There are many different sustainable swaps that you can make for your household. In this post we’ll share a few of our favorite swaps and why you should explore them as well. The sustainable swaps we’ve listed below are just a few we’ve made in the past year as we’ve become more conscious of the items we use in our everyday lives. Swaps are meant to be easy, almost like-for-like changes between one item and another to reduce the use of plastic or other unsustainable materials in your life – these changes are meant to be easy so don’t fret if you can’t do them all at once! It’s all about progress and being more mindful of the products you use.
Our favorite sustainable swaps
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1. Swap your soaps and detergents for natural alternatives
Making the switch to eco-friendly soaps and detergents is one of the easiest ways to reduce your environmental impact and is one of our favorite sustainable swaps. Between dish soap, bath and body soap, shampoos, conditioners, and laundry detergents there are many products around the house you can simply swap with more sustainable options. If you’re looking for sustainable cleaning products, check out Meliora Cleaning Products. We cannot recommend them enough – we love their soaps, detergents and mission.
2. Use cloth napkins and dish rags
Instead of paper napkins and towels, try making the switch to cloth rags and napkins. These sustainable swaps were the easiest we’ve made since starting our zero waste journey. Initially we had hesitation, especially getting rid of the paper towels but it has ended up being a smooth transition.
3. Store food in glassware
Swapping out plastic food containers with glass alternatives is an easy way to remove plastic from your life. We love our glass containers for pantry and leftover storage. The jars and Pyrex containers are perfect for storing food because they’re airtight so we can store food in them for extended periods of time. Pyrex or similar glassware with rubber lids are awesome. You can bake in them and then instead of using aluminum foil or plastic wrap to cover your leftovers, just use the rubber lid to store your food. That simple change can remove a lot of non-recyclable material from your life.
4. Replace conventional light bulbs for improved energy efficiency and lower power bills
Replacing your light bulbs with LED lights is one of the easiest things you can do to make your home more sustainable. Why? LEDs are more efficient than incandescent or fluorescent bulbs because they use less energy and produce less heat. Their expected lifetime is longer than CFLs and much longer than the older incandescent bulbs so not only are you saving energy and money by using LED bulbs, you’re also saving on the replacement cost of the bulbs.
5. Swap out your plastic grocery bags for reusable ones
Making the switch from plastic grocery bags to reusable bags has honestly been one of the more difficult for us. The problem isn’t the use of the bags – it’s remembering to bring them in the first place! Building the habit of grabbing them on your way out of the door or storing them in the car has slowly started to help. But, even if you forget to bring your reusable bags, try asking for paper bags that you can recycle at home later. If you do end up with plastic bags, don’t toss them! Most grocery stores have a collection box out front where you can recycle them and other similar plastic.
While doing your shopping, keep an eye out for produce and other goods that are wrapped in plastic – there are often unwrapped items elsewhere in the produce section. Check out our other tips on how to make your grocery shopping more sustainable.
6. Use a reusable mug for your coffee or tea
This is a combination of two sustainable swaps. First, making your coffee or tea at home is a great way to save money and reduce the waste produced from your morning cup of caffeine. But, if you find yourself going to the coffee shop on a frequent basis, make sure to bring your own mug for discounted refills and to avoid disposable cups. Just think how much plastic would be saved if everyone did this! If you’re looking for a reusable mug, we highly recommend any of the ones in this post – they will keep your coffee at the desired temp.
7. Buy in bulk
Switching from buying prepackaged and plastic-wrapped goods at the grocery store to buying in bulk is a great way to not only eat healthier and be more conscious of the food you’re eating, it’s such an easy way to reduce your plastic footprint as well. Check with your local bulk store, but you can typically bring your own refillable containers. Don’t forget to have them weighed first before you go grab your bulk dry goods. Even shopping at warehouse stores like Costco can help you reduce your plastic footprint slightly as you’ll get more product per volume of plastic packaging.
8. Hang your clothes to dry
Instead of using a dryer, when possible, hang your clothes on a drying rack to dry. Doing so not only saves on energy use, it can also prolong the life of your clothes. For more home energy saving tips, check out our earlier post.