100 Sustainable Swaps to Protect the Ocean & the Planet
As a society, we're becoming more conscious of our impact on the planet – healthier eating, avoiding fast fashion, and constantly striving to be more sustainable individuals.
These are all steps in the right direction. But if we want to seriously tackle climate change, plastic pollution, and biodiversity collapse, we, as individuals, have to do more.
Many of you read that and probably thought to yourself “Why do I have to do all of these things when big corporations are really to blame?”
Well… you’re not wrong. In fact, just 100 fossil fuel companies are to blame for over 70% of all global emissions.
But the fact of the matter is that the fossil fuel industry is here to stay (for now). And in the meantime, we must do everything in our power to live sustainable lives to reduce our carbon footprints.
And if you’re already living your greenest life, that’s fantastic. If you’re looking to step up your game (and down your footprint), check out these 100 sustainable swaps to live your best eco-conscious life.
Table of Contents
We’ll start with some easy ones. These quick, everyday swaps can make a massive difference over months, weeks, and entire years.
1. Swap that plastic water bottle for a reusable bottle.
This is an easy one. Swap out a single-use plastic water bottle for a reusable one. You can take it everywhere, add stickers to make it your own, and protect the planet all at once!
If you drink the recommended amount of water each day (eight 8-ounce glasses) from your reusable bottle instead of a plastic bottle, you’d be saving over 1400 plastic water bottles per year.
And if you drink a lot of water daily, you’d be saving even more!
Disclaimer: There’s a 100% chance that whichever bottle you choose will become your “emotional support” water bottle.
2. No more disposable coffee cups… take your mug to go (even to Starbucks).
Starbucks is aiming to cut its carbon, water, and waste in half by 2030.
And the best part? Starting in 2024, they’re going to let you bring your own coffee cup or mug to cut down on single-use cups.
And if you forget yours, don’t worry – by 2025, you’ll be able to borrow a ceramic or reusable to-go mug from your local Starbucks, which would require a small deposit to make sure you return it.
We love this for a couple of reasons…
First and most obvious, it’s great for the oceans and planet as a whole. Starbucks is the largest coffee chain in the world and they sell upwards of 5 billion cups of coffee each year. So rather than sell 5 billion cups of disposable coffee, you & I will be providing our cups, massively reducing the amount of global coffee waste.
And second, who wouldn’t like to bring their favorite coffee cup to Starbucks? There’s something so satisfying about sipping on a fresh coffee from your mug. Now, you can be the main character every time you drop into your local coffee shop.
3. Drop the dairy and switch to plant-based milk for a greener, healthier alternative.
On average, cow milk is responsible for 3x more greenhouse emissions, 10x more land use, and up to 20x more water usage compared to plant-based milk. And on top of all that, cow milk production increases levels of eutrophication (a form of water pollution) in nearby bodies of water.
Simply put, plant-based milk alternatives are far better for the environment than dairy-based milk. Plus, there are plenty of health benefits too!
Speaking of milk, swap out dairy-based milk for plant-based alternatives like almond, oat, coconut, and soy. Most local coffee shops offer at least one of these alternatives.
And if you’re looking to switch up your next Starbucks order, check out the Vanilla Bean Coconut Milk Latte (only 60 calories, 7g of carbs, and 6g of sugar for a grande).
4. Swap tea bags for tea strainers with loose leaf tea.
If you’re more of a tea drinker, swap tea bags for tea strainers.
Tea bags have been found to release billions of microplastics into your drink and the ocean when not properly disposed of. Tea bags also create a lot of waste with their packaging and unsustainable composition.
On the other hand, tea strainers are reusable, meaning they won’t end up in some poor animal’s stomach. If that doesn’t convince you, tea from a strainer tastes far better than that from a bag.
5. Fast fashion is out of style, slow fashion is in.
The fashion industry is responsible for massive amounts of waste and unbelievable levels of carbon emission. Fortunately, brands & consumers alike are beginning to buck that trend.
Consumers are becoming more conscious of what they wear, swapping fast fashion for slow fashion and the circular economy.
Take KeAloha for example – our ocean-friendly apparel is made from recycled plastic & sustainably-sourced cotton and we donate 10% of every purchase to ocean conservation.
There are plenty of other eco-conscious brands out there, like Vissla and Kone Ranger. Vissla makes boardshorts out of upcycled coconuts and Chicago-based Kone Ranger designs one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect a mindful and sustainable lifestyle.
6. Save some paper and swap the book for an eBook or audiobook.
Reading helps train your brain, reduce stress, improve sleep, and so much more. You know what it’s not great for? The environment.
Instead of buying a physical copy of the next New York Times Bestseller, pick up the eBook or audiobook version of it to save some paper. If you want to hold the book itself, try a second-hand bookstore or renting from your local library.
7. Suck at giving gifts? Gift an experience instead.
People aren’t always easy to shop for. Some want too much, some want too little, and some just don’t know what they want. So rather than stressing over what to get your person, relative, or friend for the next holiday, try gifting them an experience instead.
Experiences are great. There’s no packaging (great for the environment) and the memories will last forever (great for you & the recipient). And, you don’t have to worry about the gift arriving on time.
Next time you’re short on gift ideas, make a reservation at a local restaurant, buy tickets to a local concert, or sign up for a cooking, painting, or dancing class that you can enjoy together.
8. Skip rush hour traffic… take a walk or ride your bike to work.
If you live in a place where you can walk to work, stretch out those legs and try walking or biking to work a few days each week. And as long as the weather cooperates, you’ll notice a huge change in your health & mood.
If you’re working remotely, a quick 10-minute walk around your neighborhood or city block is a great way to refresh your body & your mind.
And if you don’t have time for the gym, burning some calories on your way to and from work is a great way to stay in shape.
9. Go green with your credit card.
When your plastic credit card expires, it ends up in a landfill somewhere, never to be seen again. If you’re serious about saving the environment (and some money), upgrade your credit card to a more eco-conscious alternative. Here are our favorites:
Amalgamated Bank Credit Card - Amalgamated Bank is net-zero carbon, powered by 100% renewable energy, and avoids investing money in damaging industries like fossil fuel, weapons, tobacco, and private prisons.
With in-person and online banking available, Amalgamated Bank is also the largest union-owned bank in the US.
We give this card a double thumbs-up, but we honestly wish we had more thumbs.
Aspiration Credit Card - Aspiration plants a tree every single time you make a purchase, donates 10% of each dollar spent to charities, and enables you to go carbon-neutral, all while swiping your credit card.
10. Make sure those lost hair ties are biodegradable.
You’re going to lose your hair ties anyways... you might as well get some that will decompose naturally.
KOOSHOO makes hair ties that are super strong, gentle on hair, stylish, plastic-free, and biodegradable. Check them out.
You spend a lot of time at home, meaning there are plenty of ways to live more sustainably. From the laundry room to the bedroom, we’ve got you covered with a few ways to make your home more sustainable.
11. Quit spilling laundry detergent (into the ocean) and switch to laundry tabs.
Over 700 million plastic jugs of laundry detergent make their way into landfills each year…many of those end up in the ocean.
Fortunately, there’s a better option – Tru Earth’s Eco Strips.
They work in all washing machines, completely dissolve in both hot & cold water, and they come in zero-waste packaging. As a bonus, you’ll never have to worry about measuring or spilling again.
They’re also vegan, paraben-free, phosphate-free, and hypoallergenic.
If you want to double down on saving the planet, wash on cold and hang dry to conserve energy!
12. Quit washing microplastics into your laundry and pick up a GuppyFriend.
Microplastics are seemingly a part of our daily life now, even our laundry. When washed, microfibers from synthetic clothes (like those made of polyester) tear away from clothing and make their way through the washing machine and local waterways, eventually finding their way to the ocean.
It’s no secret that microplastics are terrible for marine animals. They often consume them unknowingly, leading them to believe they’re full. But seeing as plastic offers zero nutritional value, their stomachs become filled with microplastics, preventing them from consuming real food to survive. This eventually causes them to starve to death.
GUPPYFRIEND has you covered with their washing bag. Just add the washing bag to your next load of laundry and it will catch everything, even the smallest of fibers, preventing them from entering the ocean.
13. Sick of buying single-use dryer sheets? Try reusable wool dryer balls instead.
Now that your clothes are clean, it’s time to dry them. Swap out single-use dryer sheets for wool dryer balls.
They naturally soften laundry, shorten drying time, and save energy – and the best part is, that they’re reusable. Try Wool Dryer Balls, also by Tru Earth.
14. If you’re still using incandescent bulbs, grow up.
If you haven’t switched to LED light bulbs yet, you need to do so ASAP. They save energy and money, what more do you need to know?
15. Hop on the plant-based trend, it’s good for you!
You’ve probably heard that going vegan can help save the environment. And you might be wondering, is that true?
Well, plant-based diets use less water, energy, and farmland than traditional diets. And oftentimes, vegans are quite fit. Check out “The Game Changers” on Netflix (before it’s gone).
If you’re not ready to go full vegan, Meatless Mondays are a great way to mix in vegan meals and test out your skills (and your taste buds) in the kitchen. And, there are plenty of plant-based alternatives to your favorite meats that provide all of the meat flavors without all of the environmental damage.
16. Say goodbye to junk mail forever.
Nobody likes junk mail. It’s annoying and we end up throwing it in the bin or recycling it anyways. But, did you know you never have to receive junk mail again? That’s right. You can stop receiving junk mail, saving some frustration and paper along the way.
17. Swap those Yankee Candle scents for something less toxic.
Most candles are made from paraffin wax, a petroleum byproduct. When burned, these toxic candles release toxins in the air that have also been found in diesel fumes. Not good…
Clean up your home & the environment by switching to beeswax or soy candles. Be sure to choose candles with 100% cotton wick and naturally derived scents to avoid burning any toxic chemicals in your home.
18. Rough night of sleep? Switch to organic cotton and you’ll finally sleep through the night.
Pillows are commonly filled with synthetic polyester, feathers, down, or a combination of these. Make the switch and sleep soundly at night with pillows made from organic cotton & other sustainable materials.
19. Turn pencils into plants. Yes, seriously.
Need some new pencils? How about some new plants?
20. Swap single-use K-cups for a reusable K-cup filter.
Can you tell we like coffee?
K-cups are super convenient and packed with a ton of flavor, but they’re not convenient for the planet. Pick up a reusable K-cup filter and enjoy your favorite ground coffee straight from your Keurig without all of the waste.
If you’re looking to live a more sustainable lifestyle, making changes in the kitchen is one of the most effective ways to do so. From how you shop for groceries to how you cook, here are 10 sustainable swaps to make in your kitchen.
21. Quit “forgetting” your reusable grocery bags at home.
This is one of the easiest swaps that can make a huge impact on the environment over time. Plastic grocery bags have an average lifespan of just 15 minutes. But once they’re done being used, they’ll sit in a landfill for over 1,000 years.
And the bags don’t even break down fully, they just slowly decompose into microplastics that eventually make their way into the ocean.
Keep a set of reusable bags in the trunk of your car, in your pantry, or somewhere where you’ll remember to grab them before heading to the store. If you do happen to forget them, using plastic bags once won’t be the end of the world.
22. And don’t forget to bag your produce.
It doesn’t make sense to load up your reusable grocery bags with plastic produce bags. Fortunately, you can use these reusable mesh grocery bags from Grove Collaborative to grab all of your fresh, locally-sourced produce.
23. Wrap those leftovers in something a bit more sustainable.
Plastic or saran wrap is great for keeping leftovers fresh. But, there’s a better, more sustainable option.
Switch to beeswax wraps like this one from Bee’s Wax. It’s washable, reusable, and compostable!
24. Quit throwing away paper towels – just use a kitchen towel.
Napkins & paper towels are a staple in most American homes – they’re used to cook, clean, and eat.
Unfortunately, Americans throw out over 6,000 pounds of paper towels every day. This adds up to over 250 million tons each year.
Save your money (and the planet) and make the switch to organic cotton or cloth towels. Once they’re dirty, just throw them in the wash (with your new laundry pods) and reuse them again and again.
25. If you’re going to buy single-use plates, at least make sure they’re compostable.
Paper plates are convenient, especially for larger events where you don’t want to clean up afterward.
Instead, pick up a pack of compostable plates – they’re better for the environment and still get you out of having to clean up.
26. Upgrade your cutting board’s look & performance.
This one is super easy. Swap out your cheap, plastic cutting board for a stylish, wood board.
Bacteria have been known to grow in the cuts of plastic cutting boards – do you really want that near your food?
They might cost a bit more initially, but wood cutting boards are more durable and less harsh on knives, meaning you’ll double (or more) the lifetime of both your cutting board and your knives.
27. Never buy non-stick spray again. Instead, pick up a reusable silicone baking mat.
Sick of constantly using parchment paper or aluminum foil every time you need to bake something in the oven? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. The planet is pretty sick of it too.
Say goodbye to constantly restocking non-stick sprays and those rolls of baking sheets and grab a silicone baking mat – good for the planet and your wallet.
28. Meal prep the right way.
If you meal prep for fitness, weight loss, or your busy schedule, you probably have special containers to store your meals for the week. Those containers are probably made of plastic too.
If you already have them, don’t worry about it. But if you’re looking to buy more, grab some that are made of more sustainable materials like glass or bamboo.
Make sure to pack your veggies!
29. Drop the plastic soap bottle and pick up a dish block instead.
Millions of plastic dish soap bottles end up in landfills and oceans each year. To cut down on your plastic waste, get yourself a dish block. These biodegradable, vegan dish blocks are just as effective as standard dish soap, with none of the waste.
30. Swap dishwasher detergent & pods for one that actually works for you & the planet.
If you have a dishwasher, we’ve got a sustainable swap for you too. Unlike conventional dishwasher soap (stored in plastic bottles) or plastic-wrapped pods, these eco-friendly tablets cut grease, grime, and food stains without all the waste.
You might think that a few changes in your bathroom won’t make much of a difference for the planet, but you’d be surprised – just changing your hand soap can eliminate hundreds of pounds of plastic each year. Check out these 10 sustainable swaps you can make in your bathroom today.
31. Pump, pump, pass – then switch to a soap bar.
Plastic soap bottles account for hundreds of millions of pounds of plastic in waterways around the world. Quit buying plastic pump soaps and switch to bar soap to wash your hands.
We love the Outback Mate bar soap from LUSH. It’s package-free, made from organic & safe synthetics, and even looks like the ocean (no wonder it’s our favorite).
32. Quit buying paper towels to dry your hands at home.
You may have a stack or roll of soft paper towels to dry your hands off after washing them. Cut down on waste and switch to a hand towel instead.
There are plenty of organic cotton hand towels out there that are good for the planet and gentler on your skin.
When you’re done, just throw it in the wash with your other laundry and reuse it over and over again.
33. Treat your skin right with a soft, organic cotton towel.
Not all bath towels are equal – some are soft, others are rough. Some are patterned and some are plain. And finally, some are good for the planet and some are not.
Bath towels made from traditional cotton & polyester are awful for the environment. They’re resource-intensive and break down easily, meaning their fibers end up in waterways where they eventually make their way to the ocean.
If you’re in the market for new towels, grab some that are made from organic cotton that uses less water & energy and lasts longer.
34. You can’t scrub away that environmental damage.
The same goes for washcloths. Lather up your skin with your planet-friendly soap and a soft. organic cotton washcloth.
35. Who gives a crap? Well, we do.
The average person uses about 50 pounds of toilet paper per year (about 20,000 sheets).
Rather than flush this kind of waste down the toilet, switch to a more eco-friendly version like the one from who gives a crap, made from recycled fibers.
Even better, they donate 50% of their profits to build toilets in communities in need.
36. Keep your throne (and the planet) clean.
You need to keep your toilet clean. But you can’t keep your toilet clean with a bathroom full of plastic.
Make the switch from a plastic brush to a bamboo brush to clean your toilet and cut down on your plastic waste.
37. I took a pill (in the bathroom)
You brush 2x per day (hopefully) to keep your teeth clean. Keep the planet clean too and switch to toothpaste tablets.
Brands like Bite are cutting down on plastic waste from traditional toothpaste tubes with tablets that are just as effective, vegan-friendly, and packaged in a plastic-free bottle.
P.S. 10/10 dentists recommend that you care about the planet as much as your teeth
38. Don’t forget to floss.
Now that you’ve brushed, it’s time to floss. And if you haven’t been flossing, now’s a good time to start.
Dental floss is made from petroleum-based plastic, it’s non-biodegradable, and it’s usually packaged in non-recyclable packaging. Not to mention, it can cause some serious issues for marine animals.
39. Say goodbye to your favorite loofah.
Your bright-colored loofah may work well as a microphone for your shower concerts, but the planet’s ears are bleeding. Not really, but you get the point.
Every single time you use the loofah, it sheds microplastics right down the drain and into the ocean, likely ending up in some poor animal’s stomach.
Get rid of that loofah ASAP and check out these eco-friendly alternatives that are compostable, biodegradable, and most importantly, not made of microplastics.
40. Travel with your toiletries in style.
If you’re a frequent flyer, you know the value of a quality toiletry bag. And though leather or plastic toiletry bags might be cheap & fashionable, they’re not good for the environment.
Instead, try one of these eco-friendly toiletry bags made from organic cotton, ocean-bound plastic, and other creative alternatives.
Nobody loves a day at the beach more than us. And after years of practice, we have tried & tested nearly every sustainable beach swap on the planet. Here are our favorites.
41. Drink more, pack less.
If you’re heading to the beach, you’re packing some drinks – it’s hot and you have to stay hydrated. But we all know how problematic plastic bottles are…
And rather than pack a few water bottles, sports drinks, or sodas, fill up some larger, reusable containers or jugs at home to avoid taking plastic to the beach.
If you do end up taking single-use bottles to the beach, take a garbage bag and properly dispose of them at home.
Oftentimes, beaches don’t have proper recycling bins. And if they do, high winds can blow the waste right off the top and into the oceans.
P.S. If you’re taking alcohol to the beach, please take cans and recycle them back at home… broken glass isn’t fun to step in.
42. Keep those drinks cold.
You’re going to have to keep those drinks cool all day. But don’t pick up a cheap styrofoam cooler on the way – they’re awful for the environment and pretty ineffective at keeping drinks cool.
Pick up a reusable or biodegradable cooler to keep your drinks cold & the planet safe.
43. Protect your skin and the ocean.
You’ve probably heard that certain sunscreens are bad for your skin, but what about the oceans?
As it turns out, some of the artificial ingredients in major sunscreens are damaging coral reefs (pretends to be shocked).
Next time you’re picking up sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, make sure to check that it’s reef-safe.
The most common ingredients to avoid are Oxybenzone, Octinoxate, and Octocrylene.
44. And your eyes too.
If you’re anything like us, you probably have a few pairs of sunglasses that you rotate between. Or you’re always losing them, right?
Either way, sunglasses are rarely made from sustainable materials – brands use materials like plastic to lower the cost and sell more shades.
So if you can afford to spend a bit more money, there are plenty of eco-friendly sunglasses that are stylish enough for any occasion.
45. Dress for the occasion.
The days of fast fashion swimwear are coming to an end. Brands are switching to planet-friendly materials to reduce their environmental impact while producing high-quality swimwear.
Either way, please stop buying cheap swimwear from SHEIN.
46. Reduce your footprint.
Whether you wear flip flops, slides, or Crocs (don’t worry, we don’t judge), it’s unlikely that these are made from planet-friendly materials. They’re made from cheap rubbers which require lots of water, energy, and petroleum to produce.
Reduce your footprint (literally) with a pair of Indosoles – they’re repurposing the over 1.5 billion tires thrown away each year into durable, waterproof, and stylish sandals.
47. Keep the sand off with an organic cotton beach towel.
It’s important to have a good beach towel – big enough to lay out on, keep sand off, and dry off from a dip in the water. It should also go easy on the environment.
Swap the cheap cotton for these organic beach towels to keep your bum sand-free.
48. These toys are kid-friendly and ocean-friendly
Sometimes you’re in a hurry to leave the beach, or maybe your child just forgot where they were playing with their toys. Either way, plastic toys are no joke when it comes to the ocean.
They can cut and trap marine animals, seabirds, and even harm other people if they break into small, sharp pieces. Not to mention, children who chew on plastic toys ingest dangerous chemicals, causing potentially major health issues.
Next time you hit the beach, swap those dangerous plastic toys for some eco-friendly ones.
49. Hide from the sun (the right way).
Sometimes sunscreen just isn’t enough to protect your skin from intense UV rays – you need an umbrella.
But rather than pick up a cheap, plastic one that will blow over with even the smallest gust of wind, grab yourself a recycled beach umbrella that protects you and the earth from the hot sun.
50. Tired of sitting on trash?
Beach chairs are made using marine-grade canvas or nylon mesh. Unfortunately, after a bit of wear & tear, these materials start to break down, ultimately making their way into the ocean.
Fortunately, there are other, more sustainable beach chairs. These Sandbar chairs are made with reclaimed ocean plastic and built to last, so you don’t have to worry about them ever breaking down.
If chairs aren’t your thing, try digging out a custom chair in the sand and lay a towel over top to lounge all day long. What’s more, you won’t have to carry a chair back to your car.
51. Filter your water, it’s good for you!
If you’re traveling outside of the US, you won’t always have access to clean drinking water. But rather than reach for a single-use plastic water bottle, just pack a filtered water bottle to keep yourself & the planet safe.
Not only are they reusable, but they can filter out thousands of types of bacteria from water in just seconds. These are especially handy when traveling across Central & South America, Southeast Asia, parts of Africa, and remote locations.
52. Quit worrying if you can pack those travel-sized soaps in your carry-on.
Those tiny little travel soaps are convenient, but there’s so much plastic involved for just a few ounces of liquid. Instead, just pack a travel bar soap, shampoo, and conditioner to cut down on plastic waste.
53. Eat local.
You can eat at your favorite chain restaurant when you return home from your trip. But while you’re traveling, especially abroad, it’s important to support local businesses.
Supporting local restaurants stimulates the local economy, puts food on the table (literally) for employees & owners, and often ensures that your food is sourced locally – meaning a lower carbon footprint.
54. Take the road less traveled.
Everyone wants to visit Instagram-worthy travel locations. But you and millions of other people traveling to those top locations every year puts a heavy strain on the local environment.
This is especially the case for beach & hiking destinations, mostly because of the amount of foot traffic. Not to mention, more people often leads to more plastic & garbage waste.
Explore the road less traveled and take a hike on a lesser-known route or venture to a secluded beach. And always remember to leave it how you found it – pick up your trash!
55. Hop around the city with public transportation.
Rental cars provide a lot of freedom when you’re exploring a new place. They also produce a ton of carbon emissions.
Sometimes cars are necessary to navigate around a new city, state, or country. But when possible, take public transportation to cut down on your footprint.
If you have to rent one, try to pick up an electric or hybrid vehicle.
56. Nobody likes layovers, not even the planet.
It’s no secret that flying is bad for the environment – but there are a few ways to make it better.
Planes use up to 50% of their fuel during landing & takeoff. So even though the cheaper option may be to select a flight with multiple stops, choosing a non-stop flight is the more eco-friendly option as it burns less fuel.
And no matter if you choose a non-stop or multi-stop flight, you should consider offsetting your air travel with carbon offsets.
A domestic flight averages about 50 mpg of fuel per passenger and the aviation industry accounts for roughly 2-3% of all global carbon emissions – that’s a lot of damage.
But it doesn’t have to be so bad. You can purchase carbon offsets to make your air travel carbon-neutral. These offsets support projects such as planting trees, restoring blue carbon initiatives, and even sucking carbon directly out of the air.
57. Single-use masks for reusable masks
COVID-19 has wreaked havoc across the globe – millions of deaths, thousands of lost jobs, and plenty of uncertainty for the future.
At the height of the pandemic, you were required to wear masks everywhere. Unfortunately, those same disposable masks ended up in the ocean (over 1.6 billion of them).
So if you’re going to wear a mask (especially while traveling), choose a reusable one (these are made from organic cotton and pull 2 pounds of trash from the ocean).
58. Keep your boarding pass on your phone.
This one is super easy. Every major airline has a mobile app that allows you to check your bag, check in for your flight, and even access your boarding pass.
Skip the paper boarding passes and use the mobile boarding pass when passing security and boarding your flight.
59. F**k SeaWorld.
Tourist attractions such as swimming with dolphins and riding elephants may seem like a fun & safe way to interact with amazing animals on your vacation. But as fun as it may be for you, it’s not at all fun for the animals.
Instead, visit animals in their natural habitat on a safari ride or even participate in conservation efforts at a local sea turtle sanctuary. You’ll have just as much fun without harming any wild animals.
And please, please, please, do not visit SeaWorld.
60. Turn your beach walk into a beach clean-up.
Whether you’re traveling to your local beach or an exotic beach across the world, you’re going to find plastic littered across the shore. Unfortunately, that’s the reality (for now).
Turn that stroll along the beach into a beach cleanup. Pack an extra bag and pick up any plastic or trash you see while exploring. Pack a pair of gloves too to keep your hands clean.
It’s possible to look good and protect the planet at the same time. Next time you’re restocking your beauty supplies, consider these easy sustainable swaps.
61. Upgrade your razor.
Your skin (and the planet) will thank you for this one.
Spend a few extra dollars on a razor that will not only last longer but leave you with a clean shave and no razor bumps or rash.
Here are a few of our favorite eco-friendly razors that you can count on.
62. Swap cotton swabs & Q-tips for zero waste cotton swabs.
Q-tips are used to clean your ears, apply & remove makeup, and even for arts & crafts. Despite all of these seemingly innocent uses, cotton swabs are dangerous for marine environments.
After being used, they’re often thrown into the trash or flushed down the toilet. They end up in waterways where they eventually find their way into the stomachs of marine animals and even the tails of seahorses.
Instead, opt for zero waste cotton swabs, which are 100% biodegradable and made from a bamboo shaft.
63. Please buy a new toothbrush.
The average American throws out about 3 toothbrushes each year – that’s almost 1 billion plastic toothbrushes per year… That stacks up to about 50 million pounds of plastic in the landfills, plenty of which ends up in the ocean.
Rather than buy yourself another cheap toothbrush with a plastic handle and bristles, grab yourself a biodegradable, bamboo toothbrush, with bristles made from eco-friendly alternatives.
64. Sorry, no more 3-in-1.
Take a look at your shower – mostly plastic bottles right? Let’s change that.
The most popular body washes are packaged in plastic bottles. And with the average person using multiple bottles each year, that stacks up to a lot of plastic waste.
Rather than add to that waste, switch to a body wash bar or refillable body wash for a zero-waste shower.
65. Wash your hair with a shampoo bar.
The United States throws out over 550 million empty plastic shampoo bottles each year.
Don’t add to that number, grab a plastic-free shampoo bar for happy, healthy, planet-friendly hair.
66. Hydrate your skin with a bar (of lotion).
Your skin needs to stay hydrated, but that doesn’t mean the planet should have to suffer.
Believe it or not, lotion doesn’t only come in plastic bottles & glass jars. The new planet-friendly trend for hydrated skin are lotion bars.
Not only are they eco-friendly, but they’re made from natural ingredients like cocoa butter, shea butter, and beeswax, all of which are better for your skin than cheap, artificial substitutes.
67. Buy makeup that supports animals, women, and the planet.
Though it’s getting better, the makeup industry has a notorious history of using toxic chemicals like parabens, pesticides, plasticizers, and BHA to develop products (not to mention plenty of brands still test products on animals).
Fortunately, brands like Thrive Causemetics are transforming the cosmetics industry. All of their products are vegan, paraben-free, cruelty-free, and made without synthetic fragrances. As a bonus, a percentage of every purchase is donated to help women thrive.
68. And make sure it’s packaged properly.
If organic ingredients aren’t enough for you, take it a step further with these zero-waste makeup brands.
These brands use high-quality (and eco-friendly) ingredients that are good for your skin & the planet.
69. Don’t you dare throw another makeup remover wipe away.
When you think of ocean pollution, you probably think of plastic. And though plastic is a big problem, it’s not the only problem. Cotton balls & makeup remover wipes cause plenty of damage to the oceans as they shed microplastic fibers when used.
70. Try waterless beauty.
In addition to having a history of using toxic chemicals in their products, the cosmetics industry also uses a ton of a very precious resource – water.
And as climate change continues to warm the planet and dramatically alter our environment, water is becoming a more scarce resource.
And as planet-conscious individuals, we owe it to the planet and each other to conserve as much water as possible. And with waterless beauty, it’s now possible to look beautiful without using any water (yes, seriously).
Originating in Korea, waterless beauty has massive health benefits for your skin – by removing water, certain key ingredients can more effectively treat your cells. And as we already mentioned, it’s so much better for the planet too.
Most household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can irritate your skin, mouth, and eyes, trigger headaches, and even cause cancer. And though these dangerous ingredients may leave your house spotless, they can become silent killers.
Not to mention, depending on how much of a clean freak you are, these products create literal tons of toxic & plastic waste, damaging the environment beyond belief.
If you want a clean, healthy home for you, your family, and the planet, try some of these DIY cleaning products that don’t contain any toxic chemicals.
Pick up a few reusable squirt bottles and the necessary ingredients, then you’re all set.
71. Make a non-toxic all-purpose cleaner at home.
All-purpose cleaners are great for cleaning up small messes in the kitchen to huge messes around the house. But next time you go to the store, skip the Lysol, Pine-Sol, and Clorox, and just pick up some vinegar and essential oils.
No, seriously. This DIY all-purpose cleaner is made from just water & vinegar (plus a few drops of essential oil for scent). Here’s the recipe:
- 1 cup distilled water
- 1 cup vinegar
- 15-30 drops of essential oil to scent
Combine all of the ingredients in your reusable bottle, spray, then wipe. No matter the mess, this non-toxic cleaner will get rid of it.
72. Clean your toilet the right way.
This homemade toilet bowl cleaner won’t be as colorful as the store-bought version, but it’s equally as effective and much less toxic. With just a few ingredients, you can safely clean & disinfect your toilet bowl in just a few minutes.
- 1 cup distilled water
- ½ cup baking soda
- ½ cup castile soap
- 15-30 drops of essential oil to scent
Just add these ingredients to your bottle, spray, and scrub. Then, spray some hydrogen peroxide or vinegar onto the toilet bowl and let sit for a few minutes, and flush. The hydrogen peroxide (or vinegar) acts as a disinfectant to remove any germs or bacteria you might have missed.
73. Swap bleach for this one common household ingredient.
If you’ve ever done a deep clean of your home, chances are you used bleach. Based on the smell alone, you probably already knew that it was toxic. But did you know that there’s a less toxic, equally effective option?
And, you probably already have it on hand.
Hydrogen peroxide is an effective disinfectant when used to clean inanimate surfaces, and is even used in hospitals.
74. Clean your oven the right way.
In terms of cleaning your kitchen, your oven probably doesn't get the attention it deserves. We both know it has to be cleaned, but things come up.
When you finally get around to cleaning it though, don’t use a toxic, store-bought oven cleaner. Instead, mix just a few common household ingredients for a quick, healthy clean. 2 cups baking soda
- ¾ cup water
- 10-15 drops of essential oil to scent
Just mix, spray, and scrub.
75. Clean your glass with clean, non-toxic ingredients.
There’s nothing worse than obstructing a great view with glass streaks. But don’t reach for the Windex just yet. Just mix water and rubbing alcohol together for a simple DIY window cleaner.
- 3 parts water
- 1 part rubbing alcohol
Just mix, spray, and wipe away.
76. Make your home smell good without all of the toxic particles.
Air fresheners are great for covering up smelly scents from spills, pets, and other messes. But underneath all of that sweet-smelling aroma lies millions of tiny, toxic particles.
So if you want to keep your home’s air clean, you’re better off with a homemade air freshener made from essential oils & baking soda.
- 2 tbsp baking soda
- 20-25 drops of essential oil to scent
Just mix, stir, and spray.
77. Make reusable Lysol wipes at home.
Lysol wipes are great for all kinds of messes, big & small. Unfortunately, they’re toxic and wasteful.
So rather than expose yourself to harmful chemicals and the earth to toxic waste, just make your cleaning wipes at home with just a couple of ingredients.
- 1 ½ cup distilled water
- 1 tbsp castile soap
- 20 drops of essential oil to scent
Just cut up some old cloth into smaller pieces, combine all of the ingredients into a mason jar, shake, and then you’re good to go.
78. Polish your wood furniture with just a few common ingredients.
Wooden tables, dressers, and bed frames look great. But after a while, they start to collect dust. Usually, a quick spray of Pledge or another wood polish is enough to get rid of any unwanted dust. But as soon as you spray that polish, thousands of toxic particles are released into the air of your home.
To keep your wooden furniture looking spotless without poisoning your home’s air, try this DIY furniture polish instead.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- ¼ cup white vinegar
- 3-5 drops of essential oil to scent
Just mix, spray, and wipe the dust away.
79. Cleaning your garbage disposal doesn’t have to be difficult.
You don’t need an expensive cleaner to keep your garbage disposal blades clean. You can keep them clean with just a bit of baking soda and vinegar. Here’s how:
- ½ cup baking soda
- 1 cup vinegar
Pour the baking soda down the drain, followed by the vinegar, and then wash it down the drain with water. To keep your garbage disposal functioning properly, throw a few ice cubes down there too to keep the blades sharp.
80. You don’t need to use fabric softener.
Fabric softener is designed to do exactly as described, soften your clothes. And nobody wants to throw on a rough t-shirt or scratchy hoodie. But before you do your next load of laundry, consider this.
Fabric softeners contain toxic ingredients that can damage your skin, clothes, and even your washing machine & dryer. Plus, most modern detergents (even the eco-friendly ones) already soften your clothes quite a bit.
So skip the fabric softener, your body will thank you.
Whether you work in the office, at home, or on the go, there’s always room to improve your workplace sustainability. Check out these easy swaps to transform your boring cubicle into a zero-waste, low-emission office space.
81. Go digital.
In this digital age, it’s truly surprising how many companies still print everything. For reference, the US is the largest consumer of paper in the world, averaging over 12 trillion sheets of paper each year.
For reference, that amount of paper requires about 535 million trees and 12 billion gallons of oil to produce. And since you were a little kid, you’ve known that cutting down trees and consuming oil is bad for the environment.
Write them an email, give them a call, or collaborate via Google Drive (or another cloud platform). But if you’re able, skip the printer next time you head into the office.
82. Schedule your next meeting on Zoom.
Speaking of the office…
The past couple of years has transformed the modern workplace as we know it. Millions of people are working remotely or on a hybrid schedule, splitting time between their homes and offices. This has changed the way we meet in the professional world.
If you’re able, work from home and take meetings virtually to avoid gas consumption. And better yet, you can take the meeting in your pajamas.
83. Downsize to a laptop for green, portable work.
Looking to downsize from your old desktop computer to a leaner, faster laptop? Not that you need more convincing, but laptops are a greener option than desktops too!
They require fewer resources to build and use far less electricity, meaning you can work with a smaller carbon footprint.
84. Open up those blinds.
Artificial light has been linked to increased risk for obesity, depression, breast cancer, and more. And when combined with standard cubicle space, artificial light gets old fast.
Open up those blinds and let in some natural light. You’ll feel better and save some energy without even thinking about it.
85. Clean up the break room.
Whether you like to socialize with your coworkers or eat in peace in the break room, you should be conscious of how you’re eating.
Swap paper plates for compostable ones, single-use utensils for reusable utensils, and plastic cups for a reusable water bottle.
Pack some veggies too!
86. Pack a lunch.
We’ve all been there. You slept in a bit late and ran out of time, or you just didn’t feel like packing a lunch.
But if you have the time & energy, a home-packed lunch is a more sustainable option. Rather than have the Uber Eats driver waste gas to drop off your food in a single-use container, make yourself a healthy lunch with fresh ingredients and throw it in a container that you can wash when you get home.
Just make sure nobody steals it out of the fridge…
87. Save money & energy with smart power strips.
You can pretend that messy pile of cords under your desk doesn’t exist, but we all know it does. We’re not knocking your organization skills, but we at least want you to save some energy.
Make the switch from a traditional power strip to a smart power strip, which automatically detects when a device is in standby mode and cuts the power off to save energy. And if for no other reason, it will at least help you cut back on your energy bill.
88. Shop for sustainable, second-hand furniture.
If you’re like most people, you spend a lot of time in the office – so it’s understandable that you want it to feel comfortable and homey.
But rather than splurge for that new chair or desk, try shopping second-hand. You’ll save some money and the planet.
If you’re really in the market for something new, at least check out some sustainable furniture.
89. We both know you’re never going to read that Post-It note.
Need to make a quick note for later? Or remember that password you keep forgetting?
Don’t buy another pad of Post-It notes – just grab a small dry erase board and one of these compostable markers to quickly jot down your notes and erase them when you’re done.
If you don’t want to clutter your desk with the board, both Windows & Macs have a sticky note application that is perfect for quick notes.
90. You don’t have to buy batteries all of the time.
Depending on your profession, you may use batteries on a day-to-day basis or you might not. If you do, try switching to rechargeable batteries in the next couple of days.
Once you’re done with traditional batteries, they begin to corrode. As they break down, toxic chemicals leak from the battery housing and into the soil, where they can contaminate groundwater & surface water, posing a fatal threat to humans & other organisms alike.
Switch to rechargeable batteries to cut down on waste, pollution, and money spent. You can thank us later.
When you picture a greener life, you probably don’t think about your pet. And we love pets as much as the next person, but they do have a fairly significant carbon pawprint. Fortunately, you can change that with a few quick swaps.
91. Pick up that dirty poop with a clean waste bag.
Cleaning up your pet’s poop isn’t very fun. At least do right by the environment and use planet-friendly waste bags that are made from plants, vegetable oils, and polymers.
92. Need somewhere to store those poop bags?
You’re going to need a place to store all of those planet-friendly waste bags. Grab a reusable waste bag dispenser that you can attach to your leash and reuse after a quick wash.
93. Potty train your pet the green way.
If you live in a big city with your pet, chances are you’ve heard of potty beds. What you probably never considered amidst potty training your pet is that standard potty beds aren’t great for the environment.
They’re often made from plastic & toxic ingredients that could harm your pet.
To keep your pet and the environment safe, switch to a plant-based training pad. Made from renewable bamboo fiber, sustainable pine, and other plant-based materials, these are guaranteed to keep your pet healthy and space clean.
94. Spoil them with ocean-friendly chew toys.
Every good boy loves a high-quality chew toy. They’ll love it even more if it’s made from ocean-bound plastic.
That’s right. West Paw makes chew toys & other dog accessories from ocean-bound plastic, donates to important causes, and even recycles chew toys (even the most heavily used) back into new products for more dogs to enjoy.
95. Stop the plastic (and the shedding).
Most dogs shed… a lot. And no matter how many grooming brushes you try, you seem to keep finding hair everywhere.
But next time you need to buy a grooming brush, make it an eco-friendly one. These high-quality brushes prevent shedding and support military spouses, check them out!
96. Tired of letting your pet out in the middle of the night? Upgrade their bed, and maybe you’ll finally get a good night’s sleep.
Be honest – you wouldn’t let your dog sleep on anything that you wouldn’t sleep on. And let’s face it, you want something that looks good & feels good.
These eco-friendly dog beds fit these criteria, are non-toxic, and are easy on your wallet. Help your pup sleep better at night, and maybe you will too.
97. Say goodbye to the smell of cat litter.
Once you throw your cat litter in the trash, you probably try to forget about it, right? Well, it’s not going anywhere. Once it makes its way to the landfill, it sits there for millions of years because it’s not biodegradable.
We know that throwing away your cat’s waste isn’t the most glamorous thing to have on your mind, but it’s important to consider the environmental impact. So next time you need to refill the litter box, make sure you grab biodegradable cat litter that is easy on the environment.
98. Upgrade your dog’s look with a stylish, eco-friendly leash & collar set.
Those cheap dog collars & leashes don’t look good on your pet, nor do they last very long.
So rather than having to buy a new collar or leash just so they can chew through it again, do yourself a favor and get a stylish, sustainable set that will last.
99. Serve their food & water in some fine china.
Your puppy is going to accidentally knock over their food or water bowl once or twice (okay, maybe more than that). But that doesn’t mean you should give them a plastic one that won’t break.
Fortunately, there are plenty of eco-friendly dog bowls that won’t break and are easy on your floors & the environment.
100. Take them for a walk.
There’s probably not much your dog loves more than running around the dog park and playing with other dogs. But if it’s a long drive away, you might be better off taking them for a walk at a local park.
Take a tennis ball or a frisbee and let them stretch their legs out without wasting gas.
Plus, it will be great for your mental health.
As we mentioned earlier, individuals are not to blame for the climate crisis, ocean pollution, and many other environmental disasters. But, as individuals, we still must do our part to protect this planet we love so much.
You don’t have to implement all 100 of these sustainable swaps – it’s likely that you’re probably already living pretty consciously.
Start with just one or two of these changes, then work your way up from there. Soon enough, you’ll notice just how much of an impact a few simple changes can make over time.