Why do single-use products cause such issues and what exactly are they? Single-use products are intended to be used once and then discarded. They’re typically made of plastic, which is a major issue these days.
Some types of single-use products are:
- Drinking bottles
- Coffee cups and lids
- Shopping bags
- Food packaging and containers
Originally made to make your life simpler, single-use products actually wreak havoc on the environment. In fact, one single plastic bag can take thousands of years to degrade. Today, there are more than five trillion pieces of plastic that are filling up the world’s oceans. And this problem isn’t going away any time soon. As the plastic breaks down or degrades, it leaches chemicals into the air and waterways, which causes untold problems scientists and researchers are still attempting to measure.
This is why using eco-friendly and reusable products is so important. Below are 15 eco-friendly products you can incorporate into your life to help make a difference.
1. Reusable Bags
Individuals in the U.S. use 100 billion plastic bags each year. Out of these, only 1% are ever recycled. The rest are either washed into our waterways or wind up in our landfills.
Fortunately, when you switch to reusable bags, it will be the simplest plastic swap you’ll make that offers various benefits.
For instance, in the long-term, reusable bags are more cost-effective. A lot of stores are now charging for single-use plastic bags in an effort to motivate individuals to bring their own reusable bags. And, a lot of stores are even doing away with single-use plastic bags entirely.
Reusable bags also benefit by helping to save on resources. It takes 12 million barrels of oil for individuals in the U.S. to produce 100 billion plastic bags. And, this is immediately affecting the environment since fossil fuels are contributing to global warming.
These eco-friendly alternatives will also help you in decluttering your home. Plus they’re more durable and reliable in that you don’t need to worry about the bags breaking when you overload them. With so many styles and designs to choose from as well, it’s simple to find nice bags that will fit with your personality.
Custom reusable bags use will provide you with peace of mind since you’ll know you’re not contributing to the negative impact on the environment.
Plastic bags are manufactured using natural gas and crude oil, they aren’t biodegradable and they require the use of much more fossil fuels to ship. So, when using a reusable bag, not only are you reducing how much non-renewable resources are needed for producing plastic bags, but you’ll also reduce how much money the community has to spend each year on clean up costs.
No matter what type of plastic bag disposal system you use, they still wind up:
- Clogging waterways
- Blowing into the streets
- Infiltrating other natural environments.
In addition to being an eyesore, this also takes a lot of money to clean up.
Some examples of reusable bags you can use to help the environment are laminated bags, lunch bag totes and rPET recycled plastic bags.
2. Plant-Based Sponges
Did you realize that some sponges are made from plastic? It’s true, and the sponges’ microplastics come off each time you wash your dishes and then wash down straight into your drain. The drains are a direct line to the oceans and waterways and contribute to many microplastics that float in the oceans.
A simple way of stopping this issue is to switch to plant-based sponges. Plant-based sponges work just as well as plastic sponges and don’t impact the environment.
3. Eco-Friendly Clothing
Most clothes are made from cotton, however, there’s an astonishing percentage that’s constructed from plasticized fabric and flexible plastic sheeting — clothes constructed entirely from recycled material. Their manufacturing methods are as environmentally sustainable as possible since they:
- Minimize water, chemical and energy use
- Eliminate the use of dyes
4. Reusable Coffee Cups
Reusable coffee cups are similar to those you obtain from coffee shops, but are constructed from 100% food-safe silicone.
5. Silicone Reusable Sandwich Bags
You no longer need to use plastic food sandwich bags. Silicone reusable sandwich bags come in various sizes and are perfect for packing your snacks and sandwiches on the go. They’re eco-friendly and durable. They resist potential punctures and scratches and you can wash them by hand efficiently. They’re also made to resist extreme cold and hot temperatures.
6. Bamboo Travel Cutlery Set
Disposable cutlery also contributes to the plastic issue in the world today. In fact, over 100 million pieces of utensils (plastic), according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition, are used each day by Americans.
Even though you can tackle this issue by using your home’s silverware, a bamboo utensil set is lightweight and made to last.
7. Stainless Steel Water Bottle
A non-disposable, durable water bottle you can use daily will help reduce the need for plastic water bottles. Reusable stainless steel water bottles will keep your beverages cold all day long too and you can use them over and over.
8. Stainless Steel Straws
Many are beginning to fade out the use of single-use plastic straws. In fact, in 2018, Starbucks announced by 2020, it will be placing a ban on plastic straws. To get in on this movement, you can start using stainless steel straws. These have silicone ends and they typically come with a brush to clean the straws out.
9. Reusable Makeup Remover Pads
Reusable makeup pads are another type of biodegradable, green product that you can use repeatedly. They’re made of organic bamboo fibers and usually come with a small, high-quality laundry bag for you to wash them. With these, you no longer have to buy cotton pads to remove your makeup and you’ll be helping to save the environment too.
10. Biodegradable Dental Floss
You probably didn’t realize, but floss is often plastic. It’s coated with harmful PFCs (chemicals) and is toxic. These chemicals make the gloss on the floss better. Chemicals like these could affect reproduction, development, and growth and possibly cause liver injury, according to the CDC. Silk floss is an alternative you can use daily to avoid plastic waste and these chemicals.
11. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Many of the cleaning supplies you use also contain various toxic chemicals. While you likely want to keep your home spotless and clean, certain cleaning agents contain lye, ammonia, and chlorine such as:
- Corrosive oven cleaners
- Bleaching agents
- Harsh surface sprays
These can cause skin and respiratory irritation and further contaminate the environment.
A safer option is eco-friendly alternatives. You can buy eco-friendly and biodegradable natural cleaning products or make your own using ingredients like:
- White vinegar
- Sodium bicarbonate
And, you’ll still keep your home and surfaces shiny and clean.
12. Bamboo Toothbrushes
Plastic toothbrushes also contribute to overburdened waste disposal systems. Many companies are now offering bamboo toothbrushes to counter this and provide a solution.
13. Recycled Toilet Paper
While toilet paper isn’t plastic and is biodegradable when you flush it, it’s still a huge concern since each year thousands of trees are being cut down in order to meet the huge toilet paper demand.
In fact, in the U.S. 84 million toilet paper rolls are being used each day. Furthermore, since there’s a strong focus on plastic pollution these days, fewer companies are even concerning themselves with identifying recycled toilet paper alternatives. It’s a growing issue as well that everyone should also focus on to come up with various alternatives.
Recycled toilet paper is a solution. While you may be a little leary of using what seems to be “second-hand toilet paper”, it’s actually recycled from things like office waste paper and old textbooks. It’s an alternative to regular toilet paper that’s far better for the environment.
14. Recycled Plastic Rugs
Recycled plastic rugs are woven from quality recycled plastic straws. They’re affordable and beautiful and come in various patterns, colors and designs.
15. Organic Towels (Fair Trade)
Organic fair trade towels are constructed with cotton that uses sustainable farming methods to grow and pick the cotton.
The more of these eco-friendly products you can use, the better it will be for our planet, sea life, and more.