So, you’ve recently embarked on your “going green” journey and can’t wait to make sweeping changes for our dying planet. But before you get ahead of yourself, take a beat and recall the mantra: think global, act local.
And it doesn’t get any more local than within your own home. Sure, you can switch to sustainable fashion and adopt more conscious eating habits. But you’re still missing the bigger picture.
Maybe this will put things into perspective: did you know that, as of 2021, we produce over 2 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste per year? How about the fact that this number is bound to increase to 3.4 billion metric tonnes by 2050?
Hence, the best way you can help is by reducing the waste you generate in your home. This means replacing common household items with sustainable alternatives.
Here are some ideas.
1. Kitchen Roll
- Traditional: disposable kitchen roll
- Alternative: reusable cloth towels or eco friendly kitchen roll
Paper towels are the necessity in any household. You can’t have a clean house without having something to mop up any of your spillages.
But have you ever thought about at what cost?
Sure, single use kitchen roll may keep your house spick and span, but the same can’t be said for the planet. Once you discard your kitchen roll after a single use, they’re going to fill up landfills like nobody’s business— especially considering how much a single household will use daily.
Now, you don’t have to shun out paper towels altogether— you can’t!
But what you can do is switch to cloth napkins that are reusable. The best materials for cloth napkins include cotton, linen, bamboo, and hemp.
Out of these, hemp and bamboo are the most environmentally friendly. This is because the production processes using hemp and bamboo are way more environmentally friendly. Additionally, these fabrics are quite absorbent and durable, which means lesser water wastage per wash and fewer repurchases. Find alternatives on Etsy, support small businesses at the same time! Here is one example: Click Here.
A second alternative would be eco friendly kitchen roll. No, I don't mean ones that come in paper packaging or are recycled. I am talking about super strong long lasting bamboo paper towels. These are more like regular paper towels as you do throw them away eventually but they are longer lasting and you can wash them under the tap and use them again. This means you will use less and they will last longer. As mentioned above bamboo has a fraction of the carbon footprint than normal paper. Here is an alternative you could try: Click here
2. Shaving Cream
- Traditional: bottled shaving cream
- Alternative: Shaving Bar or Glass Jars
Shaving cream typically comes in bottled packaging with a dispenser on top. While a bottle of shaving cream may last you a long time, it still produces waste because of its packaging.
The solution? Get rid of the packaging altogether! Without any packaging to dispose of, you won’t be generating any waste.
Why not try shaving bars? Here is one that we love: Click Here.
Not into bars? Not to worry! Why not try some whipped soap, you can find plenty of these that have been handmade using natural materials on Etsy. Again, by shopping on Etsy you are supporting small businesses too! Here is one that we found from . It comes in a glass jar that can be reused making it waste free!
- Traditional: disposable cotton swabs
- Alternative: reusable cotton swabs
We know what you’re thinking: there’s no way you can safely and hygienically reuse cotton swabs— that’s just plain disgusting!
But reusable cotton swabs are actually pretty hygienic and even better than disposable cotton swabs in some ways.
Made from medical-grade silicone, these flexible, non-detachable Q-tips are much more environmentally-friendly than their cotton counterparts. After each use, you can simply wash them with dish soap or soak them in warm water for a deeper cleanse.
These are our favourites from our friends over at Rasta Farmers: Click Here.
4 . Kitchen Wraps
- Traditional: saran wrap or cling film
- Alternative: beeswax paper
Saran wrap is a staple in all kitchens. Whether you call them plastic wraps, cling, film, or saran wrap, it’s all basically the same thing: plastic.
And where there’s plastic, there’s excess waste, health hazards, and environmental degradation.
The thing about cling film is that it’s not easily recyclable. You can take it to local stores that offer saran wrap recycling, but these stores aren’t common. The only thing left is to chuck them in the bin.
But there’s something else you can do; instead of using saran wrap, try switching to beeswax wraps. These eco-friendly wraps are reusable, and you can keep using them for up to a year.
The wraps become pliable with the heat of your hands and hold their shape as they cool down. If your wrap starts to get dirty, all you have to do is wash them using cold water and dish soap.
Here are some we found on Etsy: Click Here.
- Traditional: plastic straws
- Alternative: paper, metal, or bamboo straws
Straws have been the face of the green movement for a while now. While they may appear small and harmless, the reality is far grimmer.
First, think about how many straws you actually use daily. Can you imagine the amount of waste that could build up globally from just a tiny little plastic straw?
Now, think about how easy it is for these tiny straws to lodge themselves into a sea turtle’s nostrils or perforate a penguin’s stomach. It’s not a pretty picture, is it?
By switching to paper, metal, or bamboo straws, you can reduce your part in harming wildlife through municipal waste.
Many restaurants and food companies have swiftly switched to paper straws. However, if your aim is to eliminate waste altogether, then you’re better off with stainless steel or bamboo straws. Since these straws are reusable, all you have to do is wash them for your next refreshing drink. We swear things taste better through a metal straw! Here is a pack from Etsy: Click here.
In this post, we have discussed only some of the many ways you can adopt more green practices around your house and reduce your carbon footprint.
While waste generation is a major factor when considering sustainable alternatives for household items, it isn’t the only one.
Instead, you also have to think about the production process of the products that you use. While some might seem more sustainable than others, their production process might not be the greenest
While you may never be able to ensure that your household essentials are 100% green, even the smallest efforts can make a global difference.