Words by Camille Ong
A few years ago, when I first became aware of the impact we have as people on the environment, I tried my best to live a zero-waste lifestyle. I stopped buying drinks in plastic bottles, avoided using straws, vowed that I would only buy clothes from thrift stores, and tried to make my friends and family do the same. I even considered shifting to an Environmental Science course because I hoped it would give me more opportunities to save the environment (too bad I suck at science).
Then I realized no matter how much I annoy the people around me to at least try to live a zero-waste lifestyle, it wouldn’t be enough. No matter how many times I refuse the straw or decide to not buy a plastic-bottled drink, I still buy shampoo in bottles and the occasional fruit or vegetable wrapped in plastic. The options that are conveniently available to us are packaged in plastic or are made in such a way that is harmful to the environment.
In this day and age, we really have to go out of our way to live a zero-waste lifestyle. However, if we have the means to do what we can, there are some options out there. I’m so happy that environmentally-friendly brands are popping up
Having more sustainable options really help. If you’re looking to change your lifestyle for the betterment of the environment, here are some products to get you started.
ALSO READ: This Twitter Thread Can Help You Start A Zero Waste Lifestyle
A lot of our toiletries come in plastic containers, which are slow to biodegrade. We use these products on a daily basis so imagine the amount of trash we produce in our lifetime. For shampoo, we could opt to choose shampoo bars.
Shampoos usually come in plastic bottles but if it’s a bar, then we don’t need that nonbiodegradable container! Ecobar’s shampoo bars also give you options depending on what you need for your hair.
Soaps don’t really come in plastic containers (unless it’s a shower gel) but sometimes they contain palm oil, which is related to issues like deforestation, climate change, animal cruelty, and indigenous rights abuses. Because of this, the Weekend Kids avoid using this ingredient in their soaps. They only believe in production that is non-toxic to plant and marine life. Catch them at bazaars soon!
Credit: @Weekend Kids
The Toothbrushes we buy from grocery stores are made of plastic so if we don’t recycle them, they just add to our world’s waste. Bamboo, on the other hand, is biodegradable and highly renewable, making it an environmentally-friendly choice. Rraw offers affordable toothbrushes that come in different colors. The bristles aren’t biodegradable yet but we can pluck them out and store them in ecobricks.
We sometimes use plastic utensils when we’re eating out so it’s good to always bring your own with you! We could bring utensils from our home or this beautiful cutlery set made out of bamboo from Island Happy. This pack also has a metal straw, a straw cleaner, beeswax wrap (to wrap your food in), and a bamboo knife.
Commuting is a good option if you want to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you can safely navigate with a bike, that’s awesome too. Since I’ve been mentioning bamboo products, Bambike is a “socio-ecological enterprise based in the Philippines that hand-makes bamboo bikes”. They also use manufacturing techniques that are environmentally-friendly.
Fast fashion is known to have a negative impact on the environment. It contributes to water pollution and textile waste. Good thing there are a lot of ukay-ukays in our country. Just because it’s secondhand doesn’t mean it’s not fashionable. But if you want secondhand, fashionable clothes without having to go look from store to store, check out Sustainably Styled. They sell preloved clothes on Instagram and part of their proceeds go to Ruhama, a center for abused women.
Credit: @Sustainably Styled ??
Grocery stores are known to use plastics when they wrap certain products. Even if you bring an eco bag for your stuff, the products you buy will probably still be contained in plastic. If you need to stock up on essentials but don’t want the packaging that usually comes with it, head on over to Ritual! But don’t forget to bring your own reusable bags and containers.
ALSO READ: Eco Hotels PH Just Launched Their Zero-Waste Store!
For your pets
You didn’t think I forgot about our pets, did you? They are, after all, part of our daily life. Alpas sells products for our pets that were made with post-consumer materials to minimize their impact on the environment. They also seek to empower and provide livelihood with their partner community in Smokey Mountain. They sell toys, collars, treats, and even paw wax for the adventurous pets out there!
If you find yourself wanting to do more aside from changing your lifestyle for the better of the environment, you can volunteer to help organizations with goals that coincide with your advocacies. Organizations like: Greenpeace Philippines, Save Philippine Seas, Philippine Biodiversity Conservation Foundation, Waves for Water, and many more. Hopefully, we can make a lasting change!