Kendall here! We’re back with the final installment (well, I guess, for now 😜) of our latest Real Women Approved life-changing home items series! If you missed it, we already covered the most underrated kitchen essentials and life-changing household items. And we saved the best for last — today we’re talking about your favorite eco hacks and sustainable products you love using around your home!
Cutting down on unnecessary waste and finding greener alternatives to your daily routine can seem like a daunting task. As cliche as it sounds, little changes really do add up. Making swaps for life’s everyday tasks can have a tremendous impact. And once you incorporate one swap, others will quickly follow. Even better, most of these greener solutions save you money too! As usual, you guys more than delivered with your favorite sustainable finds and tips. Hopefully, we’re all inspired to add some of these hacks to make our lives more eco-friendly, budget-friendly, and toxin-free.
Two tips to note before we dive in that don’t really fit into the “product” category:
First, a few of you mentioned getting a library card (it’s free and you can check out books on a tablet to better integrate into your lifestyle).
Second, shop second-hand when you can — it’s better for the environment and your wallet. For clothes, sites like Poshmark, eBay, and Depop are great ways to find items. For furniture and decor, check out Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, Charish, and Etsy.
Now to your top items! If you’re looking for new ways to incorporate sustainable products into your home and eco-friendly hacks into your lifestyle, settle in for a heavy dose of inspiration! Here are GG reader’s top sustainable items:
REAL WOMEN APPROVED: 25+ Best Eco-Friendly Swaps
By far the most suggested tip — swap stasher bags for single-use, plastic zip-lock bags. They’re non-toxic, come in a bunch of sizes, and are dishwasher AND microwave safe, too! Not just for food, but great for organizing all kinds of stuff on the go!
Next up: food huggers in lieu of plastic wrap. These keep leftover produce fresher longer, and they have different options for other items, such as butter and cheese.
So many of you recommended WasteNot- a compost collection service in Chicago that Jess uses too! (If you’re not in Chicago, research services that might be in your area). They give you a compost bucket that they pick up and drop off on a biweekly schedule (you can schedule more frequent pickups if you need) right from your front doorstep!
Coffee French Press + Tea Infuser:
There were lots of coffee-related suggestions! GG readers love their caffeine 😉 Making an eco-friendly swap to your morning caffeine routine can be incredibly impactful — especially if you’re making a cup of coffee or tea multiple times a day. If you have a Keurig, opt for recyclable k cup pods. Nespresso pods can be recycled by sending them back to the company after use (for free- they supply a complimentary bag when you purchase the pods). If you’re ready to skip pod and teabag life altogether, opt for a french press, cold brew infuser, and/or tea infuser. They don’t require disposable filters, bags, or electricity!
Wool Dryer Balls:
So many of you are using wool dryer balls instead of toxic drying sheets and fabric softener. Chemical-free, wool dryer balls cut down on dryer time (and energy) and reduce garbage waste. Win, win, win! If you find yourself missing that fresh laundry scent that you get from dryer sheets, put a few drops of your favorite smelling essential oil on the balls!
A few of you recommended this eco laundry brand — they use clean formulas, compostable packaging, and carbon-neutral shipping.
PUR home products:
Okay this wasn’t submitted by a reader but we promise this brand is about to be a reader favorite. 😉 (It’s a Jess favorite!) PUR home is a small Black women-owned brand that makes everything from laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner and not only is it eco-friendly and non-toxic, but it SMELLS GREAT too! (With completely natural fragrance).
Marley’s Monsters “Un” Paper Towels:
Another popular suggestion! Handmade in Oregon, these reusable paper towels are made of 100% cotton flannel and can be rolled up onto a paper towel holder.
Reef safe sunscreen:
Oxybenzone, a main ingredient in many sunscreens, is thought to be very damaging to coral reefs! Many coastal areas are starting to ban sunscreen containing the ingredient–plus, it’s thought to be harmful to people, too! A mineral sunscreen is a much better bet for humans and the environment, and Beautycounter’s lotion is a fan favorite–(the lotion, not the spray!) Unlike other sunscreens, it actually rubs in and doesn’t leave that awful white cast on skin! (The face stick is awesome too!)
Ethique Shampoo + Conditioner + Soap Bars:
A few of you raved about Ethique products! They offer clean shower products free from plastic!
This razor aims to combat the 2 billion (!!!) single-use plastic razors that are thrown away EACH year. It’s made of stainless steel and is completely recyclable and plastic-free. Bonus, it’s beautiful!
These sponges are easy to clean, quick to dry, and are an eco-friendly swap to a more disposable sponge.
You guys love using these air purifying bags to get rid of smells. Use them to eliminate odor, humidity, and smoke wherever you need it around the house, your car, bags, etc.!
Reusable Cotton Makeup Removing Pads:
These are another amazing way to make a small change that has a big impact. Swap your single-use makeup pads and wipes for this cotton alternative. Toss dirty pads in a mesh bag in the laundry!
Swedish dish cloths:
So many of you LOVE Swedish dish cloths! Jess took you up on your recco and also loves them. (Functional AND cute!) This cute zero-waste brand called Kindred Home sells them on Amazon, and you can get a pack of three for $12.99! They dry stiff so they’re really easy to store under your sink and don’t take up much space, they dry quickly, and you can wash them in the dishwasher or the washer. Make a great gift too because they’re just too adorable!
Swap plastic straws for glass or steel straws! And how chic does that glass straw look?!
Washable Swiffer Pads:
If you have a Swiffer or something similar, look for washable pads to replace single-use wipes. Throw them in the wash and reuse!
Mesh Produce Bags:
Bring these mesh produce bags to wrap produce at the grocery store in lieu of their plastic bags. These bags also help your produce stay fresh longer!
Hydro Flask Water Bottle:
Several of you said your hydro flask water bottle keeps you from drinking from plastic water bottles. Bonus- it helps you drink more water throughout the day too (check out this post for more tips on how to drink more water!)
Branch Basics Cleaning Supplies:
Looking for a clean alternative to your toxic cleaning supplies? A lot of you suggest Branch Basics as a good resource for replacing your current cleaning products. They use a concentration model, so you just add water!
GIR (Get it Right) Silicone Suction Lids:
Replace plastic wrap with these silicone suction lids that GG readers rave about!
This toothpaste brand sends you a glass jar initially with toothpaste tablets and then refills every three months in a biodegradable pack. Plastic-free and made from vegan-friendly ingredients. So cool!
Another sustainable food storage alternative! Beeswax wrap is great for storing food at home or on-the-go and it’s organic and reusable! This wrap is made by a woman-owned company too!
Several of you said you love that your Kindles let you read endless books without buying hard copies, saving paper and trees! Plus, you can use your library card and checkout books for free!
Linen Table Napkins:
Several of you said swapping linen table napkins instead of paper napkins or towels went a long way in cutting down excess waste! These come in a bunch of colors and in a set of 12. Throw them in the wash with bath towels to reuse!
Canvas Shopping Totes:
Another easy green swap is having reusable shopping bags to replace plastic! Throw these in your bag, car, etc. to transport groceries and other shopping items. Tip: A lot of brands will give out free totes as gifts with purchase–save these! Stash them in the car, in your work bag (so you are prepared in case you stop off for groceries while you’re out!), they always come in handy!
A lot of you mentioned using microfiber cloths for dusting, cleaning, washing the car, etc. And one GG reader shared her tip of using a washcloth to wipe toddler/kid’s faces instead of disposable wipes!