10 Replacements For Everyday Plastic Items

The environment has become a major focus in today’s society. There have been national protests, political platforms and activists raising awareness and advocating for global change. Climate change is definitely scary, and I can’t help but feel guilty whenever I notice that I’m using or throwing away plastic. As a result, I have been focused on trying to avoid plastic items as best I can as a university student, and I would like to encourage others to do the same. Here are ten plastic-free items that are cute, easy to find and eco-friendly!

1. Bamboo Toothbrush

Bamboo is a regenerating grass, which means it is a very sustainable and renewable resource, in contrast to plastics which are not made from renewable resources and can take up to 1000 years to decompose. A single bamboo toothbrush will last just as long as a regular one (about 2-3 months), plus you can buy them in bulk for about the cost of a single plastic toothbrush. Just be sure to remove the recyclable bristles before you compost the toothbrush as they are not biodegradable. Who wouldn’t want to save the planet and save money at the same time!

2. Reusable Straws

This has been a pretty popular alternative. You can use it as a cute way to accessorize or to add a pop of colour to your day. Make-up artist Jeffree Star is also on board with this trend and even came out with his own line of metal straws. There are also straws made out of glass, silicone and bamboo, most of which come with a cleaning brush to minimize hassle. Saving the turtles has never been so easy!

3. Shampoo Bars

Lush is just one great place to find shampoo bars! There’s no plastic packaging, and you can still pick from a variety of scents and formulas. Many people nowadays are opting for these bars over bottles, but if you’re still on the fence, you can find a list of benefits to shampoo bars here.

4. Silicone Baggies

These silicone baggies are meant to replace plastic ones that are used to store food or other miscellaneous items. You can buy them online or from stores like Indigo. They have a variety of fun colours, they’re microwave and dishwasher safe and you’ll never run out of plastic baggies again! Plus, no more worrying about any BPA contamination!

5. Toothpaste and Mouthwash Tablets

This is another item that is popular at Lush but can be found online as well! They come in an array of flavours, from classic mint to citrus—even cola! To use the toothpaste, all you have to do is chew the tablet and brush as usual with a wet—preferably bamboo—toothbrush. Then, you can pop a mouthwash tablet in your mouth, sip a little water and swish as the tablet begins to fizz and clean. It’ll make the mundane act of brushing your teeth in the morning fun again! Your dentist would be proud.

6. Reusable Water Bottle 

Image result for swell reusable water bottle

 

This is something almost everyone has by now, but if you’re one of the few holdouts, this is one bandwagon you should definitely hop on! I personally recommend a metal water bottle such as Swell or Hydroflask. These can also be a great way to express some individuality; cover your bottle in cool stickers or find one that’s a unique colour or pattern. You could even coordinate your water bottle with your reusable straw!

7. Beeswax or Silicone Food Wrap

This is another easy food storage switch. Beeswax wraps have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and while they will still prevent food from drying out, they allow food to breathe more than plastic. Silicone wraps, on the other hand, can withstand hotter temperatures than plastic, so don’t be afraid to use it over steaming hot food or during cooking. Both beeswax and silicone wraps are also reusable, so you’ll never have to go out and buy plastic wrap ever again!

8. Compostable Garbage Bags

I believe that this plastic replacement would have a huge impact if everyone made the switch to compostable garbage bags. Garbage bags are used by everyone. Whether at work, home, school or even out at the park, you will always see a garbage bin with a classic black plastic bag. According to Statistica, it is estimated that the number of plastic garbage bags used by Americans will be about 320.49 million by the year 2023. That’s a lot of plastic that could be avoided by making one simple switch. However, be sure to purchase compostable bags as opposed to biodegradable. Biodegradable garbage bags can slow the decomposition of garbage and when they do break down, release the greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere.

9. Reusable Grocery Bags 

Go out and find some cute, colourful and reusable grocery bags, or use bags you already own and never spend five cents on plastic bags ever again! These bags are stronger and typically bigger, so you can hold more groceries and not worry about the bag ripping! You can also use these bags for reasons other than groceries, such as an overnight bag or perhaps even a reusable shopping bag for the mall! Whatever your heart desires.

10. Travel Mug

Lots of coffee shops like Starbucks or Tim Hortons have no issues pouring your drink into a personal mug. In fact, many will give you a discount, usually about ten cents. Don’t spend it all in one place!

There are many other easy replacements for plastic items as well! Most of them come in a variety of colours, shapes, designs and sizes, allowing you to find some eco-friendly items that’ll make you look and feel good. More importantly, our world and climate are changing. We need everyone to rally together and work towards sustainable and renewable solutions for the future. Every small act helps in the war against climate change. We all just have to do our part!

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