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Throughout this first half of the year, I've been steadily working on things like sustainable clothing, non-toxic products, stopping mindless consumerism, not using plastic, zero waste, and more.  But I don't do any of things perfectly - it's hard to stop habits we've had for so long!  In honor of our Plastic Free July campaign, today Steph and I are talking about the things that we still struggle with in this regard and open the comments to all your suggestions. I consider all of these things works in progress, some more than others.  Here's a couple of things I've found tougher lately, maybe you have some ideas:


Nail Polish.  Nail polish is not zero waste.  They have a lot of really great option now in terms of being clean (they make versions that are safe for kids to lick or bite off their fingers, for crying out loud), but they still produce waste in quite a few ways - the bottle, the caps and brushes, the removal process, the fact that it ends up in waterways, etc.  So I struggle with polish.  This seems so ridiculous because logically I know I can go without it, it's just that I've learned I take better care of my nails/hands if my nails are painted.  Buffing my nails has definitely worked for me, and cut down on the amount of times I paint my nails in a month.  I'm still painting them though, particularly for events.  But any tips would be appreciated, if you have any oils or buffers, anything reusable and natural that you recommend for nail care.  I'm all ears.

SPF.  SPF that's clean and cruelty-free and not in plastic is just impossible.  I've actually found a lot of SPF that cruelty-free, and finding cleaner options isn't that difficult.  But the whole plastic thing sure is.  Steph alerted me to the Coola drops that come in a glass bottle, so I will definitely be looking into those more.  If you have any other tips, let me know.  SPF is super important so if something on my wishlist has to give, it's going to be SPF in plastic.  Cruelty free is never negotiable in my world.

Bread and Pizza.  We don't buy bread that often, but when we do, we get it from the bakery and I have them put it in a cloth bag so it's not so bad, other than I haven't made the effort to make it myself.  Pizza is another story - John loves it and buys frozen pizza at the grocery all the time.  Which is in plastic.  And probably has lots of weird preservative ingredients.  Anyone have success making pizza and bread at home regularly?  I feel like pizza crust can't be that hard, and I really should make the effort.

Mascara.  Most of my makeup is in glass at this point, usually glass pots with metal lids.  But mascara is the main holdout.  I do mail my mascara wands to Appalachian Wildlife Refuge, but still, the plastic tubes are just waste.  Has anyone tried mascara that comes in a glass bottle, or even the 'cake' mascara that you wet before using?  I've heard such mixed reviews, so I would like to hear from someone who uses zero waste mascara successfully!

Eating Out/Take Out Waste.  They always include plastic in some way.  Straws, plastic cups for sauces, disposable forks.  And you have to specify no straw/plastic before they bring it to you, otherwise they have to throw it out if it already made it to your table.  Obviously the easiest way to avoid this is to eat at home, but that's just not always possible (see pizza above.)  In restaurant is easier than take out, but still.  If you have a mental trick to remember to tell them 'no plastic!' each and every time, please let me know.

Party Waste.  Actually this is something I don't struggle with anymore but I wanted to put it on the list in case you do - hosting or attending parties can cause a lot of waste in terms of paper plates and plastic cutlery and paper napkins.  I started just offering my guests the real stuff.  Real glass and real plates.  Just leave a bucket in the sink that makes it clear they can put dirty dishes there, it's no big deal.  It's harder at someone else's party, but I just started (a) bringing my own cutlery and water bottle and (b) asking for real plates if I need it and then washing it myself.  I still don't know that I would ask for one at a semi-stranger's house, but at family and friends?  I mostly just go grab myself a real plate at this point!  I always wash it though, so as not to add to their post party clean up.  We will be posting a very large Halloween party so I think it'll be interesting to see how that goes in terms of waste this year.  If you have any other thoughts about the waste that comes with party hosting, please let me know so I can be prepared.

Contacts.  My biggest waste producer for sure, since contacts themselves are plastic, the packs they come in are plastic, and the bottles of contact solution are plastic.  I have no way around this, other than to use the recycling program.  Not the best option but better than the landfill.  I could get LASIK at some point, but surgery comes with it's own set of waste and also I'm too big a wuss.

Medication.  Another one that can't be avoided - and never ever skip your medication to avoid plastic - but I'm adding it to the list to let you know that your pharmacy or local veterinarian will take the plastic bottles back so please let them reuse them!

So anything you have tips on, please share in the comments.  Also share if there's anything you particularly excel at or fail in, I always love getting new ideas and I might be able to help with anything you're struggling with.