In recent years, climate change and reducing our environmental impact have become increasingly important issues. One way we can make a difference is by reducing our carbon footprint – the amount of greenhouse gases we produce through our daily activities. Switching to eco-friendly and sustainable products is an effective way to lower our carbon emissions. While most people know about common solutions like driving less or switching to renewable energy, there are also many obscure and innovative eco-products that can dramatically reduce your carbon footprint.
In this in-depth guide, I will highlight some of the most unique and little-known sustainable products to help you drastically cut your carbon emissions. From biodegradable toothbrushes to upcycled yoga mats, read on to discover easy ways to go green with these fascinating eco inventions.
Plastic toothbrushes are a surprising source of waste and emissions. Americans throw away over 1 billion toothbrushes per year, with most ending up in landfills. The small amount of plastic in each brush adds up, especially since toothbrushes are commonly made from polypropylene, which is derived from fossil fuels.
An easy swap is to use toothbrushes made of biodegradable bamboo. Bamboo is a highly renewable material that can decompose naturally without releasing greenhouse gases. Bamboo toothbrushes have the same bristles as normal toothbrushes, but use bamboo for the handle instead of plastic. Major brands like Brush with Bamboo or Preserve make sleek bamboo toothbrushes in many styles. Since you should replace toothbrushes every 3 months, switching to biodegradable bamboo can keep over 4 plastic brushes out of landfills every year.
Beeswax Food Wraps
Plastic wrap and tin foil are other common kitchen items that generate excessive waste. The EPA estimates that Americans throw away over 14 billion pounds of foil per year. Like plastic, aluminum foil is made from nonrenewable resources which leads to high carbon emissions from mining raw materials and manufacturing.
An eco-friendly alternative is beeswax food wraps. Beeswax wraps are reusable and created from pure beeswax, organic cotton, tree resin, and plant oils. The natural wax coating allows the wraps to form around food and keep it fresh. Standard sizes are available, but many companies also sell sheets to let you cut custom sizes. Since beeswax wraps can be washed and reused for up to a year, they prevent the waste of hundreds of single-use plastic bags or foil sheets. Brands like Bee’s Wrap or Abeego offer stylish, colorful prints that liven up lunches and leftovers.
Americans throw away over 3 billion disposable batteries every year according to the EPA.Disposable batteries contain heavy metals and toxic chemicals that can contaminate soil and groundwater when sent to landfills. They also require substantial mining and energy to manufacture. However, rechargeable batteries are a simple fix for this major source of waste.
Investing in a set of rechargeable AA and AAA batteries and a charger can eliminate the need for hundreds of disposable batteries. Rechargeable batteries typically last 3-5 years with proper care and up to 1,000 charges. Top performing rechargeable battery brands include Panasonic Eneloop, Amazon Basics, and Energizer Recharge. Get in the habit of plugging in rechargeable batteries overnight so they’re ready to go for devices like flashlights, toys, and TV remotes.
Upcycled Yoga Mats
Yoga mats worn from regular use often end up in landfills. Even yoga mats marketed as eco-friendly are commonly made of PVC or EVA foam which are not easily recyclable materials.
An earth-conscious solution is upcycled yoga mats created by companies like Blue Mat Yoga. These mats give recycled materials new life by transforming discarded items like wetsuits and bicycle tires into yoga mats. The upcycling process reuses materials that would otherwise end up in a landfill. It also skips the carbon emissions required to manufacture new foam or PVC mats. Mats made from upcycled materials tend to be grippy and comfortable for yoga. Plus, vibrant designs like Uplifted Living’s ‘Sea Green’ mat stand out from typical black yoga mats.
The everyday products we rely on often have hidden impacts on the environment. However, switching to eco-friendly and upcycled versions of items like toothbrushes, batteries, and yoga mats can quietly but meaningfully reduce your carbon footprint. Along with broader lifestyle changes like eating less meat or upgrading appliances, creatively sourcing sustainable alternatives for common purchases allows us all to be part of the solution to climate change. Voting with your dollars for greener products also encourages companies to develop more environmentally responsible options. By supporting obscure eco brands and products, you send a message that customers desire sustainability. With small steps like these, we can work collectively to lighten our impact on the planet.