14 Earth-Friendly Swaps For Everyday Products If You Don't Want To Work That Hard

Uncategorized Oct 04, 2021

zero waste sustainable swaps

by Jenny Jiles

It’s easy for us to judge big, faceless corporations for their endless pollution and inflexibility to change their ways.

Yet, most of us don’t even bring our own bags to the grocery store.

We want to do better. We do. But how are we supposed to be planet positive when the eco-friendly alternatives feel like they’re not made with convenience or effectiveness in mind? Welp. I did the work for you. These 14 swaps are all just as good as their non earth-friendly counterparts.

You’re welcs.

1. Stasher bags instead of plastic bags:

Bye bye, baggies. These are the best replacements out there, and that’s why they aren’t cheap. But ultimately these are way cheaper than buying plastic baggies every week at the store because they last. You can turn them inside out and wash them in the dishwasher too, so they’re mindlessly easy to clean. They don’t get moldy, they don’t smell, and they close up nicely.

Plus, you can use them for freezing and cooking, and they’re kind of chic, no? In terms of low-waste swaps that are easy, stylish, and fun to use, it really doesn’t get much better than these.

Image from Stasher

2. Dryer balls instead of dryer sheets:

Dryer sheets are usually filled with fragrances and random, unpronounceable chemicals. Swapping for reusable dryer balls are not only great for those with sensitive skin & babies, but they also shorten your drying time, which is good for your wallet and the planet. The Best Of The Best are these, but they have similar ones at Trader Joe’s, too.


3. Reel toilet paper instead of conventional toilet paper:

No one likes wiping their ass with hard tissue.

Reel is made of eco-friendly bamboo, which grows much faster than trees, doesn’t need to be replanted, uses 30% less water and produces 35% more oxygen than trees.

And though it isn’t Cottonelle soft, it’s softer than other eco brands, has beautiful weaving on the paper, and is wrapped in chic grey paper that doesn’t look hideous stacked up in your bathroom.

Image from Reel

 4. Cast Iron instead of Teflon Pans:

A cast iron pan is great at conducting heat and becomes nonstick after correct use. Many of the green pans that claim they are better for us actually aren’t, so cast iron is your safest (and pretty affordable) option. It lasts forever and will undoubtedly become your favorite pan.


5. Reusable paper towels instead of single-use paper towels:

This can be a hard shift, because the idea of reusing a paper towel feels beyond strange. But these reusable, compostable paper towels by Food52 are simple, chic, and actually absorbent. Plus, 3 rolls will last you 9 months.

food52 reusable paper towels

6. Eco-friendly, refillable cleaning products instead of standard cleaning products:

“But they don’t work and they don’t smell good,” you say. Well, nothing is going to be as strong as bleach, which we now have to save up and use exclusively to disinfect, anyways. So for all of your other, more low-key cleaning needs, there are plenty of brands that make great cleaning products without harsh chemicals, using recycled bottles or refillable ones. Ecos makes a great all-purpose cleaner with a nice natural orange scent, and Blueland is constantly innovating with their stylish, refillable cleaning products and plastic-free detergents and soaps.

Image from Blueland

7. An alternative to a loofah:

Plastic loofas are honestly, completely unnecessary. They’re disgusting germ explosions and there are plenty of better options out there. This one is a great recyclable and PBA-free option for a scant $10. And there are heaps of natural loofahs on Amazon.


8. An epilator instead of plastic, disposable razors:

This one maybe too out there for the low pain tolerance crowd, but I had to include it because it personally changed my life. Plastic disposable razors are filling up our landfills fast, but all these new metal razors, like Leaf, just seem complicated. Sure, you can laser and wax, but they’re both expensive and painful and require going into a salon or spa that is probably closed right now anyways. So, let me introduce you to the epilator, which you can use in the comfort of your own home. It works by actually tweezing out your hairs. Yeah. But you’re hair free for weeks and your body gets used to it. Pro Tip: epilating in a hot shower helps a lot. You can find a more affordable one here, but this one will give you a virtually painless hair-removal experience.


9. Tea with plastic-free tea bags:

I know— you would’ve never thought that something as natural and granola as tea would be polluting the earth with plastic, but here we are. Which is why brands like Pukka, Numi and Stash are great conscious options because they’re not using plastic in their tea bags. Yes, when you steep tea, you’re steeping and digesting the plastic too. Ew. Most of these brands are certified organic, Fair Trade, or use other sustainable practices as well. You can also go bag-free and just use loose leaf!

Image from Target

10. Conscious coffee instead of conventional coffee:

This is a huge earth changing swap because most people drink it every day, so if many of us made the change, we would make a huge impact on the planet. You don’t have to buy the super pricey brands like Blue Bottle or Conscious Coffee (B Corp Certified); there are organic, fair trade brands at Trader Joes and Sprouts too. Organic means less toxins in your daily cup, and makes for better soil for our planet. And if you’re still using disposable K-cups in your Keurig, might we recommend this reusable alternative?


11. Reusable bottle instead of a plastic bottle:

This one’s a no brainer. But there is just no reason anymore to use a plastic water bottle. None. And usually, bottled water isn’t even better than tap water anyways. Klean Kanteen or Hydroflask make great bottles in a variety of sizes and colors so your whole family can have their own lewk.


12. Travel coffee mug instead of a disposable cup:

Another no brainer. Also, many coffee shops give you discounts now for bringing your own cup. Just bring it in. Yeti’s insulated tumbler literally keeps my coffee hot for 12 hours. 12 hours!

Image from Williams Sonoma

13. Silicone mat instead of bleached parchment paper:

Instead of buying parchment paper for sheet pan dinners or cookies, this silpat mat is reusable, and will change your life because you don’t have to clean your baking sheets. These just wipe clean.


14. Glass containers with bamboo or wooden tops instead of plastic tupperware:

Not only are glass containers stylish and stackable, but they’re a great value. They also make storage so simple and visually appealing in your pantry or fridge. Besides mason jars, I love these rectangle containers with bamboo tops. They stack really well in the fridge and keep things organized.


Jenny is a writer, cooking coach, and host of Cliffs Notes Kitchen, where she shows how simple, bite-sized shifts with minimal effort, can create lasting changes in your health. You can find more of her articles here.


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