Things That Matter

21 Tips To Go Plastic Free This Month

Plastic is poison for our planet and there’s no better proof than the piles and piles of garbage polluting our oceans and landfills across the globe. While no one person can possibly save the planet from plastic in one day, we can all do our part to help protect the planet from the poisonous plastic that takes so long to degrade. Making the switch to biodegradable, using plastic-free products and reusing everything are small changes you can make to protect the planet from the damaging effects of plastic. Here are 21 ways to go plastic-free this month.

1. Use Canvas Bags Instead of Plastic Bags.

Instagram – Credit: @shop.canvasco

Use canvas totes instead of plastic bags. This Instagram user keeps a few tote bags in her car and uses them for nearly everything. They’re a great alternative to plastic bags and you can use them over and over again.

2. Get a Bamboo Toothbrush.

Instagram – Credit: @queen_bunny_kat

Instead of getting yet another plastic toothbrush, order yourself a bamboo toothbrush, which can help cut down on plastic use and waste.

3. Buy Milk in a Glass Bottle

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Twitter – Credit: @alexiskeech

Most milk comes in those one-gallon plastic containers and the waste from those containers is wreaking havoc on our planet, which is why making the switch to glass milk bottles is recommended. You can’t go wrong when you’re saving the Earth!

4. Swap Out Your Body Spray.

Twitter – Credit: @littleplasticf1

Tons of body spray cans are made with plastic on the tops. To go completely plastic-free, try switching your body spray to an eco-friendly brand you can be proud of.

5. Bamboo Your Cotton Swabs.

Instagram – Credit: @ecologic_living

Cotton swabs can take forever to degrade naturally, which is why it’s best to ditch the ones with plastic handles and hop on the bamboo bandwagon. Bamboo cotton swabs are much more biodegradable than plastic ones.

6. Shop at Plastic-Free Shops.

Twitter – Credit: @wastenotlife

A number of plastic-free stores and pop-up shops have begun appearing across the country. Do your part by shopping at stores committed to ending plastic consumption. Every dollar you spend is a vote for or against plastic.

7. Use Refillable Water Bottles and Filling Stations.

Instagram – Credit: @myflowater

Plastic water bottles are crippling the planet and this could be a potential solution to the problem. Bring your own water bottle and fill it up at a Flo Water filling station. This helps cut down on plastic tremendously. My Flo Water has taken great strides to help people eliminate plastic bottle waste.

8. Keep on Sippin’…Through the Same Straw.

Instagram – Credit: @sipsea

Plastic straws are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. Consider reusable straws instead of plastic straws. Bring one with you whenever you go out to eat and inform the staff that you won’t be needing a plastic straw.

9. Replace the Blades on Your Razor.

Twitter – Credit: @gingerheadesign

Instead of using single-use, disposable razors, opt instead for a reusable razor that allows you to change the blades instead of throwing the whole thing away. Disposable razors are made of mostly plastic and they’re only hurting the environment.

10. Get Pretty Without Plastic.

Twitter – Credit: @FHCCosmetics

Cosmetics companies are notorious for using tons of plastic in their packaging. From the plastic tubes used for mascara to the plastic used to contain the concealer – and don’t forget the additional plastic used to prevent tampering. You’ve got a full-on plastic-palooza. Ditch those companies for one that cares about the environment.

11. Use a Bamboo Dish Brush.

Instagram – Credit: enricheducatebloom

Washing the dishes doesn’t have to involve grabbing a traditional dish wand (made mostly of plastic) or a sponge made with plastic materials. Get yourself a bamboo dish cleaning brush. Your planet will thank you.

12. Get a Bar of Shampoo.

Twitter – Credit: @TweetTheCoach

You read that right – a bar of shampoo. A bar (as opposed to a bottle) of shampoo helps cut down on plastic by avoiding it in the packaging. It may sound silly at first, but it’s actually a small step in helping to save the environment.

13. Get a Tin of Shaving Soap.

Instagram – Credit: thesoapartisan

Shaving cream containers often contain plastic lids that only contribute to the plastic pollution problem. The next time you find yourself shopping for shaving cream, consider switching to a plastic-free brand like the one mentioned here, which uses tins instead of aluminum cans and plastic lids.

14. Invest in a Reusable Coffee Cup.

Twitter – Credit: @Starbucks

Coffee lids are one of the top offenders when it comes to plastic pollution. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, grab yourself a reusable coffee cup and either make your coffee at home or bring your cup with you when you go out to get coffee. You’ll help eliminate unnecessary waste from all those pesky coffee lids. You can also choose a coffee place with biodegradable lids (if one exists in your area).

15. Get a Plastic Lunch Pail.

Instagram – Credit: bhawana.bags 

A tin lunch pail is not only reusable but when it comes time to throw it away, you’ll have peace of mind knowing it won’t be polluting the planet for hundreds of years before finally decomposing.

16. Don’t use plastic wrapped toilet paper.

Credit: Instagram @ rubyst

Who Gives A Crap is an awesome choice to switch that plastic-wrapped toilet paper to paper-wrapped rolls. Besides, 50% of their profit goes towards building toilets!

17. Get Your Gum Sans Plastic.

Instagram – Credit: almaeko_

That’s right. Most chewing gum on the market contains plastic. When you pick up your favorite brand of gum, you’re likely chewing on plastic, among other ingredients. Probably where the idea that gum takes seven years to digest comes from. Finding a plastic alternative like the one above can be accomplished with a quick Google or social media search.

18. Go to Plastic-Free Farmer’s Markets.

Instagram – Credit: @kelloggarden

Instead of a trip to the grocery store where plastic bags run rampant, head to your local farmer’s market instead. Farmer’s markets typically provide you with bags or containers to carry your purchases, but many are doing away with plastic containers altogether and going completely plastic free. Find one in your area and stock up on fresh fruits and veggies and put plastic in the past.

19. Use Compost Food Bags.

Twitter – Credit: @@MaisticBioGroup 

Maistic Bio Group sells compostable food bags and a full range of other products designed to help eliminate plastic waste. This includes kitchen cleaning tools like the bio scrubber and a hemp scrubber.

20. Sip Your Tea Plastic Free.

Instagram – Credit: @leafico 

Tea bags are traditionally made with food-grade plastic (which – alarmingly – not a lot of people know). So if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative, try tea bags made from bananas or other biodegradable materials. Because who really wants to dunk a plastic bag in their tea?

21. Grab a box of Plastic-Free Feminine Products.

Instagram – Credit: @plasticfreemillenial

Feminine hygiene products are made with plastic in the product as well as the packaging. Not only are traditional feminine products made with plastic, but they’re also loaded with chemicals that aren’t great for your body. Think about making the switch to an eco-friendly feminine product brand. NatraCare offers plastic-free liners as well as plastic-free packaging. Win-win.

You might have believed plastic is so ingrained in our lives that we can’t possibly continue modern life without it. But actually, plastic is a detriment to the survival of the planet. We all need to do our part to eliminate plastic waste and protect the environment. Hopefully, you’ve learned some things that can help you make the transition to living a plastic-free life. One step at a time is all it takes.

This ULTA Employee Showed How Returned Products Are Handled And The Whole Thing Is Truly Eye-Opening

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This ULTA Employee Showed How Returned Products Are Handled And The Whole Thing Is Truly Eye-Opening

@biancaann5

No judgment but let’s be real. We’ve all been in the scenario where we’ve let loose at a makeup counter. You know, gone a little overboard with shopping, regretted a few purchases and then decided to take them back. Most stores like ULTA, Sephora, and Nordstrom have pretty great return policies when it comes to buyer’s remorse and so it never seems like too big of a deal when we show up the next day or even a few weeks later with our receipts and the items we no longer want.

But recently, an employee from ULTA revealed what happens after you’ve walked away from the return counter at a beauty supply store. And TBH it ain’t pretty.

Bianca Ann Levinson, who posts under @biancaann5 on TikTok, went viral after revealing how ULTA handles returns.

In the video posted to her TikTok, Levinson shows herself “damaging out” products of palettes and concealer tubes and dumping them into the trash. “This is what we have to do so that people don’t dumpster dive and steal it,” Bianca says in the video.

According to Levinson, her decision to post how the company handles returns wasn’t. mean to shame the company but shed light on returns to buyers.  “I don’t want people to come for Ulta and stop going at all. I want people to know that stores like Sephora, Bath and Body Works, Target, Walmart and many others all have to do the same, too,” Levinson explained to Buzzfeed in an interview.

At first glance, the process of damaging out is clearly extremely wasteful but it all chalks up to hygiene and scams.

As Levine points out in another TikTok, damaging out is done in the name of avoiding cross-contamination. Particularly in this time of the coronavirus pandemic. What’s more, Levine says the practice is done to avoid having dumpster divers try to sell products they find in the trash online. “If someone sells product out of the trash, it opens up the chance of someone getting sick or an infection and possibly suing Ulta,” Levine explained to Buzzfeed. “We can’t donate for the same reason. Most brands don’t allow it either. Ulta cares a lot about their customers and wants to do their best to keep them safe.”

“I wanted people to realize that when they return things, it’s not always put back on the shelf. They should reconsider before returning items they purchased. I understand some people have to return things, but if it’s not necessary, then I don’t believe they should return it,” she continued

Levine’s video has already accumulated over three million views. Clearly she’s taught us all a lesson. Hopefully, everyone does the right thing and puts the new lesson it into practice.

With Humans Indoors Because Of The Pandemic, Animals Are Going Wild Around The Globe

Things That Matter

With Humans Indoors Because Of The Pandemic, Animals Are Going Wild Around The Globe

Amruta Bale / Flickr

As many of us struggle with the new reality of staying indoors to stay safe, the Earth seems to be enjoying this new found human-free existence. Most of us are connecting with friends and family online; those of us lucky enough to work from home aren’t stuck in traffic anymore; and often overcrowded tourist destinations are free from crowds.

These empty streets, parks, and beaches have resulted in decreased air pollution around the world and animals are returning to habitats they abandoned long ago. Despite the ongoing health crisis and uncertainty we all face, the idea that the Earth is getting a chance to heal itself a bit during all this craziness is a small sliver of hope.

Air pollution is down by record numbers across the globe.

The Coronavirus pandemic has had a major impact on the global environment. Satellite images from regions across the world show a dramatic decrease in pollution. For the first time in more than 30 years, towns and villages across India have a panoramic view of the Himalaya Mountains.

The last time that cities in the state of Punjab, like Jalandhar, saw the Himalayan Mountains was about 30 years ago.

National Public Radio (NPR) reported that the concentration of fine particulate matter in the air had dramatically dropped since Modi first imposed the countrywide lockdown in March. The Air Quality Index fell as low as 45 late in the month, when a normal value in late March is around 160. India’s central pollution control board reported that a total of 85 cities in India showed improvement just one week after the lockdown.

In China, lockdowns and other measures resulted in a 25 percent reduction in carbon emissions, which one Earth systems scientist estimated may have saved at least 77,000 lives over two months.

Even LA, a city notorious for air pollution, has benefited from the state’s stay-at-home order.

Credit: Reddit / KnowNothingWiseGuy

The mental image many people have of the Los Angeles skyline is one obscured by smog, with thick air pollution hanging over its downtown buildings. But with the city – and the entire state of California – under stay-at-home orders to stem the deadly outbreak of coronavirus, something dramatic has happened to the air in LA.

On Tuesday, LA saw some of the cleanest air of any major city in the world, according to IQAir, a Swiss air quality technology company which also monitors pollution levels in cities around the globe. And beginning in early March of this year, EPA air quality data shows that the city of Angels experienced its longest stretch of “good” air quality since at least 1995.

Meanwhile, wild animals are starting to take advantage of the lack of humans overcrowding their habitats.

Mexico’s Oaxacan coastline is home to La Ventanilla Beach, a popular tourist spot. The ecotourism destination is home to a lagoon in which the crocodiles normally spend most of their time, avoiding visitors who come from nearby Mazunte, Zipolite, Puerto Escondido and other destinations to snap photos of them from tour boats.

But when the tourists are away, the crocs will play, and a photo of five large reptiles enjoying the otherwise empty beach made the rounds on social media.

Mexico’s federal government closed all beaches in early April to prevent people from gathering in groups and further spreading the coronavirus. Since then there have been a number of observations of wildlife reclaiming spaces they previously avoided due to human presence.

There have also been reports of jaguars and leatherback sea turtles re-entering spaces in Cancún from which human activity had kept them away for decades.

Videos have captured the animals in Quintana Roo, where the popular resorts of Cancun and Riviera Maya are located. One video, which has been watched 120,000 times on Facebook, shows a huge crocodile swimming along a canal between balconies. The people filming express their shock at the animal as he swims past without stopping for the people watching him.

Another video captured a jaguar roaming the streets of Tulum. According to local media, the big cat was spotted near the Grand Sirenis Riviera Maya Resort & Spa.

A leatherback sea turtle was even caught laying 112 eggs on the beach in front of a luxury hotel in Cancun. Alfredo Arellano, secretary of ecology and environment of the state of Quintana Roo, said the turtle sighting was “very unusual”.

He explained: “On an average, we only have one leatherback turtle nesting per year in the entire state and the nesting season doesn’t start until May.”

Meanwhile, in California, wild animals are being seen in record numbers across the state’s national parks.

According to SFGate, an employee from Yosemite National Park claims that since the park closed to the public in late March, the sightings of large animals including bears, bobcats, and coyotes have gone up fourfold. 

“It’s not like [bears] aren’t usually here,” Yosemite employee Dane Peterson tells SFGate, “it’s that they usually hang back at the edges, or move in the shadows.”

Meanwhile, in the UK, the Washington Post reports that a tribe of goats overtook the streets of Wales. Video taken by resident Andrew Stuart shows the animals nonchalantly roaming the empty streets and helping themselves to a meal of hedges and flower gardens.