I’m sure you’ve heard that the earth is in trouble. I’ve been hearing about it since I was a little girl. And it’s always mattered to me but it’s also always felt out of my control. I’m too broke and too busy and I just can’t change the world. But it’s becoming a problem that is no longer ignorable. And if I’m honest with myself I have to do something so I’m starting with some simple sustainable swaps that are just too easy not to do!
Why Should You Make Sustainable Swaps?
Maybe you feel like I have felt. Living a sustainable eco-friendly life takes too much time and energy. What’s the point if you can’t change the whole world? Why even try?
The thing is, your small changes add up with my small changes and before long a lot of people have made these small changes and it influences the way products are sold to us and what we will ultimately have access to.
You can see proof the change is in the air already because more sustainable and eco-friendly solutions are becoming available in your everyday stores! That means that you no longer have to be a long-haired hippy to make a difference!
Does it matter? Absolutely! Our planet is suffocating in plastic and gases produced by our consumer society and all the byproducts of it! It’s a now-or-never situation. If we don’t make a change now we won’t be able to live with ourselves in the near future.
So now that we know why we are doing it, let’s make it easy! Let me share some simple eco-friendly swaps I’ve been able to make!
Doing laundry takes up a lot of resources. Water, electricity, soap, time, and your soul. Yes, most people hate doing laundry but it still has to be done.
So how can we reduce our impact and make sustainable swaps when we do laundry? How can we do it without making laundry even worse than it already is?
The first thing you can do is switch to cold water. Did you know that about 75% of the energy your washer uses goes to warming up the water? It’s simple to cut that back by using cold water which can actually help a lot of your clothes last longer anyway!
Another one of the sustainable swaps you can make is to simply air dry some of your clothes. You could do this with jeans and sweaters for starters. It isn’t that hard and it will also keep your clothes looking better much longer.
If you just aren’t in the mood to do this go ahead and throw your stuff in the dryer but let stuff that didn’t fully dry in the dryer air dry the rest of the way.
Also, before you even throw your clothes in the wash consider whether they are really dirty. Are they stained or stinky? If not, maybe they could wait for one more wear.
Great laundry products!
Last but certainly not least you can cut out huge amounts of disposable plastic and save yourself tons of room with Earthbreeze laundry sheets. I was hesitant to try them but they work great and are a pretty comparable price to the giant tubs of detergent pods we were using before.
Finish off your sustainable swaps in the laundry room with some nice wool balls for the dryer! You can even infuse them with a nice smell by using a couple of drops of essential oils to them.
Now it’s time to think about all the waste that you produce in the kitchen. If your home is like mine your biggest trash can is in the kitchen because we produce a lot of waste around food preparation, storage, and production.
It can be pretty hard to control the packaging your food comes in and some of the sustainable swaps that help with that venture into hard-core territory I’m not ready for yet. But there are a lot of easy sustainable swaps I am up for and I’m going to share them with you!
First things first you can change the way you dispose of things. If you aren’t already recycling you can start. You will need an extra bin and you’ll have to rinse out cans or plastic containers.
Another thing you can do is to compost food waste. You can use a little compost container to compost pieces of vegetables, coffee grounds, and tea bags. You can compost almost anything but meat and oily things. This compost is great for your garden or flower bed!
Great Kitchen Products!
Now you can turn to the ways you store and clean things. And there are lots of great products out there!
You have biodegradable scrubbies and Swedish dish clothes which you can even throw in the dishwasher. Then are silicone lids and bags for storing food without plastic bags and saran wrap. You can even use bees wax cloths as lids and wraps for your food! These are all super easy sustainable swaps for the kitchen!
- Recycle and compost.
- Swedish dish clothes
- Biodegradable Scrubbies
- Silicone Stretchy Lids
- Silicone Food Storage Bags
- Bees Wax Wraps
Sustainable Swaps for Toiletries
What about the bathroom? Is there any way you can be more sustainable in the bathroom? There are tons of ways but first, it’s important to know your facts.
Did you know that the average American showers for 8 minutes and even with an eco-friendly shower head that uses about 16 gallons of water? On top of that, every flush of the toilet disposes of about 1.5 gallons of water. To put it in perspective the average American family uses 552 gallons of water each day while the average African family will use only 5 gallons.
So what can we do? Take shorter showers. I’m as guilty as you of zoning out or singing a good tune in the shower but if we can take shorter showers we can save a lot of water! We can also turn off the water while we brush our teeth. Perhaps you could flush every other time? These small changes could make a big difference.
Here’s another shocking fact. The average American home wastes 11,000 gallons of water just by having leaking faucets, running toilets, and other leaks. That’s insane! Save your pocketbook and the planet by paying for a plumber when you need to.
Sustainable Bathroom Products
Last but not least the sustainable living community is very focused on the avoidance of single-use plastics. That means your shampoo and conditioner bottles, makeup containers, and so forth. The good news is new sustainable swaps are coming out every day!
For example, I recently started using a shampoo bar and they have conditioner bars too! At first, I thought it would be super weird but it was actually very easy and the results were just like regular shampoo or better.
Another way I have saved tons of money, space, and waste is by using menstrual cups for my period. I can’t tell you how much easier it is to have one or two of these reusable items instead of having to rush to the store in a panic every time my frenemy comes to visit!
- Shorter showers
- Fewer flushes
- Shampoo and Conditioner bars
- Toothpaste Tablets
- Reusable Makeup Wipes
- Menstrual Cups
Sustainable Swaps in Every-Day Life
We have already found tons of sustainable swaps and if you try even half of them you can probably feel pretty great about yourself!
But there are a few more eco-friendly swaps that can contribute to a sustainable house. Let’s talk about some small sustainable changes you can make in everyday life.
The first obvious step you can take is to stop buying palettes of water bottles, paper plates, and disposable cups! Instead, grab a good blender bottle for water. I use mine ALL the time. As for plates and cups, take the extra time to wash real ones. They are easy to wash anyway.
Also, you can change your habits. Think about walking instead of driving to the other end of the shopping center. Use public transit if you live in a city. Turn the lights off when you aren’t using them. There are tons of small sustainable changes you can make!
- Stop buying paper plates and plastic cups.
- Use a Blender bottle instead of buying pallets of water.
- Use reusable grocery bags and produce bags.
- Walk instead of driving when possible.
- Use public transit.
- Turn off lights and electronics when not using them.
What About Clothing?
I would remiss if I did not bring up clothing when talking about living a more sustainable life. As I said before, I’ve always cared but I never really saw how I could do anything about it until I watched the documentary The True Cost. It was like a slap in the face that made me wake up.
Did you know these facts:
- In 1980 the average American bought 12 items of clothing a year. Today the average American will buy 68 clothing items a year.
- 1 in 5 people in the world work in some part of the fashion industry.
- Many of these work in unsafe buildings, are exposed to toxic chemicals and are not paid a living wage.
- Farmers in Texas and children in India are being exposed to agricultural chemicals used to grow cotton that are causing cancers, liver disease, and very premature death.
- The US creates 11,000 tons of textile waste every single year!
- There are “dunes” of unsold fast fashion piling up in Chile.
The thing is we buy too many clothes. We use them up and throw them out. They don’t last long because they weren’t made well and can we blame them? Our clothes probably shouldn’t last longer than they feed the workers that made them in a fair world.
And the sheer quantity of clothing we demand at ridiculously low prices is becoming a huge problem. The good news is there are a lot of ways that normal people can make a difference.
What can you do?
- Buy less clothing.
- Wear what you have longer.
- Buy from thrift shops, consignment stores, Poshmark, ThredUp Etc.
- Donate or consign your clothes instead of throwing them away.
- Recycle clothing. More and more programs are making this easy to do.
- Buy from ethical and sustainable brands.
Keep Learning and Keep Finding Sustainable Swaps That Work!
Remember, I’m just like you. I have a budget and I don’t have a ton of time. Some sustainable swaps are just not within my capability at this time and I’m not perfect.
But all of the things I mentioned are pretty easy. They don’t cost a lot of money or take a lot of time. In fact, a lot of these suggestions will save you the time and money you’ve been wasting on disposable single-use products, clothing you don’t need, and more.
These small changes can make a difference because the companies at the top make what sells. If more sustainable and ethical products are bought, more will become available. It’s simple business.
I plan to keep learning and experimenting with easy sustainable swaps. I usually just try one new thing at a time. When I get used to that, I add another. What about you? Which of these easy sustainable swaps would you like to try? Do you have more ideas? Share them in the comments section below!
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