It's Earth Day, friends! As a vegan and lifelong advocate for animals and the planet, I've tried to make swaps in my everyday life that lessen my environmental footprint. You don't have to dedicate your life to sustainability to make an impact, though! Even one or two simple changes can make a big difference. Here are some of my favorite eco-friendly products!
Isn't Earth Day such a fun holiday? I love taking a moment to appreciate the beauty all around us and think about the ways that we can be a little gentler on our planet. I know just how overwhelming the concept of sustainability can be, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite product swaps that I think are a great place to start. You don't have to revamp your entire life to live in an eco-friendly way! Making small and simple swaps with eco-friendly products makes a bigger difference than you realize.
Every April 22 people across the world (an estimated 1 billion people in more than 190 countries!) mobilize to take action and discuss the ways we can become better stewards of our world. The first Earth Day was back in 1970 and it's so cool to think about this day that has come to unite us across political parties, countries, and religions thanks to the one thing we have in common: our home on this planet!
I am by no means perfect at this. I don't think any one person can be! Life is fast and busy with three young kids, but I try to do my part with my purchases to be a conscious consumer and select products that are not only healthier for us but also healthier for the planet. Thankfully, they usually go hand-in-hand!
Eco-Friendly Products for Cleaning: Branch Basics
Branch Basics created a line of non-toxic, biodegradable cleaning products with a mission to reduce plastic waste on home products. How cool is that?! They do this by sending you cleaning concentrates, letting you add water at home and reducing the amount of plastic needed for packaging. Their bottles are refillable and their ingredients are all plant- and mineral-based, vegan, and non-toxic, so they're perfectly safe around children and animals. We use Branch Basics for laundry, home cleaning, and even hand soap. Definitely one of my favorite eco-friendly products, and they now have sustainable glass spray bottles and Dishwasher Tablets. I love that tablets like this require less packaging since they don't have tons of water added in, and there's no extra plastic wrapping or packaging...just the tablets in the bag!
Reusable Products at Home
- I've tried many different brands of reusable towels and this by far is my favorite. The texture and absorption are the best.
- Reusable Squooshi Squeeze Pouches are the perfect alternative to single-use applesauce or yogurt packets! Since you fill them yourself, you can be sure there aren't any unnecessary ingredients added in, which is a huge bonus. Fill them with Instant Pot Refined Sugar-Free Applesauce!
- Taking Muslin Produce Bags to the store is another way to reduce plastic waste. Mine don't get that dirty, but if they do, you can toss them in the wash!
- This is another swap that's easy as can be! I use these sponges for cleaning and doing dishes, and they can be tossed into the washing machine or on the top rack of the dishwasher. It's one of those eco-friendly products that I use daily!
- Oat milk is the latest and greatest in plant-based milks and you know I'm totally on board. Plant milks are so much gentler on our planet than animal milk and they taste amazing. Joi is the company at the front of the movement! They use zero-waste packaging for their plant milk bases, which just get some blender time with filtered water to create milk alternatives (cashew, almond, and oat milks) at home. They're reducing packaging waste and offer you an improved carbon footprint because one pail of Joi yields up to 60 quarts of milk. That's so much packaging that isn't headed to a landfill, plus you're preventing boxed milks that are 98% water being shipped around in refrigerated trucks. Amazing!
- I also have an Almond Cow machine, which makes homemade nut-based milks SO easy to make. You add nuts, water, and push a button. That's it! Before you know it you have totally fresh, dairy-free milk. Use code ELAINE for $25 off.
- For a super budget-friendly homemade milk method, grab Nut Milk Bags! These help you make almond milk or cashew milk at home from whole, raw nuts. Use code elaine10 for 10% off.
My Favorite Reusable Water Bottle
- I love how fancy this water bottle feels! It totally elevates my daily water drinking game and actually motivates me to drink more water than I would otherwise. Isn't it funny how sparkle can do that?!
- Anytime I use these straws on my Instagram stories I get a TON of questions! I love Hummingbird glass straws whenever I make a smoothie or even just for drinking water. They're clear, so it's really easy to see if they need to be cleaned, and the glass is so much stronger than you might think. They come with a cleaning stick so it's easy to keep them looking like new! Straws are one of the most popular eco-friendly products lately and I love it. My kids also love these silicone straws with their smoothies.
- I recently found Compostable, Biodegradable, Eco-Friendly Party Cups and love them as a more sustainable alternative to plastic.
- I also love using these Compostable Coffee Cups with Biodegradable Lids - they are made from sugarcane.
Eco-Friendly Swap for Food Storage
- Raise your hand if you go through plastic bags like crazy! Packing lunches, storing ingredients, refrigerating leftovers...it all adds up. I love using storage bags that can be washed and reused to keep plastic out of landfills. I love Stasher bags, which come in so many sizes. I have this set as well.
- Speaking of leftovers...these silicone stretch lids are AMAZING and turn any bowl or can into an airtight storage container. They're dishwasher and microwave safe, so easy to clean, and come in sizes that fit the smallest can all the way up to your biggest mixing bowl.
- I also love these nested mixing bowls that come with lids so you can easily transport them or store what is inside of them.
- For an alternative to plastic bags that's gentler on the environment, try Lunchskins Recyclable and Sealable Paper Sandwich Bags! These are great for snacks, lunches, and leftovers.
Silicone Baking Products
- These baking mats are an amazing way to save money while drastically reducing the amount disposable products you use! They're totally oven safe and line your baking sheets so nothing sticks. They make cleanup so easy! If I do use a disposable liner, I go for Unbleached Parchment Paper when possible since it breaks down faster!
- If you bake any kind of muffins or cupcakes regularly these silicone baking liners are a must-have! I wash them in the top rack of my dishwasher and use them again and again. They're also really cute for putting snacks in for the kids!
- My favorite non-toxic bakeware and cookware company is Caraway. They have a mineral-based coating and a super clean manufacturing process that releases significantly less CO2. They are SO easy to clean and absolutely beautiful! Use THIS LINK for an automatic 10% discount and up to 20% off selected products.
- Another way to be more eco-friendly is to invest in quality products that you can trust you'll use for years and years, rather than replacing lower-quality items after a few seasons. I've been building my collection of Nakano knives and kitchen tools and they truly change the way I prep food. Nakano carries a whole line of Bamboo cutting boards and kitchen tools that are so beautiful as well as incredibly durable stainless steel pots and pans. This is high-quality, Japanese kitchen equipment used by Michelin chefs that are 100% worth the investment. Use my code ELAINE for a 20% discount!
Eco-Friendly Products: Glass Storage Containers
When possible, I try to buy from the bulk section of the grocery store. This not only saves money but reduces the waste of plastic containers. I store my nuts, seeds, grains and homemade products in glass jars in my pantry, refrigerator and freezer. As a bonus, they look beautiful! Here are some of my favorites:
- These mixing bowls are amazing because they also serve as storage containers since they come with lids for each bowl. The largest has a handle which makes it easy to take along to pot lucks.
- Brabantia Stackable Glass Storage Jars are both beautiful AND functional. They make the pantry look elegant and organized. I use them for storing legumes, nuts and seeds.
- Tulip Jars, 12.5 ounces (set of 6) are my container of choice for storing leftover sauces.
- Arc International 21 oz. Glass Storage Jar - These come with a lid, so they work for drinks, sauces and even single servings of soup! They also come in a 14 oz. Glass Jar option.
- Ball Mason Jar Wide Mouth Clear Glass, 16-Ounces (set of 4) - This is a go-to storage option. The wide mouth makes it really easy to pour into without making a mess! You can also use the Glass wide-mouth jars, 8 ounce (set of 12) for smaller portions.
- Glass storage jugs with lids are perfect for homemade plant milk and homemade veggie broth.
- Weck Glass Jars, 0.5 Liter, set of 6 are perfect for storing legumes, nuts, sees, grains etc. from the bulk food section. I also use these for storing homemade vegan sour cream, vegan cashew cream, vegan nutella, homemade chia jam, overnight oats and chia seed pudding.
Eco-Friendly Personal Care Products
- Sustainable Nail Products: I love that this non-toxic product swap falls into the category of self-care! Sundays makes nail products that are completely cruelty-free, non-toxic, and totally vegan. They have a soy nail polish remover that's super gentle and comes in a beautiful glass container. I love supporting a company with such an incredible mission and story! They also have candles made with soy wax, natural oils, and cotton wicks. Use code EATINGBYELAINE for 10% off and be sure to check out their incredible site-wide Mother's Day sale going on now.
- Reusable Makeup Remover Pads: This is another super simple swap that has a big impact! Use these gentle cotton Greenzla pads in place of makeup wipes or cotton balls. They even come with a cute storage box and a laundry bag that's super handy. You could just hang the laundry bag on your bathroom door handle, toss used wipes in there, and launder when it's time.
- Eco-Friendly Dental Products: This is a recent discovery that has me so excited! I recently chatted with RiseWell and was completely impressed by their mission to change the way we think about oral hygiene. They make tooth care products without fluoride, and all of their packaging is 100% recyclable. They're even working on compostable tubes for the future! How cool is that?! Their products use minerals instead of chemicals and even my kids are obsessed with how yummy their kid's toothpaste is. Use code ELAINE10 for 10% off!
- PiperWei Deodorant: This is a super sustainable company that I have been excited about lately. Their deodorant is free from toxic ingredients like aluminum and triclosan and they even work for sensitive skin. I also love that my purchases support a business owned by women of color! ELAINE20 for 20% off!
Okay, so here's my challenge to you: make one swap! Replace just one disposable item in your home with a reusable one. I'm guessing you'll be surprised by just how simple it is! You're saving money AND saving the planet. It feels amazing! Happy Earth Day, friends!