Many of us are aware of the long term impact single use plastic has caused to our environment. As we continue to be part of a consumerism economy, it’s important to remain aware of the small habits we can form to do our part, and individually take care of the environment through our actions.
It’s important to highlight that this list of sustainable items should not make you want to throw away everything that you own and replace it with this list, but rather encourage you to purchase long-lasting products that you can continue to use for a much longer period of time than plastic products.
It cannot be right to manufacture billions of objects that are used for a matter of minutes, and then are with us for centuries. – Roz Savage
1. Bar Shampoo and Conditioner
I switched to the bar shampoo and conditioner from Superzero with the goal to reduce my carbon footprint and remove any microplastics from my beauty products.
Their products are plant-based, vegan, and cruelty-free formulations powered by biotech science to achieve safe and natural beauty products.
They are fully transparent about their processes, how they have made their bars carbon neutral, and the carbon offset projects they are involved with. Their analysis showed that a full-size shampoo bar already has approximately 90% less carbon emissions than comparable liquid shampoos.
To save some money on your transition to more sustainable hair care, you can use HelloDaydreamers15 for 15% off your purchase.
2. Imperfect Foods
Imperfect foods was founded to fight food waste by finding a home for the imperfect or “ugly” fruits and vegetables that farms couldn’t sell to grocery stores. Yes, that’s how messed up the food system is. You are able to customize your box of groceries and have these groceries delivered right at your front door.
They also have an amazing packaging return program where you are able to return gel packs and insulated silver liners they use to package your food items.
Their boxes are made with 100% recycled fiber. All of the ink and glue in our boxes is non-toxic, biodegradable, and compostable. For more details on the materials used for their packaging, and how to give them a second life, check out their site here.
3. reusable makeup remover pads
Letting go of makeup remover wipes and disposable cotton pads has not only allowed me to have a more eco friendly skincare routine, but it has also provided some extra gentle exfoliation when washing my face. My skin feels a lot more refreshed and clean.
I like to make sure I wash my makeup remover pads after every use with some soap and water, and throw them in the washer every week to keep them clean and make them last as long as possible.
4. eco-friendly Bamboo utensils
Bamboo is one of my favorite replacement materials for plastic. It is not only biodegradable, it is also extremely durable, and has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
I would like to emphasize that you should not be throwing away all of your plastic items and replacing them with bamboo immediately. The end goal is to reduce as much waste as possible and remove single-use items from our lifestyles. When one of your plastic items breaks or needs to be replaces, keep bamboo on the back of your head as it is biodegradable and very durable for long term use.
5. sustainable metal razors
There are still municipalities that have a hard time recycling plastic razors because they are made out of different material components (plastic bodies and metal blades).
Although the EPA does not track the environmental impact of disposable razors, it is estimated that approximately 2 billion throwaway razors are produced in the U.S. every year.
One alternative to disposable plastic razors that has been making a come back, is safety razors which are definitely made to last. These razors are typically made of steel or chrome, and the only waste that is produced is the steel blades. Although a steel razor may have a higher upfront cost than plastic razors, they will last you for much longer and give you a cleaner shave.
For the frequent flyer, it’s important to know that you may or may not be allowed to fly with the box of disposables blades, so make sure to check with airline regulation or research a spot to buy blades when you get to your destination.
If you are not able to buy a metal razor, you can also opt to use razors with a reusable handle to reduce waste by only replacing the head.
6. electric lighter
I have found electric lighters to be an amazing replacement for the typical disposable gas lighter.
Electric lighters end up being more economical and environmentally friendly due to no lighter fluid being used and mitigating the risk of butane spilling out. The residue from the lighter fluid (typically butane) makes lighters almost impossible to process when recycling. Like most plastic products, they typically end up in the ocean, and these bits and pieces of plastics continue to harm the water quality and marine life.
Electric lighters last longer, they are non toxic, and allow you to reduce the waste you produce.
7. silicone bags
It seems like silicone is becoming a decent alternative for plastic. However, where silicone falls on the eco-friendly spectrum is relative. The way to recycle silicone is by downcycling, which means the final recycled material will be of much lower quality.
Silicone products are more durable than plastic products when they are taken care of, so this will allow you to use the product for much longer and reduce the waste your produce. Silicone is also more inert than plastic, meaning you will have fewer chances of chemicals leaching into your foods.
These reusable snack bags are perfect for packaging your favorite food and taking them on your next adventure.
8. Menstrual cups
The environmental impact of women’s menstrual products is not just a woman’s problem. This impacts everyone. There is a lot of waste period products leave behind. Think of wrappers, applicators, tampons, pads, and panty liners. We are able to reduce our waste by utilizing these amazing menstrual cups!
On average, a typical tampon user will use 11,000 tampons in their lifetime… And all of that waste goes directly into a landfill… There are still people who flush down tampons down the toilet, which are likely to end up in the ocean when sewers systems fail.
Important Fact: Tampon applicators are the 5th most common source of waste on beaches.
9. reusable shopping bags
This one is an easy replacement as most places have continued to ban plastic bags, or have started to charge for every bag that you need to carry out your groceries.
I love bringing a reusable bag to go grocery shopping, especially to the farmer’s market on the weekends.
To go an extra step for your reusable grocery bags, keep in mind eco friendly materials such as cotton. Don’t forget the reusable produce bags too! We all know those thin tiny plastic produce bags are tough to reuse more than once.
10. Reusable water bottle
I am listing this at the end because I think most of us have gotten the hang of this one. Plastic water bottles are a huge issue, and not just for water but other drinks as well. Remember to pick cans over plastic bottles!
When picking a reusable water bottle, I like to go for glass or stainless steel water bottles. I would opt out of reusable water bottles that have an extra layer of plastic on the outside, but those tend to be rare finds. When I travel, I also like to make sure that the water I am using to refill and drink is clean and safe, so I have found this water bottle that includes a water filtration system.
Thank you for taking the time to read this piece. If you end up making any of these changes, we would love to hear about it, as well as hear any other recommendations you may have for new sustainable products and brands!