7 Eco-Friendly Swaps I Tried And Loved

After years of searching and testing, here are some of my favorite Earth-friendly finds.

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  • A pack of shockingly absorbent Swedish dishcloths for a reusable alternative to paper towels.

  • A three-blade all metal razor with a pivoting head because it’s summer and, if you shave a lot, you’re going to go through LOADS of plastic razors.

  • A packable cutlery set so you never have to say “Oh, I forgot my reusable straw at home” ever again!

A pack of shockingly absorbent Swedish dishcloths for a reusable alternative to paper towels
Use these again and again, and compost them when you're done since they're made of natural cellulose and cotton.

I genuinely enjoy using Swedish dishcloths way more than I even did paper towels. They're perfect for managing day-to-day messes in the kitchen and they're shockingly absorbent, durable, and long-lasting. The biggest annoyance I had with them is never knowing where to put it when it was drying, but recently I mounted a Command hook behind my sink and used a hole punch to create a little hanging hole. Now my dishcloths stay out of the way when not in use and dry quicker! It was one of the easiest swaps to make that resulted in WAY less trash.
Danielle Healy / BuzzFeed
Some plastic-free laundry detergent sheets
Kind Laundry launched in the midst of the pandemic on a mission to reduce global plastic waste with their planet-friendly alternative to bulky, traditional laundry detergents.

Why did we ever invent liquid laundry detergent when sheet detergent is just so much better? It feels ridiculous that it's taken so long to make this switch. These squishy sheets are so easy to use, mess-free, and are MUCH easier to store than big ole jugs. Plus, the packaging is 100% recyclable cardboard and I still get the same clean I've come to expect from regular grocery store brands.
Taylor Miller / BuzzFeed
A makeup-erasing cloth to gently — but effectively — remove your makeup with just a little bit of water
I bought one of these cloths after including it in previous posts, subsequently selling myself on it (hazard of the job). It honestly works better than I could've imagined! You really do just need to dampen it with water to have your makeup melting off in seconds. I think this is a great zero-waste option for people (like me) who don't wear a ton of makeup on the day-to-day, because you can get a lot of uses from this cloth without needing to wash it constantly. It also washes up shockingly well. I've had it for close to two years and every time it comes out of the washing machine almost entirely stain-free I'm equally shocked.
A three-blade all metal razor
Leaf Shave is a eco-minded small biz founded by two Adams who set out to create a better razor that is also better for the environment. Their packaging is 100% plastic-free, and through financing initiatives to offset 100% of the company's CO2e emissions they've become Climate Neutral certified.

I know, I know — $80 for a razor feels pretty steep, but plastic razors really add up over time and this thing is STURDY. When first trying to eco-swap my shave routine I tried a regular safety razor because it was a lot cheaper and I basically bled to death (kidding, but I did cut myself a lot). It works really well for some people, but I had really come to rely on the pivoting head of the plastic razors I learned on. So imagine my pure delight when I finally snagged one of these beauties and could return to shaving without all the cuts and blood. It's really easy to change the blades, and I find myself getting a better shave because I'm not putting off buying another razor like I would before. It really is a great investment that not only keeps plastic razors out of landfills, but all the plastic packaging they come in, too!
Danielle Healy / BuzzFeed
A beginner-friendly menstrual cup for a one-and-done purchase you'll keep for years
The menstrual cup factor that freaked me out the most was the thought of having to get up there and break the seal to take it out. So when I saw the Flex Cup, which is specifically designed to make that process easier, I figured why not give it a try. This is a purchase I would definitely file under the 'life-changing' category. Yes, there is a learning curve, but by my second cycle with the cup I felt like a pro. Even with the pull tab, taking it out can be a little messy (I tend to just do it in the shower), but it's definitely a more controlled experience than if it wasn't there at all. With my flow, I can leave my cup in for 12 straight hours without fear (can't say the same about tampons...), meaning The Flex Cup has made my period less awful. A true feat!
A pair of period underwear that'll make managing your flow as easy and comfortable
I use these in conjunction with my period cup at the very beginning and very end of my cycle, when my flow isn't necessarily heavy enough to constitute messing with the cup. They're comfy, I've had no leakages (even when I've worn them on heavier days), they wick moisture relatively well, and wash up like a dream. I have two pairs and they've become holy grail staples in my period routine. Conversely, if you have a really heavy flow, these can also be great backup protection if worn jointly with a tampon or cup!

Between each wear, just toss your Thinx in the wash on cold (skip the bleach and softener) then line dry!
A packable cutlery set
I keep this cutlery set in my work tote so that when I go to the office (and inevitably grab a takeout lunch or free snack) I don't have to use the provided plastic cutlery. Plus, I always have a straw on me when I grab a coffee or smoothie! What I love most about this set is that the carrying case is lined, so even if you have to put your fork away before cleaning it properly, the case won't get all icky — it just wipes clean.

This set includes: a knife, fork, spoon, chopsticks, straw cleaning brush, straight straw, bent straw, and a carrying case.

Before You Go

Thousand Fell women's slip-on shoe

Eco-Friendly Shoes To Add To Your Wardrobe

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