It’s no surprise that reusable, eco-friendly alternatives to most household items are quickly gaining popularity amongst households. Here are four EASY PEASY swaps for reusable items.
Considering the positive effect that plastic reduction has on our planet Earth, this is definitely a millennial-led trend that we should all get on board with (no more straws in turtle noses, thank you, everyone).
While a lot of these items may not seem like they have a big impact, when you think about their use on a larger scale they really add up – and your simple swap could be making a huge difference even though it might only feel like a small contribution.
Swapping out common disposable items for reusable and sustainable products actually comes with some other hidden benefits, including long term cost reduction.
Yeah! Give yourself a pat on the back for helping to save the turtles from plastic straws, and helping yourself to save a few dollars in the long run with your stylish steel straw (take it to parties so that everyone knows you’re a cool turtle lover).
*Side note: turtles are not affiliated with this post in any way, but they’ll probably still thank you for making the switch.
We’ve spoken about wax wraps on the blog before and how they’re a great switch for glad wrap coverings and sandwich bags – read that one here if you missed it.
The next seven products I want to cover are common household items that can be replaced at low cost to you and at the benefit of the environment. These are the perfect places to start for leading a more sustainable lifestyle.
Four Easy Swaps for Reusable, Sustainable Household Items
1. Tote Bags
If you’re living in (or you’ve been to) some Australian states then you might be familiar with the plastic bag ban. Basically, bring your own bag to the supermarket or suffer the insidious punishment of having to pay 15 cents for a bag to carry your groceries in.
Okay, I get it, it’s not much of a motivator. I call myself an environmental friend and still have a collection of these ugly 15c bags in my kitchen drawer.
What is a good motivator is how many cute tote bags you can get now, how sturdy they are PLUS the super comfortable handles (aka, no more plastic literally slicing my fingers in half because my bag is too heavy, due to me not wanting to pay 30 cents for two bags). Okay, so maybe the fee is more motivational than I thought.
The main issue with plastic bags is that they’re typically single-use (in fact, the average plastic bag only gets around 12 minutes of use in its potentially 1000 year life span – yikes) and in 2016, One Million Women estimated that 200,000 plastic bags were being dumped.. every hour.
Let’s say you go to the grocery store once a week, and buy 3 bags full of groceries. That’s 156 plastic bags every year you save from landfills, and if you think that you’re not even going to be making a dent in that 200,000 figure then maybe you’ve underestimated your fantastic taste in cool tote bags.
For every five people that you inspire with your reusable bag at the grocery store, that’s an additional 780 bags a year that you’ve saved from landfill. Go you, and your groovy tote!
No wait, hear me out. I know that brushing your teeth is important and I’m not asking you to stop. However, maybe you could not do it with a plastic toothbrush anymore?
From the bristles to the handpieces, there’s almost nothing in a toothbrush that is biodegradable, leading to the big scary pitch that toothbrushes might be found on Earth even when there’s no sign of us, Humans, anymore.
One great alternative is bamboo toothbrushes.
While I understand that bamboo is still a little questionable when it comes to sustainability, you’ll be happy to learn that there are a few companies that ensure their materials are NOT a product of deforestation.
You might even be able to ditch the plastic packaged toothpaste while you’re at it. There are some pretty cool alternatives on the market now. You’ve probably already heard about toothy tabs from Lush that you simply chew and then brush your teeth afterwards.
If you’re feeling brave, there’s also a few homemade recipes for toothpaste floating about. Since I don’t know a lot about them, I’ll stick to recommending the cruelty-free, plastic-free toothy tab solids above.
On that note. Comment below if you know of any alternatives to plastic packaged toothpaste – or link me to a homemade recipe you trust!
3. Dish Cleaning Items
I was once a serial offender of those scrubby things. Scourers? I can’t remember the name it’s been too long. Basically, the things you scrub your dishes with then throw away, spongey with mesh yeah?
The word evades me. Which is fine, they’re irrelevant anyway. I like microfiber and biodegradable scrub pads like coco-fibre. I think you might too if you give them a chance.
There are also dish brushes with handles made of biodegradable materials as a great alternative to plastic.
Some things can’t be used forever. Realistically we can’t sacrifice health and cleanliness for rubbish reduction. Searching for gentler alternatives – like those above – is a great way to lessen our impact without eating from dirty dishes.
4. Reusable Coffee Cups
“It’s just one cup” – 3 billion people.
Probably the most used phrase in reusable product history. My Nan is a big fan of coffee and has about 3 takeaway cups a day.
That’s almost 1,100 a year. I think that’s why this particular quote has stuck in my head.
So, grab a travel mug. There’s a huge selection of amazing styles out there to suit every taste. Not going to lie they actually look a bit trendy!
Now you, reading this. Let’s say you replace your toothbrush every three months. Get a takeaway coffee once a week, replace your dishwashing sponge thingy every three days.
That’s already 156 plastic bags, 4 plastic toothbrushes, 108 scourers, 52 plastic coated coffee cups and 52 coffee cup lids that you’ve saved the planet from in just one short year.
You’re kind of a hero.
Until next time!