10 Easy Switches To Be More Environmentally Friendly

Disclosure: Affiliate links are used in this post. You can read my full disclosure here. 

Here are ten easy switches one can make to be more environmentally friendly. A lot of these we have already done in our own home.

1) Plastic Bags → Reusable Cloth Bags

This is a switch I made a long time ago and have been doing for years! There are times now where I do forget, and in those cases, I opt for paper if possible. However, for the most part, I remember my bags and keep a few in the car at all times.

Some stores are even no longer providing plastic bags, like the Disney Store, so you have to remember your own bag or buy a reusable one from them.

A bonus to using your own bags is some stores, like Target, will give you a small discount (Target gives 5 cents back per bag).

2) Tampons or Disposable Menstrual Pads → Reusable Cup or Cloth Pads

I was never a fan of tampons, tried them once and they weren't for me, so I only ever used disposable pads. Awhile after having my daughter, I decided to give cloth pads a try instead. We were already cloth diapering so it wouldn't have added much to the laundry. Ever since I made the switch, I haven't gone back. I only use disposables when traveling now. You can read about my experience with cloth pads in my previous post here.

3) Disposable Diapers → Cloth Diapers

One of the big reasons we chose to use cloth diapers was because they were more eco-friendly. It also saves money and the prints are adorable! You can check out my favorite cloth diaper brands in this post and find out what my must-haves to start cloth diapering are in this post.

4) Plastic Straws → Metal Straws or No Straws

This was more of a recent switch for us. We don't use straws very often,  usually for smoothies or drinks at home, but decided it wouldn't hurt to have some on hand. However, now when I do happen to stop to pick up food to bring home, I don't bother to grab plastic straws as we have these at home, so we surprisingly use them a lot more than I thought! (We honestly could just not use the straws, but they are fun to use!) This is the set we got on Amazon.

5) Tissues → Handkerchiefs 

I just made this switch this year. I was hesitant at first because handkerchiefs just get so gross, but I go through so many tissues due to allergies and it's just a waste. I ended up buying a total of 24 handkerchiefs. This way I had a least 3 per day for 1 week and wouldn't have to do laundry till the end of the week. After using them for a while, I realized I could get by with 2 a day, and rarely do I need the third one. The Docker ones are my favorite, which you buy on Amazon.

6) Plastic Bottles & Coffee Cups → Stainless Steel or Glass Reusable Bottle & Thermos

Instead of buying those packs of plastic water bottles, opt to buy a reusable bottle, preferably steel or glass as they biodegrade, and fill it with water at home.

If you are a coffee lover, opt to bring your own thermos. If you aren't a fan of making your own coffee at home or are on the go, many coffee shops will refill your reusable one!

7) Plastic Food Storage → Glass Food Storage Containers

We made this switch a while back and use Pyrex, but are hoping to switch to something that has a more airtight seal, like the ones in the picture above. I wouldn't recommend the Pyrex set as the lids are bendy and easily rip/tear over time.

The one major downside to glass is that it can break, but we haven't had any issues yet. You just have to be more careful when handling it.

8) Paper Towels → Washcloths or Dish Rags

We still have paper towels, but do our best to use cloth to clean up messes whenever possible. We just use washcloths, dish towels, dish clothes, etc basically whatever is lying around. Anything works really to clean up a mess and then you just wash it later.

There are "unpaper" towels you can purchase on Amazon and various sellers on Etsy make them as well, some even with snaps so you can make them into a roll if you want! These tend to be more pricey than just buying a cheap pack of washcloths, but the upside is they are designed to be the size of a paper towel and you can get fun prints.

9) Toilet Paper → Cloth Wipes & Bidet/Sprayer

We have somewhat switched to using cloth wipes as toilet paper, but we still have toilet paper. We've opted for more eco-friendly toilet paper though that is made from Bamboo. I intended to use wipes but realized we go through them so fast as we also use them in place of tissues. We could buy more wipes, but we like having toilet paper on hand for guests.

For poop, you'll want to invest in a bidet or sprayer. 

10) Contacts → Glasses or LASIK Eye Surgery

I stopped wearing contacts a long time ago, but just recently discovered that contacts are not biodegradable! Choosing to wear glasses is the better way to go, or if you really dislike glasses, LASIK eye surgery is another option.

If you must wear contacts, opt for the ones that don't need to be replaced daily. There is also a contact lens recycling program you can check out here