Eco-Friendly Alternatives Most People Don’t Know About
Reusable Grocery Bags
Single-use plastic bags are terrible for the environment. Many people don’t realize that reusable grocery bags made from materials like canvas and recycled polypropylene are an excellent alternative.
Reusable bags are durable and can be used for years. This prevents thousands of single-use plastic bags from entering landfills and oceans. I have used the same reusable canvas tote bags for 5 years and they are still going strong!
The best part is reusable grocery bags are inexpensive and readily available. Many grocery stores sell reusable bags made from recycled materials for under $1. Brands like Baggu and ChicoBag offer stylish, colorful designs. With some reusable bags holding up to 2-3 plastic bags worth of groceries, they make shopping efficient and eco-friendly.
Reusable Water Bottles
Single-use plastic water bottles produce over 1.5 million tons of waste per year in the US alone. An easy alternative is switching to a reusable water bottle, preferably made of stainless steel or glass.
Reusable bottles come in various shapes, sizes and designs. Popular options include Contigo, Hydro Flask, Klean Kanteen, S’Well and Yeti bottles. I’ve been using a 20 oz Klean Kanteen for 3 years and it keeps water cold for 24 hours.
Reusable bottles prevent plastic waste from entering landfills and oceans. They also save money since bottled water costs 1,000x more than tap. Many reusable bottles have insulating properties to keep drinks cold for hours. Carrying a reusable bottle also makes hydration on-the-go easy. It’s a simple swap that significantly reduces plastic consumption.
Reusable Food Wraps
Plastic wrap and tin foil aren’t great for the environment. An innovative solution is reusable food wraps made of beeswax, organic cotton and tree resin. Popular brands are Bee’s Wrap, Abeego and Purewrap.
The wraps create an airtight seal around food to keep it fresh. They are reusable, washable and compostable at the end of their lifespan. One Abeego wrap replaces up to 1,000 pieces of plastic wrap! I use my reusable wraps constantly to pack lunches, cover bowls and wrap produce.
Reusable wraps are also safer than plastic wrap. Their natural ingredients don’t leach chemicals into food. The wraps can be shaped to cover anything from sandwiches to fruit to bread loaves. They are a game changing plastic alternative.
Toothbrushes are essential for oral hygiene but most contain plastic. A sustainable alternative is switching to bamboo toothbrushes. These eco-friendly brushes have handles made of biodegradable bamboo and soft BPA-free bristles.
Popular brands like Brush with Bamboo and Panda offer stylish designs. I’ve been using my Panda brush for a month and love how soft it feels. Bamboo itself naturally fights bacteria too.
Bamboo toothbrushes provide the same oral hygiene benefits as plastic ones. However, they biodegrade at the end of their lifespan unlike plastic. Bamboo handles decompose in compost within 6 months. The bristles can be removed before composting too. It’s an easy way to prevent tons of plastic waste from entering landfills.
Households use tons of single-use batteries each year to power devices and toys. An eco-friendly alternative is switching to rechargeable nickel–metal hydride (NiMH) batteries.
Popular brands like Panasonic and Energizer offer rechargeable batteries in AA, AAA, C and D options. They can be reused hundreds of times and ultimately keep hundreds of single-use batteries out of landfills. I bought a 4-pack of AA Energizers a year ago and still use the same set!
Rechargeable batteries provide the same power as single-use alkaline ones. They do cost more upfront but pay for themselves long-term. It takes just 6-12 recharges to offset the higher initial investment. Devices like cameras, flashlights and toys can all run on rechargeable batteries. It’s an easy change that reduces waste significantly.
Reusable Sandwich Bags
Disposable plastic sandwich and snack baggies are a lunchbox staple but generate significant waste. An eco-friendly alternative are reusable sandwich and snack bags made of food-safe materials like nylon or EVA.
Popular brands like ZipTop, LunchSkins and PlanetBox offer reusable bags in fun prints. I pack my daughters’ lunches in LunchSkins bags and haven’t used a disposable baggie in 2 years. The reusable bags are machine washable and long-lasting.
Reusable sandwich bags create less waste and are more economical since they replace hundreds of disposable baggies over time. They are better for the environment and keep food secure too. Some options like ZipTop have air-tight sealing mechanisms for extra food freshness. The eco-friendly bags are perfect for packing lunches, snacks, produce and leftovers waste-free.
Tampons and pads produce over 200,000 tons of waste per year in the US alone. A zero-waste alternative is switching to a menstrual cup – a bell-shaped cup that collects menstrual fluid instead of absorbing it.
Popular brands like Saalt, DivaCup and Lunette offer medical-grade silicone cups in different sizes. Menstrual cups hold 3x more fluid than a tampon. One cup lasts me up to 10 years, replacing thousands of tampons over its lifespan. The cups are inserted like tampons and feel comfortable once inside.
Menstrual cups are cost-effective since one lasts so long. They are better for health since they don’t contain bleaches or chemicals. They also generate no waste unlike tampon applicators and pads. For the environment and comfort, menstrual cups are a game changer.
From reusable bags to bottles to batteries, small changes make a big eco-friendly impact. Opting for reusable alternatives reduces plastic waste and stops thousands of single-use items from entering landfills each year. With so many durable and affordable options, it’s easy to make the switch to reusables. Our planet will thank you!