As climate change and global pollution moves toward a breaking point, it’s more important than ever for the everyday consumer to make changes, whether small or large, that positively affect our environment. The more people who make small and manageable changes, the more the ripple effects become powerful. You may have already heard the calls to ditch plastic straws for metal reusable ones or to swap out plastic bottles of hand soap with bar soap that eliminates the need for plastic. These are valid and important steps. But if you’re looking for some extra ways to step up your home’s eco-friendly choices, here are a few that are easy to tackle, won’t sacrifice quality, and are good for the planet.
Switch Your Toilet Paper
The last year or two has seen a boom of recycled or alternate material toilet paper companies springing up. Two of the most established (among plenty of great options) are Who Gives a Crap and Reel Paper. Both will ship eco-friendly TP right to your door, on a recurring schedule if you so choose (an easy way to cut costs). Reel specializes in 100% bamboo toilet paper, a vastly more sustainable option than tree products. Who Gives a Crap has options for both bamboo or 100% recycled toilet paper, both of which reduce the huge chunk of deforestation that’s a result of in-home paper usage.
Try Shampoo Bars
The vast majority of hair care is sold in plastic containers, often swathed in plastic wrappers or labels. Realizing the waste this creates, more companies are offering shampoo bars that eliminate the need for any plastic wrapping. Even better, many of them last 80 or even 100 washes. There are many brands selling these bars, but LUSH has a particularly great variety.
Swap Out Your Trash Bags
The sheer quantity of trash in landfills and oceans around the world is problematic, and one easy way to reduce your own trash production is to change the bags you use for trash. Fully compostable trash bags are now easy to come by, and rather than living for hundreds of years in a landfill, they’re made of plant materials and will quickly and harmlessly decompose back into nature. Plus you can buy 100 bags for only $29.
Opt for More Sustainable Food Storage
There are a multitude of new ways to reduce waste when grocery shopping, storing food, or bringing lunch to work. You don’t have try them all at once. Start with a few small steps and work your way up to more: Bring reusable produce bags to the store, use a stainless-steel lunchbox, keep your sandwich in a reusable beeswax wrap or silicone bag, grab some bamboo utensils or a metal straw. If you’re feeling ambitious, EarthHero has a kit that includes many of these items, as well as an inventory of other eco-friendly products.
Annie Burdick is a writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon, but transplanted from the Midwest. She also works as a community inclusion specialist for adults with disabilities. Previously she's edited and written for magazines, websites, books, and small businesses, on an absurdly wide range of topics. She spends the rest of her time reading, eating good food, and finding new adventures in the Pacific Northwest.