Easy Eco-friendly Swaps
Well, here we are already in July. With everything that’s happened this year, it’s easy to forget about climate change and reducing our plastic waste. Even during the quarantine, it’s been difficult to avoid so much plastic since many things were ordered online, they come in plastic packaging, and plastic-free options might not be so readily available.
But did you know July is known as plastic-free month? This gives us a great incentive to renew our reduction of plastic waste and keep on track. If you are just starting, then it’s a great time to start a change that will benefit you, the generations to follow, and the earth.
So, if you’ve been toying with the idea of ditching all the plastic, we’ve suggested a few eco-friendly swaps you can start with. Here you’ll find here 5 great swaps you can start with that will help you on your way to reducing the amount of plastic waste.
Now, before we get into these easy swaps, let’s just clarify that it doesn’t make sense to just throw away all the plastic things in your house. Going plastic free is a process and should be approached as such.
Rather, use the plastic items you have as long as you safely can! There are so many ways to reuse plastic items rather than just throwing them out.
Alternatively, you could donate your plastic items that are still in good shape if you have to have a new replacement right now. And, of course, if the items can’t be used again or aren’t in good enough shape to donate, recycle them appropriately!
So, with that said, think about what you’ll want to replace and use this list here as a guideline. These are easy swaps to replace the plastic items that you might typically buy more often.
Let’s start with items that you can replace in your bathroom.
Unfortunately, the most plastic waste seems to come from bathrooms so it’s the perfect place to start reducing the amount of plastic waste we produce each year.
1. For starters, you can replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. It might take getting used to the wooden feel in your mouth, but it’s certainly an easy swap.
The bamboo is a natural-growing and easily renewable resource, which means it’s much better for our environment that any plastic toothbrush. Even the bristles are made from biodegradable nylon.
So choosing a toothbrush that’s made from a renewable resource is a simple and easy way to start going plastic free. They are even compostable!
2. In addition to your toothbrush, you can also exchange your regular floss, which typically is made of synthetic fibers, with an eco-friendly, organic silk dental floss. With this swap, you’ll be reducing the amount of micro plastics that can end up in our ecosystem.
While these are only two swaps you can make, it’s a great starting point to reduce your plastic waste. Once you feel confident in these swaps, consider using toothpaste tabs instead of the toothpaste from the tube and give bar shampoos and soaps a try.
Eco-Friendly Swaps for the Kitchen and Utility Rooms
3. This first swap is one of my favorites! Change out those dryer sheets and chemically-laden fabric softener for some organic wool dryer balls. You’ll probably want to make sure you buy a few to start with since you’ll need a few per load depending on the size.
Simply toss them in the dryer with your clothes for amazing benefits! It couldn’t get any easier than that!
For one, they will help reduce your drying time. The balls help separate the clothes, which lets the air circulate easier and be more effective. They will also help reduce static cling and reduce wrinkles.
One important consideration for dryer balls is to look for those made from organic wool. Many of the big store brands still contain micro plastics, and when the balls begin to break down, these plastic pieces are released into your laundry.
And lastly, if you also want fresh-smelling laundry, simply add a few drops of your favorite essential oil onto the dryer balls once the load is dry. Place the balls back in the dryer on a no-heat setting and run for an extra 10-15 minutes. Now you’ve got great smelling, wrinkle and static-free laundry without the guilt of using yet another dryer sheet!
We believe that well-made products will last you a lifetime if taken care of. And you can replace most plastic utensils with those made of high-quality wood. Like a nice pair of salad mixing spoons or spatula.
Not sure how to care for your wooden utensils? Then check out this post from the Reluctant Gourmet who lays out not only how to care for your wooden spoons but also what to look for when buying your wooden spoons and 7 great reasons that many top chefs use them (and why you should, too!).
5. Finally, one of the best swaps to make is replacing the dreaded saran wrap with something eco-friendly, like these cloth bowl covers.
These cloth covers are both breathable and washable, which makes them reusable. They are made from 100% cotton and cotton blend and, even better, they are made right here in the US – in Georgia. Once you make the switch to these cloth covers, you’ll find tons of reasons to use them every day.
You can use them for covering that bread you are currently letting rise, you can use them to deliver cookies to a neighbor, or cover your fruit salad at the next BBQ.
So, these 5 eco-friendly swaps are some of the simplest swaps you can make to help you start your plastic-free lifestyle. Or, at the very least, start living with less plastic waste.
Any swaps you can make are beneficial! Just don’t give up. Make small and simple changes to start with. As Anne Marie Bonneau from the Zero Waste Chef once said, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”