7 Easy Eco-Friendly Household Swaps
The good news is that the climate crisis is finally making the headlines. The bad news is that it’s somewhat overwhelming. Whilst pressure is being put on world leaders to make the big changes necessary to reverse the damage humankind have done to the planet, we are left asking what we can do as individuals and as families.
Yes, it can feel as if making small changes is a drop in the ocean. Yet, if all of us make small changes then that can make a big impact. Plus, it sends a message to those able to drive real change that we really do care.
Sometimes, as individuals, we can feel powerless. As consumers though, we hold trump cards. How and where we choose to spend our money can drive real change. With busy lives and limited funds, most of us cannot be expected to switch to electric cars tomorrow or go completely plastic-free. However, easy eco-friendly household swaps can make a real difference.
As an eco-friendly business with high ethical standards, Out Of The Box Gifts are champions of living sustainably. So, here are our top 8 easy eco-friendly household swaps that are simple to make and won’t break the bank.
Seed Greeting Cards
Ok, so technically this isn’t generally considered a ‘household item’. However, most of us are buying a fair amount of plastic-wrapped greeting cards, many of which use decorative elements that mean they are non-recyclable. Now, I love getting a card. They can be so personal and I definitely don’t want to stop giving cards to my loved ones on special occasions. Luckily, some very clever people have come up with a way to make greeting cards that actually help our planet.
Seed cards are lovely in every way! Printed on recycled paper and embedded with seeds, the lucky recipient of a seed card can display it and then later plant the card. The paper decomposes and the seeds gift them with beautiful wildflowers.
Admittedly, seed cards don’t come cheap. Yet, they are two gifts in one and will bring a second flood of gratitude when they bloom.
Rewilding the world is important because it promotes biodiversity and protects wildlife, but it’s a big project. Why not start in your own gardens, even if it’s just one pot on the doorstep, and support the bee and butterfly population in our neighbourhoods.
Liquid vs Bar Soap
I’m part of a generation more used to liquid soap. However, many soaps contain some environmentally questionable chemicals and liquid soap tends to come in plastic containers.
If you prefer liquid soap to bar soap then there are some great all-natural options available and many are available in refillable stores. This means you can take your far more attractive glass container down to your nearest refill shop and top up whenever needed. As you’re not also buying the bottle, this can often work out cheaper.
Self-cleaning and long-lasting, bar soap is a very eco-friendly alternative that’s made a big comeback. You can even make it yourself! It’s quick, easy and all you need is a melt and pour base, some essential oils and dried flowers to decorate (optional).
An even simpler option though is to treat yourself to our Handcrafted Lemon And Poppyseed Soap , which is natural, vegan and palm-oil free.
Reusable Food Wraps And Bento Boxes
Lunchboxes are hassle-enough. Being bleary-eyed, assembling sandwiches and trying to find healthy snacks each morning will not make the top ten enjoyable parenting moments. Add to this the worry over plastic yoghurt pots and cling film and the lunchbox becomes somewhat of a minefield. Not to fret - we have some eco-friendly household swaps that can help you on your way to a plastic-free portable lunch.
Made from organic cotton and natural vegan wax, these wraps by Eco Living are a great alternative to cling film and foil. For food that needs help staying fresh, wraps are eco-friendly, reusable and compostable. Admittedly, they divide opinion. Some swear by them and even go as far as to make their own. Whereas others question their reusability, claiming they wear out fast. The only way to know which camp you’ll find yourself in is to try them yourself and see if they’re right for you and your family.
However, bento boxes can be a great way to avoid wrapping food altogether. These airtight containers contain metal trays with compartments for different food items. This means you can pour in yoghurt from a larger container instead of buying individual pots and there is no need to put vegetables, fruit, or sandwiches in plastic bags.
Stainless Steel Drink Bottles
In terms of eco-friendly household swaps, this is one of the simplest and it quickly becomes as much of a habit as reaching for the tote bag when we leave the house.
Great for active individuals who carry water on the go, stainless steel bottles are a great way to avoid regularly buying plastic bottled water. If you’re lucky enough to live in an area where the water is good then you can fill your bottle straight from the tap. If not, you can use a water filter first. Stainless steel is a good option as a material because it keeps your water cold.
Plus they come in all sorts of colours so each member of the family can have their own.
Cast Iron And Stainless Steel Pans
I remember when non-stick pans came into the marketplace. They were a revolution. A new solution to an age-old problem. Plus, this was when we were being told to cut down on butter and oil, so non-stick was an ideal solution. Did you know though that the chemicals used to make the film is harmful both to human health and the environment?
I’m never a fan of potentially harmful chemicals but when they are mixing with my food that’s a red-line. If you feel the same then stainless steel or cast iron pans are a good replacement. Seeing as decent kitchenware doesn’t come cheap, this might be one for the Christmas list. Or else make it a slower transition.
When I light a candle I think ‘relax.’ I think self-care and cosiness and calming scents. I don’t think about burning fossil fuels. However, most candles are made from paraffin wax and lighting them releases all sorts of awful toxins into the air. Including benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, acetaldehyde and acrolein, many of which are toxins produced when burning diesel fuel.
So, for eco-friendly household swaps, what are our alternatives to paraffin candles?
There are some amazing plant sourced candles available and many rival the cost of paraffin candles too.
Our BeeFree Bluebell Candle is not made from beeswax but from a sustainable natural plant source. This candle will burn with a fragrant bluebell meadow scent for up to 25 hours without releasing any harmful chemicals into the air.
Since candles are a special treat and wonderful gift for a friend, why not upgrade and go for a Peaceful Bath Gift Set complete with calming bath salts, purifying clay face mask, vegan sea salt chocolate and, of course, our lavender and geranium candle, made from sustainable raw materials.
Back to the really essential household items. The toilet tissue issue is far easier to understand than other threats to the environment. Put simply, we use a lot and it takes a fair amount of trees to produce the paper. Thus, household brand toiler paper is a big contributor to deforestation. I’ll skip over why reforestation is bad not just for the environment but for our very survival because David Attenborough has already explained this better than I can.
The simplest solution is to use a more sustainable material. Bamboo toilet paper seems to have topped the list for ethical consumers. As bamboo plants take only five years to reach maturity, growing them to produce toilet tissue and other items is a far better alternative to using hardwoods.
Yes, this can be more expensive. However, moving to a subscription-based system and buying less regularly and in bulk is a solution many eco-driven companies are providing. Cheeky Panda offers subscription-based buying not only for bamboo toilet rolls but also for eco-friendly nappies, biodegradable wet wipes and tissue boxes. Naked Sprout also operate carbon neutral on deliveries over £18.
Whilst bulk buying subscription models drive down the cost per product and provide access to eco-friendly brands, it does assume space to store all this bulk stock which many consumers simply don’t have.
Long-term though, the idea is that the more who buy eco-friendly the quicker the cost will fall for all of us. We’re crossing our fingers anyway.
Brands like those mentioned above seem far more likely to level out, being that they operate under a purpose-beyond=profit based business model, which is one of the many reasons we’re happy to recommend them.
And, while I know this won’t be for everyone, reusable toilet wipes are by far the most sustainable option. Cheeky Wipes have some great kits available.
A Final Thought On Eco-Friendly Household Swaps
Whilst we’re advocates of easy eco-friendly household swaps, we recognise that putting pressure on consumers is perhaps not the fairest approach. Of course, big impact decisions need to be made by world and big business leaders. Yet, it would be a mistake to assume they are not swayed by public consciousness. As long as we are using our buying power to show them where our loyalties lie and what really matters to us, we are making a difference.