Did you know that globally, ONLY 9% of all plastic waste ever produced has been recycled?
The remainder sits in landfills or is left to the natural environment, much of which eventually enters our oceans.
So how can we, as consumers, reduce or eliminate our personal contribution to this issue?
The answer is that we can make sustainable swaps, step by step to minimize waste.
Small everyday changes committed by many people can add up to a large collective impact!
There is no one size fits all when it comes to sustainability so make changes that make sense for your life circumstances!
We have put together a list of great ideas thanks to the suggestions from members of our Green Act Business member community!
Remember: You can log ‘Refuse Single-Use plastic‘ on our Mobile App. Earn Green Points and redeem for discounts on sustainable products and services with our Green Act Business Members.
Check them out below.
1. Beeswax Wraps
Inspired by nature’s own peel, skin and rind, Abeego uses all-natural beeswax to create a food wrap that is completely free of plastic. All you have to do it wrap, wash and reuse again and again for at least a year. When your beeswax wrap’s life is up, don’t worry- Abeego’s wraps are biodegradable and all natural, meaning you can return it to the Earth without leaving a trace. As airtight plastic wrap is responsible for suffocating and killing tons of food annually, we’re happy to see it go. Not only this, but by ditching the plastic wrap, you are saving tons (literally) of plastic from landfills! Yet before we celebrate, take note: naked is not the answer! Abeego’s breathable beeswax food wrap keeps your food fresh for longer- no more wilted cilantro or moldy cheese. Can you BEE-lieve that ditching the plastic and saving your food could be so easy?
2. Cloth Diapers
cotton- but what they are NOT made from is plastic. Yes, you read that right- they are
completely plastic free! That’s why they are a great alternative to disposable diapers. By
choosing reusable over disposable, you can save approximately 6000 diapers from landfills- per
child. Plastic diapers come with toxic chemicals that can harm the environment when disposed
of. Bumbini’s organic diapers skip the chemicals and make their naturally absorbent diapers with
ethically sourced materials, like bamboo and hemp. With their diapers coming in adorable
designs, Bumbini has everything you’re looking for, from eco to chic! Bumbini is reducing plastic
waste- one diaper at a time- to help protect the planet for generations to come.
3. Cloth Pads or Liners
4. Menstrual Cup
It is more relevant now than ever to think of the impact our periods have on the environment. An individual goes through approximately 12,000 disposable pads or tampons in a lifetime. Multiply that number by everyone on this planet that gets their period and that equals a substantial amount of waste. Not to mention, disposable pads and tampons contaminate the environment with plastics, chemicals and dyes- yuck! Unlike disposable period products, the DivaCup is a menstrual cup that is reusable for years- saving the environment of tons and tons of plastic. You (and the environment) can avoid all the chemical nastiness that comes with disposable period products by making the swap to a DivaCup. Investing in a DivaCup will also save you a whole lot of money overtime- bonus! Say goodbye to disposable period products and hello to your revolutionized period!
5. Lucky Iron Fish
Lucky Iron Fish is a vegan, reusable, all natural solution to iron deficiency. This easy to use cooking tool releases a majority of your daily required iron intake whenever it is added to boiling liquid for 10 minutes.
Each Lucky Iron Fish (or the Leaf) is designed to last over 1800 uses (that’s approx. 5 years with daily use!). To compare it with 5 years of monthly iron pills means you are avoiding 60 pill bottles. This is a significantly more eco-friendly alternative to iron pills that often come in plastic bottles or pouches.
6. Compostable Coffee Pods
We know that most people love their Keurig coffee makers but hate the waste that come with them. While single-use plastic coffee pods are convenient, they come with a dark side. The vast majority of these plastic capsules end up in our landfills, contributing to the growing problem of plastic pollution. In fact, reports claim consumers go through about 20 billion single-use plastic coffee pods each year – which is enough to circle the earth over 13 times! Fortunately, there is a green alternative to the single-use coffee pod! Club Coffee offers the world’s first certified 100% compostable coffee pods. Free of plastic and made with plant-based materials, you can enjoy your cup of coffee without the eco-guilt. There is no need to take apart your pod to put in your green bin- Club Coffee’s pods are designed to decompose together within 5 weeks. We love their coffee pods a latte!
7. Plastic-Free Tea
Collectively, Canadians consume about 10 billion cups of tea per year. Yummy! However, are you aware that most teabags contain plastic that is not recyclable or biodegradable- even the paper teabags? One cup from a single plastic tea bag can contain up to billions of microplastic and nanoplastic particles- gross, right? teapigs, founded in 2006 by Nick and Louise, set out to find an alternative to the plastic teabags. teapigs spent years finding the best teas, full of flavour, and put them in their own plastic-free “temple”. Not everyone has time to make loose tea the ‘proper’ way. And so, the tea temple was born- a roomy biodegradable mesh bag, which offers all the space whole leaves need to infuse properly. Everything, from the teabags down to the packaging, is plastic-free. Now you can sit down, relax and brew yourself a cup of tea without having to worry about drinking plastic.
8. Choose compostable packaging
We understand that life can get busy, and that most people strive for convenience. However, convenient typically means plastic. Almost all the food that we buy is in plastic packaging, ending up being disposed of in our landfills or ecosystems. Whether it comes from a grocery store or market, a sit-down or fast-food restaurant, an online meal delivery service or perhaps even the farmers’ market, it is hard to find food that isn’t artificially encased. Nature Knows offers alternative options for you: healthy eating on-the-go with 100% plastic-free and sustainable packaging. Nature Knows’ single-serve snacks, meal kits and family size formats are all breathable and go right in your compost or green bin! No more plastic clamshells or trays that take hundreds of years to decompose. Nature Knows is committed to help you eat well and reduce your plastic footprint with each fresh bite.
9. Reusable Straws
If you have been following the news over the past few years, you will know that the world is on a serious mission to boycott plastic straws- simply because they SUCK! Reusable straws are taking over the world and with good reason too! It is estimated that close to 57 million plastic straws are used every day in Canada, ending up in landfills and in the environment. The Green Jar cheers you on to make the switch to reusable. They offer stainless steel straws to eliminate the need for disposable straws. These straws are easy to clean, dry quickly, and easily remain clean and sanitary, even when tucked away in a purse. Who needs plastic straws anymore when you’ve got reusable straws?
10. BYOC (Bring Your Own Cutlery)
Plastic cutlery is everywhere, and most of it can only be used once. Billions of forks, knives and spoons are thrown away every year. Globally, plastic cutlery is a $2.6 billion business. Like other plastic items, such as bags and bottles, cutlery can take thousands of years to break down naturally, giving the plastic ample time to accumulate in landfills and in the environment. The quick fix for this problem is to BYOC (Bring Your Own Cutlery). Our Green Act Business Member, TWIG, offers reusable bamboo cutlery that you can bring with you anywhere to avoid using single-use plastic cutlery. Bringing your own cutlery reduces waste, helps the environment, and on top of all that, you know where it’s been. Backyard BBQ’s and last-minute chip truck stops won’t be a problem anymore- just toss the set in your bag or vehicle and you are good to go!
11. Reusable Snack Bags
It’s 2020, and Litterless Lunches are becoming a new trend. A staple to these waste-less lunch and snack times are reusable sandwich and snack bags. Every year, the average person uses one pounds worth of plastic sandwich bags. That doesn’t sound like it’s that big of a deal. But if we were to break that down into quantities, that would be a total of 540 plastic baggies a year that we use only once. You may not realize it, but those single-use plastic bags stick around for a lot longer than any of us ever will. Forget about diamonds- plastic is forever and Demain Demain aims to decrease the amount of plastic in our environments. Demain Demain offers reusable sandwich and snack bags to replace the single-use plastic baggies. Their reusable sandwich bags are waterproof, durable AND eco-responsible- what more could you ask for? Not only this, but they are also lead-free, PVC-free, and BPA-free- basically, they are free from all the stuff you don’t want to store your sandwich in. With these reusable sandwich bags, you can join the #crushplastic movement!
12. Tote Bag Made from Upcycled Denim
Helping the environment is in our JEANS. That’s why we love the denim tote bags offered by Earth Warrior Lifestyle. It’s no secret that plastic bags are a killer to our environment- which is why we need to strive to reduce them. Plastic bags often find themselves in our landfills and natural environments, releasing harmful toxins into the soil and making their way into the mouths of animals. With the staggering rate in which we around the globe use these one-time-use plastics, why not try to reduce the waste a little? Earth Warrior Lifestyle has created a stylish tote bag that will accompany you on your grocery trips, beach days or even to the farmer’s market. These bags are sewn from used jeans and come with a design on the front of a turtle, tree or whale. The scraps left are then used for compost- which gives back to the Earth and all it offers. Better yet, 20% of the sale goes towards Ocean Clean Up programs that keep our oceans, and the animals that inhabit them, clean and free of plastic. It’s time to ditch the plastic and go green with jeans!
13. Wool Dryer Balls
Plastic is in more than you would expect- even in your laundry cycle. Dryer sheets are made from synthetic polyester, which when disposed of, remain in the environment for centuries. With how many loads of laundry the world does in a week, there’s a solution to throwing out the non-recyclable sheets: Dryer Balls! These wool dryer balls are plastic free, and still give off the fresh scent and softness you’d expect from a regular dryer sheet. Up to 100 loads, your drying time will be cut down by 30%-50% with no wrinkles or static- is there anything that these dryer balls can’t do? Forget about adding another sheet to the load, add a dryer ball from Acre 75 and skip the static and plastic!
14. Candles without petroleum
Did you know that most candles that are commercially made are created from Paraffin wax? Paraffin wax is petroleum based- that means that they’re made using a non-renewable source. Allen Wick Candles sheds some LIGHT on this issue and strives to create a sustainable and renewable candle- that are delicious to smell too! Allen Wick Candles hand pours every candle in small batches with all natural, 100% plant-based soy wax. Each candle is beautifully handcrafted using top quality soy wax that is cruelty-free, has no petroleum products, and is free of GMOs & phthalates. Not only this, but Allen Wick Candles use recycled vintage glass containers for their dessert soy wax candles- keeping their candles in a closed-loop cycle. Thank you, Allen Wick Candles, for all that you do for our planet and for being a sustainable alternative for home décor!
15. Lip Balm
Lip balm is a personal care essential, but too often, it comes in plastic. What happens to these plastic tubes and containers once they are disposed? We’re glad you asked: the disposed lip balm plastic containers end up in landfills, or worse, natural ecosystems where they will sit and accumulate for thousands of years. You can skip the unnecessary plastic AND the chapped lips by switching to SiSi Georgian Bay’s lip balm. Made in a natural kraft paper tube, their lip balm is 100% biodegradable. All-natural ingredients, including nutritious butters, oils and beeswax, are used in these moisturizing lip balms to gently soothe dry, chapped lips, and keep them feeling soft and smooth. Biodegradable, eco-friendly, zero-waste, plastic-free, delicious: these are all words that are used to describe this lip balm. Dry lips are no match for this plastic-free lip balm!
16. Safety Razor
Humans produce A LOT of waste from simple day-to-day activities, and our shaving routines are no exception. It’s no secret that plastic disposable razors are wasteful- it’s right in the name. They are supposed to be used a few times and then thrown away in the garbage, where they accumulate in landfills. In fact, it’s estimated that about 2 billion plastic razors are used per year in the United States ALONE- all destined for landfills. Rockwell Razors offers a quick fix for this problem: The Safety Razor. You can reduce skin irritation, limit ingrown hairs and reduce waste in the bathroom all at once. The handle of this razor can last a lifetime and the blades are recyclable. Not to mention the whole razor is plastic-free! By investing in a Safety Razor, not only are you reducing your plastic footprint, but you are also saving money in the long run. Now there’s a razor-sharp idea!
17. Felted Soap
Rubba dub dub- Lowering your plastic footprint can start right in the tub! Plastic loofahs, although great at scrubbing away your impurities, have a very short expiration date. Loofahs are a breeding ground for bacteria and are recommended to be thrown away every 2-3 months. That’s a lot of loofahs ending up in landfills! Not only this, but synthetic loofahs have plastic fibers that fall off as microplastics, going down the drain and ending up in our waterways. Simply Natural Canada has the perfect solution: felted soap. Made with 100% natural wool incorporated into the soap, these vegan soap bars exfoliate your skin without the plastic. These felted soap bars are also biodegradable and home compostable- just another added bonus! Simply wet, lather, wash and squeeze dry. Thank you, Simply Natural Canada, for giving us great plastic-free alternatives for waste-less living!
18. Shampoo Bar
The bathroom is a very wasteful place- it’s where tons of plastic products end up in trashcans and eventually, to landfills. The worst culprit among these plastic items are shampoo bottles. Once in the landfill, these plastic bottles could take up to 1000 years to even start decomposing. There is an easy solution that leaves the plastic out of it: shampoo bars. Our Green Act Business Member, Nature’s Aid, offer shampoo bars that reap all the benefits of liquid shampoo- minus the plastic packaging. Nature’s Aid’s shampoo bars use natural and organic ingredients, and all their bars are biodegradable, vegan and cruelty free- all the more reason to love them! Like a bar of soap, all you have to do is lather them either in your hands or directly on your scalp, then rinse as you typically would. Reducing plastic waste has never looked so good!
19. Conditioner Bars
Personal care products have some of the worst recycling rates. In fact, upwards of 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles are thrown away into the garbage globally. Each. Year. You may ask yourself, “what can I do?” You can start by ditching the plastic bottles and using shampoo and conditioner bars. Bottle None offers conditioner bars that don’t require plastic packaging, helping to reduce the plastic load in landfills. Plus, their conditioner bars skip the nasty ingredients- like SLS, SCS, fragrance, phthalates, formaldehyde- and use only the good stuff! Bottle None’s conditioner bars can help your get back to its original, shiny, voluminous state by clearing away residue left from the chemicals found in traditional hair conditioners. Their conditioner bars are also vegan and cruelty-free, so you can skip the eco-guilt. Bottle None helps to keep you clean and the planet green!
20. Zero Waste Dish Soap
Liquid dish washing soap usually comes in big plastic containers, and most of the time, they end up getting tossed in the garbage. For something that is supposed to keep our lives clean, liquid dish soap sure is making the planet filthy! If you are looking to cut down on the plastic in your life, you may want to consider swapping the liquid dish soap to No Tox Life’s vegan dish soap bar, offered by Garden City Essentials. Each block lasts a LONG time and can replace up to 1-3 bottles of typical liquid dish soap! You can even this bar for cleaning-duty all over your home. Take stains out of laundry, take labels off of jars, spot clean your carpet, use it to wipe down counters… it’s a truly multipurpose product. This vegan, zero-waste soap is free from sulfates, phosphates, parabens, fragrances, palm oil, and animal testing, and is totally biodegradable. It’s a clean you can feel good about!
21. Say goodbye to the yellow sponge
Dish brushes are one of those items that no kitchen should be without. But, most of the time, these brushes are made of (surprise, surprise) plastic, which ends up landfills and take centuries to break down. Even sponges contain plastic and are neither recyclable nor biodegradable. At Sustain Eco, they offer 100% plastic-free dish brushes. This entirely natural dish-washing brush is made of pale, hard bristles of Tampico fibre (from the agave palm tree) mounted on an untreated sustainably harvested beechwood handle. The brush head is replaceable and can be thrown into the compost at the end of its life. The metal parts of the brush are removable for eventual recycling, while the wood is compostable/biodegradable. Sustain Eco’s plastic-free dish brushes bring you one step closer to living your waste-less life!
22. Zero Waste First Aid
When his son experienced irritation to the plastic adhesive on common wound bandages, James Dutton set out to find an alternative. Realizing that this problem was more common than originally thought, Dutton created the PATCH Strip, an all-natural wound bandage. Common bandages use plastic for most of their attire- including in the sticky adhesive. Alternatively, All PATCH Strips are made from organic bamboo fibre, are compostable and 100% plastic-free, including packaging. PATCH Strips is made from the most premium and sustainable ingredients to provide a hypoallergenic and biodegradable solution to wound care, including the natural goodness of activated charcoal, aloe vera and coconut oil embedded in the gauze. You can witness the breakdown of PATCH Strips into soil in as little as 10 weeks, while other plastic and fabric plasters remain as pollution, harmful to the environment. With PATCH Strips, you can take care of the Earth while you take care of yourself!
23. Make your own market bag!
Fibre art- any art – is an important part of life for so many. Creating beauty by macramé, crochet, weaving, needlework (the possibilities are endless)- this can help bring peace of mind to many. At times, though, hearing about the process of making the supplies needed can make you wonder if it really is worth it? The energy. The water. The plastic materials and waste. BUT by focusing on products made from textile waste, fibre artists can get the supplies they need with a little less of the guilt. Aster and Vine looks for products that are: ethically Sourced, up-cycled or recycled excess waste from the fashion industry. Their products include recycled cotton rope, upcycled t-shirt yarn, and wooden Pieces to complete a project- all free from plastic. You can get your craft on without feeling the eco-guilt!
24. Visit a refillery!
Zero waste is not a trend- it is a lifestyle change that is becoming the accepted norm across the globe. It is about reducing waste in a responsible way that helps to clean up our planet, our oceans and our landfills (in case you have not been following, they are all a mess). The Refill Stop, a zero-waste refill shop, wants to make a difference by sourcing products that eliminate single use plastics, and by selling refillable, environmentally friendly household and body care products. Each time you refill, you keep a container out of landfill and spend less energy than recycling. Also, refilling will save you money! On average you save 10-15% for refilling than purchasing that same product in its original container. All you have to do it refill, reuse, and repeat!
25. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush!
Remember: Every plastic toothbrush disposed of impacts the environment. One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States ALONE, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually. Plastic toothbrush alternatives, like the allBambu toothbrush offered at Saponetti, are catching our attention! Made from organically grown bamboo, the allBambu toothbrush is an eco-friendly toothbrush with 100% biodegradable handle that comes with waste-free packaging. The BPA free, vegan soft bristles are infused with premium activated charcoal (Binchotan from Japan) and have powerful antibacterial properties that cleans, whitens and brightens your teeth naturally and guarantees you great oral hygiene. Now you can have a healthy and dazzling smile without harming the environment!
26. Try toothpaste tabs
OVER 1 BILLION PLASTIC TOOTHPASTE TUBES are thrown away into landfills EACH YEAR in the U.S.
Ardent Earth Store is providing an eco-friendly solution to toothpaste tubes… The CRUSH and BRUSH!! It is a portable and mess-free toothpaste tablet. They are fluoride-free, vegan and made from 100% food grade ingredients. This simple, small step can offer a great way to help reduce plastic in the bathroom. Ardent Earth’s expertly curated collections take the guesswork out of sustainable vegan shopping. All of their products have been extensively researched and vetted to meet their strict ethical guidelines. All of their products are low waste and sustainable; vegan and cruelty free; safe and healthy.