Tips to be more plastic free while WFH this winter

work from home plastic free and with dog

Winter can be a challenging time for anyone. The colder it becomes, the more we tend to stay indoors which puts pressure on the environment –often in unconscious ways.

As the temps drop below freezing and remote work continues to be a “norm”, people now find themselves at home way more than they would be (or would like to be) otherwise. The stay-at-home mandate from 2020 created new habits – from ordering take out, to multiple cups of coffee to having basic household items delivered.

However, these habits often contribute to the further use of single-use plastic. Let’s fix that!

Here are some tips from No Kill to survive the winter and decrease your use of plastic simultaneously.

Plastic-free takeaway

Not-so-fun fact: approximately 60% of all plastics produced worldwide are used for food packaging. So ordering your lunch “in” inevitably increases plastic consumption. Yes, that’s a direct pipeline from your convenience to the landfill.

To get started, begin by researching local restaurants. Find ones that use compostable packaging instead of plastic or have a returns program.

Just Salad is a restaurant with locations along the east coast (and randomly, Dubai!) that does both! They provide compostable salad bowls when you order take-out. They also feature the BringBack Bowl program at select locations, which operates on returning a reusable bowl when you buy the option at check out. And with any order be sure to say no! to condiment packs and plasticware.

And while pizza may not be the healthiest option it’s still delivered in cardboard. We wouldn’t recommend recycling if it’s cheesy and oily but it will biodegrade which is more than we can say for plastic.

Coffee Time

a french press is a great way to have coffee at home

When working from home, it can be hard to stay focused, and you may find yourself enjoying one, two, or maybe three cups of coffee to keep on top of your to-do list. Now, if you’re a fast-paced type of person, quickly throwing a Keurig coffee pod into the maker seems easy enough.

And even though Keurig claims you can recycle them we’re calling this greenwashing as most community recycling programs are NOT equipped to handle k-cups. Which means they get incinerated, poisoning air, water, and soil. You can’t really want your little cup of convenience killing wildlife, do you? Of course not so here are a few simple solutions.

Invest in reusable K-Cups.

If your favorites are Starbucks, Dunkin, or even your local coffee shop, most coffee bags are recyclable, and the reusable K-Cups are a better alternative to single use pods.

Use A French Press

For hot coffee, the best method to prevent waste is the French press. A French press has a reusable filter and easily washable pot and can make a small to larger amount of coffee, so extra coffee doesn’t go to waste.

We’re fans of Bodum’s BRAZIL coffee maker. It uses a premium quality glass for the carafe and a reusable stainless steel filter to extract the full flavor from your precious beans. However its lightweight, BPA-free plastic body, handle and domed lid look stylish while epitomizing their motto that ‘good design doesn’t have to be expensive’.

(And don’t forget, if you’re into composting, coffee grounds are not only beneficial for soil, the grounds are particularly rich in nitrogen, one of the most important ingredients for happy healthy leafy greens) but it’s easy – all you do is toss them in.

Household Necessities

For anyone who has a dog, it’s really clear that winter means more time in bed. Animals have that uncanny ability to “read the room”, well knowing an early setting sun is the cue to hibernate. So snuggling in after work instead of running out to do errands leads to a lot more online shopping. Truth be told, we still think it’s a good idea to shop in person since it reduces unnecessary packaging. But, if you really want to order online Grove Collaborative is a great option for household items, personal, beauty, and more.

At Grove, they take the guesswork out of which products are good for you and your home. Every product meets strict standards for being nontoxic, effective, sustainable, and cruelty-free. Once you find products you love, they ship to your home on a flexible, monthly schedule.

A certified B Corporation, Grove is plastic neutral, meaning for every piece of plastic a customer may receive, they divert a piece of plastic from the ocean. However, they have a goal of being plastic-free by 2025. Out of hand soap? A personal favorite is their Hydrating Hand Soap, it’s plastic-free and has 97% plant-based ingredients!

But remember! If you do actually leave the house, be sure to pack reusable bags with you in case of any unexpected purchases. Here you can read about other ways to reduce your plastic consumption when you leave the house.

–Savannah Foley