It’s no secret that we currently live in a throw-away society that prioritizes convenience over the planet’s health. With the ease and availability of materials that are non-biodegradable and designed for one-time use, finding eco-friendly alternatives can seem overwhelming to do.
But what if I told you that you could start making a difference today by merely swapping out a single, one-time-use plastic item with an eco-friendly alternative? Would you take action?
Inside this post, I’m going to share seven simple swaps to eco-friendly alternatives to reduce single-use plastics in your home.
The Truth About Plastic
Did you know that it can take generations of life for plastic to biodegrade? It’s true, in fact, scientists estimate that it can take anywhere from 450 years to over 1000 years for one single plastic water bottle to biodegrade. There are also plastics that will never biodegrade based on their components.
Plastics are typically toxic, unstable, and made from non-renewable resources. They accumulate rapidly, greatly affecting our ecosystem, while harming various life forms. According to the Ocean Crusaders, approximately 100,000 marine creatures a year die from plastic entanglement alone.
Did you also know that most plastic doesn’t even get recycled? It’s true, a lot of it gets thrown out in the garbage. According to National Geographic, approximately 91% of plastics are not recycled. And even the plastics that get recycled cannot be recycled indefinitely. Over time, conventional plastics will degrade and can no longer be reused.
It’s clear that it’s time to eliminate one-time use plastics once and for all.
The World Needs You
To create change, we need to work together.
You might say “How can I make a difference, I’m just one person?” I’m here to remind you that you can make a difference. And here’s why:
Just like our life is created entirely of small moments taking place in the present, every action we make adds up. Every moment builds upon each other and creates our lifetime. Every action we make as an individual and as a collective ripples out and makes an impact on this planet.
It’s never a ME, but always a WE.
You are not alone in making these steps! I’m already there with you. The more we come together to create change on the individual level, the more we gain momentum to create change on a bigger scale for generations to come.
7 Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Reduce Single-Use Plastics
It can be overwhelming to look at the plastic issue on a larger, global scale. But don’t let that overwhelm keep you from taking any steps forward. You can start making a difference today by swapping out a single, one-time-use plastic item with an eco-friendly alternative. Keep it simple and focus on one step at a time; because it all adds up, sweet friend.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means I might earn a small commission if you love something as much as I do… but I only recommend what I actually love myself! 10% of all proceeds on the website are donated to eco-conscious charities to promote a healthy Mother Earth.
Start your journey towards plastic-free living today with seven eco-friendly alternatives to reduce single-use plastics:
(1) Have a plastic water bottle-free home
Statistics show that Americans use, on average, 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour. And one plastic bottle can take anywhere from 450 years to 1000 years to biodegrade!
By using a reusable water bottle, you eliminate plastic waste that takes hundreds of years to biodegrade. It may seem like a simple swap, but it is a powerful step towards a healthier planet. When considering water bottle alternatives, it is essential to think about the materials used in the bottle’s production. I recommend a BPA-free stainless steel or glass water bottle.
My favourite water bottles:
- Stainless Steel: Eco Bottles – Tree Tribe makes beautiful BPA-free stainless steel water bottles designed to last. They are plastic-free and capped with bamboo. And for every water bottle purchase, Tree Tribe plants one tree!
- Glass: Elixir2Go Crystal Water Bottle – Made with high quality, lead-free borosilicate glass with stainless steel caps, these glass water bottles aren’t just a water bottle. You get to combine the power of water with that of crystals with this crystal elixir set. The sets come with a glass water bottle, a crystal blend, a bottle sleeve, and a lifetime warranty. There are eight different crystal blends to choose from, but you can swap them out any time and create your own blends. I have their rose quartz blend!
(2) Ditch the plastic phone case and get a compostable one
The phone case industry makes over 1 billion plastic phone cases every year, making phone cases a substantial plastic waste source.
Fortunately, you can eliminate plastic by choosing a compostable phone case. I highly recommend that you check out the compostable Pela Cases for your phone. Pela’s mission is to reduce the amount of plastic on the planet, one phone case at a time. For every phone case purchased, they donate to Ocean Cleanup and Preservation initiatives.
I have a couple of Pela Cases for my phone, and they are 100% compostable, eco-friendly, and offer great drop protection. Plus, Pela also offers the Ethos Radiation Reduction Tool that blocks 80% of EMF’s from your phone!
(3) Swap your plastic sunglasses for bamboo ones
Another source of plastic waste is plastic sunglasses. Fortunately, you can swap out your pair of plastic sunglasses for more eco-friendly, sustainable options.
(4) Get a cotton swab alternative
Cotton swabs are a tremendous source of ocean pollution. In fact, approximately 1.5 million disposable swabs are produced every day. And we’re talking single-use swabs. Considering all of the resources needed to create, ship, and package the single-use swabs, you can see that the amount of waste is significant.
Thankfully, Last Object’s mission is to help the planet by developing alternatives to single use products. And those products include:
- Cotton Swab Alternative: LastSwab – an alternative to the everyday cotton swab. LastSwab comes in two different models: one for general uses and one for beauty. These swabs replace 1000 single-use cotton swabs, and they are easy to clean with soap and water.
- Cotton Round Alternative: LastRound – a pack of seven reusable facial pads that replace 1750 single-use cotton rounds. The rounds are made with 100% sustainably sourced materials and are completely compostable.
(5) Opt-out of receiving plastic straws
Studies suggest that Americans alone use between 400-500 million drinking straws every day. And a single plastic drinking straw can take up to 200 years to decompose.
When purchasing a beverage, you have the choice to opt-out of receiving a plastic straw. Every single straw adds up and contributes to the enormous amount of plastic pollution present on this planet that kills around 100,000 marine animals each year.
You can either go without a straw. Or if, you love using a straw, you can purchase a reusable straw that you can carry with you on the go. I recommend using stainless steel, glass, or even bamboo straws.
My favourite reusable straws:
- Straw Alternative: Eco Straws – Tree Tribe’s eco straw sets come in glass, stainless steel, and bamboo. Plus, one tree is planted for every pack sold.
- Straw Alternative: Crystal Straws – Enjoy your own crystal infused elixir while helping to eliminate single-use plastic. These straws are stainless steel and come in rose gold, silver, and yellow gold. As for crystals, you get the option between amethyst, clear quartz, and rose quartz.
(6) Say no to the plastic bag and get reusable bags
We have a choice when it comes to taking a plastic bag home with us. We can say no to the bag.
Plastic grocery bags can accumulate quickly in a household. In fact, according to the Ocean Crusaders shoppers use approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year. Which translates to about a million bags a minute or 150 bags a year for every person.
How many times are you truly going to re-use a one-time use plastic grocery bag before ditching it? I’m willing to bet that it’s not enough to offset hundreds of years of time for that bag to biodegrade.
If you carry your items to the checkout without a bag, why take a plastic bag to get those items home? And if you know you are going to need a bag, why not keep reusable bags in your car for your shopping needs?
Saying no to the bag is simple, yet a powerful action to take.
Also, resist grabbing the plastic produce bags found on the rollers in grocery stores. You can purchase reusable produce bags as a replacement if you do not want to put your produce directly in your cart. The most important thing when it comes to produce is to wash it well when you get home.
I recommend using reusable bags that you can wash easily and often. Here are my favourite reusable bag alternatives:
- Produce Bag Alternative: Eco Roots – A set of 9 reusable produce bags made out of 100% organic cotton. These bags are washable, sustainable, renewable, and biodegradable.
- Grocery Bag Alternative: Organic Cotton Tote Bags – These organic cotton bags are reusable, washable, and biodegradable. They are made with 100% natural and unbleached organic cotton.
(7) Replace your toothbrush with a biodegradable option
Dentists recommend that you switch out your toothbrush every few months and if you get sick, to swap out that toothbrush right away; this can really add up when you are using plastic toothbrushes. Let’s look at the numbers:
The average life expectancy changes over time. However, for the purposes of this example, let’s say the average global life expectancy is 72 years. A person replaces their toothbrush every three months: 12/3 = 4 toothbrushes. A person gets sick once a year (for example): + 1 additional toothbrush every year. 72 years x 5 toothbrushes a year = 360 toothbrushes a person approx.
Plastic toothbrushes are non-biodegradable, and studies show that a single toothbrush can take anywhere between 400-500 years to decompose. They not only accumulate in massive numbers, but they harm the environment and marine life.
I recommend replacing your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo toothbrush. Bamboo is a rapidly renewable and sustainable resource. Most bamboo toothbrushes are compostable and recyclable.
I like to use the Natboo Bamboo Toothbrushes. These bamboo toothbrushes are compostable, vegan, and 100% recyclable.
If you have a choice, choose to support local businesses that are eco-conscious in their mission and vision.
Look for businesses that allow you to bring in your own reusable bottles and containers; work to reduce any unnecessary plastic packaging; have eliminated plastic straws; encourage you to bring in your own bags; etc.
The businesses that we choose to support impact our local communities and the message that we send out as individuals.
And there, you have seven sustainable alternatives to reduce one-time plastics in your home. Remember, focusing on one step at a time is more powerful than being stuck in a place of overwhelm.
Do not underestimate the power of these steps because every step we make adds up. Remember, it’s a WE, not a ME. Change starts with every one of us and ripples out. What step will you take today?
What are your favourite plastic-free alternatives? Let us know in the conversation below!
Did you enjoy this post? If so, don’t forget to share it: