Making eco-friendly changes

Published on 06/08/2021

There are a lot of small things you can do to be more eco-friendly. In this list, I will suggest a few ways you can make a positive impact on the world! Some might be common knowledge and obvious, but it never hurts to put another reminder out there for those that might not have it nailed down just yet!

1. Ditch the plastic bags

A lot of stores sell them by the checkout, and some even remind you before you come into the store. Reusable bags are probably one of the most impactful changes you can make. We all shop for groceries, and usually end up with a LOT of plastic bags on our way home. Not all stores provide paper bags, and if they do they sometimes don’t have handles! How am I going to carry 7 paper bags with no handles?

Tote bags to the rescue! If you can overcome the hurdle of remembering these guys (how can it be SO hard to remember putting these back in your car after you’ve used them, really?), they are just a fantastic option. Some stores (or all, depending on in what country you’re in) even started charging you for plastic bags, so reusable tote bags will save you money too! They come in all kinds of sizes (I have a few jumbo sized ones, and they fit A LOT of food), and all kinds of designs and materials. They are also great for day trips, outings, and the beach!

My guilty pleasure – using tote bags with strong messages about plastic pollution to make everyone else at the store feel bad (or at least force them to think about their own choices). Whoops!

They’re not just for grocery shopping, tote bags are also perfect for the beach or a day trip! (CharitableMagpie)

2. Getting a reusable water bottle

I have several glass and metal water bottles. There are so many cute ones out there! I have no problem drinking tap water, but if you don’t you can always find yourself a bottle with a built-in filter. Or perhaps store filtered water in your fridge and refill your bottle with that. Either way, you are doing nature a huge favor by doing this instead of buying plastic bottles over and over. No matter how into recycling you are, only a small percentage of plastic actually gets recycled. It’s also a good idea to get a reusable travel mug since a lot of coffee shops have bring your own cup programs!

2b – Influencing at work

Before I moved to Florida and started working from home, I worked in an office like a lot of people do. I’m not one of those people who can’t drink tap water, so I either get a glass or use my own water bottle and fill it from the tap when I want water. However, I would notice that the fridge at work was FULL of the mini-sized plastic water bottles (you know, the 8oz/237ml bottles), and that my boss would sometimes come into work with two 24-packs of these tiny, plastic water bottles for everyone to take. It was a great gesture to the employees, but on behalf of Mother Earth it was really bothering me. So one day I talked to my two bosses about it. I expressed concern about the amount of plastic (especially since they were so small and people would probably go through 3-5 a day), and they listened. After a little bit of nagging and a few reminders, they bought a water cooler. No more piles and piles of mini plastic bottles for us!

Glass and bamboo bottles are a great alternative. This beautiful bottle is made of glass with a bamboo lid. (IsCork)

3. Keeping those pearly whites clean

This is something I tried pretty early on in my attempt to go more eco-friendly. Plastic toothbrushes are a huge problem and they are very often found in the ocean and on beaches. Bamboo alternatives are easy to find and some even come infused with charcoal for some whitening effect. However, I’ll be the first one to admit that it felt SO WEIRD at first. Obviously it’s wood, so the texture is “wrong”, and then they’re usually a bit clunkier or maybe not as rounded as traditional toothbrushes so they feel large. But after I had been using it for a few days I got used to it.

If you’re looking to go the extra mile, look into toothpaste tablets. They come in aluminum or glass jars and are plastic free. You bite down on a tablet and start brushing – no more plastic tubes for your toothpaste!

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush will make a big difference. (HappiHippoOrganics)

4. Replacing shampoo bottles

I haven’t tried this yet, but it’s something I’m planning to try soon. Shampoo bars are like bars of soap but for your hair! They’re great because they reduce water usage and plastic waste. A lot of bigger brands are starting to create their own shampoo bars too, so they should get easier and easier to find. Love Beauty & Planet is a brand that I use and will definitely try their shampoo bar next. Lush also has shampoo bars that you can look into, or if you’re a DIY-er there are tons of recipes out there for creating your own. Since I haven’t tried it yet, I’m curious to see what the experience will be like.

There are so many amazing eco-friendly shampoo bars out there. These ones look amazing. (AlabamaMudSoapCo)

5. Sustainable Toilet Paper!?

Any tree huggers here? We all use toilet paper (well, I can only assume), and apparently when a pandemic hits we all need EVEN MORE toilet paper? My point is we use a lot of toilet paper, which is made from trees. Trees take a long time to grow, causing a pretty large ecological footprint for creating toilet paper.

But there are better ways! There’s not only recycled toilet paper (sounds gross, but it’s not how you think!), there’s also toilet paper made from bamboo. It’s completely tree-free and sustainable, protecting forests and biodiversity. Bamboo grows fast, plus the TP is biodegradable and plastic-free. It’s really worth a shit- I mean shot.

Toilet paper might not be the first thing you think of when going eco-friendly. (PotterandHare)

6. The infamous straw

So, as a foreigner living in the United States, I’m not sure if it’s an American thing or not, but- straws. That’s it. Straws. Every restaurant, every drink. They use straws for everything here. I’m used to drinking out of a glass, I don’t need a straw and it bothers me that a lot of restaurants will provide plastic straws without even asking if it’s wanted. If they’re not used they still throw them away. It’s a huge waste. Paper straws are becoming more popular, but they get soggy and gross and are generally not quite as “good” as conventional straws in that way. I’m not a huge fan of paper straws, but I definitely prefer getting one of those over a plastic one.

However, I prefer the little packet of straws right in my purse. I have a set of 4 metal straws and a little brush for cleaning them. It’s great to bring along in my purse and use if I need it. And if you’re someone that likes using straws, it’s absolutely something I’d look into getting. Like the saying goes – skip a straw, save a turtle.

Glass, bamboo, or metal straws are perfect for keeping in your purse. (SwillsCo)

7. Bath Boo-fah

Bath loofahs/poufs are normally made of some type of plastic. Since we use them in the shower the microplastic coming off each time we use them has instant access to the waterways, which eventually lead into the ocean. That’s obviously a big concern. But, as with all things on this list, there are alternatives! There are natural loofahs (which is an actual plant), and there are poufs made of eco-friendly fibers or materials instead of plastic. These more natural alternatives start out more stiff, but will soften with time and be just as great as any other versions.

Also, if you’re crafty and up for it, I know my grandma has crocheted shower mitts that will help clean and exfoliate your skin as well. So, that’s another one for the DIY fans out there.

A lot of people use cute poufs/loofahs when showering or taking a bath, and it’s so easy to go plastic free. (Glittrsweatandbeards)

8. Eco-friendly woofs

I have a dog, and I’m sure a lot of you guys do too. However, dogs poop. It’s also not generally accepted to just leave the poop either, and even if you have your own yard and no one cares it might be nicer to not have to walk as if on a mine field! So we pick it up with plastic bags and throw it out. Good job!

Good thing for us and the planet that there are eco-friendly poop bags! I pick up after my dog maybe twice a day, that’s A LOT of bags every year. And some people have several dogs, or bigger dogs, or dogs who poop a lot. So it’s a good opportunity to go green, and get some planet-friendly dog waste bags. There are also eco-friendly alternatives for our feline friends of course. Look for eco-friendly cat litter!

Your 4-legged friends can be more eco-friendly too! (MightyPawShop)

9. Sandwich bags no more!

I use sandwich bags for marinating pretty often, and after realizing that I was using A LOT of them I started looking into alternatives. That’s when I found reusable silicone food storage bags. They are great because usually they have a base so they can stand up if you prefer. They are easy to clean, come in several sizes which make them great for storing all kinds of things. They work for freezing, and some are fine to use for warm foods too! Now I don’t have to feel guilty using disposable sandwich and freezer bags and having to throw them away, because I don’t!

Bring lots of snack to work or outings? Reusable food storage bags are amazing! (TheAbsoluteKitchen)

10. Sustainable clothes shopping

There are a lot of companies selling clothes out there. And I mean A LOT. I’m one of them. I try to use eco-friendly brands for my shirts, and that’s something you should pay attention to as a buyer. If you need to buy new clothes, buy clothes brands that care about people and planet. Buy clothes of good quality that will last you a long time. When we have to buy new – buy sustainable. Same goes for anything, but clothes specifically because we obviously use them every day. Levi’s has a commercial currently where they promote their sustainable jeans, and I like their message. In short: Make better – buy better – wear longer – buy less – waste less.

Choosing eco-friendly brands like Bella+Canvas is a great option for those who love to shop for clothes. (CharitableMagpie)


These are only a few suggestions. Believe me when I say that there are SO many eco-friendly options to all kinds of things out there. You can search almost anything and add “eco-friendly” to the end and find options. I’d definitely suggest doing that whenever you find yourself in need of buying something new. If you have more tips on how to be more eco- and planet friendly, let us know in the comments!