9 Easy Sustainable Product Swaps for Your Home
Reducing your environmental impact doesn’t have to be expensive, nor does it require a full lifestyle change.
It can actually be as simple as changing out a few of your home products — like the coffee filter you use or the materials you wrap your leftovers in.
Are you looking to reduce your waste and improve your environmental footprint this year?
Here are 9 sustainable product swaps that can help you do it
Out: Dryer sheets
In: Wool laundry balls
Your typical dryer sheet isn’t reusable or biodegradable. They also contain chemicals that are bad for the air and larger environment. Dryer balls, on the other hand, can be used time and time again — no upkeep necessary. They also cut down significantly on drying time, which is another huge perk if you’re trying to reduce your environmental impact.
Out: Plastic baggies
In: Beeswax wrap or reusable containers
If you’re regularly using Ziplocs or other throw-away plastic baggies for lunch or leftovers, it’s time to make a change with a sustainable product swap. Consider investing in a set of washable and reusable food storage baggies instead, or switch to resealable glass containers (like Tupperware, but not plastic). You can also use beeswax wrap, a type of food wrap made out of wax and oil. You can reuse it over and over again, and it’s biodegradable as well.
Out: Plastic straws
In: Metal or silicone straws
Plastic straws are a big problem for the environment, polluting our oceans and killing birds, turtles, and other wildlife. They’re also not biodegradable. Fortunately, there are tons of other options. First, you can opt for an alternative straw — like a reusable metal, silicone, or rubber one. There are also paper straws, which are easily recyclable, or you could just go strawless, using a sip- or pour-style cup instead.
Out: Cotton balls and disposable cotton rounds
In: Washable face rounds and makeup remover towels
If you’re going through multiple cotton balls or rounds a day, you’re probably creating a lot of waste — especially once you tally it up over a lifetime. A better sustainable product swap is a washable face round or a makeup remover towel, both of which you can just throw in the wash after a few uses.
Out: Plastic toothbrushes
In: Bamboo or rubber toothbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes just pile up in landfills and oceans, and they’re nowhere near biodegradable. For a more sustainable way to clean your teeth, consider a bamboo toothbrush instead. A nice little bonus? They have antibacterial properties, making them healthier for your mouth, too.
Out: Paper coffee filters and disposable pods
In: Reusable coffee filters and pods
Dirty, used paper coffee filters can’t be recycled, and neither can those little pods filled with coffee (unless you’re going to clean them and separate out all the pieces). If you have a standard coffee maker, opt for a reusable filter instead as a sustainable product swap. You just fill it up, make your coffee, and then dump the grains, wash, and start all over again. There are also reusable pods that you can fill with the coffee grains of your choice.
Out: Throw-away, one-use batteries
In: Rechargeable batteries
Batteries are terrible for the environment once disposed of. Over time, they eventually corrode, leaking chemicals into the soil and nearby water sources. To avoid contributing to an already looming problem, invest in a few packs of rechargeable batteries instead. These aren’t too much more expensive than traditional batteries, and they can be used time and time again for years to come.
Out: Bottled shampoo and conditioner
In: Bar shampoo and conditioner
Think about how many bottles of shampoo and conditioner you go through each year — and how many of those likely end up in landfills. Fortunately, there’s an easy sustainable product swap for this one: Use bar-form cleansers instead. They function just like bar soap, only for your hair. You can find all kinds of options on Amazon and in your local beauty store.
Out: Paper towels
In: Bamboo or cellulose towels
Paper towels generally aren’t recyclable, and they often give off greenhouse gases when breaking down in crowded landfills. Bamboo or cellulose towels, on the other, offer the same functionality but are much more eco-friendly. You can use them to wipe your hands, clean the counters, or handle any other task you’d typically use a paper towel for. You can rewash and reuse them several times, too. Best of all, they’re biodegradable and compostable.
The bottom line about sustainable product swaps
Sometimes, making just a small change — or swapping out a product or two — can make all the difference. Need cash to make bigger eco-friendly upgrades, like buying an Energy Star appliance, updating that insulation, or installing solar panels? A cash-out refinance may be able to help. Get in touch with an Embrace Home Loans in your area to see if you’re eligible.