We’re so busy in our day to day lives that it can be easy to forget the impact we have on our environment. That plastic grocery bag? It’s one of 14 billion used in the U.S. each year, according to Waste Management. Those straws we keep hearing about? Most can’t be recycled.
So what can we do to make a positive impact on the environment and teach our children about sustainability? All it takes are little changes. You can use a stainless steel water bottle to reduce your own plastic footprint. Or say no to a straw at Starbucks and use one you stash in your bag. Every small change makes a difference.
Here are 20 easy, eco-friendly swaps you and your kids can make for a healthier home and, ultimately, a healthier earth.
1. Instead of a Starbucks straw, try a reusable one
We’ve all heard that straws can end up in the ocean, harming birds and marine life. These are our editor’s favorite reusable straws.
Glass Reusable Straws
Kids Silicone Straws
2. Instead of using dryer sheets, use a dryer ball
Both these options soften laundry naturally.
Wool Dryer Balls
Hedgehog Dryer Balls
3. Instead of plastic wrap, use beeswax wrap
Bee’s Wrap is made of organic cotton infused with beeswax and other natural binders, making it washable, reusable, and then when you’re done, compostable.
4. Instead of pads or tampons, try a menstrual cup
A menstrual cup is a silicone cup that collects your menstrual blood all day, every day. Just pop it in and clean it out every eight hours. You’ll be saving money and the earth by not buying single-use products.
5. Instead of snack baggies, use snack containers
6. Instead of single-use tea bags, use a tea strainer
Fred & Friends
Silicone Tea Infuser
7. Instead of brown lunch bags, use a bento box
Glass Meal Prep Containers
8. Instead of getting your coffee in a paper cup, bring a stainless steel one (same goes for water bottles)
9. Instead of paper towels, use fabric dish towels or bamboo washable/reusable towels
Kitchen + Home
10. Instead of lining baking sheets with foil or parchment paper, use a silicone mat
Silicone Baking Sheets
11. Instead of using plastic or paper bags at the grocery, bring reusable canvas bags
Packable Reusable Bag
12. Instead of using Ziplock bags, get a reusable silicone “ziplock” bag
13. Instead of getting a new plastic phone case, get a chic biodegradable one
Eco-Friendly Sustainable Phone Case
14. Instead of using 4-5 gallons of water per shower, use less than two with a low-flow showerhead
15. Instead of using plastic produce bags, bring your own reusable ones
Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
16. Instead of using K-cups, use a French press
17. Instead of using a plastic toothbrush, use a bamboo one
18. Instead of buying single-use packs of baby wipes, try a refillable wipes bag
Refillable Wipes Case
19. Instead of using shampoo bottles, use a shampoo bar
Hydrating Shampoo Bar
19. Instead of having cut flowers in your house, invest in real plants