The Global Plastic Problem and You
When it comes to plastic pollution, the numbers speak for themselves:
- The CDC estimates that 93% of people living in the United States have at least some BPA (a harmful chemical used to make plastics) in their bloodstream from regular contact with plastics.
- Over a million birds and 100,000 marine mammals die every year from plastic pollution in our oceans.
- Only 9% of all the plastic that has ever been made in history has been recycled.
Then when you think about the fact that the majority of plastic products are made for consumers, it’s hard not to feel like you’re part of the problem.
It can be so overwhelming that you might even start thinking the problem is too big for you to make an impact.
But it isn’t.
The best way to fight plastic pollution is to make conscious choices about the products you buy, with the environment in mind.
By showing yourself - and your friends and family - that you don’t need plastic wrap to store your leftovers or plastic bottles for your household cleaners, you can start rethinking what products work best for you and your family.
We put together this list of the four best sustainable household products to show you how simple it is to swap out some of the plastics you use every day in your home.
Implement enough plastic-free swaps in your life, and you may even be able to stop using single-use plastics altogether.
Keep reading to see which eco-friendly products you can start using today that will greatly impact your life and the environment.
4 Sustainable Household Products That Work Better Than Their Plastic Counterparts
1) Biodegradable Trash Bags and Dog Bags
There’s nothing like putting your plastic garbage bag in your plastic recycling bin and taking it to the curb where you see all of your neighbor’s plastic garbage bags in their plastic recycling bins to make you realize how ubiquitous plastics are in our lives.
(And here you were, thinking you were doing right by the planet by recycling).
Luckily for everyone, it doesn’t have to be this way.
Most major chain and grocery stores now sell biodegradable, plant-based waste bags. They come in all shapes and sizes, just like plastic waste bags, and they don’t contribute to plastic pollution, unlike plastic waste bags.
2) Reusable Sandwich Wraps and Food Wraps
You have to hand it to whoever invented saran wrap; they really understood that all anyone wants is an easy-to-use product to wrap our kids’ school lunches.
(Except in 2020. In 2020 time and school lunches have lost all meaning.)
Saran wrap seems harmless. It’s just one tiny piece of plastic you used one time, right?
If you multiply the number of school lunches you make used to make by each child at your child’s school, then multiply that by every school in the country, those tiny pieces of plastic start to add up.
Enter: Bees Wrap.
Bees Wrap is made by infusing organic cotton with tree resin, jojoba oil, and beeswax to create a reusable, washable, compostable alternative to plastic wrap. It’s more breathable than plastic wrap, too, which helps your food last longer by releasing gasses (rather than trapping them).
Something to keep in mind - bees wrap isn’t a one-for-one plastic replacement. Bees wrap does not work well with liquids, so you’ll want some glass, locking storage containers for backup.
3) Aluminum Cleaning Bottles
Think about how many “eco-friendly” cleaning brands sell their cleaners in plastic bottles. Plastic bottles that, because of their chemical composition, will eventually break down and need to be replaced.
Glass, aluminum, and ceramic bottles are all great alternatives to standard plastic cleaning bottles. Best of all, these types of bottles will never need to be recycled - creating carbon emissions in the recycling process - and replaced.
Reusable cleaning bottles are more cost-effective, too.
When you buy a bottle of multi-surface cleaner, you’re paying not just for the cleaning product but the bottle itself. These days, you can purchase refills for reusable bottles that cost significantly less.
4) Stainless Steel Straws
Straws are fun. We’re not trying to take away your straws, people.
We’re just trying to get you to replace them with straws that are a little more, well, sustainable.
One study from 2018 estimated that 8.3 billion plastic straws pollute the world’s oceans every year. That’s why fast-food brands across the country are switching to no-straw lids or biodegradable straws, and it’s time for you to make the switch, too.
Stainless steel straws last literally forever and make sipping your morning cold brew a whole lot greener. And, contrary to what the little scrubber that comes with stainless steel straws may have led you to believe, they’re easy to clean (just throw them in the dishwasher).