This last year, my husband and I started really noticing the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis. Many products we buy are made of plastic and wrapped in another layer of plastic for security. Bottles of soap, hair products, and toothpaste are encased in thick plastic that usually isn’t even recycle-friendly. We’re great at recycling what we can and have taken our reusable grocery bags to the store for years. We really wanted to look for other options though.
I know that it’s almost impossible to go completely plastic-free until more companies make it a priority, but we hope even little changes can make a difference. I’ve compiled a list of some changes we’ve made in our household:
Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
This change has actually been my favorite. It took a couple of different tries to find the brand we love, but I’m never going back to bottled shampoo again. I get a better lather and my sensitive scalp has never felt better. Even my skeptical husband is now a believer in the shampoo bar. I like the conditioner bar too, but it does take a little more effort to put in my hair than bottled shampoo. There are also shampoo and conditioner tablets that dissolve for those who don’t want to give up their bottle just yet.
I honestly don’t know why I didn’t switch to bar soap sooner. I love the different scents and there are so many great local soap stores to explore. Bar soap also lasts longer than liquid soap or body wash, so you really get your money’s worth. If you love the style of your soap dispenser, there are still plastic-free options including refillable hand soaps that come in aluminum bottles or dissolvable soap tablets.
These took a little time to get used to since they don’t feel as bubbly as toothpaste from a tube. However, they clean my teeth just as well, and I do think my mouth feels fresher after. Many brands also have bamboo toothbrushes, floss refills, and mouthwash tabs that dissolve in water.
I mentioned that I have taken my own bags to the grocery store for a while. What I love most about reusable bags is that I can fit more items in the bags, which means fewer trips from the car to the house. I also have small mesh bags that I found online that are perfect for produce.
Eco-friendly Makeup Tools
Makeup tools made from recycled or sustainable materials are my most recent find. The makeup brushes are softer and just as durable as some others I’ve used. The same goes for the biodegradable makeup sponge that I recently found at a local grocery store. Some companies also offer brush cleaning solutions, loofahs, and hairbrushes that are eco-friendly.
Reusable Containers/Bags or Biodegradable Baggies
Any parent knows the importance of being prepared for snacks. Even though we were at home doing nothing for two hours, it’s always the second we get in the car that the kids suddenly get hungry. I use a few different items to carry snacks to have on hand. I prefer using small reusable containers in the car because they are easy for the kids to put in their cup holders. For purse snacks, I like to use reusable baggies. For the times I just don’t want to worry about clean-up or carrying anything, I use biodegradable bags that I found online.
There are a few different options for plastic-free dish soap. While I haven’t quite made the switch to bar dish soap yet, I’ve heard positive feedback about it. However, I do get soap that comes in aluminum bottles that I know can be recycled. There are also tablets that dissolve in water as a dispenser option.
Similar to some of the items mentioned, there are a few different options for cleaning solutions. There are dissolvable tablets and a concentrate in a recycle-friendly bottle. I was always a little skeptical about how well these would work to clean my counters, but it really does clean those sticky drink spills and tough food spots on the stove. I use the concentrate and love that it smells better than other cleaning solutions.
Fabric Softener Pods and Wool Balls
The last items I’ll mention are for the laundry room. They won’t make doing laundry more enjoyable or easier, but you might feel a little better knowing you’re trying to help the environment. We started using the detergent and softener pods that come in plastic-free containers. I also got a few wool balls for the dryer to replace my dryer sheets.
There are so many other products and brands that have plastic-free, biodegradable, or sustainable options. Deodorant, period cups and underwear, lotion bars, face wash, trash bags, and cloth diapers are just a few. While I haven’t tried these yet, they are great options to consider reducing plastic waste.
If you feel inspired to look at more ways to be eco-friendly at home, check out the posts Where my Husband Drew the Line with Eco-Friendly Swaps and 4 Reasons to Rent Clothes.
Let us know if there are any brands or products you love that are plastic-free!
Originally published January 2022.
The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of ABQ Mom, its executive team, other contributors to the site, its sponsors or partners, or any organizations the aforementioned might be affiliated with.