We’re all starting to become a little more conscious of and concerned about our ecological footprint. Which is awesome, right? Also, with the rise of COVID-19 we’re all realizing the importance of sustainability. Making last-minute grocery runs or being able to count on some of our staples isn’t realistic during this time. In honor of Earth Day’s 50th birthday, we’re compiling a list of 15 earth-loving + sustainable items members of our team have come to love.
What is Earth Day?
The creation of Earth Day was inspired by a unified effort to bring awareness to the ecological shortcomings surrounding our planet at the time. On April 22nd, 1970, 20 million Americans (which was 10% of the nation’s population at the time) took to the streets of college campuses, cities and towns around the country in protest, demanding new actions on how our planet handles waste, trade and things such as oil spills and pollution. The first Earth Day is credited with launching the modern environmental movement, and is now recognized as the planet’s largest civic event!
What do you do for Earth Day?
Celebrating Earth Day can happen in a variety of ways! Some big, some small. Earth Day is supposed to inspire us to make more eco-friendly choices and be more conscious of what we do and use on a daily basis. You could plant a tree or donate to The Canopy Project! Join in a park clean-up crew that day or decide to switch to natural cleaning products. Have you been mulling over going plastic free? Or what about making your own laundry detergent? Maybe one of these suggestions will strike your fancy! We’ve rounded up some of our favorites.
15 eco-friendly swaps for Earth Day 2020
- Glass or metal straws. A simple switch from plastic straws to metal or glass or even this collapsible one is a great place to start! Whether a product is recyclable or not, relies heavily on a market being able to resell the material. Also, there are a lot of straws. Some estimates say that hundreds of millions of straws are thrown out every day in the US alone!
- Reusable K Cups. Keurig coffee machines took the world by storm over the last decade. What didn’t happen was finding a way to responsibly dispose of these billions of used K-cups! Keurig machines are awesome for on the go and you do waste less coffee if you are only brewing what you will consume (this equals a win). Switching to a reusable K-Cup is perfect because you’re not throwing away a non-recyclable item and you’re saving money by using your favorite bulk coffee.
- Menstrual cup. The idea of how many pads and used tampons end up in the landfill is enough to make your stomach turn! It’s estimated that the average woman will throw away 10+ thousand tampons during her menstruating lifetime. A menstrual cup is a small cup shaped device made out of medical-grade silicone. It collects menstrual blood safely and can be emptied every 12 hours and get this: it lasts for up to 10 years! So instead of buying 10,000 tampons you could actually only buy 4 or 5 menstrual cups over your lifetime. Be sure to purchase a reusable vessel to sterilize your period cup in too!
- Beeswax Wrap. Want to save on all that single-use plastic wrap? Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly swap. They can be purchased anywhere these days, including Etsy. Making your own is also a fun project with fabric odds and ends!
- Cloth coffee filter. Do you have a pour over coffee pot? Or a Chemex? A reusable filter is the perfect swap! We found this cloth filter and love it. It’s made by a family-owned and operated business. They’re pretty cool.
- Start Composting. If you have a backyard available to you, composting is easy. If you love to garden, composting is a no brainer! Finding a compost container is ideal so that it can be rotated especially if you plan to use it in a garden. (this is a great item to look for on second-hand sites) You can buy neat + tidy bins for your counter top in almost any decor theme you can imagine.
- Ditch paper towels + napkins. It would shock you to know how much paper waste comes from a one-family household. It’s figured that 4.51lbs is generated each day, per person. And 25% of that is disposable paper. Crazy, right? Keep an eye out at the thrift store for cloth napkins and buy some really absorbent towels like these.
- Reef-safe sunscreen. Recent reports are saying that two common ingredients in sunscreens, oxybenzone and octinoxate, can be harmful to aquatic life. Are you swimming in the ocean, lake or river primarily? Choose a reef-safe sunscreen!
- Reusable jars. Are you wanting to make the switch from plastic food storage to glass? The price can sometimes be a deterrent. Our team loves to save our pasta sauce jars, pickle jars and jam jars! Wash them, soak them to remove the label and viola! You’ll be amazed at the stash you could build and realize what you would have gotten rid of.
- Reusable Q-Tip. Like the straws we talked about earlier, Q-Tips are small, get lost in all the waste a household makes and cannot be recycled. Reusable options have risen in popularity and they are pretty cool. Can’t stomach the idea of washing a Q-Tip? Check out these biodegradable ones.
- Make your own vegetable broth. This saves money + reduces waste! Whenever you’re chopping veggies, instead of throwing away the ends, nubs and skins, save them in a bag or container. Pop the container in the freezer and keep them there. Continue collecting scraps and putting them in the freezer container. You’ll be surprised how much you end up with at the end of the month! Boil it all down and make a hearty broth.
- Compostable toothbrush. Absolutely nothing about the standard toothbrush is recyclable. 100% of the time it ends up in a landfill. Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is easy with all the styles and options available to you!
- Solid shampoo. If you’re unfamiliar with this, it’s basically a bar of soap but it’s shampoo designed to be used on your hair. Shampoo bars have gained popularity with the #plasticfree movement. Likewise, you can also find conditioners!
- Switch to a bidet. Toilet paper was a commodity we didn’t think twice about, right? Living this COVID-19 life has us all grasping for the bare necessities. Combine a bidet with Toilet UnPaper and you’re 100% self-sufficient. If you have old t-shirts, washcloths or towels, you could also cut those into squares and use them too! (double eco win!)
- Dryer sheet alternatives. If you’re steering clear of all things disposable, don’t forget about the little sheets that get thrown in the dryer! Wool dryer balls have been a favorite but if you have an allergy to wool or prefer a vegan option, these are great too.
If you were to pick even one of these swaps in celebration of Earth Day, that would be a big step! Hopefully, we made the decision a little easier. How are you switching to a more sustainable life? We would love to know! If you’ve ever contemplated switching to a menstrual cup, now is the time! Head over to our website for 10% off your first purchase with us!