How to Add Eco-friendly Products to Your Daily Life
We're all trying our hardest to live in a more eco-friendly way, but it can seem overwhelming at times. With so many options and ways to live sustainably, it can be difficult to know where to turn, what to do, and what to replace in your life for a sustainable version.
Eco-friendly products are available across many stores these days, with offerings that replace everything from cutlery and food containers to clothing and underwear options. You have so much choice, but what should you actually replace?
Eco-friendly products can be added into your life where and when you desire them to help you to reduce plastic waste, reduce your carbon footprint, and extend the life of your possessions.
In this article, we're going to be looking at what an eco-friendly product is, how eco-friendly products can help you to live a more environmentally-friendly life, and which products are great to swap out for more eco-friendly options.
To find out more about how to use eco-friendly products to live sustainably, keep reading now.
What are eco-friendly products?
So, what are eco-friendly products?
The short answer is that they are products that are good or better for the environment than mainstream options.
This means that eco-friendly products are made using materials that don't cause harm to the earth or cause less harm than those used in the mainstream. It also means that eco-friendly products are designed to last and be more durable than mainstream options. And finally, it means that when the product has run its course, is no longer of use, or is no longer needed, it will decompose quickly or be recycled to ensure that no more plastic waste goes into the earth and its oceans.
Eco-friendly products can replace products you already have, being the same product but in more sustainable material. Or, they are designed to replace the original product in a way that reduces waste, for example, if the product is reusable and replaces a disposable product.
How eco-friendly products help: plastic waste, carbon footprints, and durability
Eco-friendly products are designed to reduce waste. This means that they are designed to be reusable, or are designed to decompose quickly. Reducing waste, particularly plastic waste, is essential for the health of the planet. As we create more plastic waste each year, more and more microplastic enters our planet's waterways threatening the delicate marine ecosystems there.
And it's not just marine life that is threatened by microplastics, indeed, microplastics have now been detected in everything from the fish we eat to the water we drink. This means we are ingesting microplastic every day. As a new threat, there isn't a huge amount of research into the negative effects of microplastics ingestion, some effects that have been highlighted include metabolic disturbances, neurotoxicity, and increased risk of some cancers.
In addition to microplastics, larger plastic waste can also cause harm to marine animals. Plastic bags and other plastic waste can get trapped around animals causing distress and restricting their movements. Some animals may also ingest plastics, mistaking them for prey.
Eco-friendly products are designed to reduce our carbon footprint. Everything from eco-friendly packaging to recycled plastic to zero-waste products can reduce our carbon footprint. This is because the products are manufactured in a way that emits fewer carbon emissions, use materials that are cultivated and manufactured with less energy, and are shipped and packaged using sustainable means.
In addition, the lifespan of environmentally-friendly products is designed to be longer, meaning you won't need to replace the item as quickly, reducing your footprint further.
Eco-friendly products are better for your health too. In most cases, eco-friendly products will be manufactured using natural, non-toxic materials meaning they cause less harm to you and your health. Unlike mainstream options, environmentally-friendly products will be created using products that don't contain harmful chemicals and toxins.
Additionally, these products will be cultivated in a sustainable way, where the land is preserved and treated with respect. This means no pesticides or fertilisers that damage the soil and biodiversity of the earth and that can linger in products, causing negative effects to human health.
Eco-friendly products last longer, but can also be disposed of cleanly. Environmentally-friendly products are designed to be more durable, but when they come to the end of their life, the materials used can usually be recycled or will decompose quickly. This reduces waste and ensures that your products don't sit in a landfill for years and years to come.
Eco-friendly products to add to your life today
Swapping your mainstream products for environmentally-friendly products is actually very easy. There are hundreds of swaps you can make to ensure you're doing your bit for the environment. Whether big or small, every little change can help.
We've gathered a list of some of the easiest swaps you can make to environmentally-friendly products today. Take a look below and see where you can opt for the more sustainable version.
Reusable coffee cups
You've probably been told to switch to a reusable coffee cup before. You might even already own a few of them. It can be difficult to remember to take a reusable coffee cup with you every day, but reusable coffee cups are really good for the planet.
Reusable coffee cups are associated with lower carbon emissions and are oftentimes made from a material that can be recycled or will biodegrade. They replace single-use coffee cups which, though made from paper and cardboard, are usually lined with plastic making them much harder to recycle. Even recyclable single-use coffee cups tend to not get recycled. This is because they are contaminated with food which can cause issues with the new recycled product.
Reusable water bottles
Reusable water bottles are good for the environment in the same way as reusable coffee mugs. A reusable water bottle effectively stops you from putting single-use plastic bottles into the bin and reduces your single-use plastic consumption. This protects the oceans and waterways from more plastic pollution and stops virgin plastic from being thrown away continually.
A reusable water bottle will also help you to save money. Instead of grabbing a single-use plastic bottle of water from a shop every time the need arises, you will have a bottle already available in your bag and easily refilled anywhere.
Stainless steel straws / reusable plastic straws
A few years back, everyone found out just how terrible plastic straws are for the environment. They were promptly banned across many hospitality sectors and we were left to enjoy our cocktails without straws! Since then, paper straws, biodegradable straws, and even sometimes, straws made from food like corn, rice, and pasta, all popped up in their place.
Many people dislike the alternatives to plastic straws because they fall apart easily, but now we have a solution: stainless steel straws, silicone straws, bamboo straws and other reusable plastic straws. Easy to carry around and great to pop into your cocktail the next time you're out!
Reusable straws are a great answer to the environmentally unsafe disposable plastic option. Check out all the eco-friendly straws we have on offer on our site today!
Stainless steel pegs/bamboo clothing pegs
Stainless steel clothing pegs offer a durable and sturdy alternative to mainstream plastic pegs. Plastic clothing pegs tend to get broken easily and need replacing often, whereas stainless steel pegs are durable, weather-hardy and can survive much longer.
In addition to stainless steel clothing pegs, bamboo clothing pegs have made an appearance on the eco-friendly market. While bamboo may not be as hardy as stainless steel, it is still a very durable material. Bamboo is also an incredibly environmentally-friendly material. It uses less energy in cultivation and manufacturing and easily decomposes when it comes to the end of its life.
Both types of clothing pegs will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and your plastic waste, helping you to be more environmentally friendly in your life.
Bamboo toothbrushes help you to reduce your plastic waste production. This kind of toothbrush, when used up, can be thrown into a compost bin and will biodegrade quickly. Unlike plastic toothbrushes, bamboo toothbrushes will not take years to decompose in a landfill. Bamboo also takes less energy to grow and manufacture.
Additionally, bamboo is an antimicrobial material, meaning it can offer protection against harmful bacteria, protecting you from infection.
Reusable cloth nappies
Reusable nappies come with a lot of benefits. Not only do they reduce your waste and help to keep the planet safer, but they are also softer on your baby's skin and can save you money.
Disposable nappies increase the amount of waste on earth and take a long time to decompose. A reusable nappy can be washed repeatedly, saving on energy used to create disposable nappies and helping to reduce waste.
Reusable nappies are more gentle than disposable nappies, usually being made out of natural materials, meaning they don't cause irritation to your baby's soft skin.
A reusable nappy will also help you to save money. As it can be reused, you don't need to keep buying more meaning you can save your pennies.
If you choose to use disposable nappies, look out for eco-friendly options, and try to use compostable nappy bags too!
Reusable feminine hygiene products
There are lots of different reusable feminine hygiene products on offer now and using them will do wonders for your carbon footprint and the waste you produce. Many mainstream products contain plastic making them harsh on your skin and difficult to decompose, but reusable products are gentler and can be reused!
Reusable options include the menstrual cup, a silicone replacement for tampons that will last for a number of years and is simply washed in between uses. This can help you to save money on buying feminine hygiene products for years.
Another option is the reusable sanitary pad. Like reusable nappies, these cotton pads can be washed at home between uses and help to eliminate plastic waste from disposable sanitary towels.
If you're not entirely sold on the reusable options yet, you can opt for biodegradable cotton tampons and pads that will decompose naturally and not contribute to further landfill waste.
Check out our feminine hygiene product section to find more options for eco-friendly feminine hygiene products.
Reusable produce bags
Usually made from cotton and other natural fibres, reusable produce bags ensure that you're not opting for single-use plastic when you go shopping, that you're always prepared, and that you are doing your part to keep the earth safe from further plastic and waste pollution.
Reusable shopping bags
Similar to reusable produce bags, reusable shopping bags can ensure you're prepared and don't need to spend money on single-use plastic bags. Carrying a reusable shopping bag can stop more single-use plastic pollution and can ensure that your carbon footprint is reduced.
Compostable waste bags
A compostable bin liner is a fantastic way to ensure that your trash doesn't add more plastic to already overflowing landfills. Plastic takes decades, sometimes centuries, to biodegrade and so using compostable waste bags ensures that you're not adding even more plastic pollution to that count.
Compostable dog waste bags
Being an eco-friendly pet owner can be difficult sometimes, but using compostable dog waste bags can help to step up your game. Dog waste biodegrades and so using a bag that will also biodegrade means your dog's waste isn't adding to the planet's waste problem.
Compostable dog waste bags are great because it means you can add the whole waste bag to your compost. Dog waste can be composted properly to kill off harmful pathogens and these dog waste bags can help you to do it.
Shampoo bars are a fantastic way to stop more plastic waste production and to keep your hair looking fab. Shampoo bars come without any packaging so you don't have to worry about recycling or disposing of the container once you're done. This means no waste!
Zero-waste shampoo bars are also usually made with natural ingredients and are devoid of harsh chemicals that can damage your hair. Using shampoo bars can boost your hair's moisture and help it to shine, as well as helping you to live in an environmentally-friendly way.
Clothing made from recycled materials and sustainable fibres
Breaking up with fast fashion might be difficult but it is necessary to live an environmentally friendly life. Fast fashion uses lots of synthetic fabrics which, when washed, shed microplastic, polluting our waterways. The industry is also responsible for further contamination due to dyes and other chemicals found in wastewater.
Fast fashion is a highly polluting industry and emits lots of carbon emissions. In addition, online fast fashion adds to the earth's waste problem with non-recyclable packaging and next day delivery which increase the carbon footprint of your clothes.
Fast fashion uses a linear model of business, meaning clothes aren't made to last. This is to keep you coming back for more, encouraging more consumption by using cheap synthetic fabrics that don't survive many washes before falling apart or looking misshapen.
Choosing clothing items that are made with natural fibres, recycled material, and other sustainable fabrics can help to reduce your carbon footprint. Choosing slower fashion brands, where clothes are made in small batches, workers are paid fair wages, and sustainability measures are taken can help you to live more sustainably and protect the planet.
Eco-friendly cleaning products made with non-toxic, natural ingredients
Did you know that your cleaning products may be toxic for you and for the planet? Mainstream cleaning products contain lots of different chemicals, some of which are known to affect marine life, have detrimental effects on biodiversity, and cause ill-health in humans too.
By choosing eco-friendly cleaning products, like an eco-friendly surface cleaner, non-toxic bathroom cleaner, and naturally made floor cleaner, you can ensure you keep a healthy home as well as know that your products aren't causing any more damage to the environment.
Reusable lunch wraps or food containers
Reusable lunch wraps and food containers are great for the environment. Not only do they replace disposable food containers, but they can also help to prevent food waste. Using food containers, cooking in bulk, and preserving your food well can help to ensure you don't waste food that has been grown and cultivated using lots of energy and work.
Additionally, using food containers and lunch wraps to take your own food to work and on trips can help you to save money and not use single-use food containers, reducing waste and plastic pollution again.
Bamboo cutlery / stainless steel cutlery
Bamboo cutlery is a great alternative to disposable plastic cutlery and can come in really handy on camping trips! Bamboo is anti-microbial meaning it can protect you from illness. Bamboo is also a sustainable material, uses less water in cultivation, and is biodegradable, so your cutlery will not fill up more landfills when you no longer need it.
Silicone food bags
Silicone food bags are the reusable answer to disposable plastic food bags. Able to be frozen and used to store leftovers to reduce food waste, silicone food bags are great to help you live more sustainably.
You could also switch to eco-friendly cling wrap to reduce your plastic waste.
Adding or switching to eco-friendly products is really easy and quick to do. Choosing these products over mainstream options means choosing products that will last longer and will not cause any harm to the planet when disposed of.
There are tonnes more sustainable swaps you can make for household products, so be sure to check out our eco-home section for more ideas!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are five eco-friendly materials?
There are lots of eco-friendly materials that can be used in place of damaging and unrenewable materials in products. Most natural materials are more eco-friendly because they biodegrade quicker than synthetic ones, but the cultivation of natural materials can be damaging too, with massive water usage and fertilisers needed. Some of the most eco-friendly materials are listed below:
- Organic cotton
- Stainless steel
Is glass eco-friendly?
Glass is considered an eco-friendly material because it can be recycled, and continuously so, without any loss in quality. It is used in favour of plastic in lots of eco-friendly products, like juices and water, and can be used for reusable water bottles and coffee cups.
What is eco-friendly living?
Eco-friendly living is living in a way that does no harm to the environment. It means choosing products that don't cause harm in their manufacturing are cultivation and that will last longer than mainstream products. It may also include conserving water and energy and choosing to eat organically.
How can I make my home more eco-friendly?
There are a number of ways you can make your home more eco-friendly and we have listed them below:
- Eco-friendly cleaning products can help to reduce the harm caused by chemicals
- Choosing an energy provider that uses renewable energy methods
- Conserving water
- Insulating your house to use less energy
- Ensuring you don't waste food by using reusable food containers