Eco-Swaps: Sustainable items to reduce your footprint

Ditch plastic and single use items! Here are 10 sustainable swaps that will last you a long time and won’t end up in the landfill.

1- Reusable Water Bottle

Considering we should drink 1.5 liters of water a day, this is either 1 big bottle or 3 small ones. That adds up to 365 bottles a year, or 1095… The best option to lower your impact is definitely to get a reusable water bottle. Refill it before you leave the house, at a cafe or from a tap and it will last you all day. I bring it everywhere and it comes really handy on holiday. My favourite brand is Jerry Bottle as they give 100% of their profits to water projects around the world! There are plenty of sustainable brands to choose from but try to choose one that has an even more positive impact.


2- Bamboo Toothbrush

Plastic toothbrushes take hundreds of years to decompose and we use many every year. Swapping to a sustainable one is very easy, you can now find them everywhere. My favourite one is from Zero Waste Club, I love it because you can replace the head, so it’s even more sustainable.


3 – Toothpaste

Toothpaste is a bit of a complicated subject when trying to lower your impact. I’ve tried to make my own and it didn’t quite work. I was also a bit scared that it wouldn’t do the job, which it did but was a bit too gritty. I then found one that I like on Georganics, they have a wide range of flavours and it comes in a glass jar.


4- Soaps, Shampoo and Conditioner

Supermarket bought soaps and shampoo all come in plastic, at least most of them. Therefore, I have decided to swap for bar soaps and they turned out to be so handy when travelling. As they are dry, you can take them in your carry on with no restriction! I get them from Bean & Boy on Etsy most of the time and have a tin to put them in. Shampoo was another story as my hair didn’t quite get used to dry shampoo. I ended finding a perfect homemade liquid recipe for my type of hair, only made of castille soap and green tea! It’s also easy to find a solid conditioner or you can make your own.


5- Reusable Straw & Cutlery

Bamboo, metal or glass, find the one that works the best for you. Anywhere you go, don’t forget to say that you don’t need a straw when ordering a drink. It will most likely be made of plastic. The one that I like the most is bamboo, but every person is different, you can find it here. Tired of single use cutlery in airports and for street food? I’ve got the solution for you! You can either buy a set of reusable cutlery or you can get a spork (it’s a spoon, fork and even sometimes knife combined). They are usually made of bamboo and totally compostable. You can also get a pouch to store the cutlery and straws. I got mine from Zero Waste Club once again and the pouch from AgnesLDN.


6- Deodorant

Most supermarket bought deodorants and antiperspirants are very harmful to us and the environment. Most of them are recyclable but if you read about all the ingredients, you won’t want to use them again. Antiperspirants are very bad, sweat is natural and needs to get out of our body. Anyways, there are a lot of recipes to try and make it homemade or you could buy one in a glass jar from a zero waste shop. I get one from The Natural Deodorant Co, it works wonders and also lasts for ages!


7- Bags

Ditch your plastic bags and get hold of a tote bag. Mine actually turned into my handbag so if I end up going to a shop, it always comes handy. Otherwise I would just recommend bringing one with you everywhere. The best ones you can get are made of organic cotton. There are so many now and you can find them everywhere. Mesh bags are great for fruits and veggies, instead of plastic bags which should be banned really! You can find them here and also in zero waste shops.


8- Razor

We use a LOT of razors throughout our life, whether we’re changing the whole razor or the blades, they are very wasteful. I have always been annoyed at how expensive they were without really looking for a solution. This was until I swapped to a safety razor, definitely the best razor I’ve had. It will be more expensive (£16) than buying disposable razors but you will keep it your whole life! The blades are actually so much cheaper, I was surprised, only about £2- 3 for 5 and they last very long! The only downside is that you can’t take it in your carry on with the blade. My advice is to take it without and buy the blades in a supermarket. I bought mine in a zero waste shop but you can get them on the internet.


9- Toilet Paper

Most toilet paper is very harmful to the environment and to us. Usually made with trees, bleached to make it white or died in blue or pink with a scent added to it, surely it isn’t very natural. I found the perfect company that cares about the planet and us. It is called Who Gives a Crap and their work is fantastic. They give 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. It is really rewarding to be part of what they are achieving. The toilet rolls are either made from bamboo or recycled paper, which is a lot better for the planet and a lot cheaper than big brands!


10- Menstrual Cup

This has definitely been one of my best swaps. If you think about how wasteful and expensive tampons and pads are, this will help you to save the planet and your money! A cup is really easy to use, it does take time to get used to it though, and it lasts a very long time (about 10 years). You have to empty it every 12 hours and can do any type of activities while wearing it. There are other options for those you aren’t comfortable with it as organic cotton tampons, reusable pads and period underwear. So much choice to lower our impact on the planet!


By Pauline Chicart 

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