Here's our thoughts on how to improve our sustainable living, including what products to ditch in 2020 to make our homes more environmentally friendly!

Sustainable Living: Swap these 8 products

Since the lockdown came into effect, as a nation we’ve been spending a lot more time at home. During this time, we have focused on our diet, health and fitness. However, our diet doesn’t just include what we eat. Our overall diet encompasses what we surround ourselves with and also what we absorb into our lives. This has really made me think about the products I use at home and how environmentally friendly they are.

In fact, sustainable living has been on my mind a lot recently. I decided to have a look around my home to find products that I can swap for a more sustainable and environmentally friendly home.

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Here's our thoughts on how to improve our Sustainable Living, including what products to ditch in 2020 to make our homes more environmentally friendly!

*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a commission from purchases made through chosen links on this site at no additional cost to you. However, I am objective and extremely picky and I only recommend things that I truly believe in. Find out more here.*

Searching around my home to gather the products I use on a daily basis was a bit of an eye-opening experience.

I can wholeheartedly say it’s really no fun trying to decipher the long list of ingredients belonging to some items. It’s almost a bit of a minefield gazing at a list of components to figure out if they are safe for use – if they contain nasty chemicals, or whether they are biodegradable or recyclable.

This was also one of the reasons I decided to carry out this investigation to try to improve my sustainable living. I found quite a few items that I use on a daily basis that aren’t too environmentally friendly or sustainable.

Keep reading to find out which household products to ditch and switch to make your home more environmentally friendly.

Ditch the plastic straws for sustainable living

Over the last few years, there have been many growing concerns over how harmful plastic is to the environment. Not to mention the sheer volume of plastic drinking straws that have been discarded inappropriately on a daily basis around the world.

Chemicals found in plastic drinking straws (BPA) have been linked to reproductive disorders, diabetes and heart disease. Naturally, we all want to avoid ingesting such chemicals.

If sustainable living is on your agenda this year then I recommend ditching the plastic straws and instead turn to some elegant, reusable stainless steel straws.

These little beauties are easy to clean, they don’t taint your drink and they are safe to use. They do not leak chemicals into your drinks and frankly, they just look classy.

Don’t forget, they will also save you some money in the long run. It’s a win-win.

Avoid single-use wipes

Wet wipes, baby wipes and facial cleansing wipes are a very common find in most of our homes. However, these wipes are designed for a one time use and then to be discarded. They are frequently misused and disposed of incorrectly.

Many wet wipes are described as “flushable” however, this simply isn’t true. Water companies in the UK have stated that wet wipes are causing millions of pounds worth of blockages in the UK sewage systems. This is due to the fact that wet wipes, “flushable” or not, do not break down in our waters.

Therefore, for a more environmentally friendly approach to sustainable living, it’s a good idea to switch out the single-use wipes for microfiber cleaning cloths, cotton face cloths or reusable bamboo cloth wipes.

All of these options are washable and will last the distance. Again, they will save you money in the long term and who doesn’t want more money in the bank? Am I right?

Say “NO” to cling film & tin foil for sustainable living

Both cling film and tin or aluminium foil are standard staple kitchen items. In fact, it wasn’t until I started this investigation at home that I really thought about how much I rely on these two items.

Typically used to wrap food or for cooking, these products do seem to find many uses. However, they are bad for our health and are not environmentally friendly.

Cling film is another single-use plastic that can harbour many toxins. Unfortunately, cling film cannot be recycled so it ends up in a landfill for hundreds of years because as we all know, plastic takes a long time to break down.

Making tin foil has a huge effect on the planet. The bauxite rock is mined, then smelted to produce aluminium. This process destroys land, plants and natural habitats for wildlife.

Then, of course, pressing blocks of aluminium into thin sheeted rolls requires a lot of energy. All of this combined shows us that this product is unsustainable.

“So what’s the most environmentally friendly alternative?” I hear you ask. Well, I would suggest using beeswax food wraps or silicone food covers to protect your food in storage.

Another option is to use glass storage jars or Tupperware boxes. Yes, they are plastic but they are reusable, non-toxic and BPA Free and more sustainable in the long run.

Get rid of plastic sandwich bags

As I’m sure you’re getting the picture now that plastic is not environmentally friendly. In fact, according to one study, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050 unless we change our ways. That’s a pretty bold statement and frankly, it’s quite frightening.

Paying careful consideration to our sustainable living can make an impact on the volume of plastic in our seas. Another household item to switch out is plastic sandwich bags.

Instead, pick up some silicone sandwich bags which are far more environmentally friendly. These silicone bags are reusable, washable and airtight. They can also store food in the freezer and lay flat so that they take up less space.

Back away from the disposable batteries

With so many personal and household items using rechargeable batteries these days, such as mobile phones, laptops and tablets, it is surprising to find so many disposable forms of AAA, AA and 9-volt batteries at home.

Disposable batteries typically end up in the landfill. The damage here is that when these batteries end up in the landfill sites, as they breakdown they release toxins into the earth.

I recommend ditching the disposable batteries and investing in some rechargeable batteries instead. They may initially be a little more expensive but they will save money in the long run.

Rechargeable batteries are either made with nickel or lithium and are completely recyclable which reduces hazardous chemicals into the earth.

They also work in every device that requires AAA, AA and 9 Volt batteries so it’s very easy to switch them out. It’s a no brainer!

Swap out the plastic toothbrush for sustainable living

As well as switching out your plastic drinking straws and sandwich bags it’s a good idea to consider an alternative to your plastic toothbrush.

If you follow the standard guidelines for changing your toothbrush every 3 months, that’s a LOT of plastic to discard. Which, you’ve probably guessed it, has a high chance of ending up in landfill or the ocean.

So, what should you use instead? You still have to clean your teeth right? Well, I recommend making the switch to bamboo toothbrushes.

The bamboo handles take around 6 months to compost and the bristles can be recycled. When compared with the standard plastic toothbrush which takes hundreds of years to breakdown, it makes sense to make the change.

Save some money without store-bought water

Ok, ok, now I know this one may be highly dependant on where you live. However, if it is possible, ditch the store-bought water and get yourself a reusable water bottle.

Water is so important to our health. So I would advocate drinking at least 2 litres per day. Just ditch the overpriced bottled water.

Most of what you will find on the shelves is just filtered tap water. In the UK, our water is pretty tasty for the most part. However, if you want peace of mind, then you could purchase a water filter such as Brita which is easily storable in the fridge.

I’m beginning to sound like a broken record here but again the issue is with the sheer volume of plastic being produced that ends up in landfill or the ocean. For sustainable living, it really makes sense to reduce the number of plastics in our home.

A classier alternative to takeaway coffee cups

We use 7 million disposable coffee cups per day in the UK. That’s 2.5 billion per year. However, the issues go far beyond the sheer number of cups being used. Technically the cups are recyclable, but less than 1% make it to a recycling facility due to a couple of factors.

Plastic Polyethene is used to make the cups watertight, but this can’t be separated in a normal recycling plant. Also, because the cups are contaminated with drink, they can only be recycled in one of the two specialist facilities in the UK.

So if you think you’re being diligent by ordering a paper takeaway coffee cup from your favourite coffee shop and popping the cup in the recycling bin, think again.

You would be far better off buying a reusable coffee mug like one of these beauties. In fact, this can also be better for your wallet too. Some of your favourite coffee stores or lunch spots actually offer a discount if you bring your own cup.

Which of these changes do you think you could make to lead a more sustainable life? Drop a comment and let me know!

Here's our thoughts on how to improve our sustainable living, including what products to ditch in 2020 to make our homes more environmentally friendly!

FAQ

Are metal straws safe?

Stainless steel straws are safe to use and are a more sustainable option to plastic straws. They are affordable and made of food-grade material. They also will not taint your drink with chemicals.

What is the best alternative to tin foil, aluminium foil or cling film?

Both cling film and tin or aluminium foil are standard staple kitchen items. Typically used to wrap food or for cooking, these items do seem to find many uses. However, they are bad for our health and bad for the environment.
The better alternative would be to use beeswax or silicone food covers to protect your food in storage. Glass storage jars are a more suitable option for storing cupboard foods. Tupperware boxes and silicone storage bags are equally good for storing food in a freezer.

What should I use instead of plastic sandwich bags?

Plastic sandwich bags aren’t great for the environment. They can also leak chemicals into our food. Silicone sandwich bags are a much better option. They are reusable, washable and airtight. They can also store food in the freezer and by laying flat, they take up less space.

17 thoughts on “Sustainable Living: Swap these 8 products”

  1. Wow! I’ve never thought about how some of these everyday items we use are either not good for our environment or for our bodies. This has definitely been a eye opener and has encouraged me to do some more research and see what I can switch out in my home.

  2. Great information! I hadn’t heard about stainless steel straws or thought about the impact of plastic wrap and aluminum foil (which I use frequently). Thanks for the tips!

  3. Roberta - adventurous miles

    I made the same decision. We stopped using plastic straws and bags in the stores = we bring our own. We use glass containers for food and try to avoid buying food that comes in plastic. There is more progress we need to do, but slowly we will! Thanks for sharing your decision 🙂

    1. Louise O'Boyle

      Absolutely, even small changes can make a difference. Well done for cutting down on what is manageable for you right now 🙂

  4. Great list! One of my goals for this year is to become more sustainable. I’ve already kicked plastic water bottles! Hoping to tackle our plastic tooth brushes next! Thanks for this!

  5. I love this, I’ve been thinking if new ways to reduce my personal carbon footprint and these ideas are great! Thanks for sharing this x

  6. That stat about plastic and fish is incredible. Great job highlighting the need to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible!

  7. Great ideas! We recently switched to reusable coffee cups and its amazing how one small thing can make a huge difference! Great post.

  8. Lining cookie sheets with foil is what I’m most guilty of, this gave me some motivation to make the switch to silicone liners, thank you for your post!

  9. great recommendations! I am still guilty of using zip loc and disposable batteries. My goals is to reduce the usage of those things. I have started ditching bottle water – hoping to keep that up!

  10. I was happy to see that I have made some of the swaps you have recommended with plastic straws and takeout chose already. Others, I am in the process of doing with glass Tupperware and switching to silicone options. I will work on the toothbrushes and disposable wipes next.

  11. This good advices! It is really important to start to do more attention all small things of everyday life to be eco sustainable..l hope everyone can do his part.

  12. I’m always looking for ways to use less waste, and there are some really good suggestions here. I didn’t know about there being harmful chemicals in plastic straws either, not that I use them that much, but it’s still alarming. I’ll definitely be pinning to share with others who bother to take the time to reuse and recycle.

  13. Imran Soudagar

    I have been trying to live a life where I do not produce a lot of waste. It is tough but I am trying. This is an amazing post and I hope many people will get inspired to live sustainably.

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