Anyone else trying to rid their home of single-use plastics? Us too. And while an iced coffee with a straw may seem harmless (as well as all of those takeout bags, candy wrappers and coffee lids), plastic pollution is a real threat, one that clogs our waste streams and landfills, litters our beaches and parks, and, ultimately, harms marine and human health. It’s an issue that we’ve gotta continue addressing, especially since — and I only recently learned this — that China no longer is willing to take our recyclable plastic (in fact it’s been a little tenuous since 2019.)
As of right now, few US cities have the infrastructure needed to properly recycle, and most of what we think of as “recyclables” aren’t actually being recycled — including all of those plastic water bottles.
Soooo…the best way we can fight this plastic pollution?
Use less plastic.
15 Eco-Friendly Products For A More Sustainable Home
It sounds simple because it IS. It’s never been easier to break our reliance on single-use plastics, thanks to some smart swaps.
I’ve put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super doable — i.e., incredibly easy to use. No plastic-induced panic attacks or rampages to throw away every plastic item you see. (I’ve done it and don’t recommend.) The list below makes it way easy to go plastic-free, and is something you can implement step-by-step.
If you’re looking for a more complete guide to sustainable living, I really liked the book, This is a Good Guide – For a Sustainable Lifestyle for some help with sustainable items & practices.
A few items I found are some simple silicone swaps that you can use over and over again, for basically forever. They’re one of the most foolproof (and cheapest) ways to reduce excess single-use plastic in your home and life. I’ve given a bunch of the below picks away as gifts (ahem, Christmas is in 11 weeks), and people use and love immediately.
These things are life savers (…wait. literally). They keep my fruits and veggies fresh for a couple days longer while at the same time omitting the use of plastic wrap (the most evil of evils, in my opinion). They can also fit on tops of jars and cans, and look really cute as pops of color in your fridge or pantry. Love these little things.
Composting!!! It’s so good to do guys!! Here’s a website to visit for beginner tips and everything else you need to know about this majorly eco-friendly home practice. Also, if you live in Philly, S swears by Circle Compost. Not only do they pick up city-dwellers compost by bike, but you can get composted dirt back for your container gardens as part of the service.
This stainless steel compost bin is equal parts fashion (using this word lightly here) equal parts function. It’d look good in any kitchen (even if stored under the sink), while also resisting rust and controlling odors. It’s a great one to start composting with.
If you’re a makeup wipe or makeup remover (+ cotton round) lover, you’ve gotta try these eco-friendly makeup remover pads. They work INSANELY well with just water (yes, even with waterproof mascara) and can be reused up to 200 times. (Saving around 500 makeup wipes. Yup.) Currently on sale, too!!
These things are some of my kitchen faves. They make baking so easy… not to mention the cleanup (no heavy-scrubbing pesky pans with all of your might). Super affordable and worth every penny.
Ah, these things again. I feel like I’ve linked (and talked love about) them time and time again, but I’ll prob never stop. They’re that good. I have a set of these with me pretty much at all times. They’re genius for keeping in the car or your purse, so easy to clean, and way better than any plastic fork/spoon/knife you get with takeout or whatever. Just such great things to have (and really good stocking stuffers, too).
I have yet to order these reusable bowl covers but I’m planning on it. (Another great gift idea!!) First of all, they’re sooo pretty. I love the block print designs (handmade, btw) and natural texture. I despise using plastic wrap to cover big bowls. This eco-friendly Etsy shop makes a bunch of sizes and colors, along with a ton of other sustainable kitchenware. I’ve read that these covers are perfect for storing washed greens and veggies because their airy material keeps the produce from sweating. Genius!
Shana raves about Blueland’s sustainable cleaning supplies… and they look pretty awesome. They make eco-friendly cleaners, soaps, detergents and sprays that will last pretty much forever (well, their bottles do). All you need is a set of their glass spray bottles and some of their cleaner tablets, and you’re good as gold. They have a subscription service for the tablet refills (in eco-friendly packaging) and offer starter kits that include everything you need to be less wasteful and more sustainable — cleaning-wise. They have really good scents (including seasonal ones; keep your eyes out for those to drop soon), too.
Just ditch the plastic straws already. Seriously, what are you hanging on to?
These are pretty cool and take plastic out of the picture entirely (for shampoo and conditioner, at least). I’ve seen a ton of brands come out with these recently, but this brand in particular has some of the best reviews. It’s no different than regular liquid shampoo, really — just solid and takes some extra lathering. This brand has sets for volume, maintenance, soothing and one that’s fragrance free.
10. Unpaper Towels
These are kind of fun looking, right? Same concept and use as paper towels, just…. not paper. You wrap the little towel cloths around a wooden stand and that’s it! Reusable and pretty cute (but also comes in white and some duller colors, if you’re not all for the rainbow).
This cotton flower tote is perfect if you love keeping fresh flowers in your home on a regular basis, or to give as gifts. They’re ideal for farmers’ markets where the usual plastic or paper wrapping would be used. These are handmade using zero-waste manufacturing right in San Francisco, CA. Pretty cool.
Ahhh, Stashers. You just can’t go wrong with these. I’ve used them for sooo many things, from a travel liquids bag (perf for flying), to a quick on-the-go makeup pouch, to the usual lunch bag ziplock alternative, but they can be used for pretty much anything AND cleaned super easily (i.e. boiled/dishwasher/whatever). Here’s their main product page on Amazon, which has tons of different sizes and colors, as well as this genius bag bundle that includes their four most popular sizes at a discounted price. They work for anything and everything.
I’ll be honest, it took me awhile to try these out. I’m not sure why, I just thought they’d be harder to use? Who knows. I was entirely wrong, btw. These beeswax wraps are VERY easy to use — completely form-fitting and moldable to any container/vegetable/fruit/cheese/whatever and can be reused just after a simple wash with dish soap. Pretty amazing, right? Plastic wrap has like… no purpose in this world anymore. *the crowd goes wild*
I present to you: one of the best gifts (/stocking stuffers) and sustainable items…ever. My mom gave a bunch of these as gifts last Christmas, and I think it’s such a good idea. These reusable bags fold up into tiny squares that you can bring with you anywhere. I have one in my car and in pretty much every bag I own, juuuust in case I run to the store or on an errand on my way home. They’re some of the most useful little things ever and come in SUCH cute prints & colors.
15. Wool Dryer Balls
Have and love! These wool dryer balls take the place of dryer sheets but can be reused tons of times. (Like, thousands.) I have yet to add a few drops of essential oils to mine before throwing them into the dryer, but I’ve heard that it’s a great way to get some of your fav scent into your fluffy laundry without the usual scented dryer sheet. These bad boys also shorten dryer time (and, thus, save energy), too.
If you have any other sustainable swaps that you’ve been loving, drop them in the comments below. We love a new idea (or way to help out the earth, yanno). Shop our Sustainable Hub here.
Hey, green Pinners, this is for you…