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25 Easy zero-waste switches you can make this Earth Day

Photo by Protea Zero Waste Store via Yelp

Originally from Houston, Texas, Lori Mallini grew up near the largest petrochemical hub in the country where the beginning stages of plastic production occur. The communities within miles of her home continue to be severely impacted by the effects of this process.⁠

Lori now lives across the country in Kailua, Hawaii, where beaches and wildlife are severely impacted by the end life of plastic. After graduating with a degree in Environmental Studies from Hawaii Pacific University, this environmentalist and policy advocate spends her time in Hawaii advocating at the state legislature and city council on bills for waste management, plastic reduction and recycling. While change at the top is important, Lori realized that it’s equally important to make positive change at the community level, which is why she decided to open Protea Zero Waste Store.⁠

Ask Lori and she’ll tell you that:

“Protea was created as a response to the world’s plastic, pollution, and waste epidemic. The current form of consumption is no longer sustainable, and change needs to happen. Our mission (at Protea Zero Waste Store) is to invite people to do their part in taking care of our Earth through a zero-waste lifestyle.⁠

By the year 2050, there will be more plastic in our oceans than fish. It’s therefore vitally important to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our daily lives and find more sustainable alternatives. By reducing one’s waste through eliminating single-use plastics, buying in bulk, refilling, and choosing natural products, we can lessen the negative environmental impacts associated with our consumption.”

We’re looking forward to making changes in honor of Earth Day. Earth Day is celebrated annually around the world on April 22nd to demonstrate support for environmental protection. To intentionally live a lower-waste lifestyle takes some extra effort and a little more of our time however, there is almost no area of your life that you can’t make a switch in! 

To get ready for Earth Day 2021 we put together a beginner’s guide to living zero-waste. We spoke to the owner, founder, and CEO of five-star rated Protea Zero Waste Store, Lori Mallini, for easy switches you can make to live more sustainably. We’ve broken up these switches into categories: kitchen, bathroom, cleaning, on-the-go, and miscellaneous. Here are Lori’s top suggestions for personal change you can make: 

In the kitchen:

  1. Paper napkin or tissue reusable fabric napkin
  2. Plastic dish brush reusable wooden dish brush
  3. Plastic storage bag reusable silicone bag
  4. Plastic saran wrap beeswax wraps
  5. Traditional plastic bottle dish soap dish soap block

In the bathroom:

  1. Shampoo and conditioner plastic bottle shampoo and conditioner bar
  2. Plastic disposable razor safety razor
  3. Plastic toothbrush bamboo toothbrush
  4. Cotton facial round reusable facial round
  5. Plastic loofah natural loofah

In your cleaning routine:

  1. Cleaning product in plastic bottle DIY glass spray bottle
  2. Single-use dryer sheet reusable dryer ball
  3. Laundry detergent plastic bottle laundry detergent sheets
  4. Stain remover in plastic bottle laundry or fabric stain stick
  5. Paper towels cut up rags
Photo by Protea Zero Waste Store via Yelp

On-the-go:

  1. Single-use plastic water bottle reusable water bottle
  2. Single-use plastic bag reusable bag
  3. Single-use plastic utensil reusable bamboo utensil
  4. Styrofoam container for leftover food metal tiffin or bring your own reusable container
  5. Single-use plastic coffee cup BYO (bring your own) coffee cup

Miscellaneous:

  1. New clothes clothing swaps or shop second-hand
  2. Throw out broken items fix or repair items
  3. Throw leftover food scraps in trash compost
  4. Plastic pet toy pet toy made of natural material
  5. Plastic pet poop bag compostable poop bag

Lori encourages everyone to remember that:

“Zero-waste is all about the journey and not getting overwhelmed by the final destination. Zero-waste is making better, conscious decisions in favor of ourselves and the planet. Making and breaking habits takes time. We are all human just trying to be the best versions of ourselves. Be patient and kind with yourself and others. This movement is all about positivity and uplifting each other into making this all possible!”