13 Jan 10 eco-friendly swaps & zero waste alternatives
When it comes down to the individual making changes to help the environment, there’s one easy solution: swap out what you do or use currently for a greener alternative. These small changes add up to new habits and soon you’re making a big difference. Here we share 10 easy eco-friendly swaps you can make.
A word on shopping local
Whatever eco-friendly product swaps you decide to make, there is one good rule of thumb: choose UK eco-friendly swaps. By choosing items made in the UK you can firstly reduce the miles they travel to reach you, thus cutting down on carbon emissions. Additionally, by choosing eco-friendly swaps in the UK you are choosing items which will have been made fairly, ethically and responsibly. You won’t be inadvertently supporting chemicals heading to rivers or child labour.
So when you choose your easy swaps to be more eco-friendly, choose local, choose UK.
Easy eco-friendly swaps
1. Swap a loofah for a natural shower sponge
You may think that loofahs, which after all come from a plant, are naturally eco-friendly. The problem is that they are now commercially grown in places such as China and Central America, in ways which cause harm to the local ecosystems. They are then sent thousands of miles to reach your shower, clocking up emissions in the process. Plus, they are usually wrapped in plastic.
Furthermore, the term ‘loofah’ is often used to also mean shower puff. These are usually made of plastic, and again are produced commercially using various methods which are harmful to the planet.
Swap: Swap a loofah for a natural shower sponge, a perfect zero waste loofah alternative.
Try this: The Acala Natural Shower Sponge is great as a zero waste loofah alternative and is biodegradable, resistant to bacteria and made from ramie, a sustainable natural product, and comes with no plastic packaging.
2. Swap disposable cotton wool pads for washable cotton pads
Are you looking for a zero waste alternative to cotton pads? The problem with cotton wool pads is that whilst they are made of a natural material, they go through such a process of bleaching and adding chemicals, they don’t actually biodegrade. Plus, you use them daily and into landfill they go.
A fantastic alternative is to use washable cotton pads that are made using sustainable cotton. These fabric pads are easy to simply pop in the wash and reuse.
Swap: Choose a zero waste alternative to cotton pads by choosing washable pads.
Try these: Tabitha Eve Reusable Makeup Rounds are eco-friendly plastic-free cotton pads made from organic cotton and bamboo, made by hand here in the UK. The Leave No Trace Reusable Makeup Pads made from hemp and cotton are another alternative.
3. Swap plastic dental floss for a zero waste alternative to dental floss
Dental floss is an eco-nightmare. It’s usually made from nylon which doesn’t biodegrade and is packaged in plastic, which also doesn’t biodegrade. Then there’s the fact that traditional floss is often coated in substances you’d probably actually rather not put in your mouth if you thought it through. Lastly, owing to its nature, and how people wrongly flush it down the toilet, it often ends up in the ocean, in the stomachs of marine animals.
Swap: Swap traditional plastic-packaged dental floss for the best zero waste alternative to dental floss you can find.
Try this: The White Teeth Box Plastic-Free Dental Floss is made from corn and comes in a glass container. Georganics Natural Dental Floss is made with sustainably grown bamboo and again packaged in glass. The Organically Epic Refillable Dental Floss is another choice.
4. Swap disposable tissues for washable cotton ones
The problem with disposable tissues is that they are made from timber-pulp and not all of this comes from sustainable forests. Then there’s the packaging. If you opt for the handy pocket packs, they are wrapped in plastic.
Swap: A simple zero waste alternative to tissues is to simply go old-school. Opt for blissfully soft organic cotton hankies.
Try this: The Conscious Sewist makes beautifully simple Organic Cotton Handkerchiefs. They use unbleached cotton, are sustainable, and can simply be popped in a regular laundry load.
5. Swap disposable toilet roll for a zero waste toilet paper alternative
A single-use product, it’s not just flushing toilet paper away that’s the problem. Its manufacturing process uses all sorts of harmful chemicals like chlorine, which end up in local ecosystems. Then the toilet rolls are packaged in plastic before being delivered hundreds or thousands of miles.
Swap: A zero waste toilet paper alternative is to opt for washable toilet paper. Simply have a dedicated bin or bag next to your toilet for the laundry loads. We promise it feels much nicer too!
6. Swap plastic bottle washing up liquid for a bar
Most washing up liquids come in a plastic bottle which ends up in landfill. The simplest solution is to ditch the plastic bottle and opt for a washing up soap bar.
Swap: Swap washing up liquid in a bottle for a washing up soap bar.
Try this: The Authentic House Washing Up Soap Bar ensures plastic doesn’t get a look in.
7. Swap disposable face masks for sustainable reusable ones
Face masks are probably here to stay for a while and the thought of all those disposable ones ending up in landfill is filling us with horror.
Swap: Stop using disposable face masks, or choose some not flown in from across the globe, by choosing sustainable washable face masks.
Try this: Browse our range of eco-friendly face masks.
8. Swap single-use food wrap for alternatives
Most food wrap is single-use and made of plastic. It heads straight for landfill and its manufacturing process is far from ideal.
Swap: Swap single-use food wrap for reusable alternatives.
9. Swap your plastic phone case for a plastic free alternative
When you next come to change your phone case, choose a plastic-free alternative. You can get one which is plastic-free and biodegradable.
Swap: Swap plastic phone cases for eco-friendly phone cases.
10. Swap harmful cleaning for green cleaning
Cleaning may not be our favourite job but there are ways to feel better whilst doing it. Most mainstream cleaning products aren’t good for the environment and usually come in plastic bottles. Not sure where to start with green cleaning? Check out our green cleaning guide.
Swap: Swap out your mainstream cleaning products for eco-friendly alternatives.
Try this: Kit yourself out with everything you need to start with the Clean Living Complete Cleaning Caddy.
What are you waiting for? With these easy eco-friendly swaps you’ll be making a difference in no time.