Finding alternatives to single-use plastic can seem like a hassle. After all, single-use plastic has become the go-to default in almost every aspect of our daily lives. And sure, switching to alternative materials may be more eco-friendly, but convenience is key in our busy world.
Fortunately, these seven easy switches don’t sacrifice on convenience, and adopting them will substantially reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste you end up producing. It’s a feel-good move that does good too!
1. Just-add-water products for cleaning, hygiene and more
This first one used to be something of a challenge to track down. Nowadays, though, it’s a breeze. Tablet-based cleaners, like our solutions at Nature Lake, can be used with our reusable glass bottles. And when you buy replacements, you’re only buying the tablet, not another disposable plastic bottle.
The same goes for hand soap tablets and other personal care products. If you buy just-add-water solutions and reuse the same bottle, it’s an easy and convenient way to eliminate a significant number of disposable plastic bottles each year!
2. Bamboo toothbrushes
Discarding and replacing toothbrushes regularly is important for hygiene. But it also adds up to quite a lot of single use plastic making its way to landfills and, potentially, our precious waterways.
Consider switching to bamboo toothbrushes. These are becoming so common you’ll regularly find them on shelves. However, if none are available where you live, a plethora of companies also sell online, directly and through e-commerce sites like Amazon.
3. Safety razors and cartridge razors
If you rely on disposable razors for any of your shaving needs, you know how quickly the costs and the waste add up.
To eliminate this single-use plastic from your life, one option is to go old school with a safety razor. The basic design of these has been around for more than a century, and modern models are typically sleek and easy to use. Their construction is usually metal, and the only part you replace is the razor blade itself. Typically, the blades are packaged in paper and cardboard, so this switch can almost entirely eliminate single-use plastic from your shaving routine!
Another option is cartridge razors, which can substantially reduce the amount of plastic you use without requiring a switch to a different style of razors. Cartridge razors are the same, pivoting head design you’re used to with disposable razors, but with a reusable handle that doesn’t need to be tossed out every time the blades are worn out.
4. Reusable sandwich and snack bags
Zippered, single-use plastic bags have been a staple in school lunches and organizing for decades now. But they’re ultimately an enormous source of plastic waste. While reusable sandwich and snack bags do require washing in between, they have the exact same convenient functionality as plastic zip bags.
These products come in a variety of materials including cotton blends and silicone. You can also consider beeswax food wraps, which can replace cling wrap and tinfoil, just be sure you wash them in cold water to avoid melting the wax!
5. Laundry and dishwasher powder
To keep our clothes and dishes clean, many of us run through a lot of jugs of liquid detergent in a year. Switching to a powdered or tablet detergent sold in cardboard boxes can have a big impact. If your machines don’t work with powder, you can also look into gel packs, which often are shipped with less plastic packaging than the jugs of straight liquid detergent.
6. Mesh produce bags
Once you get in the habit of keeping a set of mesh produce bags in your car, bag or coat pocket, you’ll never have to reach for a single-use plastic produce bag at the grocery store ever again! These are often made of polyester, but if you’d like to avoid even reusable plastic items you can easily find versions made of Global Organic Textile Standards (GOTS) certified organic cotton.
7. Biodegradable starter pots
Finally, this one goes out to all the gardeners out there. Growing your own food is a popular strategy to reduce your carbon footprint, but it’s not ideal when you’re starting your plants in disposable plastic pots. Look instead for eco-friendly, biodegradable pots. While peat moss options are very nourishing to plants, there’s debate about how renewable peat moss is as a resource. Alternatives include paper, wood fiber and even composted cow dung!
Sustainable alternatives are constantly expanding
Do you have any favorite alternatives to single use plastic items? How about any cleaning or personal care products you’re eager to find an earth-friendly substitute for? We’d love to hear from you! We’re always looking for ways to expand our product line and improve the range of sustainable choices available to our customers.