So you’ve made a commitment to reducing your environmental impact in 2021? Here are 15 simple sustainable swaps that are perfect for beginners. Remember, the most sustainable option is most likely the one you already have. And also… go easy on yourself! By reducing the waste you create every day, you’re making a big impact over the course of a year. That doesn’t mean you need to shoot for ZERO waste.
Here are some items you might consider ditching this year:
- Plastic beverage bottles. Carry a reusable bottle for water. When buying your fave beverages, choose the largest size and pour into a glass (rather than individually packaged).
- Single-use bags at the grocery store. Whether plastic or paper, the real problem with these bags is the single-use nature. Reuse plastic or paper bags several times, or consider cloth bags.
- To-go coffee cups. These are typically not recyclable due to the water resistant coating. Think about a reusable coffee thermos like this one from Hydroflask.
- Disposable plates and utensils. Although it may seem like you save water by using these items, a lot of water is used to make them in the first place! Opt for durable plates and utensils.
- Ziploc bags. Use them multiple times, or opt for a reusable Stasher bag!
- Parchment paper. Unfortunately this can’t be recycled, even though it’s paper! It’s treated to create a heat resistant, non-stick surface so should be thrown away. A silicone baking mat is one of my favorite swaps!
- Dryer sheets. Instead of single-use dryer sheets, check out reusable wool dryer balls. They reduce dry time and prevent static.
- Keurig. If you already have a Keurig, consider reusable K-cups that allow you to refill with your choice of coffee! If you’re considering a coffee maker, a percolator or french press is a lower waste option.
- Toilet paper. Who Gives a Crap makes bamboo TP and paper towels, which have a much lower environmental impact.
- Paper towels. As mentioned above, we use bamboo paper towels for the kitchen. But we’ve switched to rags made from our old T-shirts for cleaning! They get washed with the towels.
- Seran wrap. Preventing food waste is a great environmental step. Now do it without waste by using tupperware you already have or trying beeswax wraps.
- Disposable razor. Switching to a refillable razor head (even if it’s plastic) will reduce waste. You can also consider a safety razor.
- Disposable sponge. We use a washable sponge, which works great and hasn’t gotten moldy! Wooden scrubbers are great too but make sure you store them in a dry spot.
- Straws. Just ask for no straw! If having a straw really improves your experience, check out metal or glass options.
- Beauty products. Less is more! Opt for multi-functional products in glass or aluminum packaging. Bonus for refillable packaging (check out Rebrand Refillable Trio!)
Any favorites I’m missing? There are loads more, but these are the ones I’ve found to be easiest to incorporate into my existing routine!