It may be time to rethink your choice of kitty litter.

By Katie Holdefehr
January 29, 2021
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Many of us aim to live a more sustainable, eco-friendly lifestyle, but if the changes we have to make are too complicated or painful, there's a good chance we're not going to maintain them. Instead, consider starting small. Over time, even little habits—like ditching the plastic loofah, or switching to a biodegradable kitchen sponge—can save lots of plastic from the landfill. And the good news is, these mini moves won't disrupt your day-to-day life too much. Reconsider some of the common habits below to make your household a little less wasteful.

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Each time you throw away a synthetic loofah, more plastic mesh ends up in the landfill. Ditching this bath accessory can prevent a lot of unnecessary waste over the years.

But before you reach for that natural fiber loofah, it turns out they're breeding grounds for bacteria. Instead, switch to a soft bristle shower brush or just use your hands. 

Clay litter is clumping, easy to scoop, and keeps your home smelling fresh, but it isn't biodegradable, meaning it will sit in a landfill. 

Instead, look out for eco-friendly alternatives made out of wood, grass seed, corn, or walnut shells. Cats are notoriously fickle creatures, so expect to test out at least a couple different varieties before finding one Fluffy approves of. 

Want to save money while also saving the planet? Instead of buying a new plastic bottle of hand soap, dish detergent, or cleaning spray every time you run out, switch to one of these refillable systems. Brands like Grove Collaborative, Blueland, and the Honest Company all offer reusable bottles and cleaning concentrates that get dissolved in water. 

You can also buy cleaning concentrates at the store, like Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap, and dilute them with water in the bottles or soap pumps you already own. Or consider mixing up your own all-natural cleaning solutions

Because foam kitchen sponges harbor so much bacteria, they need to be replaced at least once a week. Instead of tossing 52 sponges into the landfill every year, invest in a durable dishwashing brush, plus a silicone pan scraper for tough messes. If you miss the foam sponge, choose a cellulose sponge made of wood pulp, rather than the classic polyurethane type. 

As bamboo toothbrushes become more prevalent in drugstores, this is an effortless way to reduce your household's waste. And the next time you buy a new toothbrush, keep the old one around for household cleaning tasks (hello, grout lines). 

You can also keep an eye out for refillable glass floss containers (with biodegradable floss). 

Depending upon what you typically toss into the wastebasket, you may be able to skip the plastic liner altogether. Even if you prefer the look of a liner, it doesn't mean you have to throw it away each time. When the basket is full, dump the contents into a larger kitchen trash can, but keep the liner until it gets gross. 

You can also use sheets of newspaper as liner, or repurpose the brown paper packaging that came with your last online order. 

Shaving minutes off your daily shower or turning the water temperature down a few degrees are small changes that will save water and energy over time. Low water pressure means more time rinsing the suds from your hair, so simply adjusting the pressure and cleaning the shower head can result in shorter showers. 

No matter how many dishes are loaded in the machine, it will use the same amount of water (unless you have a new machine with sensors). To avoid wasting water, wait until the machine is full before running the cycle. 

RELATED: Why You Should Always Run Your Dishwasher at Night

If you use a Keurig for your daily cup of joe, think about switching to reusable pods you can fill with your favorite ground coffee. For a Chemex, there are reusable stainless steel filters you can order. 

RELATED: How to Clean a Keurig Coffee Maker the Right Way