Five Easy Sustainable Swaps Everyone Can Make

When I first was made aware of how horrible plastic was for the environment, I tried to cut all plastic out of my life. I tried everything. I even starting using bar shampoo that I bought from my local farmers market (it was the worst decision I’ve ever made). After about a year of trying to eliminate plastic entirely, I’ve learned two things: One, you can’t force other people to stop using plastic, but you can lead by example. Two, it’s almost impossible to live your everyday life with no absolutely no plastic. However, there are a few really easy swaps that will make a huge impact on the environment.

  1. 1. Bamboo Toothbrushes

    Ditch your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one! Bamboo toothbrushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes and some even have charcoal infused bristles to whiten your teeth. They can be composted if you remove the bristles. Click here for my favorite brand.

  2. 2. Paper or Metal Straws

    Reusable straws are a great way to reduce plastic. I prefer metal because paper sometimes dissolves into the drink, but they’re still a better option than plastic. You can keep them in your purse or backpack, so you’ll always have one. Many coffee shops in KC sell them along with straw cleaners for under five dollars. Click here for a beginner set.

  3. 3. Reusable Shopping Bags

    Plastic shopping bags can’t be recycled unless they’re brought to a plastic bag collector at the grocery store and a single bag takes 1,000 years to decompose. They can be purchased at most grocery stores. Many stores are starting to apply discounts for bringing your own bag. If you don’t want to purchase a reusable bag or you forget to bring it, you can always ask for paper.

  4. 4. Bar Soap

    Using bar soap is probably the easiest switch you can make. You don’t have to buy fancy handmade soap; any bar soap will do. While this might not be entirely plastic-free, a thin plastic wrapper is much better than a large plastic bottle. You can also use bar soap as a face wash. Charcoal and dead sea mud bars are my favorite.

  5. 5. A Reusable Bottle

    Preferably glass, but sometimes plastic is more practical for work or school. Single-use plastic water bottles take over 400 years to decompose and only 10% of the plastic can be recycled. You can even bring a reusable cup to coffee shops. I’ve never had a barista tell me I couldn’t use it and they’re usually impressed by seeing a reusable bottle.

Many of these items are more cost effective than their single-use plastic alternative. Once you start using these items, you’ll start to realize how much unnecessary plastic we use on a daily basis and it’ll become second nature to bring your reusable items with you. Good luck on your low-waste journey!