Plastic is hiding everywhere in our day-to-day lives. If you've been participating in plastic-free July, it's likely that you've noticed this even more lately. Try not to get discouraged! Here are our top simple swaps for plastic-free everyday items to help you with this challenge, and to cultivate your sustainable lifestyle.
In the bathroom...
Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose. Make sure your next one is made from bamboo, they're compostable!
Approximately 2 billion razors are thrown out each year. Treat yourself to a metal safety razor and it'll last forever!
Plastic shower poufs are a haven for bacteria and can only be disposed of in landfills. Get the same lather you love with an agave plant fibre soap saver or bath mitt.
In the kitchen...
Swap single-use plastic wrap for reusable organic vegan wax food wraps. Finally an eco-friendly option made without beeswax!
Earthology Organic Vegan Food Wraps (3)
Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year! Try reusable cotton produce and bulk bags instead, they even help keep your produce fresh!
Plastic kitchen sponges are even worse for harbouring bacteria than your shower pouf. Our dish scrubbers are washable and reusable!
Toronto is unable to recycle any single-use coffee cups so they all end up in landfill. Make the switch to a reusable travel mug today!
Always carrying a plastic tube of hand lotion around? Swap out for a metal tin of all natural shea butter.
The average United States family uses 500 disposable Ziploc bags each year. Time to make the switch to reusable snack bags!
Colibri Reusable Snack Bag Small
Hopefully this list has given you you some new plastic-free swap ideas. No matter where you are on your sustainable lifestyle journey, we all have the same goal:
Hi Tim, thank you for your comment.
These suggestions were made specifically for plastic-free July, a challenge that encourages people to reduce their plastic waste, especially single use. Our landfills are overflowing and our environment is saturated with plastic. It is a major concern for the health of our planet. Even when plastic ‘degrades’ in landfill, it enters our ecosystem as microplastics. Plastic can be found in the ocean, the rain, in the bodies of wildlife, and even in human feces. Something being plastic doesn’t automatically make it “bad” or the “enemy”, its about being conscious of how much we’re using, and how much waste we’re creating. I say “hiding” because many people don’t notice all the excess plastic, even though it’s right in front of them. Once you start to take notice, it seems to be everywhere! Even with recycling and proper disposal, our system just can’t keep up. We are producing and using too much. Not to mention that many plastics are impossible to recycle. Cotton cultivation has its problems for sure, that’s why we try to source organic cotton as much as possible. Cotton is also fully biodegradable and will eventually return to earth, whereas plastic never will. Reusable items are better than single use for the simple fact that there will be fewer items being produced, transported, and eventually disposed of. So one snack bag with a plastic zipper replaces hundreds, if not thousands, of single-use plastic baggies.
There are many different philosophies and studies weighing the pros and cons of this vs. that. These are the conclusions that I have come to from the research that I have done. Nowhere do I claim to have all of the answers, these are merely suggestions. By all means, you do not have to take my suggestions. I’m offering reusable alternatives for disposable plastics to anyone who is interested.
I hope I’ve answered all of your questions and given you more insight in to how I arrived at these conclusions.
I’m curious about your suggestions for alternatives. On what basis is the suggestion made? If something is made of plastic, is it simply “bad” and needs to be replaced or ?? Somehow, plastic has become the enemy, when in fact the current major “enemy” are irresponsible humans who don’t dispose of their plastic waste properly. Your suggestion that using a cotton sack vs a plastic bag is somehow “better” is backwards if one considers objectives like reducing carbon footprint or the total environmental footprint – in fact, in multiple studies that have been conducted, a cotton sack is the worst choice to replace a plastic bag. “Plastic is hiding everywhere in our day-to-day lives” is certainly not a valid statement, in that plastic is present and quite visible in our everyday lives because society demanded it – lower costs, lighter weights, brighter colors, easier to produce, more pleasing to the eye, longer lasting, and in many, many cases, a lower total environmental cost product than the non-plastic alternative. I understand you may just be trying to help, but if your goal is to educate and promote the truth about alternatives, you’re not doing your homework. With regards to “What’s best?”, the answer is never easy, so at the very least you might preface your suggestions with statements that speak to what we do know, and with equal weight what we don’t or can’t truly compare.
p.s. The zipper on your reusable snack bag is plastic. The JOCO cup has plastic insulating lid and grip tube, and will last centuries in a landfill vs the decades of the paper cup. The organic food wraps are based on cotton fabric, with a much higher negative environmental impact than the shrink wrap (which is quite decompostable – the polymer is easily degraded in landfill).