Sharing a list of 5 easy sustainable swaps for beginners who are trying to reduce waste or adopt new zero waste lifestyle habits!
With Earth Day in a few short weeks, I wanted to share a list of sustainable swaps for beginners! Or really anyone who might be looking to incorporate some more eco-friendly products into their home! When working towards becoming more sustainable, it’s important to not get caught up with doing things perfectly. Progress over perfection is definitely the way to go! In terms of sustainability, our Earth needs millions of people making little swaps here & there rather than having just a handful of people perfecting their zero-waste practices.
The journey to become more sustainable can quickly become overwhelming. When someone comes to me & asks for advice for switching their products over to cleaner alternatives, I always suggest making a clean swap when they run out of its conventional counterpart. The same advice can be applied when choosing more eco-friendly products within your home. Becoming more sustainable also doesn’t have to be super expensive. An easy way to be more sustainable is to use what you already have & then once you use it, then feel free to make an investment (if necessary) in a product that will stand the test of time & will ultimately be a more sustainable choice in the long run.
No matter if you’ve already started your own journey towards living a more sustainable lifestyle or if you’re brand new, I hope my suggestions below can provide you with a new idea or zero-waste product to swap out! I’ll be the first to admit that my sustainability journey is far from perfect & honestly it probably won’t ever be perfect. BUT I’m trying to choose better options which is really all it comes down to! That’s why I really wanted to put together this list of sustainable swaps for beginners…because we all have to start somewhere!!
Sustainable Swaps for Beginners
1. Swap Your Period Products For a Menstrual Cup
After I finally made the switch to a menstrual cup two years ago, I knew there was no turning back! Menstrual cups are SO easy once you get the hang of them, convenient, sustainable, & a great non-toxic option for period care.
Since they are single use, traditional tampons & pads create an abundance of waste – the average woman uses about 11,000 tampons alone in her lifetime (source), which translates to BILLIONS of tampons, applicators, & pads ending up in landfills each year!
And not only can conventional period products be very expensive over time, but most available options contain cotton that has been sprayed with harmful pesticides & chemicals or contain toxic additives & synthetic materials such as plastic (source). Personally once I learned about this, I knew I wanted to make the switch over to a cup.
Over the years there have been more & more sustainable period options entering the market. Period cups remain a strong front runner in my opinion. Period underwear or reusable cotton pads are another great choice for a zero-waste period. There are a few companies that also offer non-toxic tampons & pads, but something zero waste like a cup, is definitely a more eco-friendly option!
My go-to brand for my menstrual cup is Lunette! Be sure to read this post all about making the switch over to using a menstrual cup if you haven’t already!
Sustainable Period Products:
2. Eliminate Plastic In The Kitchen
One of my main goals for this year is to eliminate all plastic in my kitchen. I’ve already made a handful of sustainable swaps to reduce waste in the kitchen by eliminating single use plastic bags & plastic wrap. I’m also slowly getting rid of my plastic Tupperware & cups.
Not only is plastic not great for sustainability, but some plastics can have a direct effect on your health. BPA is one of the worst offenders! Also, when plastic is heated, it can also leach BPA & phthalates into food. To avoid any risk, I’d suggest swapping out plastic Tupperware to something safer such as glass containers or metal.
I’ve personally enjoyed swapping out plastic bags for reusable Stasher bags. Stasher bags are made out of platinum silicone which won’t deteriorate over time, making them a great investment to help eliminate single use plastic bags ending up in landfills & oceans. Stasher bags are also completely free of BPA, BPS, lead, latex & phthalates, making them a fantastic non-toxic option as well.
Easy Plastic swaps:
3. Opt For Reusable Items When Possible
Opting for a reusable option, no matter what it is, is one of easiest eco-friendly swaps to make! More & more people are using reusable water bottles & straws, but other items such as reusable produce bags, shopping bags, & paper towels can also make a huge difference in eliminating an excess of waste!
Even paper towels alone! I stopped buying paper towels last year & once I did stop, I realized how reliant I was on them & how many I went through daily since they were so easily available! Did you know that over 254 million tons of paper towels are discarded annually in the United States? That’s A LOT of paper towels!
There is definitely a convenience aspect to items such as plastic bags, paper towels, straws, & plastic shopping bags, but they create a lot more harm than good. Remembering to bring along your reusable bags, opting for a reusable cloth instead of a traditional paper towel, bringing a reusable cup to Starbucks, or carrying around a reusable water bottle might take a bit of extra effort but is definitely a more sustainable option when compared to the single use counterpart.
eco-friendly Reusable products:
4. Support Certified B Corporations
More & more companies have taken a more sustainable approach to the way they produce & package products over the past few years. Supporting certified B Corporations is a fantastic place to start. Especially if you’re looking to purchase from companies who are doing great things for people AND the planet.
In March, I shared a list of 25 B Corporation to support in 2021 & below, are four of my favorites from that list. I personally love supporting B Corps because I know that my dollar is going towards an extremely high standard of verified social & environmental performance.
Great B-Corps to Support:
- GoMacro (use code madi_rowan for 25% off!)
- Thrive Market
5. Eat More Plant Based Meals
Did you know that 33% of all food produced globally is lost or wasted every year (source)? Also, with an overabundance of animal farming, our earth could be in a real crisis if something doesn’t change. An easy & doable solution is for us all to consume less meat & more plants. If you do consume meat or seafood, I’d encourage you to choose a sustainable option if possible, such as grass fed & finished meat or wild caught fish. If you are wanting to add more plants into your diet this year, be sure to check out this post!
Plant Based Recipes:
- BBQ Portobello Mushroom Quinoa Bowl
- Roasted Butternut Squash & Spinach Salad
- My to-go Spirulina Smoothie
I hope this list of sustainable swaps for beginners was helpful if you’re looking to become more eco-friendly this year!
Have you made a sustainable swap lately? I’d love to hear below!
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