We all love the great outdoors here, right?

Don’t you hate getting to the crag or beach only to find wrappers and bottles left by the last group? We know the feels. So when we saw the idea of a “Single Use Plastic Free July” challenge being proposed on social media, we were in!

If cutting down your waste production sounds like a good deal to you, below is our top four easiest ways to cut down your single use waste — without sacrificing any of your creature comforts.

Cloth Produce Bags
Reusable Cold Drink Tumbler
Menstrual Cup
Everyday Water Bottle

  1. The Everyday Water Bottle

By now I’m sure most nature enthusiasts out there have your their own reusable water bottles. But if you’re still running to the store for bottled water, prepare to join the club with the easy step 1!

For years Nalgene has been leading the scene, with affordably functional bottles made from top quality materials. They aren’t the only ones any more. CamelBak offers a unique variety of bottles now, some with sports straws if you prefer your water to be sucked as opposed to sipped. For the more industrial user, Klean Kanteen and HydroFlask makes heavy duty (and lightweight) insulated stainless steel bottles.

Basically – there’s more than one way to water a cat.

2. Reusable Cold Drink Tumbler

It’s summer, and that means iced teas and coffee drinks galore. I love my daily iced drink pit stop, but absolutely despised the amount of cups and straws I was going through.

The US alone uses enough straws to wrap around the earth 2.5 times, every day.

That’s a whole lotta waste.

Conveniently enough, there are TONS of daily reusable cold drink cups, with lids and straws, so your green sensibilities don’t get in the way of your caffeine consumption.

Find the drink cup of your dreams, here.

3. Cloth Produce Bags

Thankfully, my county has banned the one time plastic grocery bag, so everyone has their own totes, but if you peel that layer off of the onion you’ll find more and more plastic. No one wants wet lettuce sitting naked on the grocery store conveyor belt, and bulk bin grabs like dried mango or wasabi almonds aren’t going to magically clump together until you’ve made it home. Enter scene – muslin.

(or any reusable bag like material really..)

I prefer using muslin bags like this one, easy to wash and hang dry if they get too dirty, but if you’re looking to hold flour or something extremely fine, you’ll want a different material.

Peruse this produce bag plethora.

4. The Menstrual Cup

The phrase “menstrual cup” may conjure up images of anything from literal bra burning, man hating feminists from the 60’s inviting you to share their community undergarments to nightmare fueled premonitions that combine the films Saw and Carrie into one giant horrified NOPE, but before you slam the laptop or throw your phone lets let rationale prevail over emotion and listen just a few more sentences.

The average woman throws away 250 to 300 pounds of period gear in her lifetime, according to Flow: The Cultural History of Menstruation. Surely not the most substantial litter factor in the world, but definitely not nothing! Aside from the green argument, tampons really aren’t all that fantastic for you. Toxic shock syndrome, vaginal infections, and a number of health risks thanks to unhealthy and unregulated materials are just a few of the prize doors waiting to be opened. Granted, there are “better” tampons that advertise organic cotton and no chlorine, but that only limits the gamble.

Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” cup we can direct you towards, being that vaginas come in all shapes and sizes, and as far as menstual cups go, if it aint right-it aint right. But these links will help you Goldilocks through the growing list of cup-companies.

Put a Cup in It  

The Cup Info Blog

The Eco Friendly Family

* pro beta – getting acquainted with your new tool can be easier in the shower, but be sure to keep it free of soap and shampoos.

If you decide to join the month long challenge, or want to share your favorite green ideas, keep us in the loop! Tag #greenLV