Making a list and heading to your local superstore to stock up on household necessities? You can permanently cross these eight disposable items off your list. Reusable alternatives are not only far better for our Earth, but in the long run, far better for our pockets, too, since you don't have to keep re-purchasing them! Best part of all? They're (almost) all available on Amazon Prime, so hopping on the eco train is only 2 short shipping days away.
1. Sandwich bags
Bringing lunch along with us to school or work is always the most frugal option, but how about the impact those convenient plastic baggies are having on our environment? 500 billion plastic bags are consumed annually. Buy this reusable, dishwasher-safe, microwave-safe, freezer-safe, silicone alternative one time and never be a part of that sickening statistic again. Also try out these fun, printed options made from a food-safe BPA-free and phthalate-free fabric that is also dishwasher safe.
2. Plastic cling wrap
Plastic wrap is recyclable in some areas, but it can be difficult for the recycling facilities to sort through. Because of this, it's a material that often ends up in landfills or polluting our oceans. Looking for a more sustainable option? I've been loving these silicone food covers that fit snug over half cut pieces of fruit or veggies (yes, even avocados!). And for packing up leftovers, try out these tight-fitting silicone lids that fit over bowls and other serving dishes for ease of placing leftovers right into the fridge.
3. Disposable cutlery
Although this may not something you are necessarily purchasing directly, since it's often offered alongside takeout, I wanted to include it here because of how incredibly easy it is to avoid. Get in the habit of specifying that you don't need a plastic bag or utensils along with your food order. The restaurants are happy to omit; you're saving money for them, anyway! There are a number of reusable travel utensil sets made out of bamboo or stainless steel that you can carry in your bag for sustianable eating on-the-go.
4. Plastic straws
Years ago, reusable glass straws were one of the first things I ever purchased on my eco-journey. I still have them to this day! There are also great bamboo and stainless alternatives if you have children and are looking for a less fragile option. There is really no need to buy or use plastic straws anymore. The reusable options come in all different shapes, widths, and styles, and many of the to-go utensil sets mentioned above include a straw as well.
5. Bottled water
The convenience of plastic water bottles is what keeps everybody coming back for more; I get it. But what is more convenient than a refillable water bottle that also filters tap water? This reusable bottle by Welly is made from stainless steel and bamboo and can keep beverages cold for 12 hours or hot for 8 hours. Their bamboo filters are some of the most sustainable water filters I have ever seen. They're simply pieces of carbonized bamboo stalk that filters chlorine, taste, odor and heavy metals like lead out of your tap water. I love that the bottle also releases healthy minerals including calcium, magnesium and potassium. When the filter reaches the end of it's life, you can crush it up and add it into your houseplants. How awesome is that?
6. Disposable plates and cups
I know glassware isn't always the most convenient option, especially for families with children. If paper plates and cups are typically a necessity in your home for casual dining, check out this plant-based alternative dining set instead. The material is made from vegetable waste like corn, starch, bamboo, and rice husks, and the end product is dishwasher-safe and super sturdy. Once you decide your set has reached the end of its life, you can simply bury it in your backyard and it will biodegrade within 2 to 3 years.
7. Coffee filters
8. Floor Cleaning Pads
The days of the traditional mop and bucket may be over, but increased convenience doesn't need to come at the expense of increased landfill waste. Enter these reusable and machine washable cover pads that come in a duster version as well.
Wondering what the true impact our disposable waste is having on our environment? I highly recommend watching the documentary, Plastic Paradise: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch to further inspire you to make some of the aforementioned changes.
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