10 Easy Plastic Swaps for a Plastic-Free, Lower Waste Home
Plastic has been getting a lot of bad press lately - and rightly so. It has been getting harder to recycle plastics as China started rejecting plastic for recycling. New light has been shed on the impact of microplastics in our oceans and air. Yet plastic is so ubiquitous and so a part of our daily life that National Geographic declared that we are drowning in it.
While we aren’t completely plastic free at our house, we have made an effort to significantly reduce our plastic usage, and it’s definitely made a dent! We no longer buy disposable plastic items for our house - the majority of the plastic that enters our house is food packaging (next on the list to tackle - and we definitely have less of this in the summer due to our CSA).
Here are easy 10 plastic swaps you can make to reduce the plastic usage in your home
Swap: Reusable sandwich bags for Plastic Ziploc Bags
I love lunchskins! These cloth sandwich bags come in several sizes and tons of cute patterns, plus are super affordable. They have both velcro and zipper options (the link to the left is for the zipper, which I think is a bit easier to manage). One of the best parts about these lunchskins reusable sandwich bags is that they can go in the dishwasher, meaning you can clean them up and get them ready for the next day’s lunch right in the kitchen.
They even have disposable paper options if you want to avoid plastic but aren’t ready to go fully reusable or want back-up for particularly messy snacks (we have both in our home).
Swap: Glass Pyrex Containers for Plastic Tupperware
While this won’t reduce your disposable plastic, its a good idea to start swapping out your storage plastic too. Once plastic tupperware looks cloudy, it should be replaced, so thats a good time to swap in glass. Not only is glass safer and more sustainable, but its beautiful and has a couple of key benefits around the kitchen too. One of my favorite things about glass is that it can come out of the fridge and go straight into the oven or microwave for heating up leftovers. Easier to manage, fewer dishes to do.
Swap: Cloth Tote Bags for Plastic Grocery Bags
There are lots of great options for reusable bags, but the ones I keep reaching for are my canvas or cloth tote bags. I’ve collected them from grocery stores, bookstores and our CSA over the years, but you can get plain, inexpensive ones on amazon too. Reducing plastic bags is one of the best places to start.
Swap: Bees Wrap for Plastic Wrap
I gave these as stocking stuffers for Christmas a few years ago and they were a big hit. They don’t last forever, but they are sustainably made, come in cute patterns and are great for covering bowls or pans, wrapping cheese and generally replacing plastic wrap around your house. They can be washed (which is how they eventually wear out).
Swap: Reusable Stainless Steel Water Bottles for Plastic Water or Soda Bottles
If you can stop bringing plastic water bottles (or other drink bottles) into your house, that’s a great start - and then keep yourself from buying them when out and about by carrying your own water bottle. These S’well bottles come in tons of colors and several sizes, and are pretty enough to motivate you to stay hydrated. They keep things cold for 24 hours and are made of stainless steel, making them a particularly safe option (rather than replacing disposable plastic with reusable plastic).
Swap: Swedish Dishcloths for Paper Towels and Sponges
Swedish dishcloths are awesome. They feel more like paper towels than sponges, but can replace both, come in adorable patterns and don’t come with the plastic wrapping and waste that paper towels in particular do (and when’s the last time you looked at what was in the sponges you buy?). I find they do a better job than paper towels in wiping down counter tops and cleaning up messes.
Swap: Glass Soap Bottles for Plastic Soap Bottles
My favorite splurge glass refillable soap is from Follain. [Refillable Everything Soap] I love their packaging and the fact that one soap can replace lots of plastic bottles in your house. If you want to use a favorite soap and save some money, though, you can buy a couple glass containers on amazon as well as bulk buy the soap to fill them. A very easy swap that saves money too!
Swap: Bamboo Toothbrush for Plastic Toothbrush
We use a lot of plastic in our bathrooms. Toothbrushes are a great place to start because you have to replace them regularly. These bamboo ones are easier on the environment, organic and gorgeous.
Swap: Silicone Straws for Plastic Straws
We didn’t use many straws in our house until we had a toddler under foot. He has definitely brought straws back into our life. We are starting to notice as we go out to restaurants with him how many are swapping out plastic straws for paper (which I am not a fan of…but still happy is happening!). Silicone are a much better alternative. They don’t fall apart or collapse with use, can be re-used (definitely keep the brush for cleaning - you’ll need it) and come in so many fun colors.
Swap a Bar of Soap for Body Wash
Such a simple swap it can be an easy one to forget. That plastic bottle of body wash can be ditched for an old-school bar of soap (even wrapped in paper instead of plastic!). There are so many great bar soaps out there now - you can find something that suits sensitive skin, smells amazing and looks pretty in your bathroom too.