By Christa Adams
Living sustainability doesn’t mean living impractically. Yes, it would be ideal if everyone could swap their car for an electric vehicle or move to a farm to grow their own food. But the fact is, for most consumers, such sweeping changes simply aren’t affordable or attainable. The good news? There are still plenty of small eco-friendly swaps anyone can make that will still have a positive, lasting impact. Whether it’s the toothbrush you use or the cups you drink out of, read on for eight eco-friendly swaps that can start making a difference today. These simple changes to your daily routine will greatly reduce your carbon footprint as well as protect the planet and your health along the way.
Bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic
The American Dental Association suggests replacing your toothbrush every three or four months. That’s at least three toothbrushes a year, which equates to more than one billion toothbrushes thrown out just in the US alone. The problem is that most store-bought toothbrushes are made of plastic that can’t be recycled and instead contribute to landfill and ocean waste. That’s why bamboo toothbrushes have been on the scene for the past few years. Bamboo is fast-growing, eco-friendly, and biodegradable, and it’s an easy swap you can make to be more sustainable at home. Find them at health shops, online, and maybe even at your local grocery store.
Reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags
Single-use plastic bags have been a big no-no for years now, and while many stores, states, and countries around the world have implemented a monetary charge for using these bags, they still exist almost everywhere. So, swap them out for canvas totes, reusable bags from recycled materials, or cloth bags. Keep them in your car, backpack, purse, or right by the door so you always remember them before you go out shopping.
Biodegradable cleaning products instead of traditional chemical cleaners
Regular cleaners are loaded with toxic ingredients. Biodegradable alternatives, on the other hand, are made from natural ingredients and break down into safe, non-toxic substances when discarded. Unlike traditional products that contain harmful chemicals, biodegradable cleaners are safe for both the environment and human use. Some common ingredients in biodegradables include vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, coconut oil, and essential oils. These products can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks, including scrubbing surfaces, washing dishes, and doing laundry.
Bar soap instead of bottled liquid soap
While we’re discussing cleaning, this is one of the easiest eco-friendly swaps you can make in your daily life! Bar soap produces less waste and uses fewer harmful ingredients, making it an all-around more sustainable choice. Bar soap is often wrapped in paper, cardboard, or no packaging at all. On the other hand, plastic bottles used for soap take hundreds of years to decompose in landfills. Plus, its ingredients are typically purer than liquid soap, which often contains sulfates and/or parabens. Whether your soap comes in a bar or a liquid form, it’s also equally effective at reducing pulling dirt or pathogens from the skin. So, by making the switch to bar soap, you can not only reduce waste but also improve your overall personal care routine at home.
Reusable coffee cups instead of disposable ones
You don’t have to ditch your love of takeaway coffee when you adopt a more sustainable lifestyle. Simply bring your own reusable cup instead. Every year, billions of single-use coffee cups are discarded, contributing to the growing problem of plastic waste and pollution in our landfills and oceans. In contrast, a reusable coffee cup can be used hundreds of times without even the thought of needing to be replaced.
Some coffee shops, including Starbucks, might ask you to have a lid for your reusable cup, so make sure you bring all the parts of your cup in before you make your order. This eco-friendly swap is a wonderful way to reduce waste. Plus, these cups look much more visibly pleasing and are much more durable than a flimsy paper cup sealed with a plastic lid that never stays on quite right.
Thrift before you purchase
Mindsets can be swapped, too. Instead of rushing to the store every time you need something, consider visiting a local thrift store, charity shop, or online marketplace to make your purchase. This will help reduce the number of manufactured items while also putting something unused into use. You can also seek out peer-to-peer social e-commerce companies for everything from clothes to books, while picking up plates and appliances from thrift stores and pawn shops.
Beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap
Beeswax wraps are a great eco-friendly swap for plastic wrap, single-use sandwich bags, and even aluminum foil and wax paper. Of course, just don’t use them when you want to heat something. From an environmental standpoint, they are reusable and last a long time, unlike all the above alternatives. They’re convenient, natural, and look great in your kitchen or refrigerator.
LED light bulbs instead of traditional incandescent bulbs
This is an awesome eco-friendly swap that will also save you money! LED light bulbs last significantly longer while using up to 80% less electricity. As a result, they help to reduce global energy demand. Many traditional light bulbs also contain harmful substances like mercury. LED light bulbs do not, making them safer for the environment and human health. So, by swapping LED light bulbs, you can reduce your carbon footprint while supporting a more sustainable future.
Making eco-friendly swaps at home is that easy! Eager to swap your traditional laundry detergent for an eco-friendly alternative? Check out our plant-based laundry strips. They come in biodegradable packaging and clean your clothes just as well as regular detergent. Learn more about SaltyLama here.