All the Sustainable Swaps That I Wish I Made Sooner (And Some That Just Didn’t Stick)

Leaf Safety Razor

I would be lying if I said I didn’t wince at the price tag when I initially saw the beautiful, aesthetic advertisement for the Leaf Razor ($84 USD). I had been served many (many) an Instagram ad for the product, and eventually caved when I realized that I had been purchasing plastic, disposable razors once every few months, and then simply throwing them in the trash.

Composting Kitchen Scraps

I never thought I could be so excited about dirt. After watching the documentary Kiss the Ground, I instantly went on Amazon (the irony is not lost on me) and purchased this compost tumbler.

Reusable Water Bottle

If you’re not carrying around a Nalgene or Hydroflask everywhere you go at this point in the game, I dare to ask how much water you’re actually consuming. Are you okay? Are you about to pass out from dehydration?

Reusable Chemex Coffee Filter

This was an unexpected love of mine. I purchased a Chemex coffee maker around three years ago, because I love coffee, and because they’re so pretty sitting on your countertop. I also purchased this metal, reusable coffee filter at the same time, and haven’t purchased anything to filter my coffee in three years. Doing the math out, I make about 3–4 pots of coffee per week (I think I have a 6 or 8 cup Chemex). That would mean I would have gone through around 500 paper filters during that time, and while the cost is about the same for that amount of filters (at $9 per box of 100, that’s $45 worth in the past 3 years), I’ve successfully kept those 500 filters from landfills or who knows where. That’s a win in my book!

Bite Toothpaste & Bite Floss

Once again, I was introduced to Bite toothpaste via an Instagram ad. It’s offer was an eco-friendly alternative to a traditional tube of toothpaste: little bits that had either recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging. They offer a subscription service for around $8/month (different flavors available, but I’m a mint girl when it comes to things like toothpaste and ice cream).

Biodegradable toothbrush

On the topic of dental hygiene, I also switched out my toothbrush to this biodegradable one. To be honest, I still need to do more research on if this toothbrush is compostable as opposed to biodegradable. Additionally, we have yet to see a toothbrush with biodegradable bristles, just the actual toothbrush. So in order to properly “dispose” of this toothbrush, it’s my understanding that you have to remove all the bristles with a pair of plyers prior to… doing whatever it is you’re supposed to do with this when you’re done.

Reusable Tote/Produce Bags

Mi amor! I couldn’t say enough good things about my reuseable grocery store bags. I use regular tote bags for everything, and use these cute produce bags for my (you guessed it) produce. I hate those flimsy, single-use produce bags when you just need a couple potatoes and a lemon. If anything, it just angers me to see how much of our produce is wrapped in plastic when I’m at the grocery store, but that’s a different conversation entirely.

Flexcup

I cannot believe that I wasn’t presented with this option for menstrual products until I was 28 years old: behold the amazing menstrual cup. This is healthier for women, requires less maintenance, is less expensive, and is substantially better for the environment. I truly feel that B.P. (Big Period) doesn’t want us to find out about cups for the fear of losing one metric ton of money per year.

Getting a Library Card

Ah, the unexpected eco-ally: the library card. After realizing that not only was this substantially less expensive (read: it costs $0 to have a library card and the average paperback in 2022 is anywhere from $14.99-$16.99 per book) than impulsively buying every book I might want to read when I get the time, it also occurred to me that driving to my local library to rent books meant that I wasn’t shipping books from all over the world to take up space on my living room shelves until I eventually donate them. Not to mention, the library has a world of resources available to folks besides books (e-books, computers for use, Wifi, and more).

Bar Shampoo, Conditioner and Soap

I switched to bar shampoo, conditioner and soap when I thought about how many plastic bottles I was using every couple months. Even though they get recycled, isn’t it better to not buy them at all in the first place?

Stasher Bags

While expensive, I cannot express how shocked I was to find that the lettuce I grew in my garden was still crispy three weeks after cutting it and putting it in my Stasher bag. These reusable silicon bags are perfect for storing produce in the fridge, hiking snacks, sandwich bags, and even storing my electronics or cables when we travel. I’ve also used them to keep my phone water-proof when out kayaking. I have loved them enough that I’ve gifted sets to my parents, who also love them.

Cloth Napkins

I purchased some adorable, reusable cloth napkins while I was at a shop called Green House Goods in Newburyport, Massachusetts. Mine have little bees on them and are folded neatly (most of the time) in my cabinet with my plates and bowls, so that I remember to use them.

Blueland Eco-Friendly Household Cleaning Products

I purchased these tablets and bottles last year after trying to cut out most of the plastic from my life. I enjoy the thought process behind them, and do feel that they work well. One thing I did notice is that I used one a lot quicker than the others, so I’m waiting until I’ve used all three to order replacements. Additionally, one of my spray nozzles broke pretty quickly — so not sure on how they’ll hold up over time.

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Michelle Bourget

Michelle Bourget

Hobby collector | Weekend warrior | Fresh air aficionado | Host of the Off Belay Podcast — A Podcast for Northeast Climbers