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When my husband and I got married and moved into our first home together, we started to make conscious efforts to be more eco-friendly. We are by no means 100%, but we do make a conscious effort to switch out more and more of our regular items to alternatives that are much more better for the environment. I know that many people are under the mindset that one person can’t make a huge difference, that we collectively as a community of people need to do better, but the reality is that EACH AND EVERY person can make a difference. Think about how many plastic water bottles or plastic straws you’ve used throughout your life so far, how many toothbrushes you’ve gone through, how many times you’ve gone shopping and gotten a plastic bag – those things add up! We as individuals have an insane amount of power to make a difference in our environment, so today I’m challenging all of you (yes YOU) to make these 10 easy swaps of commonly used items to be more eco-friendly this year.
If the average person changes out their toothbrush approximately every 3 months, you can imagine just how many of those plastic handles end up in landfill every single year. A really easy and affordable switch is to use natural bamboo toothbrushes which are biodegradable and BPA-free. There are so many on the market now, and they are just as soft and comfortable to use as the plastic ones we are used to.
This is probably one of the more popular swaps that most people are making. My family has been using reusable grocery bags for years now and it makes a huge difference. I also recommend getting one that folds up really small to keep in your purse or bag incase you make a pitstop at the mall.
My husband and I recently made this switch and I’m so glad we did! Whenever we go to the grocery and buy fresh produce, we end up getting so many of those small clear bags which end up in the garbage. Now we’ve started using reusable mesh produce bags. They come in different sizes to accommodate different sized produce and they are breathable so your fruits and veggies stay fresh.
This is a no-brainer for me. Not only does the average person use a ton of dryer sheets throughout their lifetime which just end up in the garbage, they also contain a TON of chemicals that end up in the air in our homes and in our clothes which then gets absorbed into our skin. No Bueno. We switched over to organic wool dryer balls almost 2 years ago and I freaking love them. They’re reusable (I bought a pack of 4, and I’m still using the same 1 with no issues), they cut down your drying time which means saving you money, and you can customize the scents of your laundry loads by adding essential oils to the ball before using it.
I once saw a video of some fishermen helping to pull a straw out of a sea turtle’s nostril because it had become stuck in there, and honestly it broke my heart. We use straws ALL THE TIME, and when I was younger it never really occurred to me just how much damage they can cause to the environment and our wildlife. Since then we switched to metal straws which are sturdy and reusable and come in a bunch of different sizes for all your drink needs. They also have silicone ones available for those that aren’t a fan of the metal ones.
If you haven’t made this switch yet then you really need to reconsider. Don’t get me wrong, I used to love the convenience of just grabbing a water bottle on my way out the door and sticking it in my bag, but they are SOO bad for the environment especially since most of them don’t end up being recycled. For the last 2 years I’ve tried to eliminate any use of plastic bottles by using a water filter to filter my water and then using a reusable water bottle to take to work or whenever I go out. The best part is that there are SO many cute styles on the market nowadays.
This goes along the same lines as the water bottles above. It’s so easy for each of us to go through hundreds of coffee cups each year (I am guilty of this as well). But something that I am working on is using a reusable coffee tumbler to take when I’m on the go. I either make my own tea or you can actually take your reusable mug to a coffee shop and they will fill it up for you at a discounted price.
I have not personally made this switch yet because I don’t actually use food wrap on a regular basis, but it’s something that I recently heard about from Desi Perkins and I’ve been looking into it. For many households, plastic wrap and foil are commonly used items, so using an alternative like beeswax food wrap can definitely make a difference. From what I’ve learned about them they are reusable, washable, and biodegradable once disposed of.
Makeup remover pads
Us women can go through a ton of these each year removing our makeup. There are so many great options for reusable pads that you can just toss into the laundry to clean each week. A lot of them are made with bamboo so they are super soft and gentle on your skin while still being super effective at removing your makeup.
I LOVE this easy swap because honestly the packaging on coffee pods truly suck! They’re not great for the environment AT ALL, and yet they are so widely used. When my husband and I moved into our home we bought a Keurig because he loves coffee, but a lot of the types of coffee that he liked were not available as K-cups. So I bought him this reusable K-cup that he could easily fill with his own coffee grounds and use in the same convenience with the Keurig. We’ve been using it for about 2 years now and still going strong minus the plastic waste!
Each year I try to make more and more easy swaps to lead a more eco-friendly life and I am so happy about it! Some of these swaps like straws and grocery bags are common ones that we hear about often, while others like coffee pods and dryer sheets are less heard of. We are all so capable of making a huge impact on the environment so I truly hope that you make even 1 of these easy swaps. Let me know if you have any other ideas for easy eco-friendly swaps in the comments.