Sustainability Made Simple: 8 Eco-Friendly Swaps for Everyday Items

Sustainability Made Simple: 8 Eco-Friendly Swaps for Everyday Items

Are you interested in going green but aren’t sure where to start? Tempted to join the hype train for the eco-conscious lifestyle, but find yourself intimidated by all the potential changes it could bring?

There’s no need to overthink things! Although sustainability might seem like a lofty goal at first to those unfamiliar with the concept, it’s far from rocket science. If you’re looking to lead a healthier, cleaner lifestyle - not just for yourself but also for our beloved planet - then there’s an endless lineup of little things you can do to get a good start. 

In fact, most of the improvements you can make to be more eco-friendly actually starts from the things you use at home everyday. Believe it or not, doing something as simple as switching from plastic bags to cloth ones can actually make a huge difference for the environment! Swapping disposable items for reusable, eco-friendly alternatives doesn’t just cut down on the amount of waste you produce, but also does a lot to reduce you and your family’s carbon footprint. This is because the energy needed for the production, transportation, and disposal of single-use items is far more significant than their eco-conscious versions, making the latter a much more sustainable choice than the former. 

If you’ve been convinced but aren’t sure which items you can start swapping out, don’t worry! To make green living easier for you and your household, here’s a list of 8 simple, everyday items that you can effortlessly replace with their sustainable alternatives. 


Water Bottles and Travel Mugs


A person in a blue shirt fills a black stainless steel water bottle using a faucet and sink in the kitchen.
Source: Unsplash

Water is one of the most crucial building blocks of human life, so it’s only natural that having easy access to it is as important as it is. Instead of relying on single-use bottles made out of plastic, though, try investing in a reusable one! These are often made of stainless steel or glass and are far more durable and eco-friendly. What’s more, they’re also much better at maintaining the temperature of the liquids they hold, so you’ll be able to enjoy that perfectly icy sports drink or warm tea whenever you like. 

The same goes for the disposable cups you can get at your local coffee shop. Most stores like Starbucks or Tim Horton’s actually offer their own reusable travel mugs for purchase, which they’ll be happy to fill with any of your go-to drink orders as long as you ask. 


Reusable Shopping Bags


A cotton tote bag holding a small bouquet of yellow flowers.
Source: Unsplash

Even if you’re far from the biggest shopaholic out there, you’ve probably still got a sizable stockpile of plastic bags from your weekly grocery runs. Unfortunately, those same plastic bags can prove hazardous for our planet - they cause significant waste buildup in landfills that often bleeds out into local ecosystems, and the pollutants present in the plastic are incredibly toxic for the environment. 

To combat this, you can bring your own reusable bags on your grocery runs or shopping trips. Any cloth tote bag will do a great job at keeping your purchases safe! If you’re feeling creative, you can even try upcycling or decorating your own bag to boost sustainability even more. 


Stainless Steel Cutlery 


A table set with stainless steel cutlery and drinking glasses on top of a brown placemat.
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When planning a gathering like a birthday party or holiday dinner, it might be tempting to resort to disposable plastic plates and cutlery to minimize clean-up. Unfortunately, while it may be easier and more convenient at the end of the day, single-use plastic items like forks and knives can prove just as harmful to the environment as plastic bags. 

That’s why you should try offering traditional stainless steel cutlery to your guests whenever possible, even if it makes the cleanup effort a bit tougher. A little goes a long way, after all, and helping out the planet we live on is worth an extra cycle in the dishwasher.


Cloth Towels and Napkins


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When you’re trying to clean up a spill, it might feel more natural than ever to reach for a Kleenex or a roll of paper towels. But while a single sheet might not seem that significant, they definitely add up quickly, leading to a ton of unnecessary waste being produced by your household. 

The easy solution to this is to switch to cloth towels and napkins - they’re just as (if not even more) efficient as their single-use alternatives, and with a quick wash, they’ll be good to go again whenever you need them! 


Reusable Straws


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This swap can go hand-in-hand with your newly sustainable water bottles and travel mugs! Instead of getting a new plastic straw with every drink only to throw it out, try purchasing reusable ones to bring along with you to your favourite cafes and restaurants. 

Stainless steel or glass straws are amazing eco-friendly options that’ll help you cut down tons on plastic waste. The best part is that they almost always come with their own cleaning brushes, too, so there’s no need to worry about getting them dirty!


Biodegradable Toothbrushes


Two bamboo toothbrushes inside a glass jar, placed in front of a white-tiled bathroom wall. 
Source: Unsplash

Did you know that toothbrushes can come in different materials too? Most of us are used to plastic ones that need to be thrown out after just a few months of use, but the surge towards sustainability has resulted in the rise of toothbrushes made out of bamboo - an environmentally conscious, 100% biodegradable material that does wonders for minimizing your carbon footprint. 

Testing has revealed that with proper care, bamboo toothbrushes can last just as long and clean your teeth just as well as plastic ones can, and they’re much better for the environment to boot. 


LED Light Bulbs


A lit LED light bulb in a dark room.
Source: Unsplash

If you’re looking to make the biggest impact with the easiest swap, then LED light bulbs are your best friend! They not only use up to 80% less energy than traditional lights, but can also boast a lifespan that’s 20 times longer than their less sustainable counterparts. 

Since LED light bulbs are pros at converting most of their energy into light instead of heat, they’re amazing options to maximize energy efficiency and cut down on resource usage. They’re also usually created with entirely non-toxic and easily recyclable materials! 


Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products 


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You might not know this, but the cleaning products you use to keep your household spick and span actually have the potential to seriously harm the environment. This is because they’re often made with harsh, dangerous chemicals that, when disposed of, become toxic to local ecosystems. 

That’s why switching to eco-friendly cleaning products is always a safe bet. Unlike traditional ones, these are specifically concocted with naturally derived ingredients that won’t harm the planet. As an added bonus, they also usually come in sustainable, biodegradable packaging, which will help your household cut down on waste.


No matter what your goals are, there’s absolutely no shame in starting small, and stepping on the road to an eco-friendly lifestyle is no exception. Once you’ve made the switch (or several) to using more environmentally conscious products in your day-to-day life, it’ll only be a matter of time until you and your household become true champions of sustainability. In cases as important as this one, it’s a good thing that the little things add up!

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