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7 Smart Single-Use Plastic Alternatives

September 06, 2021 3 min read

7 Smart Single-Use Plastic Alternatives

Plastic straws. Disposable coffee cups. Granola bar wrappers. When used individually, these single-use plastic products can seem harmless. But when billions of people use them on a regular basis, the total amount of plastic waste we produce can be downright alarming.

Many people are unaware that almost all single-use plastics come from fossil fuels that contribute heavily to climate change. Thankfully, many cities and states are finally taking action to ban plastic bags and other single-use plastics.

You don’t need to wait around for your city to ban plastic bags to start living more sustainably. To make switching to a low-waste lifestyle easier, we’ve gone ahead and rounded up our favorite, single-use plastic alternatives that will help you kick throwaway plastic products to the curb.

1. Cotton Muslin Produce Bags

Buying produce at a grocery store often means tearing off several plastic bags for all your different fruits and veggies. Unfortunately, these ultra-thin bags are usually tossed in the trash after just one use. Make your next trip to the grocery store a little more sustainable by shopping with reusable produce bags. Lightweight, breathable and infinitely reusable, these organic muslin produce bags are guaranteed to keep your produce fresher than an airtight synthetic bag.

a group of various fruit and vegatables in and around cotton produce bags

2. Reusable Bowl Covers

Cling wrap is frustrating, wasteful and just plain unnecessary if you ask us. Why bother with it at all when there’s an easier, more sustainable alternative available? Pick up a set of reusable bowl covers and say goodbye to plastic wrap for good. Made from food-grade silicone, these quality bowl covers are highly resistant to extreme temperatures and won’t easily harden or crack. When they get dirty, simply pop them in the dishwasher or give them a good scrub with hot, soapy water and they’ll be good to go for your next meal.

3. Sustainable Straws

If you’ve seen that heart-wrenching video of a sea turtle with a straw stuck in its nostril, then you already know why plastic straws are bad for the environment. Recycling machines can’t properly sort plastic straws because they’re too small and lightweight, so they either contaminate the entire batch of recyclables, end up in a landfill or find their way into our waterways.

Fortunately, there are many single-use plastic alternatives available for straws. If you’re a smoothie-lover, you can’t go wrong with a stainless steel or glass straw. Looking for a travel-friendly option? Silicone straws are bendable, more versatile and won’t break inside your duffle bag.

4. Shampoo Bars

While technically not a single-use plastic, shampoo bottles are still problematic for the environment. In the United States alone, it’s estimated that 550 million shampoo bottles are tossed away each year! 

One of the easiest ways to make a difference is by switching to a plastic-free shampoo, like our solid shampoo bars. With their high concentration of plant-based ingredients and minimal packaging, shampoo bars are great for both your hair and the planet.

a woman opening a reusable glass food storage container

5. Reusable Sanitary Products

Tampon applicators and disposable pads are often overlooked in the discussion about single-use plastics. But make no mistake — they’re a significant source of plastic waste. According to National Geographic, a person who menstruates will use somewhere between 5,000 and 15,000 pads and tampons throughout their lifetime. For a greener period, consider switching to reusable period pads, period panties and menstrual cups. 

6. Dish Soap Bars

Did you know there’s a plastic-free alternative to liquid dish detergent? Our solid dish soap bars cut through grease and grime just as well as liquid soap detergent and do the job with minimal environmental impact. By switching to solid dish soap bars, you can replace two to three bottles of traditional soap. That’s two to three plastic bottles saved from a landfill! 

Another benefit to dish soap bars? They last longer than liquid soap, making them easier on your wallet and the planet. When you run out of fresh soap, simply order a plastic-free refill block and you can get back to scrubbing. 

Shop Our Dish Soap Bars

7. Reusable Bamboo Cutlery

The next time you want to order takeout, think about this statistic: Americans throw away 40 billion individual plastic utensils per year. One easy thing you can do to help the planet? Ask the waiter to exclude the plastic cutlery and just use the utensils you have at home. Of course, some may forget, but it’s still worth a shot. If you’re eating a meal away from home, keep a set of reusable bamboo utensils in your car or purse. That way, you always have them when hunger strikes!

Go Plastic-Free with The Earthling Co.

Whether you want to reduce your overall waste, protect wildlife, save money or safeguard your family’s health, there are many reasons to switch to single-use plastic alternatives. Ready to make the change? Browse our full line of low-waste products at The Earthling Co. and see for yourself how easy it is to go plastic-free!