Here are some easy product swaps for low-waste living. Pick the products that work best for you!
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Product swaps are MY FAVORITE. I’m always looking for fun and easy things to swap out in our daily routine that reduce our environmental impact AND help us save money.
We’ve discovered quite a few over the years and here is a list WITH my opinions on which ones make the biggest impact…. as well as which ones are the hardest to commit to!
Unpaper towels are probably my #1 EASIEST to use product swap. If you don't want to make fancy ones, dish cloths are the SAME THING. They're also cheap to buy. They absorb a ton of liquid so they're great for big messes. They're easy to clean.
Tip: MAKE SURE to wash these regularly. It takes a while to make a pile of these big enough for a large wash. You need to wash them at least weekly. Don't let them sit for a few weeks in a wet bag.
This is legit a must-have if you have an eco-friendly kitchen. It is essentially a laundry basket for the kitchen, but you can hang it off a door knob so it's one less thing to trip over. No complaints here. I just toss it in the wash with the dish cloths.
Honestly, these were just a huge win for me because I don't like messing with plastic wrap or foil. Plastic wrap and foil is SO EXPENSIVE. These were made with scrap PUL and they just fit snug over the top of my bowl and casserole dishes.
The downside is you need to store them. I shove them in the drawer with my plastic wrap and foil and they don't take up too much space (comparatively).
WRAPPING PAPER IS THE WORST! Okay maybe not. But some of the new wrapping papers aren't even recyclable anymore and it's SO wasteful, particularly if you have big Christmases. These reusable bags can be laundered and reused. They're also great for storing holiday decorations off season.
A well made Easter basket should be able to make it through your child's entire childhood. Skip the flimsy store baskets that fall apart and don't store well and consider a basket that's easy to launder and store. This particular Easter basket is made from upcycled fabric braided together and hand sewn into a basket. SUPER easy.
This is another situation where a quality fabric lunch bag can out survive a cheap counterpart or paper/plastic bags. This lunch bag has survived a few years and while the Velcro could be replaced, it's otherwise still in good shape. It's also washable.
Instead of tossing the plastic grocery bags, consider keeping them to reuse. Plastic bags CAN be reused if you store them properly. These grocery bag holders allow you to store yours until you're ready to reuse them.
Cloth diapers are often the first thing people try on their road to being ecofriendly. They're not THE EASIEST product swap though- they require a bit more knowledge and research. But they save a LOT of money. And they have the added benefit of being cute.
While toilet paper probably isn't breaking the bank, many people opt to switch to family cloth to reduce their TP use. Some people use them for only #1. Some people use for all potty time. Others use them to dry off after using a bidet. When you're already washing other ecofriendly items, it makes sense to use these too.
This is an AWESOME alternative to toilet paper. You can use a real European bidet, but for most of us in America that's just not in the budget. These $30 bidet sprayer seats will "freshen things up" and you can pat yourself dry with toilet paper or cloth wipes. Super easy.
A regular wet bag is a FANTASTIC alternative to those thin plastic bags they give you at the gym. You can use them for dirty gym clothes or wet bathing suits (wring them out first). Made with PUL, they're waterproof enough to contain a damp bathing suit inside the zippered bag.
Tip: Make sure you get the right size for what you plan to use it for!
Disposable pads are uncomfortable and can cause health issues for many women. Mama cloth is an alternative. These fabric pads can be washed and reused. They snap around your underwear, similar to how a pad would stick on, to hold them in place.
This is definitely a forgotten favorite of mine. Handkerchiefs should have never gone out of style! They're not as drying as paper tissue and I've found that if I wet a piece of flannel, it feels a bit like humidifying my nose when I'm sick.
This was HUGE. We swapped out our guinea pig's paper bedding for reusable pads and it's a HUGE savings for us. I calculated that we probably are saving about $1000-2000 over the life span of our guinea pigs (assuming they live 8 years).
This was an item I swapped out because I can't handle a lot of chemicals (I have asthma). The mop and a smaller steamer both clean with steam so I don't have to deal with the fumes from common household cleaners.
Learn how to sew cloth diapers with this book that covers everything from basics on cloth diapering, including washing and storing diapers, plus other cloth products like unpaper towels, cloth napkins, and more.
Danielle Pientka is the sewing and DIY blogger behind DIYDanielle.com. She taught herself to sew in 2011 when she wanted to make cloth diapers for her first son. She’s been sewing everything from ecofriendly items to kids products to clothing since, as it has become a passion. She loves learning how to do new things and teaching others in the process. She hopes to inspire other moms to take time for themselves to find their own creative passion.
Danielle lives in Maryland with her three young sons and her husband, Brandon. In her spare time, she gardens, reads, horseback rides, and has a small homestead with goats and ducks. Visit her shop to buy patterns or her sewing eBooks. Subscribe to her newsletter to get blog updates, free patterns and other printables by clicking here.