also able to find compostable versions of cups or utensils then I would not feel as guilty when tossing them in the trash, knowing at least even if they end up in a landfill that they will just break down into the soil.
After reading Beth Terry’s book: Plastic-Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too, I made a chart of plastic based items that I found and mostly used that could be replaced by sustainable/non-plastic options. However before going over what I could replace there are some items that cannot be replaced, such as plastic shells for objects such as keyboards and laptops. Plastic in these items is just too necessary, for it provides a strong option for protection alongside it is cheap so it keeps the prices of our electronics down. Regarding the items I found that I could replace is chewable toothpaste, boxed water, compostable cups, and powdered detergent.
Now given my current circumstances with what is available to me, and how much money I have available to me I am not able to purchase any of the items I have listed, however I have used many of them before and I can provide the exact same insight as if I was currently using them. In this case I have decided to focus on the chewable toothpaste and boxed water, as they are two of the items that I have personally used before.
Boxed Water is a weird concept surprisingly, but yet it makes a lot of sense at the same time. When we were in elementary school we were often fed milk in cartons which is not that different from having water in a box. When I used this item in the past the taste of the water was not off, for it just tasted like any other spring water I would get such as Evian or Fiji. However it was satisfying to know that I can just toss this box in my recycling like any other item, but I knew there was absolutely no chance that the plastic contained some wild card item that would not allow it to be recycled. Overall I enjoyed the item, and occasionally find myself buying it alongside the other waters I get, for if you want a sustainable water get Boxed Water.
Bite is a brand that produces toothpaste bites that use absolutely zero plastic within them. I found these items very unique because not only does it not use any plastic it also is zero waste, for you are ensured that you will use 100% of the toothpaste that you have, rather than leaving some within the tube. When I used these items I found them very interesting and odd to be chewing on an item that cleans my teeth. I almost felt like a dog chewing on a dental bone! However I quickly got used to the aspect of chewing on my toothpaste, but after it was gone I did not continue to use the item. I liked the toothpaste bites, but they were rather pricey with a one month supply costing $12, and for me I could just go to the store and buy a tube of toothpaste that will last a month or two for $4.
In the end I did end up using some of the items I found in more plastic-free options. My advice for others contemplating such a switch is to give it a try. Do some research to find an alternative that suits you best, and if you end up not liking it don’t feel guilty as it’s not for everyone. However the one important thing to remember is don’t overspend; don’t make yourself bankrupt trying to become plastic-free.