The Fight for our home planet is in full force across politics and industry; some companies are showing the way to great success. We must all do our part, including making changes in our personal life. It can be paralyzing to think about, but we don’t have to summit the mountain in one day; we just have to start climbing. This guide will get you on the slope through your first several ascents and give you a lot of pleasure along the way. Switching to these better brands supports our planet and the companies out to do it a bit better. I hope you find great personal rewards along the way, and keep the conversation going by submitting your favorite products to us.
Recurring waste in the home is a form of pollution. Just because it doesn’t end up in the atmosphere, in the forest, or the ocean, doesn’t mean that we can’t make better decisions for better products. The mission of this article is to point you toward products that eliminate waste streams from your home life. Generally, we target plastics or high use products and find replacements that either biodegrade or drastically reduce the planetary impact and plastic waste. As mentioned, we don’t have to be perfect, but we can be a lot better.
First up, toilet paper. Can Toilet paper make you happy, entertain you, or even make you laugh. You bet your clean ass it can. Who Gives a Crap- “saving the world one wipe at a time” is a B-corp doing good while delivering a great experience. Their variety of paper products consist of either 100% recycled materials or sustainably sourced bamboo. The packaging is endlessly entertaining. Each roll has a unique wrapper printed with jokes, clever musings, and fun facts to keep you busy while doing your business. The bulk package ships with a single roll packaged in orange paper to alert you of the imminent “LAST ROLL,” so you’re sure to reorder in time. When compare wipe-for-wipe, only bulk sellers like COSTCO are more price competitive. And it ships right to your door. The company also offers tissue paper, and paper towels. Who Gives a Crap uses 50% of profits to build toilets for the needy.
Cling wrap and sandwich wraps are next up. Cling wrap is a single-use plastic product that goes into the landfill immediately after use. Brittan alone uses enough cling wrap in a year to wrap the earth 30 times. Check out MeliWraps, a waxed fabric wrap that is reusable, washable, and vibrantly fun. It is superior to cling wrap in its utility. The job is done equally well and adds color to your fridge. We use this exclusively and keep finding new applications. Try wrapping sandwiches or snacks for the kiddos. When it reaches its end of life, they are fully biodegradable. We are at least 12 months into our first order.
Sometimes the case for single use is too great. When that happens, use these paper, recyclable, reusable sandwich bags. These little guys from LunchSkins will keep a lot of plastic waste out of the landfill and add a colorful pop to any lunch bag.
Single-use grocery produce bags are a scourge of modern shopping. You sneeze, and they fly out a window and into the ocean. Check out these organic *reusable net produce bags*. They are soft and supple and let the veggies breathe. Lettuce wilt’s a bit faster in them, so transfer to something more sealable once home.
*Stainless steel, washable straws*, replace single-use plastic ones but remember to ask for no straw at the drive-through. We keep them in our cars, drawers, backpacks, and bags.
Dental floss has long been a point of frustration for us. It’s just wound up string with a waxy coating. It seems like I could fit a lifetime supply in my pocket, yet the big manufacturers give you just enough to last a few months, forcing you to discard that plastic housing each time. *Eco-Dent* is the solution, with a football field worth of floss, a recyclable paper package, vegan waxed, and essential oils. This friendly floss is one of our favorite products. Our first package is going on for two years now.
Tooth Paste Tubes are another point of waste in the bathroom, and several solutions exist. We have tried Chomp Whitening Toothpaste Tablets that come in glass refillable containers to success. Recently we have been loving Davids Natural Tooth Paste that comes in a metallic tube. I think the charcoal does a better job, but my wife likes the minty white flavors.
Hand soap offers an easy solution if you’re willing to convert entirely to bar soap. There are endless natural bar soap companies, but I am more of a dispenser guy. For an excellent foaming option, save a dispenser and get these refill tablets from blueland, drop-in water and get a full dispenser at a fraction of the cost and no plastic waste. Another great option is to refill using a brand with biodegradable, eco-friendly packaging, cleancult is one of these.
Keeping with the clean theme, Shampoo has a few solutions. I was very skeptical on this one because I am susceptible to fierce dandruff and an itchy scalp. When a bar of soap arrived to replace the bottle of Head and Shoulders, my bull-shit meter went wild. However, after several weeks turned into several months with no signs of dandruff, I am sold. Recently we transitioned away from bar soap to these eco-friendly metal refillable liquid dispensers by Plaine Products. Plaine also has a full line up of lotions.
Deodorant is a staple product. We use it for a few months and toss the plastic housing in the bin. We recently discovered and love Mood Deodorant, which comes in various scents and a cardboard tube. The aromas are natural and range from traditional to non-traditional, giving a little something for every member of your family.
Replace Chapstick and the accompanying plastic tubes with Reef Repair SPF lip balm.
Synthetic fibers used in clothing contribute more than 30% of the ocean's microplastic pollution. Transitioning to natural fibers will not only reduce plastic waste but can make you feel more a part of this world. For everyday cotton and hemp are great. For out outdoor adventures, consider wool and down. In many/most cases, natural fibers outperform synthetics. However, they often cost a little more.
Books represent a significant contributor to carbon in the atmosphere and massive use of natural resources. Rarely will I suggest a non-natural alternative for any application unless the long-term benefits outpace the detriment, but here I think it wise. An e-reader can be just this. The amazon kindle paperwhite is such a product. According to this article in C|net after reading 23 books on a kindle, your carbon footprint is reduced compared to paper books. If you are a library book reader, this math starts to diminish, or if you often share books. If you go the e-reader route, we recommend the Kindle Paperwhite for it’s superior battery life and minimal material usage. When you recycle the device, Amazon offers this service, you get bonus points from the environment and make that carbon footprint payback-period even shorter.
We hope this inspires you to start making changes around the house. Please respond in comments to add your own suggestions.