One of my own personal missions over the past few years has been to reduce my impact on the environment, within the past couple of years I’ve had a large focus on sustainable swaps. I’ve examined the products I use in my life and have looked out how some of the products are wasteful and thought about how I could do better.
Some of the areas we create a lot of waste are in the household goods that we use. I wanted to provide easy ways you can make adjustments in your own life and provide sustainable swaps.
This list is a resource that you can use to pick and choose items that suit you and your lifestyle. It also is not exhaustive.
Are you newer to your own sustainable living journey? Learn more about the keys to being more environmentally friendly.
Kitchen Sustainable Swaps:
These are lots of excellent sustainable swaps for the kitchen. Over the years as I’ve made my own changes, I haven’t realized how wasteful some of my habits have been. I started small with changes and once I got started, things started to snowball and it got easier over time. Below are many great eco-friendly alternatives for your kitchen.
- Steel lunch box: plastic and paper lunch bag alternative
- Glass food containers
- I take mine to bulk stores to shop sustainably with zero waste!
- Beeswrap: plastic wrap alternativeThese are great and you can make your own too!
- Cotton produce bag: plastic produce bag alternative
- Instead of using tons of plastic bags at the grocery store, you can use these cotton bags to store produce. Not to mention you can bring them to Farmer’s Markets and easily transport your haul!
- Reusable silicone bags: plastic bag alternative
- Not only do these reduce single use plastic bags, they also help you save money on disposable bags. A win-win!
- Silpat Baking Mats: parchment paper & tinfoil alternative
- I first got my own when I got serious about baking as all the pastry chefs had these (ha!). I legitimately have had mine for probably close to five years and they are still in perfect condition. Ultimately you can use them for baking and savory dishes, just make sure you keep them separated and designate one for sweets and one for savory foods.
- Silicone baking cups: paper baking cup alternative
- Saving waste and money, a win-win!
- Tea infuser: teabag alternative
- Did you know that tea bags are typically made of plastic? Yeah, I certainly didn’t know. In other words, not only do I not want to create waste but it’s also concerning that I could be ingesting micro plastics.
- Steel straws: plastic straw alternative
- You can even find portable straws for when you’re on the go.
- Cloth napkins: paper towel alternative
- I cringe thinking about how many paper towels I’ve used over the years. A cloth napkin is a perfectly suitable alternative. Not to mention, you’ll save money over time and they’re more stylish. You can find cloth napkins everywhere, but definitely look for some that are made from natural fibers to prevent micro plastic pollution as you wash them.
- Cloth hand towels: paper towel alternative
- Use cloth hand towels instead of paper towels. I don’t know about you, but I didn’t realize just how many paper towels I used until I started to consciously think about it. A lot gets used without truly thinking it through. Consciously using cloth towels for things such as drying dishes, cleaning up messes, drying washed fruits and veggies and more adds up. Make sure you go with a sustainable fabric like cotton.You can find cloth towels from many places. I personally love The Little Market as all of their products are fair trade and they have lovely designs.
- Compostable trash bags
- Compostable trash bags are a better alternative to plastic trash bags. However, the only challenge is not all municipalities have facilitates that can process compostable bags.
- Bamboo dish scrubber
- Bamboo grows quickly and is a more sustainable option compared to sponges.
- Dish washing soap block: single-use plastic soap container alternative
- I just recently switched to dish soap blocks and it’s really easy to use and lasts a while.
A sustainable hack for your kitchen and cooking? Try propagating herbs, it’s cheap and so easy! You can have unlimited herbs with this hack!
Bathroom Sustainable Swaps:
There have been so many developments in sustainable bathroom products. From plastic-free options, to tree-free options. I’ve fairly easily transitioned a lot of my own bathroom products to more eco-friendly options. The best part? These sustainable swaps are not a huge transition or change, so it’s really easy to purchase say bamboo toilet paper or a bar of soap the next time you’re in need.
- Bamboo toothbrush
- I have used bamboo toothbrushes for about a year. At first I was concerned that they would be rough because of the wood, but I’ve never had an issue and love them!
- Tongue scraper
- A metal tongue scraper is endlessly reusable.
- Bamboo floss
- Toothbrush with a replaceable head
- The RADIUS toothbrush allows you to replace the heads of the brush. Therefore, this translates to less waste.
- Toothpaste tablets: plastic tube toothpaste alternative
- You chew these tablets in your mouth and then can use your toothbrush with them.
- Shampoo & conditioner bars
- Completely zero waste, no plastic, simply the bars themselves! The shampoo and conditioner bars should last between 50-75 washes (equal to 2-3 16 oz bottles of shampoo and conditioner). These bars are vegan and cruelty free. Above all, they come in plastic free packaging!
- Bar soap: replaces single-use containers
- Swap liquid soap in a bottle for bar soap to eliminate single-use plastic.
- Steel razor
- Old fashion single steel blade razors are recyclable. Most importantly, you could very easily have the razor for life.
- Reusable organic bamboo facial rounds
- Organic bamboo facial rounds for your face and makeup are machine washable and can be countlessly reused.
- Bamboo toilet paper: tree toilet paper alternative
- I have been buying bamboo toilet paper from Who Gives A Crap for a while and love it! Not only is it more eco-friendly, but they also come individually wrapped in paper and in a cardboard box, zero plastic!! You can purchase here to receive $10 off your first order and they often offer free shipping if your order is over a certain amount.
- Menstrual cup, cloth pads, period underwear
- There are many different options for more sustainable period product alternatives. Some people are weirded out by the idea of reusable period products or don’t like the idea of a menstrual cup, I get it, I’ve had those feelings. Personally, after trying some alternative products I have changed my mind. It’s more so a reframing of your mindset since it’s not something that we’re used to from what we’ve learned growing up. In other words, you will never know how you’ll feel until you try!
- Bidet: toilet paper alternative
- Bidets are popular in Europe. They can completely eliminate paper products and ultimately save you money! There are installable bidets that you can add to your toilet as an attachment that are relatively inexpensive in the grand scheme of things.
Cleaning Sustainable Swaps:
I didn’t realize until recently just how toxic some of the cleaning supplies I’ve used are. Also, there are many that are not sustainable as those chemicals being deposited into the environment are harmful, there’s a lot of single-use plastics and even some that have microplastics.
- Wool dryer balls: dryer sheet alternative
- You can find these at many places and can even make your own! These replace dryer sheets and should last 2-5 years and up to 1,000 loads. Dryer sheets typically are made of plastic and using them creates microplastics that enter in to the water system.
- Blueland cleaning tablets: alternative to many cleaning products
- A truly revolutionary cleaning brand. They have non-toxic cleaning products in the form of tablets that you simply add to water to create your cleaning product! They’re almost zero-waste with recyclable packaging. The products combat single use waste and are cheap and effective!
- Washable duster
- Wooden toilet brush
- Dropps laundry detergent: plastic-free alternative
- Not only are dropps plastic free (traditional soap pods sadly are not), they also come in completely recyclable and compostable packaging.
Other Sustainable Swaps:
Sustainability stretches to all aspects of our lives. I am continuing to explore the many areas that I can make changes within my own life. Below are some other simple sustainable swaps.
- E-mags instead of paper magazines
- Inkless pen
- Imagine all of the plastic pens we’ve wasted over the course of our lifetime. This
- Biodegradable bandages
- Most bandages are made from plastic and take hundreds of years to decompose. Biodegradable bandages are an easy sustainable swap.
- Reusable shopping bags
- A go-to! I have many reusable bags for grocery shopping, essential items, etc. I especially love my Apolis bag that should last me 10 years! Better yet, Apolis bags are ethically made and they are a B Corporation Certified. Meaning, they meet the highest standards of social, environmental, public transparency and legal accountability. Learn more about B Corp Certification here.
Everyone has their own way of living and at times our life circumstances dictate this. Change can be overwhelming, but it can also be exciting! I hope this list sparks inspiration and that you find it helpful in your own sustainable living journey. Looking for more ways to live sustainably? Check out my post for 50+ easy ways to live more sustainably.
What are your favorite sustainable swaps? I’d love to learn more!