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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at VCU chapter.

It is no secret that we have become accustomed to single-use products. They are convenient and cheap, but they do a lot of damage to our environment. Most of the single-use products we use cannot be broken down by our environment and can stay in landfills for decades. Not everyone knows that switches can be made to limit their single-use products. Switching your products does not have to be expensive and can save you money in the long run. 

Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets are single-use goods that produce unnecessary waste since their purpose is limited to eliminating static and adding a scent to your laundry. Some people have reported that dryer sheets can be harmful due to the chemicals used to make them. Dryer balls are a good alternative to dryer sheets.

They are usually made from wool or plastic that help with static and can add fragrance to your laundry, if you desire, by adding a few drops of your favorite essential oil. Dryer balls can be found here or at your local supermarket. 

Safety Razor

Safety razors are made of stainless steel and use a single blade that can be changed rather than the plastic razor heads that are more widely used. These plastic-free razors limit the waste produced with shaving. Safety razors are also known to be better for your skin. They can give you a closer shave and reduce the possibility of irritation and ingrown hairs.

Because the safety razor is made of stainless steel, the blades last longer than plastic razors. They do not rust as easily and are more hygienic. Buying the actual razor handle for a safety razor can be pricier than buying a regular razor, but the razor refills are a lot cheaper than plastic razor refills. You can find a safety razor here and the refills here.  

Blueland Cleaning Products

Blueland is a company that sells reusable bottles so that all you have to buy after are plastic-free refills. The refills come in tablet form and all you have to do is put the tablet in the bottle with some water and you have your cleaner. Their products are also paraben, ammonia and phthalate-free.

Similar to the safety razor, the starter kit/reusable bottles are pricier than the plastic bottles you can get at Target or Walmart, but the refill packs are cheaper than buying another bottle of cleaner. All Blueland products can be found here.  

Silicone Bags

Ziploc bags are extremely convenient and are used by many households in the U.S., but they are extremely harmful to our environment. The company that produces Ziploc uses fracking and steam cracking to produce these products. The chemicals seep into the environment and use large amounts of energy-depleting resources.

Once they are used and go to landfills (if they make it to the landfill), they do not break down and have been known to cause groundwater contamination. Reusable silicone bags replace Ziploc bags and are ultimately better for the environment. These silicone bags seal similar to Ziploc bags and are more durable than Ziplocs.

Some of them are dishwasher safe, so after use, you can throw them in with the rest of your dishes. Reusable silicone bags can be found here or at your local supermarkets (I have found some at Marshall’s for super cheap). 

Reusable K-Cup Coffee Filters

A lot of people use Keurigs because they are fast and easy. It is a lot less work than making a full pot of coffee, and you can limit the amount of coffee you make. Unfortunately, this convenience is extremely bad for the environment. A team at Berkeley estimated that the number of K-Cups thrown away could wrap around the planet 10 times. Reusable K-cups allow you to fill them with your preferred coffee and pop them into the Keurig like you would with a regular K-cup.

Once you are done brewing, all you have to do is rinse them with water, and you can use them again. The coffee grounds can be repurposed as well (fertilizer for soil, insect repellent and exfoliating scrub for your skin). Reusable K-cups can be found here or at your local supermarket. 

Switching some of your products could help the environment without having to sacrifice durability or performance. Some sustainable products outperform their competitors. Sustainability does not have to be super expensive or time-consuming. Some products will add little to no time to your daily routine. 

Jaimison James is a writer for HerCampus at VCU. She is a current Junior majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Life Sciences and a minor in Biology.
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