15 Ways To Lessen Our Impact: Sustainable Home Swaps

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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.

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.

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.


1. Fruit & Veggie Food Huggers

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Anthropologie

food huggers

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.


2. Stainless Steel Compost Bin

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

compost bin

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.


3. Face Halo Makeup Remover Pads

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Urban Outfitters

face halos

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!!


4. Silicone Baking Mats

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

baking mats

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.


5. Reusable Travel Flatware

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Anthropologie

flatware (also at Amazon)

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).


6. Dish & Bowl Covers

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Etsy

covers

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!


7. Blueland Cleaning Supplies

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.

clean essentials kit

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.


8. Stainless Steel Straws With Silicone Tips

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

straws

Just ditch the plastic straws already. Seriously, what are you hanging on to?


9. HiBAR Solid Shampoo

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Target

shampoo bar

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

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

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).


11. Reusable Cotton Flower Tote

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.

cotton tote

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.


12. Stasher Reusable Storage Bags

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

Stasher

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.


13. Reusable Beeswax Food Wrap 

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

beeswax wrap

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*


14. BAGGU Standard Reusable Tote Bag

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Urban Outfitters

bag (also at Nordstrom, Amazon)

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

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.
picture credit: Amazon

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.

Xo, Abby

Hey, green Pinners, this is for you…

We've put together an easily-digestible list of 15 eco-friendly swaps that are super-easy. This list makes it way easy to go plastic-free, for a more sustainable home.

8 COMMENTS

  1. We’ve been composting for years. Try not to over think it. We just use a stainless steel ice bucket with a lid on the counter to collect scraps. It gets emptied into the compost bin outside every day or two. Using an ice bucket gives you a lot more style choices, and if you empty it regularly you don’t have to worry about smells and replacing charcoal filters.

    I’ve use most of the things on this list, here are my tips:

    With the beeswax covers use COLD water to wash and expect to replace them once a year (with family use).

    Etsy has a ton of options for cloth paper towels. I can’t imagine any mom actually taking the time to neatly roll them back up onto the roll. I just throw them in a drawer. I don’t even fold them. But I still keep a roll of regular paper towels tucked away for extra gross cleanups (aka poop).

    For lunch containers, we have a large collection of stainless steel containers from UKonserve. Get the ones with the silicone lids, not the plastic lids. Order from Amazon, not directly from the company, their customers service is bad.

    My kids have used the same wool insulated lunch bags for SIX years https://plasticfreepursuit.com/products/wool-insulated-organic-cotton-lunch-bag-olive and these things have taken a BEATING. BUT they are repairable! When the zipper broke, I just took it to a tailor for a new zipper. I regularly throw them in the washing machine and hang dry. The dyes will fade a lot but it’s fine.

  2. Great ideas, and such cute stuff! I know this is a shopping blog, but a major way to help the planet is to consume less. Re/upcycling is where it’s at. You know what’s just like a washable makeup wipe? A washable nursing pad! You know what makes a great kitchen rag? A cut up old towel!

    I could go on and on about rags. I zig zag the edges of mine, but you don’t have to. For storage, I got a (virgin plastic…) thingy that’s meant for storing plastic bags- kind of like a basket that mounts to the wall? I have it in the pantry so even my three year old can grab a rag, and we don’t have to look at all the raggedy rags. They may not be cute, but they work, and when they get holey they go to the garage for one last hurrah.

  3. We’ve been using a lot of these for years. But honestly, the food huggers seem a little silly to me… Just put the food cut side down on a small plate or bowl and call it a day. It’s really not necessary to have a new, specially manufactured item for this. Making our own bread cut out a ton of single use plastic. We use a damp tea towel to cover the dough and a cloth bread bag (or old tea towel) in a bread tin to store. Mesh produce bags and just buying things loose at the store also helped. I’ve also asked our regular stores to stop pricing bags of produce more competitively than loose produce (so far no luck, but it never hurts to ask). If we pressure the stores to reduce unnecessary plastics, then everyone will reduce their consumption more easily.

  4. This is when I’m so grateful my waste management services have compost as part of our general garbage/recycling service. We buy green compostable bags and line a garbage can with it. Dump our food in it and then when needed, we take it right out side to the larger black can. Weekly, WM comes to pick it up. Super easy to do here. But I highly recommend the green compostable bags to make things less “messy” too. And it’s easy to train kids to “put it in the green bag” instead of the “white garbage bag”.

  5. As regards compost bins in your yard, if you are worried about rodents a sealed bin (we have a dual compartment tumbler compost bin) is excellent for making sure you don’t attract any unwanted guests!

    And Last Object have a great range of items to help you eliminate single use cosmetic items.

  6. I wish Stashers would make a gallon size — I go through so many gallon freezer bags for sliced bread, extra muffins, etc. as a family of 2.

  7. I made many of these swaps a few years ago. Haven’t bought Saran Wrap or plastic baggies in over 2 years! This year I bought refillable deodorant (Dove) and a metal toothbrush handle where you just replace the heads (Colgate). The idea that every toothbrush I’ve ever used is still sitting in a landfill somewhere depressed me so much I made all of these changes.

  8. Oh yay! I’ve used HiBar for years and love it. I switch from the clarifying during the summer to the conditioning during the winter.

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