I’ve been trying to become more eco-friendly this year, as I’m sure a lot of people have. Every day, tons of articles are published regarding the state of our planet and how we can help make it better. It can be overwhelming and cause you to feel helpless because you’re just one person. But one small thing we can all do to make a huge difference is to start implementing zero waste swaps, which means we swap out some of our everyday essentials for plastic-free or eco-friendly ones.
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Landfills are one of the biggest contributors to pollution. By recycling or switching to no-waste products, we could prevent up to 80% of landfills. This type of information has caused a surge in no-waste living, and the materials to do so have become cheap and easy to find. Here are a few easy, stress-free, cheap zero waste swaps you can make in your own home!
Reusable water bottles (vs. plastic water bottles)
This is one of my favorite zero waste swaps, and the first one I really committed to. When I read that 2.5 million plastic bottles are thrown away every hour (in the US alone!), it really opened my eyes and I ran out to buy a bunch of reusable plastic tumblers. At first it can be a little tough to remember to bring your own tumbler, but soon it will become second nature. Bring your tumbler to work, to Starbucks (if you’re in the drive-through, just let them know that you brought your own cup!), to hang out with family or friends, or even to a restaurant.
Reusable canvas grocery bags (vs. plastic bags)
This is one of the most popular swaps, especially in California where they charge for plastic grocery bags. Not only does it save me money to bring my own bags, but my reusable canvas bags also store 2-3x more than a dinky little plastic bag! Plus you’re saving marine life, as 80% of the negative effects on ocean life are caused by plastic.
Reusable produce bags (vs. plastic produce bags)
This swap is becoming so popular that most grocery stores carry their own line of reusable produce bags, and they’re usually stored right next to the produce! Produce bags are super durable and made of natural materials, which means once you get home, you can keep your food stored directly in these bags.
Metal or silicone straws (vs. plastic straws)
I was a little late to the metal straw game, as I usually save my plastic straws and use them until they fall apart. Gross? Maybe. But it made me feel a whole lot better than just tossing them. But then I got some silicone straws and I’m obsessed. They fit perfectly in any of my reusable tumblers, plus you can throw them in the dishwasher to make it even easier on yourself.
Glass soap dispenser and bulk liquid soap (vs. small plastic soap bottles)
This swap is not just good for the environment, but also good for your wallet. Refilling your own soap dispenser can save so much money in the long run. Plus, whenever you want a new soap dispenser, you can buy a new one and recycle the old one. Did you know that glass can be recycled indefinitely without losing its quality?
Waterpik (vs. regular dental floss)
I finally bought myself a Waterpik (on sale at Target, $30!). I still use regular dental floss once a day (at night), but I use my Waterpik in the morning and any other time I need it. That’s still cutting down waste by 50%!
A regular coffee pot (vs. non-recyclable K-cups)
I’m going to be honest, I’ve never been a fan of Keurig coffee machines. They’ve just never appealed to me, mostly because I need a whole lot more than one cup of coffee in the morning. I’d rather brew one pot than keep coming back to make another cup! Plus the K-cups always seemed so wasteful. However, a while back they introduced a reusable plastic K-cup you can use every day with your own coffee grounds. I love that, but I still think the best option is a good old-fashioned coffee pot. Plus the filters and coffee grounds are compostable, so it really is a no-waste product!
Disposable paper plates and silverware (vs. regular plates)
The average American uses roughly two trees every year in paper products. Sometimes these paper products are unavoidable, but it’s best to cut down wherever we can. Use plastic, stoneware, or wood plates at home, and try to avoid plastic cutlery whenever possible. There are tons of portable reusable cutlery sets out there, most of which are $10 or less!
Reusable silicone food bags (vs. Ziploc plastic bags)
This is a huge one. Cutting down on Ziploc bags and plastic wrap can have a huge effect on our planet. Try switching to reusable silicone food bags to carry your lunch or store leftovers. The best part is that most of these bags and microwave and dishwasher safe, and some of them you can even cook in!