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I was asked recently about the easiest sustainable swap I could think of. And the first thing that came to mind was, using what you have. And that truly is the easiest thing to do, it produces no new waste and it is cheap because you already have the thing! Now, if using what you have isn’t an option or you want to make sustainable swaps in the future when you run out of something or loose something, like my beloved coffee tumbler. Then here are a few easy & sustainable swaps anyone can make!
Thrifting is the easiest and in my opinion most obvious sustainable swap. Instead of buying new, buy used, usually I can get exactly what I want for about 50% off. If going to a thrift store during the pandemic leaves you queasy, I recommend shopping on Poshmark or find a vintage/secondhand shop that sells online! Ebay is also a great place to find random odds and ends used and new at a cheaper price and you are supporting a small biz person out there! Make sure you ask LOTS of questions before buying. I’ll be sharing more about how to use Poshmark later this month!
Each of these pieces is secondhand! The dress & bag I bought from Poshmark, the vest is from a friend who was cleaning out her closet, and the shoes I bought from Facebook Marketplace.
Over the last few years, we have stopped buying single-use zip-top bags, since silicone baggies are a bit of an investment we’ve been buying them slowly over the years. We use them for everything from frozen smoothie mixes, leftovers, and snacks for work. I recommend silicone bags (like these) as they have held up REALLY well. I am also a jar hoarder. I reuse jars for storing leftovers, for pantry goods, for my herbs, and you can easily decorate them and fill with candy and voila a gift! I am also getting better at using beeswax covers, if these aren’t your thing I have a friend who LOVES silicone lids, she uses them for every container in her kitchen. I also want to include here to take reusable bags, but during the time of COVID many stores are not accepting reusable bags unless you bag your items. I love brown paper bags, so versatile to reuse or add to your compost. An easy swap is to always say no to plastic whenever you can, opt for paper bags or bring your own reusable bags.
My reusable coffee tumbler is a lifesaver, I take my coffee to work in it and when I am done drinking coffee I wash it out and put water in it because Lord knows I am constantly dehydrated. I also carry an extra reusable draw with me, it basically just lives in my bag so I can put it in a cup of water or in my tumbler when drinking cold liquids.
I think finding sustainable swaps for the bathroom has been the hardest for me. Obvious choices are to choose plastic-free packaging, like bars of soap & shampoo bars instead of bottles. We’ve also swapped out our old plastic loofas with natural loofas and sponges. Bamboo toothbrushes are another plastic-less option, however, if you use an electric toothbrush and can just replace the heads, that is another less-plastic option, I won’t shame anyone for that choice! My husband recently scrapped his leg pretty bad and I realized how unsustainable classic bandages are. I found Patch bandages online, these are biodegradable and a more earth-friendly option.
Which if these swaps will you make today, this week, this month, or over the next year? I am learning to shop secondhand more often and to make more of an effort to sell the pieces in my closet before adding to my closet. I am also looking for more sustainable swaps in the bathroom, including more plastic free options. Drop your favorite sustainable swap below!