25 of My Easiest Sustainable Switches
August 31, 2020
As it’s “Zero Waste Week” starting next Monday, September 7th 2020, I thought it would be fitting to share some of my easiest sustainable switches that you could incorporate into your household. When I say easy, I truly mean it. None of these switches call for a drastic routine alteration, adjustment period, or deprivation of the disposable alternative. I’ve loved hunting for better products to the convenient items we’ve been accustomed to so, hopefully, this post will take a bit of the legwork out of it for you!
Note: I’m not claiming to be a zero-waster in the slightest nor does the zero waste movement require you to be one. I do, however, strive to reduce my waste and consumption wherever possible and am always discovering new switches I can make to align with this ethos.
1. Hemp Shower Curtain Liner – Not to start this list off incredibly granola, but haven’t you always hated the plastic shower curtain liners that go pink & mildewy (*vom*) which inevitably need tossing & replaced once they’re beyond health hazard concerns? I found an alternative! I got this hemp shower liner when we first moved to Denver and I wouldn’t go back! Yes, it requires more maintenance than the plastic ones, but I’d much rather wash it every couple of weeks and have it last me ages than just replace plastic with more plastic.
3. Reusable Cotton Pads – I saw loads of minimalists promoting reusable cotton pads and never really made the switch until about a year ago. Now, I see no reason to ever go back to disposables for every day use! These are used for my toner each day and just chucked in the wash with my whites when dirty. I do, however, still have disposable cotton pads for removing nail polish – I’ve yet to discover an alternative in this department.
4. Mouthwash Tablets – My sister-in-law got these for me for my birthday this year and I cannot tout the idea of mouthwash tablets enough! These come with a refillable (& compostable) sachet of tablets (that dissolve in water) instead of needing to toss a plastic bottle in the bin once you’ve run out.
5. Safety Razor – This should really be at the top of my list! It’s one of the best sustainable bathroom switches I’ve made and cannot recommend this one enough. Eddie has also jumped on the bandwagon and gotten himself a safety razor which he loves! The price might seem daunting at first, but I can confidently say you easily get your money’s worth if you’re comparing this to your typical, plastic razor. Oui’s razor comes with a set of replacement blades – I’ve yet to order a new set of blades and I’ve had this razor for almost two years now.
6. Copper Tongue Scraper – Bye bye plastic! This works so well that it makes you wonder why you’d bother with a plastic one in the first place. It truly gets e v e r y t h i n g off your tongue that you don’t want. Leaving you with deliciously fresh breath 🙂
7. Shampoo Bar – I wrote a whole blog post about this one and I stand by it. I’ve tried so many shampoo bar brands with hopes of getting the ultimate vegan, sustainable, and cruelty-free option, but to this day, the LUSH Shampoo Bar remains my trusted friend. I would say this is the best first shampoo bar to switch to if you’re trying to cut out plastic from your shower.
8. Bamboo Toothbrush – This is the brand I currently use and love the feeling on my teeth! To be clear, I use an electric at home because I do feel it gives me the best clean possible, and I’m a bit of a teeth nut. My bamboo toothbrush is used whenever I travel (which, admittedly, was far more frequent in 2019 than 2020). No need for disposable plastic toothbrushes for traveling when you can easily use bamboo instead!
9. Sustainable Skincare – Besides opting for plant-based, cruelty-free and sustainably made skincare products themselves, I also aim to shop with brands who apply this sustainability to their packaging as well. I strive to buy glass (vs. plastic) where possible and have a few favourites that are always on my bathroom shelves:
Pai Rosehip Cleansing Oil (this is my makeup remover – no need for cotton pads here either!)
Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser (the only face wash I could use whilst suffering through extreme morning sickness!)
Indie Lee COQ-10 Toner (used every day with the reusable cotton pads above)
Odacite Synergie Mask (I do this mask once a week!)
10. Bamboo Glass Containers – Our kitchen storage needed beefing up recently so I used this as an opportunity to find something sustainable and effective. I landed on these bamboo & glass containers that have ticked all the boxes:
- No plastic.
- Bamboo is a raw material and has natural antibacterial properties.
- The seal is AIRTIGHT.
- Glass so I can see everything easily in the fridge.
11. Linen Napkins – I’m trying to use paper towels sparingly. The easiest way to reduce this usage is by incorporating reusable napkins into our meals. These were kindly gifted to me a few years ago and now have their very own drawer in our kitchen that we pull from each meal. Again, another super simple replacement for a wasteful alternative.
12. Silpats – Roasting veggies, warming up leftovers, baking cookies, you name it! These Silpats were one of the first reusable items I incorporated into the kitchen (I believe they were a wedding registry gift!). They only work on ‘bake’ and not ‘broil’ but that’s our most frequent oven use anyway so these are perfect for most meals!
13. Bamboo Drying Rack + Cutlery Holder – To echo my sentiments on the shower curtain liner, I’ve never been a fan of the plastic cutlery and dish drying racks. This bamboo set is not only big enough to hold everything I need, it’s a visually appealing replacement to the plastic and metal eyesores that used to don my kitchen counters.
14. Hand Towels – Another easy replacement for paper towels. Potentially a no-brainer, but I used to use paper towels for drying my washed veggies and didn’t think twice about just using a reusable towel. It’s such an easy replacement to paper towels and can easily be tossed in the wash afterwards. I do have plenty of them in my kitchen after all!
15. Bamboo Cutting Board – Don’t these bamboo cutting boards just look more appealing than the old, stained plastic cutting boards we’ve had in our kitchens for decades? They’re also more hygienic to their counterparts.
16. Metal Straws – Every morning, Eddie makes me an iced coffee with oat milk and you bet your little bum that I drink it through a metal straw! I also have these in my car for when I’m out and about geting a drink to go.
17. Reusable Coffee Mug – My absolute favourites are the KeepCup & a Yeti. The Yeti is particularly perfect for iced drinks as you can replace the hot lid with a straw lid making it easy to slurp up those extra icy frappuccinos!
18. Bamboo & Cotton Handkerchiefs – The amount of tissues I was going through (particularly upon moving to Denver) was horrendous! I’ve made the switch to these ridiculously soft bamboo & cotton handkerchiefs and love that, once again, you can simply chuck them in with your whites and you’re good to go.
19. Essential Oil Diffuser – I’ve been on the hunt for alllll the wonderful smellies for my house – but, of course, had so many stipulations to the sustainability and natural components when shopping. After recently giving this to a friend as a house warming gift, I took it upon myself to give it a test drive and see what my brilliant gift-giving skills were like. 😉 No, but truly, I wanted something better than reed diffusers which only seem to smell a room within a 2 foot radius from the diffuser itself. I’m also not constantly lighting candles for extended periods of time so this essential oil diffuser seemed like a perfect option for keeping any bad smells at bay whilst adding a pleasant spa-like experience to the mix! As a secondary benefit, I’ve read that using essential oils + baking soda + water in a spray bottle is a great way to freshen up the smell of any room so I’ll be getting double use out of the oils from this diffuser!
20. Plant-Based Candles – I do still, however, have candles in almost every single room and light them throughout the week for that extra waft of deliciousness or just to set a pleasant mood in the evenings. My go-to candle is this plant-based candle by a brand I love called Self Care Co. They’re based in the UK and did a wonderful collaboration with Deliciously Ella. I’ve currently got this candle in my bathroom.
21. Linen Bedding – If you want to talk about elevating your bedroom whilst being conscious of your purchases, Parachute is the way to go. We overhauled our bed set at the beginning of the year and it has been Eddie’s favourite sustainable switch in the house thus far!
22. Ethical PJs – Gone are my days of Victoria’s Secret and Gap pajama sets. If I’m ever looking for an update to my pj drawer (which really could do with a wee bit of a refresher as I’m currently outgrowing a lot with this massive, pregnant belly of mine!) then Boody is my go-to for the softest and most luxurious-feeling ethical pjs.
23. Secondhand Furniture – This really applies to every room of the house, but scouring Facebook Marketplace (the only reason I still have a Facebook account!), Craigslist, and (pre-COVID) antique stores has been such a fun & majorly sustainably way of incorporating beautiful vintage pieces into our home. You can read this post to see how we did exactly that with our current home.
24. Reusable COVID Face Mask + Filters – It’s a weird time to be promoting masks, but here we are! I was on the hunt for a reusable one a couple of months ago, and after some lengthy research, landed on these masks off of Etsy. I also got these replacement filters that slide inside the mask for extra protection (particularly during frequent usage).
25. Dog Shampoo Bars – A potentially random one to include, but I’ve switched Toulouse’s dog shampoo (and conditioner) to bars from Ethique. I flew through his first bottle of shampoo and realized just how quickly I’d be adding to my plastic waste. I ordered this back in February and I’ve barely seen it shrink in size so far! The shampoo bar lathers super easily and the conditioner gives his coat a nice shine. I recommend eyeing this out if you’re looking to cut waste with your pets too!
I hope you find this list useful! Let me know if I’ve missed anything that you’ve incorporated into your routine that others might be keen to learn about. 🙂