Interested in changing your lifestyle to eliminate waste and single-use plastic? Here are seven of our best earth-friendly alternatives for things you use every day.
1) Swap Kitchen Sponges for an Andrée Jardin Dish Brush.
The Problem with Kitchen Sponges
Kitchen sponges are one of the most commonly used items in your home. Unfortunately, they often contain synthetic materials that are non-compostable and non-biodegradable. These sponges are incapable of being broken down into natural elements to return to the earth and cannot be decomposed by bacteria or other living organisms. When we use sponges, tiny microplastics break off and quickly wash down the drain. These microplastics are so minuscule that water filtration systems can't catch them, so they soon contaminate our water supply, aquatic ecosystems, and even rainfall. When thrown away, they can persist in landfills for years.
Try Instead: Andrée Jardin Dish Brush
Try a plastic-free dish brush from Andrée Jardin for a more eco-friendly choice. Simple and efficient, this elegant dish brush was handmade in France using beechwood locally sourced from sustainably managed forests. These brushes will clean your dirty dishes using bristles made with tough mixed vegetable Tampico fibers, and its brush head is fully compostable once scrubbed out.
2) Replace Paper Towels with Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths.
The Problem with Paper Towels
Americans love to use paper towels to dry wet hands, soak up spills, and wipe down counters. It might not seem like a big deal to clean this way, but what's the overall impact? The Ocean Conservancy estimates Americans use 13 billion pounds of paper towels every year. This issue contributes to deforestation, global warming, and an ever-increasing waste problem.
Try Instead: Three Bluebirds Swedish Dishcloths
For a simple solution, try a Swedish Dishcloth from Three Bluebirds. They are certified fair trade, 100% biodegradable, and can absorb 20x their weight. Incredibly, just one dishcloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towels! They are also super cute too.
3) Switch to a Bamboo Toothbrush
The Problem with Plastic Toothbrushes
According to National Geographic, every toothbrush ever made since the 1930s still exists as trash. This problem is not slowing down either. More than 2 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in oceans and landfills every year, unable to biodegrade. We desperately need solutions to ease the strain on the planet.
Try Instead: Brush with Bamboo Toothbrushes
Every part of a Brush with Bamboo toothbrush is plant-based: bristles, handle, and box. The handle is compostable when your toothbrush reaches the end of its life. Just remove the bristles from the head using pliers before composting. You can even send the bio-based bristles to Terracycle to be recycled. Cheers to a much more environmentally friendly option!
4) Opt-out of Plastic Bags for Handmade Market Baskets
The Problem with Plastic Bags
On average, a plastic bag is only used for twelve minutes before being thrown away. The egregious part is these bags can then persist in the environment or landfills forever. They may break down over time into tiny microplastic particles or leach toxic chemicals into our groundwater which then flows downstream into lakes and rivers, causing major pollution problems and creating a terrible burden on the environment.
Try Instead: Handwoven Natural Grass Baskets
These Veta Vera baskets are handmade by skilled artisans in the Bolgatanga region of Ghana and expertly woven using natural grass, called veta vera or elephant grass, which is very strong and durable. You'll find they are perfect for all your eco-conscious shopping and will stand the test of time, even with daily use.
5) Exchange Plastic Wrap with Bee's Wrap (A Much Greener Choice!)
The Problem with Plastic Wrap
According to National Geographic, nearly 80 million Americans have used at least one roll of plastic wrap, but more than five million Americans have used over 10 million boxes. When plastic polyethylene film ends up in landfills or incinerators, it releases highly toxic chemicals. Gross!
Try Instead: Bee's Wax Wraps
Try Bee's Wrap and make an easy switch away from plastic wrap! Just one four-foot-long Bee's Wrap roll can replace nearly 2,000 plastic baggies. You can use Bee's Wrap the same way you use plastic wrap. Use the warmth of your hands to wrap fruit, veggies, bread, cheese or cover bowls and casserole dishes. Bee's Wrap will hold its shape when it cools, creating a seal. Best of all, you can compost this product at the end of its life.
6) Never Use Plastic Utensils Again! Try Wooden or Bamboo Utensils Instead.
The Problem with Plastic Utensils
More than 100 million pieces of plastic utensils are used by Americans every day. Some estimates calculate Americans waste 40 billion plastic utensils per year in the United States alone. But it takes over 1000 years for them to break down while proving to be toxic to the environment.
Try Instead: Bamboo or Dark Wood Reusable Cutlery Sets
Wooden and bamboo utensils are the perfect alternative to plastic cutlery, and you can use your set for camping, takeaways, travel, or as a handy lunch set. There is even a bamboo straw to replace those troublesome plastic ones. Also, there is a straw cleaner made with natural coconut material instead of nylon. A great bonus! These sets are handmade in Vietnam by a company called Jungle Culture. A company that strongly believes that businesses should bear the responsibility to make ethical products. Their philosophy is to empower and support developing communities to create earth-friendly, unique, and practical plastic-free alternatives.
7) These Wooden Award-Winning Hairbrushes and Combs are Much Better Than Plastic Ones!
The Problem with Plastic Hairbrushes
Plastic-based combs and hairbrushes can damage your hair and irritate your scalp. You may even notice that the plastic can create an electrostatic energy that causes an annoying fluttering effect on your hair. Plastic is also a petroleum derivative and a high pollutant in the environment and landfills.
Try Instead: Wood and Natural Material Brushes/Combs
Swap out that plastic hairbrush for a Tek Brush instead. Tek Brushes are handmade in Italy using 100% FSC certified natural wood. They are antistatic and gentler on your hair as they softly massage your scalp. We love that Tek is a B Corp certified company and has shown a sincere commitment to social and environmental wellbeing. We appreciate they produce the pneumatic parts of Tek brushes with natural, pure rubber, which is entirely biodegradable. (There is no petroleum derivative in any of their hairbrushes.) TEK is also an innovative and award-winning company. They exhibited their products at the MOMA (Museum of Modern Art) in New York City; and received an award in the Honour Selection of the Gran Design International Exposition at The Museum of Science and Technology of Milan. Pretty cool!