12 Single Use Plastic Swaps You Can Easily Switch to Right Now

plastic-free dish brushes, scrubbers, sponges, an d a vegan dish soap block

Plastic is bad news. It's single-use, non-recyclable, and it's a petroleum product. Make these 12 single use plastic swaps to avoid single-use plastic for good.

Estimated Read Time: 7 minutes

It’s probably safe to say you’re well aware that plastic is no good for you by now, but when it comes to finding swaps for single use plastic, it can be tricky to find a solid replacement.

It’s hard to even look around without seeing plastic, or reaching for it.

  • Water bottles litter the top of Mt. Everest
  • The great pacific garbage patch is roughly the size of Texas (and growing)
  • Plastic bags decorate trees and highways in almost every city

But is using something one time worth the cost of polluting your water? Or sitting in a landfill hundreds of years affecting your great great great great grandkids (or nieces/nephews)?

That’s where ZeroWasteStore comes in! We partner with amazing brands and created a brand of our own to help you #reduceyourwaste and keep plastic where it should be: unmade.

What Is Single Use Plastic

Plastic trash left behind at the base of Mt. Everest

Photo by Sylwia Bartyzel on Unsplash

Single-use-plastic refers to a plastic item designed to be used once (or a couple of times) then discarded.

It’s important to note that some single use plastic is necessary. Particularly in the case of people with disabilities, and helping to keep us safe in medical equipment, packaging, and face masks.

But as you’ve noticed from the name, single-use-plastics weren’t made to be reused. They shed harmful chemicals after multiple uses or when heated, and they become unusable quickly.

Alternatives to Single Use Plastic

When you’re trying to replace single use plastics, look for a sturdy material — appropriate for the task you’ll be using it for — that can be reused for a long time. You also want to consider what needs to happen at the end of that products’ life (compost, recycle, landfill).

Good materials to look for are:

  • Silicone
  • Aluminum
  • Stainless steel
  • Glass
  • Organic cotton
  • Bamboo, agave, and other plant-based fibers

While plastic items are generally fairly cheap and convenient, with a little planning replacing them with quality sustainable alternatives can save you money in the long run!

We know you’re excited to start swapping things out, but don’t feel like you need to give your entire house a makeover this second. Use what you already have and when you’re ready for a replacement, check out these 12 single use plastic swaps you can make ASAP.

12 Single Use Plastic Swaps to Make Right Now

Various sizes of reusable silicone bags filled with snacks on a white kitchen counter

1. Stasher Bags NOT Plastic Baggies

Stasher bags are made from high grade platinum silicone that passes food-grade standards in the US and in Europe! What does that mean for you? These bags can be frozen, microwaved, dishwashed, and baked as much as you need it and you don’t have to worry about chemicals leaking into your food. These bags come in multiple sizes, shapes, and colors to fit easily into your life.

2. Safety Razor NOT Disposable Razors

It’s so easy (and expensive) to buy a disposable razor, use it a handful of times, throw it away and repeat. But with a safety razor, you get a high-grade steel handle that’s easy to hold, a two-sided blade that can be recycled, and replacement blades that can be found almost anywhere. Plus, it looks great in your shower, you get a better shave, and you can feel good about reducing your plastic waste.

3. Menstrual Cup NOT Tampons

7 billion tampons and all their parts are thrown away each year in the U.S. alone. Also worth mentioning are the chemicals they contain and the risk of TSS. Menstrual cups are made of high-quality silicone that can be sanitized and reused, they can be worn for 12 hours, can be more comfortable than tampons, and they can last years (like, decades). If you’ve never tried one, give it a chance!

Colorful shampoo and conditioner bars stacked in columns against a marble backdrop

4. Shampoo & Conditioner Bars NOT Bottles

There’s a reason our shampoo and conditioner bars are best sellers! Each bar can replace up to 2-3 plastic bottles, they’re safe for all types of hair (including color treated) and completely zero waste — including the shipping. If you haven’t made the switch, do it now and say goodbye to plastic bottles!

5. Zero Waste Sponge Cloths NOT Sponges

Sponges are made from plastic. They get smelly quickly and they only last a few weeks before they need to be thrown out. Don’t forget about all the microplastics they shed with each use. Sponge cloths on the other hand can absorb 20X their weight in liquid, can replace 17 rolls of paper towels, DON’T get that weird smell, and are dishwasher safe. Win-Win-Win-Win.

6. Zero Waste Dish Brushes NOT Plastic Dish Brushes

Stop washing your dishes with plastics that shed microplastics and make the switch to zero waste dish brushes. There are 5 to choose from and none of them contain plastic, they’re made from sturdy plant fibers capable of handling any of your dish washing needs, and they’re completely compostable/recyclable at the end of their life.

7. Bamboo Floss NOT Nylon Floss

Floss is made from Nylon which is made from fossil fuels. And frankly, you don’t need fossil fuels to keep your teeth clean. Bamboo floss is made from fast-growing sustainable bamboo, coated in charcoal, candelilla plant wax, and organic peppermint essential oil that help you get in between every nook and cranny. Completely compostable, you won’t even notice the difference. But the planet will. (Vegan)

8. Bamboo Toothbrush NOT Plastic Toothbrush

You’ve probably heard that every toothbrush ever made is still around somewhere — and it’s true! With a shelf life of 500 years, plastic toothbrushes aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. A bamboo toothbrush on the other hand is made with a compostable bamboo handle, recyclable plant-based bristles, and a recyclable metal staple that keeps your pearly whites sparkling clean.

9. Bamboo Hair Brush NOT Plastic/Metal Hair Brush

Did you know that metal and plastic hair brushes can actually contribute to frizzy dry hair and irritated scalps? Meanwhile, bamboo hair brushes work with your hair — bamboo pins gently brush your scalp and glide easily through wet or dry hair. Bamboo absorbs oils and redistributes them for a glossy shine.

10. Stainless Steel Straw NOT Plastic (Or Paper) Straws

You’re aware of the sea turtles, but plastic straws are the epitome of one-time-use plastics. It’s estimated that 437 million+ straws pollute the oceans’ coastlines. If you can, replace plastic straws with a stainless steel straw — carry one with you on the go and leave one at home for all your beverage needs.

11. Dish Soap Bar NOT Bottled Dish Soap

Whoever said dish soap needed to be bottled was wrong! Our zero waste dish soap comes in a refillable tin and works just as well as any store bought brand — except ours is completely plastic and fossil fuel free (unlike others *cough* Dawn *cough*). Simply grab a soap dish, rub your dish washing device of choice directly on the bar, and voila — suds!

12. Zero Waste Chapstick NOT Plastic Tubes

How many plastic chapsticks do you own right now? How many of them do you actually expect to finish? With these zero waste lip therapy balms you don’t have to worry about contributing to plastic pollution! Made in a completely off-the-grid farm with paper wrapping, these balms are hydrating, moisturizing, good tasting, and have vegan options. Plus, a portion of each purchase is donated to protect sea turtles.

We want to make your sustainability journey easier, a great place to start is by swapping out single use plastic! We’re believers that it’s important to know why you want to be more sustainable then take small actionable steps towards that goal.

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