Creating a more eco-friendly lifestyle doesn’t have to be daunting. Instead of altering your entire daily routine, focus on swapping wasteful everyday products for more sustainable versions. These 10 baby steps will help you play nice with Mother Nature.
1. Swap Standard Coffee Pods for Recyclable Capsules
Canadian coffee lovers, we’ve got news for you: You can now recycle your aluminum Nespresso capsules with ease thanks to the company’s new Red Bag System. How it works? Nespresso, in partnership with Canada Post, will provide a recyclable red bag any time you purchase capsules. When it’s full to the brim, drop off the capsule-filled bag at your nearest Canada Post mailbox. The pods are then sent to a recycling facility, which re-purposes both the coffee grounds (transformed into compost) and aluminum. Learn more here!
2. Ditch Plastic Sandwich Bags for Reusable Ones
Most of us mindlessly toss plastic sandwich bags like it’s nothing. We’re here to tell you that’s just not cool. There are greener alternatives, like Lunchskins, a snazzy company that fashions all shapes and sizes of reusable pouches in feisty grease-resistant papers for sandwiches and other foods. The papers are BPA- and toxin-free and feature food-safe ink. We also dig the artisan-made Sari Sandwich Wraps from Reusit.
3. Trade in Plastic Food Storage for Glass Containers
Plastic containers inevitably end up stinky, warped or with funky stains, which is not the only reason you should be replacing yours – they’re bad for the landfill. There are tons of gorgeous glass bowls with lids on the market. We’re partial to this set from Crate & Barrel that sports a sweet floral motif and is heat-resistant and freezer-safe.
4. Swap Paper Towels for Reusable Ones
Stop reaching for a disposable paper towel for every single spill. Opt for reusable Bambooee. Each sheet in this 20-paper bamboo roll is strong and absorbent. You can wash one sheet of Bambooee 100 times before it’s ready to toss! And by wash, we mean in the washer. That’s how strong this paper is. Or check out the Unpaper Towel, a similarly excellent eco product.
5. Opt for Paper Straws Instead of Plastic
Single-use plastic is a particularly nasty form of plastic, so says this terrific article on the subject that proves straws really suck. A few facts: In the US alone, 500 million straws are used every single day. These are used for 20 minutes or before they’re tossed, only to hang around the planet forever. The BPA products eventually end up maiming and/or killing marine life. Instead, choose a fully biodegradable straw like this green brand for your next shindig. The paper straws come in both dapper black and yellow stripes.
6. Swap Plastic Water Bottles for a Forever Vessel
You’ve probably heard this a dozen times: plastic water bottles are a scourge to the environment. People rarely recycle them, so they end up in a landfill or choking marine life. The Council of Canadians, a non-profit social action organization, reports bottled water is almost 2,000 times more energy intensive to produce than tap water. Check out the facts here. Choose a stylish forever bottle instead, like this chic and portable floral vessel from Chapters Indigo.
7. Ditch Energy-Guzzling Appliances for Smart Ones
Did you know an Energy Star-certified washing machine uses 25% less energy, on average, than a standard model, and 45% less water? Now that’s incentive to get rid of your energy-sucking waster. We like this efficient Maytag top loader. For others, check out this list of 75 different Energy Star-rated appliances here.
8. Swap Paper Napkins for Stylish Cloth Ones
Switch single-use paper napkins for good-looking cloth versions. We love these 100% cotton hand-blocked geo napkins from West Elm that you can reuse – just don’t mop up beet juice with these babies. Or you can channel your inner Earth Mama and make your own fabric napkins (and towels) out of scraps like this crafty blogger did.
9. Forego Plastic Bags for Reusable Versions
Plastic bags clogging up your life, or more annoyingly the landfill? Opt for cloth bags for grocery shopping, and don’t even bother with bringing home flimsy produce bags, either. Instead, choose reusable produce bags such as these Flip & Tumble mesh bags or check out this excellent site for all matter of eco-friendly goods, including produce bags.
10. Ditch Harsh Cleaners for Earth-Friendly Ones
Homemade cleaning supplies are the best. Toxin-free, all-purpose and inexpensive, there really is no reason to use environmentally damaging chemicals. Try baking soda – check out 10 unusual ways to use it here – vinegar or Borax, an old-fashioned, non-toxic product people have been using for a century now. You can clean carpets, sinks and toilets with the stuff and even use it to deter mice. Here’s more on the subject.