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If you’ve been thinking of making eco-friendly household item swaps but don’t know where to start, you might be inspired by my list of 25 household items that I no longer buy for our house.
I must admit that trying to ditch plastic is completely overwhelming as it’s pretty much EVERY-BLOODY-WHERE! So if you think this feels like a game we will never win, please have some faith. Start with single use plastic and take each day as it comes. Rome wasn’t built in a day so be easy on yourself. My family and I aren’t by any means completely zero waste or as eco-friendly as we’d like to be but we’ve accepted this is a journey which will take a while. I hope you find this list useful – hit me with your comments below and see if you can add more items to my list, I’m always looking for ways to reduce waste.
Here’s my 25 eco-friendly household item swaps:
1. Kitchen paper towels
My husband didn’t think we could live without them but i’ve proved him wrong! To mop up spills in the kitchen or wipe surfaces, we now use Max’s old bodysuits which he’s outgrown and which weren’t in good enough condition to sell or give to charity. I’ve also bought a few lovely cleaning cloths from an Etsy seller, Little Green Craft but you really don’t need to buy anything new.
2. Make-up removal cotton pads
3. Cling film
Instead, we now use Abeego beeswax wraps* to wrap and store different foodstuff in the fridge. They keep food fresher for longer which is an added bonus!
4. Kitchen foil
5. Parchment/ baking paper
For the oven trays, I got us a reusable mat – it’s made from silicon I think so not an idyllic solution but still it’s reducing waste.
6. Plastic straws
We didn’t buy the plastic ones that much in the past but as we now have kids and they love drinking through straws, we’ve been using these gorgeous multi-colour Klean Canteen reusable stainless steel straws.
7. Washing powder
I’ve been using Ecozone soap nuts* for over two years now and I will not be going back to any other washing product! They are simply FABULOUS! I did a review of these a couple of years ago so do check out my post Nuts about Ecozone soap nuts.
8. Washing up sponges or brushes
9. Tea bags
If you didn’t know this already but there’s plastic in tea bags so we now buy loose tea. I actually prefer it to tea bags as it’s so much more flavoursome.
10. Plastic tupperware
I won’t lie, we still have our previous plastic boxes but we no longer buy new ones when they break or get damaged. Instead we’ve invested in a few glass storage containers and one bamboo lunch box (which I found in TKMaxx actually).
11. Plastic ‘long life’ grocery bags.
Instead we use our old jute shopping bags or cotton tote bags.
12. Water in plastic bottles
Such an easy habit to create. We all had Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottles but I’ve lost mine (while on holiday) and the kids’ ones got bashed around so much (one even got driven over by a car, as our 2 year old dropped it while in the buggy!) so we had to get new ones, and I opted for two brands: Chilly’s Bottles and SHO.
13. Coffee filters/ pods
My husband is a coffee lover so he used to rely on coffee pods to make his favourite drink. Now we use ground coffee, either bought from the shop or we going it directly from coffee beans.
They come in plastic bottles obviously so these days I use shampoo cubes from Beauty Kubes or a shampoo bar from a Swiss brand Creamy Stuff. (Word of advice – not all shampoo bars are the same and some didn’t work for my hair so you have to try a few to find the right one for your hair type.)
15. Shower gel
Instead we use bar soaps*. They’re having a big comeback so the choice is really vast. Word of advice though – some still contain unwelcome ingredients such as SLS, parabens, etc. so make sure you are clued up on which ingredients to avoid. My post Six golden rules for deciphering skincare labels and ingredient lists will definitely come in handy here. My favourite brands for soap bars are Akoma Skincare, Odylique* and Madara* as they’re fabulous quality and brilliant value for money.
16. Handwash/ liquid soap in plastic bottle
As above – we use soap bars instead*.
*I do admit that from time I do get sent some handwashes and shower gels in plastic bottles to review, however when we have to buy our own, we always choose plastic-free options.
17. Shower body buffs.
18. Coffee in plastic cups
When out and about, we bring our own reusable stainless steel cups/ flasks.
19. Bread or rolls in plastic bags
Instead we bring our own cotton bags either to a supermarket or a bakery to put a loaf of fresh bread or bread rolls inside. Such an easy win!
20. Plastic toys
We still have some left over from a few years ago after they were bought (either by us or relatives/ friends) after our older son was born. But with our younger son we made a conscious effort not to buy any (no matter how much the children may want them), and also ask friends and family not to buy toys for the boys at all. We do have some lovely wooden toys. There are so many beautiful brands out there so the choice is vast. Plus the second hand market is amazing for buying beautiful pieces at a fraction of the cost. I’m also of an opinion that less is more when it comes to toys so I’m quite picky when it comes to selecting the right toys for the kids. This also applies to us gifting toys to other children.
21. Foods in plastic containers if there’s a glass alternative
Items such as olive oil, sunflower oil, ketchup, mayonnaise, etc. can all be easily swapped for glass containers so there’s no excuse for buying their plastic equivalents.
22. Tissues in plastic packets
I used to have a few packets of tissues in my handbag (a habit of a lifetime!) but these days I buy a bigger cardboard box of tissues (from Who Gives a Crap) and simply put a few into my bags. Ideally, I would like to convert to old fashioned handkerchiefs which obviously are reusable and washable. For the kids, I already use reusable bamboo/ minky squares from Cheeky Wipes which are fabulous for all sorts of purposes – wiping mucky faces and hands or runny noses.
23. Plastic toothbrushes
Instead we buy bamboo toothbrushes*.
24. Sanitary products
For the past year or so I’ve been using a reusable menstrual cup, reusable sanitary (aka cloth) pads from various brands: Bloom & Nora, Earthwise and Cheeky Wipes, and most recently also Cheeky Wipes’ period pants, and there’s definitely no going back now. Millions of women are ditching conventional sanitary products so I encourage you to look into this alternative. Check out this helpful page from OrganiCup on how to use a menstrual cup.
25. Disposable ‘baby’ wipes
Disposable baby wipes are a huge contributor to plastic pollution so the sooner you can ditch them, the better! We’ve been using our beloved Cheeky Wipes squares (the ‘terry zero twist’ kind) for two years now and they’re simply irreplaceable!!! Efficient, great value for money and wash so well, never leaving any stains or funny smells! You can find out more in my post Cheeky Wipes Review as well as get 15% of your first order.
Disclaimer: This post contains some affiliate links however this doesn’t affect the price you pay. As always, my opinions are my own and honest.