Making a swap to plastic-free, naturally biodegradable items in our everyday lives means less landfill and less recycling. Here are ten items most of us use on a daily basis that can be swapped for a compostable alternative.
Whether you are on a journey to zero waste or concerned about the current recycling crisis, there are simple swaps you can make today to produce less waste at home.
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Many Australians now have access to council green organics kerbside collections and so many households aren't making the most of this great service. Even if you don't have this in your local area, you'll be happy to know most of these items can be composted at home too.
1. Compostable Cotton Buds
This is seriously one of the smoothest, easiest zero waste swaps I have made. Switching to compostable cotton buds is so much better for the environment. I know they are such a small item, but if you use a few of these a day in your household those plastic sticks start to add up over the years.
2. Natural Fibre Dish Cloths
I was sceptical about using natural fibre dish cloths and scrubbers BUT there are brilliant and you wont be compromising on quality.
3. Biodegradable Breakfast Bowl
We don't often think about our bowls or plates until we drop and smash one by accident. Then, the option is landfill or perhaps try to make something arty out of it like a mosaic.
Well, coconut bowls are a brilliant solution to this. If they happen to break, which is unlikely, they can be placed into the organics bin or in your garden where they can be returned to nature.
4. Compostable Bin Liners and Doggy Bags
Before you get mad, I am mentioning bin liners (even though I don't use them) because lots of people still like to use them AND they are in the same category as compost caddy liners and dog poo bags.
If you have been buying plastic biodegradable bags then STOP now - You have been tricked, greenwashed or whatever you want to call it. Those bags just break down into tiny pieces of plastic and are not good for the environment at all. Bags made from plant materials that actually break down and return to the soil are the ones you NEED.
5. Biodegradable Toothbrushes
Do the bamboo toothbrush thing - I know I'm always harping on about this but persevere and find a brand you love. If the bristles fall out, search for a better option, they are not all the same.
My personal preference is for the environmental toothbrush. It's packaged in cardboard and made from sustainable bamboo. For disposal, simply remove the bristles (which are plastic) and compost. I like to use them as plant markers too and you can see the instructions here.
6. Natural Laundry Alternative
There are lots of green laundry recipes and some great eco-friendly washing powders available even in the supermarkets. But, the best option in terms of least packaging waste and environmental impact would have to be soap nuts.
They literally grow and trees. You only need half a dozen in a load of washing and they can be used several times before being disposed of in the home compost, garden, or green organics bin.
7. Plastic-Free Makeup & Baby Wipes
I gave up wipes a long time ago and swapped to using cloth, but I don't wear a lot of makeup and no longer have a baby in tow. I know this option doesn't suit everyone and many find giving up wipes means giving up convenience.
Instead of disposable plastic based wipes, you can get biodegradable compostable face wipes for removing makeup, which are going to be better in so many ways.
8. Biodegradable Loofah Sponge
It's easy being green in the shower and a natural loofah instead of a synthetic fibre product is best. They do a fabulous job of keeping your skin lovely and won't add to your landfill.
Loofah is a naturally grown plant you can even try growing yourself.
9. Deodorant in Compostable Packaging
Deodorant is something most of us need to use daily and you can avoid plastic packaging.
Dirty Hippy Cosmetics makes lots of skin care and makeup items in these cardboard tubes which will last for the life of the product and can be composted.
This means no waste and if your council is sending recycling to landfill you don't have to sweat about it (pardon the predictable pun).
10. Sleep Tight AND Compost
Next time you need to replace bed linen or pillows, skip all the synthetic fabrics and head to natural fibres. Hemp, cotton and linen are all great options and these materials are biodegradable. You may not want to compost these at home though, unless you're very patient and have a large compost set up.
Disposing of synthetic filled pillows in landfill is often the only option making them quite problematic.
By going with a more natural item you can avoid this as well as off-gassing and chemicals that may be hidden inside. (I recently watched Stink! - a doco on Netflix and now I'm re-evaluating several items in home).
These sustainable, organic cotton pillows are what I'll be opting for especially for the kids - they are Australian made, are 100% natural fibres and are perfect for allergy sufferers or people like me that are sensitive to chemicals.
Have you already swapped out these 10 everyday items for sustainable and compostable options?
Some of these are so easy to switch to immediately, while others may take a little time until you're ready, or have used up what you already have.
I hope I've given you a couple of ideas on simple compostables that will contribute to cutting your waste and recycling with very little effort. Share these with your friends and family to show them just how simple going green can be.
Have I missed some out?
(Let me know if there's a super easy, everyday item not mentioned in the list)