One of the best things to swap out for a greener life is single-use, disposable items, especially plastics. There are so many items intended for single-use and these create a ton of waste. Here’s a list of 10 single-use swaps for a greener life.
Plastic bags can be replaced with grocery totes or washable cloth bags. These hold more groceries and significantly reduce waste. I try to keep a grocery tote in my trunk at all times so that I don’t forget one on my grocery trips. Plastic bags are just so wasteful and unnecessary!
Use a French press or regular coffee maker in place of single-use coffee pods. I love the Keurig coffee machines, but those single-use pods are so wasteful. Fortunately, there are reusable cups that can be used in the machines to replace the pods. Personally, I enjoy a good French press coffee the most.
Cloth napkins are a great alternative to regular napkins and paper towels. These are washable and can be used multiple times. If you have trouble parting with paper napkins and paper towels, consider putting them in the compost instead of the trash.
Reusable water bottles can replace plastic bottles. Bottled water has been a major environmental issue. These bottles take forever to break down and have caused a great amount of waste and litter. There are so many different reusable bottles. I like my Nalgene the best.
Wool dryer balls are healthier and reusable. Use these instead of dryer sheets. Dryer sheets are not only bad for the environment. The chemicals that give them that “fresh smell” can cause respiratory issues for some people, and they can’t be composted. You can add essential oil to the wool balls if you’d like a nice smell.
Check out these wool dryer balls – Wool Dryer Balls
Diva cups and reusable panty liners are a great alternative to disposable menstrual products. If you have a heavy flow, consider the diva cup. I’ve heard great things from my friends who use one. I’m going to test out these reusable panty liners because I have a light flow. I’m looking forward to the change.
Silicone food covers or Tupperware make for a good replacement to foil and plastic wrap. They’re super easy to use and washable. I no longer use plastic wrap or foil in my house thanks to these covers. I also have reusable sandwich bags. Another great idea is to bring Tupperware with you to restaurants to avoid to-go boxes.
Metal or silicone straws can help cut down on waste from plastic straws. Many restaurants have stopped providing plastic straws to cut down on the waste. Personally, I like to forgo the straw altogether because I don’t need one, but for drinks that require one, a metal straw works great.
Ditch the disposable plastic forks, knives, and plates and consider reusable plates and forks at your next get together. A bamboo set or any reusable set is great for picnics or on the go. There are also lightweight plastic plates that can be reused. Most of these could be washed, but I try to avoid the plastic sets altogether.
Disposable coffee cups are unnecessary nowadays because of all the great reusable mugs. I bring mine with me everywhere I go because most coffee shops allow you to use them instead of the disposable cups. Consider a good thermos or travel mug for your coffee on the go.
Making little changes by replacing single-use products with reusable ones can significantly reduce our waste. What’s your favorite single-use swap?