Many things we use on a day-to-day basis create microplastics in our waterways, have a high carbon footprint in their production, or are made with unsustainable materials. Switching to eco-friendly alternatives can help curb negative impacts as a result of consumerism. Hopefully, you'll review this (not comprehensive) list and make some buying switches that benefit the environment!
1. Laundry Detergent
Many laundry detergents contain harmful chemicals like phosphates, dyes, and fragrances that eventually make their way into our rivers, streams, and oceans through the water cycle and rain runoff. Phosphate, a mineral, reacts with nitrogen in water and creates an abundance of nutrients that cause high quantities of algae blooms. Algae blooms take oxygen away from other organisms and decrease the oxygen content in the water, creating hypoxic dead zones.
Several companies create eco-friendly detergents without harmful chemicals or plastic containers that are ultimately safer for the consumer and the environment. Some alternatives to traditional detergents include:
*Many of these brands sell other cleaning supplies as well as laundry detergents.
The cosmetic industry is full of ingredients and methods that harm the environment from using animal testing to palm oil products to microbeads, or even general plastic pollution from packaging. Cosmetic accessories and cotton pads/swabs cause additional waste.
By purchasing vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics without microbeads, you can reduce the environmental impact of your purchasing choices. Below is a list of vegan and cruelty-free cosmetic lines with more tips on how to reduce waste!
e.l.f. Cosmetics (makeup)
KVD Beauty (makeup)
Alba Botanica (skincare)
The Ordinary (skincare)
Rare Beauty (makeup/skincare)
The Inkey List (skincare)
Miss A (accessories)
3. Dish/Bath Towels
Textiles are a major source of microfibers, especially if they're polyester or a plastic-derived material. Microfibers are shed in the washing machine
and enter waterways along with dyes and chemicals from detergents. Microfibers can be consumed by aquatic organisms, eventually working their way up the food chain, while creating pollution. Towels made from 100% cotton and minimal artificial dyes reduce microfibers.
Wild and Stone Dish Towels (they have kitchen towels of all sizes)
4. Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash, and other Hair Products
Like detergents, shampoos and body washes contain phosphate, silicones, and fragrances. Not only can they harm your hair, but they also pollute waterways as they make their way down the drain.
Switching to vegan hair products without such chemicals or being conscious of how much plastic packaging is being used can help the environment. Below are a few products and companies that are good for your hair, skin, and the environment!
Noughty Natural (hair, bath & body, curl friendly)
Attitude Living (hair, bath & body)
Innersense Beauty (hair, curl friendly)
Pacifica Beauty (hair, bath & body)
Plaine Products (hair, bath & body)
Ethique (shampoo and conditioner bars)
5. Personal Hygiene
Items like toothbrushes and menstrual products create a lot of waste because they are often single-use and full of plastics. It can be difficult to make the switch to eco-friendly alternatives for sanitary items, but we encourage you to try as best as you can.
Menstrual Cups (any kind)
Eco Verde (feminine hygiene and others)
New Moon Pads (feminine hygiene)
Thrive Market (oral care)
Big Green Smile (oral care)
Bite (oral care)
Piper Wai (deodorant and other hygiene products)
Dirty Hippie (deodorant)
*Many of these sites sell additional products that are worth looking at!
Cast-iron/stainless steel pots and pans without Teflon coating
Organic and local produce
Not all of these products are cost-effective or affordable (like many sustainable alternatives), but consider making the switch when you notice your own products running out or wearing down. Throwing out perfectly good products (even if they have plastics or chemicals) creates more waste. Maybe you can purchase some of these as gifts for friends and family!
If you need to buy something new, a little research goes a long way in terms of finding products that suit your needs and support the environment. Another general rule of thumb is that it is better to purchase locally to avoid shipping emissions, but that's usually unavoidable as a result of an international trade system.
Hopefully, this list was helpful, and we hope you'll refer to it in the future and share it with friends!