It’s no secret that our less-than-sustainable choices affect our own health and that of the planet. We are producing over 300 million tons of plastic every year, 50% of which is for single-use purposes – meaning it’s used for just a few moments, but is on the planet for several hundred years. And studies have shown that all that plastic storing our food, beauty products and beyond is having adverse effects on our health.

That plastic grocery bag you tossed after its quick commute from the store to your home? Waste Management tells us that it’s one of 14 billion used in the U.S. each year.

I’m generally eco-conscious, but over the last year I’ve really tried to be more thoughtful about the way my habits affect my wallet, health and more broadly, the planet. Most of us are guilty of popping leftovers inside plastic bags, and often, a quick paper towel grab turns into ten. After all, what’s so hard about reaching for that glass food storage container or using the washable dishrag? It’s easy to think that making more sustainable choices will be expensive or a pain, but the reality is that once you’ve made the swaps and get in the habit of using them, it actually saves money. Plus, my favorite sustainable practice costs nothing at all – using what you already have.

As I’ve slowly made swaps for my once disposable items, I’ve seen that living a more sustainable lifestyle really doesn’t need to be overwhelming. There are small changes everyone can make! Read on for 10 accessible and easy swaps you can make for a healthier home and planet.

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1. Swap plastic baggies for snack containers or washable baggies.

2. Swap plastic wrap for beeswax wrap.

3. Swap your to-go coffee cup with one you bring from home.

4. Swap dryer sheets for dryer balls.

5. Swap single use cleaners for refillable, eco-friendly products.

We love the idea of refilling our cleaning bottles over and over. Check out brands like Branch Basics (my fave), Blueland, Grove Collaborative and Murchison-Hume.

6. Swap plastic straws for bringing your own (or skipping one altogether).


7. Swap plastic water bottles and refill a reusable one.

 

8. Swap plastic bags at the grocery store for reusable canvas & produce bags.

9. Swap cotton balls for washable rounds to remove makeup and apply toners.

10. Swap paper towels for recycable bamboo towelettes or a washable dishrag.

Do you have any favorite products that have made cutting down on waste a little easier?

10 comments
  1. 1
    Ardith | January 21, 2020 at 2:41 pm

    This is an awesome, awesome post, so thank you. I’ll be checking these products out right away.

    I will say that as someone with Crohn’s, a BPA-free avocado leftover container has been a big game changer in my life. I eat avocados pretty much every day and always have 1/2 to store. I tried the beeswax options, but with everyday usage required they just don’t work well for me (aka, cleaning and upkeep of the wax). This little avocado-shaped device is so easy to use and clean. The top clicks into place over the bottom for a solid seal. While you can’t include the seed when you store the 1/2 avocado, I have yet to have a problem with major discoloration. The big benefit is not using any plastic wrap or beat up beeswax wraps.

    Reply
  2. 2
    Bec | January 21, 2020 at 3:33 pm

    I LOVE posts like this – keep it up CS team! I would just add that there’s a lot of trial and error along the way to being more sustainable, so give yourself grace. I learned a lot over the past few years through the amazing community on Instagram – just search “zero waste” and you’ll find some great accounts.

    Reply
  3. 3
    Laura | January 22, 2020 at 5:01 pm

    This is a great post! One thing we have recently done to cut down on waste is to invest in a soda stream rather than buying bottles and cans of carbonated water. That way we can make it ourselves in reusable bottles whenever we want.

    Reply
  4. 4
    Jess | January 25, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Getting rid of ziplocs was a game-changer! Sorry to say I didn’t love the Stasher ones, as pretty as they are. It’s cool that they are heat-resistant, but really, I’m never going to cook in them and the outside gets dirty so quickly (lint magnet, much?)

    I’ve had better luck with rezips, which is closer to ziploc design, and you can find them at Target for pretty cheap – especially if you wait for a “household essentials” sale. Picked up a rezip set for myself, and ended up using them for Xmas presents for everyone!

    Reply
  5. 5
    Tracy | January 28, 2020 at 11:02 am

    This is a great article! It looks like all of the produce bags are made outside of the US. I’ve tried finding some that are both made by a US company and made in the US and haven’t had any luck. Any that anyone is aware of?

    Reply
  6. 6
    Natalie Ann Redman | January 29, 2020 at 6:37 am

    Great picks and it’s good that more people are going for more eco-friendly products.

    http://www.upyourvlog.com

    Reply
  7. 7
    Neha | June 4, 2020 at 8:16 am

    Awesome picks! Thank you for sharing. Switching to eco-friendly products can be challenging but it’s totally worth it.
    The best and easiest swap for me was reusable bags. I usually get them from Everything Bags Inc. https://www.everythingbagsinc.com/
    Love the designs!

    Reply
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