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Exchange This for That: Five More Sustainable, Earth-friendly Everyday Household Items

Sometimes it feels much easier to go to the store for the same household items you always buy. After all, there is nothing worse than trying a new product and being disappointed.

In honor of Earth Day 2022, we’ve collected a simple list of household items to switch out for more sustainable, earth-friendly options. You can even save green while going green-er.

Plastic Sandwich and Snack Bags – It takes 1,000 years for one plastic bag to break down in landfills. Yikes.

In our house, we rinse plastic bags to be reused, sometimes they don’t make it home which means they’re in the trash…somewhere. So, we moved to reusable plastic sandwich and food containers that are much more likely to find their way back in a lunch pack.

Staples, other office stores and even Walgreens can be a good place to locate some options. We recently picked up some nice silicone meal containers at Aldi. We recommend:

These Snap Fresh containers are colorful and keep sandwiches fresh. There are more affordable options but these are a bit more durable will last longer. Be sure to hand wash containers to maintain longevity.

For meals on the go, try these Bento boxes with the perfect portion sizes.

And even use basic plastic food storage containers like these.

Another option is to use aluminum foil. If you’re city recycles aluminum, simply rinse it and either reuse it or recycle it.

Coffee Pods. We know you love your morning coffee. In fact, it is the one thing that will get you out of bed most mornings. I hate to pour sour milk in your coffee, but most pods are not recyclable. If the pod is plastic, it remains for hundreds or thousands of years in landfills. It is estimated that nine billion pods were sent to landfills in 2014.

Have no fear caffeine lovers, there are options that might even provide a better coffee experience.

Cameron’s Coffee Single Serve Pods are both a better tasting coffee – said the connoisseurs in our house – and compostable. Cameron’s pods use a real coffee filter, not a plastic cup. They are certified compostable in industrial compositing facilities. Check locally as these facilities do not exist in many communities.

Splurge for a Nespresso coffee maker and flavored pods. While this option is one of the more expensive, the quality of coffee is worth the splurge and will also save money on those afternoon coffee shop runs. We love that they give you a bag to fill with used pods, drop off at UPS or at a local Nespresso store and they send them in to recycle. What do they make? Pencils. They are pretty cool.

Paper Towels. The decay of paper products and landfills in general produce methane gas, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide, therefore a real threat to global warming.

The average paper towel generates more CO2 per dry than other methods and we’re putting more than 13 million pounds of paper towels into U.S. landfills each year. Make the switch to Rakōt75 cloth paper towels.

Made from bamboo, one of the most sustainable plants and durable materials on earth, one roll will last up to six months and each towel can be rinse, or washed, and reused to reduce landfill waste while saving lots of money. One roll of 75 sheets will run about $20.00, but with the current cost of paper products this ends up being real savings over six months. Buy here.

Many cities and states have moved away from plastic straws instead promoting use of reusable straws. In fact, most venues in these cities don’t offer straws with drinks at all anymore. The good news is that you can buy your own reusable straws and take them with you. They even come in a carrying case.

We like the metal straws because they are easy to clean in the dishwasher, however, they become very cold to the touch while enjoying our favorite root beer floats.

Silicone Straws may be a better option unless it’s a hot summer day. These are just $9.00 and come with a cleaning tool and case. Also try these hybrid metal and silicone straws.

And of course, the simplest item that you can stop using by never even picking up are plastic shopping bags. Reusable bags are everywhere, and they are not just functional but also fashionable and expressive. Keep a stash in each car, a small tote in your purse and a few by the door that you can grab on your way out.



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