Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to live more sustainably? Many of us share this same goal and are eager to make sustainable swaps in our households but don’t know where to start. From reducing plastic waste to choosing eco-friendly alternatives, there are numerous simple swaps that can have a big impact on our environment. I have made the following simple swaps in my household as much as possible- remember that any little step can have a big impact! Every family is different, and it is perfectly okay to not be able to make all the changes all at once. We’re focused on small, sustainable changes that shouldn’t overwhelm you or your family, providing the same quality in sustainable home products as you’d get in their plastic counterparts.
So what are some easy sustainable swaps to incorporate environmentally friendly living in your home this year?
Our list of sustainable swaps
1. Reusable Shopping Bags
Single-use plastic bags are a major contributor to environmental pollution. Plastic bags take hundreds of years to decompose, switching to reusable shopping bags is so easy but so impactful! Be sure to keep your bags handy to avoid forgetting them when you go shopping. I like to keep a bunch in the car so that I always have some on hand when I need them. This is a great first step if you’re looking to reduce plastic waste, as you probably can’t avoid going to the grocery store, but you can be prepared to ensure you don’t create more waste by using these bags.
2. Ditch the Plastic Dishes
Similar to plastic bags, plastic dishes are one of the largest contributors to environmental pollution. Not only are plastic dishes harmful to the environment, they also leach harmful chemicals into your food. Doctors recommend two materials to avoid the harmful chemicals in plastic- glass and stainless steel, making this sustainable swap one of the easiest, fastest choices you can make. I might be biased, but Ahimsa stainless steel is the perfect choice because not only are the dishes beautiful, but they are made from 100% recycled stainless steel, are durable, and will last a lifetime so there is no need to ever replace them!
3. Meatless Monday
Try incorporating Meatless Monday into your routine! If you are able to do just one meatless dinner a week you can truly make such a difference. By opting for meatless meals, you are contributing to reducing the environmental impact associated with meat production. Livestock farming is a major contributor to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and excessive water usage.
This is also a great opportunity to try new plant-based recipes and expand your little one’s palette. Packed with nutrients, plant-based meals are a delicious way to introduce variety into your diet while lowering your intake of saturated fats. It's a win-win for your well-being and the planet.
4. Avoid Individually Wrapped Snacks
I know how busy things can get and it can be hard to make time for snacking, so it’s okay if you are in a rush and need a quick option for when you are on the go. However, try to avoid single-use snack packs when possible as they can contribute to unnecessary waste and environmental harm.
Instead, opt for buying in bulk when possible to avoid some of that additional waste. This is also more cost-effective in the long run! When I am on the go I always use the Circle Trios as they are so easy to just throw in your purse, the car, and the stroller. There is also my personal favorite, the Smart Snacking Bowls. These are perfect for snacking at home and are the perfect size for healthy portions of your favorite snacks. Should you need something just a little bit bigger, we also highly recommend the Ahimsa Square, an all-purpose container that’s great for snacking.
5. Cloth Napkins and Reusable Paper Towels
Say goodbye to the disposable paper trail and make the switch from single-use napkins and paper towels to reusable cloth alternatives. Unfortunately, traditional paper products contribute significantly to deforestation and waste.
Cloth napkins and towels are durable, washable, and designed for the long haul. This sustainable swap not only conserves trees but also lessens the demand for energy and resources used in paper production. Reusable cloth options are also a cost-effective choice in the long run. While a pack of paper towels might seem convenient, the constant need for replenishment adds up over time. In contrast, investing in quality cloth napkins and towels pays off both economically and environmentally. This is a sustainable swap that saves you money in the long run, on top of the environmental benefits, and its low cost makes it a great first step.
6. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle
Single use plastic bottles are a major source of plastic pollution, taking centuries to decompose and leaving a trail of pollution behind. Invest in a stainless steel water bottle, they are durable and eco-friendly. By opting for stainless steel, you're actively reducing your carbon footprint every time you refill it rather than grabbing a single-use plastic bottle. These bottles are built to last, plus, stainless steel ensures your water stays pure and untainted, free from the harmful chemicals found in plastic. Be sure to read about why pediatricians recommend steel in dishware for people of all ages.
7. Switch to Compostable Toothbrushes
Traditional toothbrushes can take centuries to break down so consider switching to a compostable bamboo toothbrush! Compostable toothbrushes are made from bamboo, making them sustainable and fully biodegradable. Additionally, compostable toothbrushes are most often free of harmful chemicals found in many plastic toothbrushes.
8. Avoid Plastic Wrap and Containers
Try to swap out plastic wrap and containers for glass or stainless steel containers when possible. Stainless steel is a great option because it is so durable, they stand up to wear and tear which eliminates the need for constant replacements and reduces the demand for new plastic production. Not only are stainless steel containers environmentally friendly, but they also contribute to a healthier kitchen. Free from harmful chemicals found in some plastics, stainless steel keeps your food fresh without any unwanted side effects. If you are looking for the perfect stainless steel container, check out the Ahimsa Squares, they are the perfect size for lunches and snacking on the go.
9. Ditch the Single-Use Coffee Cups
When you are able to, opt for a reusable coffee mug or cups rather than a single-use disposable cup. The single-use cups are often not recycled and end up in the landfills. Many coffee shops actually offer you a discount if you bring in a reusable cup, so it’s a win-win!
10. Switch to a Compostable Bamboo Brush
Ditch the traditional sponge and opt for a compostable bamboo brush instead. This sustainable swap offers many benefits for both your kitchen and the environment. Sponges are synthetic and take hundreds of years to decompose, whereas bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource that can be composted.
Traditional sponges are breeding grounds for bacteria and have a limited lifespan. Bamboo brushes outperform the traditional sponge in hygiene and durability. Bamboo is naturally antimicrobial, inhibiting the growth of bacteria and keeping your kitchen tools cleaner for longer. This is a small sustainable change that you can immediately feel better about making.
Some Final Thoughts on Sustainable Swaps
Each sustainable swap you make is a step in the right direction, and the collective impact of these small changes can make a big difference on our environment. As we enter the New Year let’s support one another to make these small changes! Share what sustainable home products are working for you with your family and friends, because that is how we can all truly make an impact. Additionally, sharing why you are making these swaps with your little ones is a great way to raise little planet protectors! Together we can make a big difference.
If you have any questions on why we so strongly recommend using stainless steel for your kitchenware, be sure to read our page of frequently asked questions and get the answers you’re looking for. We’d love to hear what sustainable swaps have worked for you!