Eco-friendly items for the home

Hi. Hello. Good day! My name is Vee and I hate single-use items. I hate, hate, hate them with the fire of a thousand suns.

Today I want to share some of the reusable alternatives that I’ve implemented in my home and life. I believe each of these items are affordable and have the potential to eliminate a lot of waste from daily life. I’m sharing because there’s a huge misconception that leading a sustainable or eco-friendly lifestyle is expensive. It can be, if you choose that, but it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of really affordable alternatives out there that everyone can implement in their lives.

Disclaimer: I took these pictures at 9 pm whilst there was a giant rain-storm outside and a tornado warning. The light was going in and out and as a result, there’s a different variation of lighting in these pictures. Hopefully it’s not too distracting.

HAND-KNIT DISH CLOTHS/SCRUBBERS

There’s this saying: “You know you’re an adult when you get more excited for home items then anything else”. That’s me! That’s totally me. My mom makes these dish cloths/scrubbers with yarn that she finds at thrift stores. They rarely match, which makes them feel even more like a one-of-a-kind set, and they eliminate the need to purchase sponges, dish cloths and even paper towels (she makes various sizes for different needs around the home).

I highly recommend cloths knitted in this fashion, as they’re tough and can scrub any ‘caked-on’ mess made in the kitchen. They’re also great for cleaning, too! Just throw in your washer with towels and reuse.

These cloths can be purchased in varying sizes on Etsy. Or, if you’re really crafty, you can teach yourself how to make them! One ball of yarn can make 12 cloths, so they’re very cheap. One of the big bonuses to purchasing them from Etsy is that the platform has become a place for Grandma’s to sell their hand-made kintted goods. So, if you do buy them there’s a good chance you’re supporting a grandma through her retirement.

BEESWAX FOOD WRAPS

Beeswax wrap is an incredible alternative to plastic wrap. Made of beeswax, these items are completely biodegradable and cover your food in just the same way as plastic wrap. This alternative can be quite pricey, depending on where you buy it from. But, if you’re someone who keeps leftovers in your fridge often, they’re a great investment to make.

I’ve read studies online that say beeswax wrap keeps your food fresher longer than plastic wrap. I cannot prove this as it’s been several years since I’ve owned plastic wrap, but if it does, that’s a pretty cool bonus. And even if it doesn’t, you’re still eliminating single-use product waste.

REUSABLE FOOD-STORAGE BAGS

I hate Ziploc bags. I hate no-name single-use bags of any type. I really do. The entire premise of the product is that it carry something for you for, at times, just minutes before it gets trashed. With the average use of a Ziploc or no-name single-use bag being a half day, they are an extremely wasteful product.

I purchased the bags pictured for $12. They’re freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe and made from food-grade silicone. They’re leak-proof and an incredible alternative to to all single-use bags. Point of note – I actually stored spaghetti sauce in one of these bags last week and not only did it not leak, but it also didn’t stain.

I highly recommend a set of these if your budget allows it! They’re available online and are starting to pop up more and more at grocery stores, if you’re looking.

REUSABLE WATER BOTTLES

Let’s remember that plastic is not the enemy. The eco-friendly movement is about eliminating or minimizing single-use plastics. The point is to purchase things intentionally so that they can be used over and over and not just trashed. While reusable water bottles can get quite expensive, depending on the type you buy (I’ve seen glass bottles cost $75) they don’t have to. The blender bottle of the left of this photo cost me $7.99 and I bought it four years ago. Reusable water bottles are an easy, cheap and eco-friendly way to keep single use plastics out of your home. Bonus points for the fact that it encourages you to drink more water… which everyone can benefit from.

Caveat: If you don’t have safe drinking water at your home, I realize that this product likely won’t be of any use to you. And yes, I do understand that not everyone in this world has safe drinking water at home.

STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS

Stainless steel straws are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO cheap. So are reusable plastic straws, bamboo straws and glass straws. I realize that COVID has put a damper on being able use your own straws in a lot of restaurants and coffee shops, but you can absolutely still use them at home.

Single use plastic straws are too small to be recycled. Because of this, all disposable straws are winding up in landfills, or worse… in the ocean. For something that is used for just a few minutes at a time, and then trashed, purchasing a set of straws (which can be done for as little as four dollars depending on the type that you get) helps save our sea creatures and means that you’re always smoothie ready.

MAKEUP REMOVER PADS

Disposable cotton rounds have sat atop bathroom vanities across the world for decades. They’re easy to get, cheap as heck and you can buy them from virtually any drug store or grocery store. Most important, they’re easy to throw away, which I hate. I’m genuinely really proud of the fact that they seem to FINALLY be going out of style.

Reusable makeup remover pads/cotton rounds are exactly that, reusable. With it estimated that the average woman can possibly go through as many as 100 disposable cotton rounds in a single month, purchasing one package of reusable makeup remover pads can eliminate more than 1,200+ pieces of waste in a single year.

This particular set that I have was actually made by my mom. She used an old towel (because upcycling is cool) and sewed around the edges to ensure they wouldn’t fray. That being said, you can purchase a single set for as little as $10 for 20 online. In store, they tend to run more expensive.

If you don’t mind the stains, white is a pretty common colour. To me, the stains just remind me that they’ve been used. That being said, they do come in a variety of colours, including dark fabrics that will hide stains if that might bother you.

DRYER BALLS

Dryer balls are an eco-friendly and natural alternative to both dryer sheets and fabric softener. Whilst there are many types of dryer balls – wool, plastic, rubber, etc.. dryer balls made from wool are completely biodegradable.

Dryer balls work by retaining the heat they soak up when the dryer is turned on. Using that heat, they keep your laundry from clumping allowing the heat emitted from the dryer to be more evenly distributed through your laundry. These actions will help to cut your drying time considerably, and in turn, lower your electric bills. Wool dryer balls also work as a softener, helping smooth out wrinkles and keeping your clothes looking smooth and feeling cozy.

I bought a set of six for $15. It’s estimated dryer balls can last up to a year, depending on how much laundry your household does. When they have worn out and just aren’t fulfilling their purpose anymore (as they do deteriorate over time), you can literally just take it and drop it in your garden or compost, if you compost at home. (Plastic/Rubber dryer balls are obviously not biodegradable, this is a perk specific to wool balls)

TO CONCLUDE

It doesn’t have to be expensive to lead a more eco-friendly and sustainable lifestyle. Looking at this post, it might look expensive seeing everything together, but please keep in mind that all of these items were purchased or given to me at different times. A one time investment in every item together would be very costly and hard on the bank account. But, if you slowly implement meaningful, intentional changes over time, you’ll come to realize just how helpful it can be to have high-quality, reusable items in your home.

It’s a cliche statement, I know, but remember that you might not be able to do all of the good that this world needs, but the world needs all of the good that you can do. And minimizing, eliminating single-use disposable items and trash is a very good thing!

75 thoughts on “Eco-friendly items for the home

  1. Those dryer balls look interesting. Single use items are annoying – I’m constantly running out and needing to stock up on more. I have a reusable water bottle which is chewed up (courtesy of Becca lol) but it works great. It’s by Nalgene. I haven’t tried the reusable straws. Currently using the throwaway kind since I still have a box of them, but I won’t be buying anymore.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You raise a good point about being eco-friendly in that you should use what you have. If you’ve purchased something, making use out of it is important. Throwing away straws that haven’t been used would be silly. So thank you for saying that. It’s an important note!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I prefer metal straws. I actually bought this set in pictured in 2018 after previously having a glass set of four. The issues with glass straws is that if you drop them, they can shatter. You have to be very careful about the glass straws that you buy because they can be made really poorly or very thin in which the simple act of dropping it on the counter can cause it to break into 100 pieces. I’m a pretty careful person and I somehow managed to break all four of my glass straws.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. We don’t have a dryer, we don’t have space. We end up air drying. Also my father said dryer use more electricity, and I read your clothes wear out faster. So I guess air drying is cheaper for us, and more environmental friendly as less electricity is used. But , I guess, if your family is big and needs clothes ready faster a dryer is a must. I see a dryer as essential to many and at times I wish I had one. But lived 50 years without one.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. @thoughtsnlifeblog I live in an apartment so there’s a common laundry room in the basement. My husband says the same thing – to air dry the clothes as much as possible. My issue with air drying is that it leaves the clothes feeling “crunchy” rather than soft. I have a small family so we technically don’t need a clothes dryer but it’s something I prefer, especially since we live in Canada where it’s winter for 6 months of the year. A bit of an exaggeration yet true. In the winter when it’s cold, I’m grateful for the clothes dryer. Otherwise, the clothes take a very, very long time to dry!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Oh I get the need for a dryer in cold countries. I live in the UK and well we have different shades of gray weather.but this year has been good to us.

        The other issue with air drying is moisture and damp, have to be so careful.

        I totally agree with your comments. There is always many points and all are valid and our circumstances are different.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. Dryers are much more of a North American luxury too, I find. At least I found that on my various trips through Europe that they’re really not common things for people to own there. People own clothing racks or have clothing lines to hang their clothes on, year round. It does have its perks – you use way less energy and as a result probably have quite a lot smaller of an electric bill!

        All that being said, there’s a few months a year here in Canada that hang drying your clothes takes FOREVER. You can wash them and leave them hanging for several days to dry just because it’s so freaking cold and wet. lol

        Liked by 1 person

  2. There’s this saying: “You know you’re an adult when you get more excited for home items then anything else”.

    =========

    Hahaha Vee! That’s totally me too! 😂 And I love it that way. ❤️

    Sending you all my love and receiving all your love too. 🥰 Please stay safe my lovely Soul Sistah! ⭐️⭐️⭐️💫💫💫

    Liked by 2 people

  3. First of all, I’m sure all of those things are absolutely slathered with plague. Second, what are straws for? Like, seriously? Third, ummmm… nope, nothing else. The rest are excellent ideas 😁 (except I mightn’t use the makeup removers much).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey, I’m not advocating for people to have my items. They’re my items and I intend on keeping them, plague and all, for years to come.

      Also, if you don’t have a use for straws you’re clearly missing out on the orgasmic pleasure that is strawberry smoothies.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Most of these reusable items can be washed in high temperatures in a washing machine or hand washed and all germs can be killed.

      Germs live on anything, even one time use items.

      Everything should be washed before and after use.

      Any if want to be really clean then all tinned , bottle good, etc should be all cleaned before you store them in your home . This is generally health and safety, pre covid 19. And if some fruit and veg can be washed before storage in your home we should as they have germs on them too. But you cant wash everything as then they go off before you intent to use them.

      Germs are everywhere. Washing is essential.

      There are articles saying we will get more viruses. etc because of the environmental damage we have created. By cutting trees down, wild animals are coming closer to humans and their germs are jumping on to humans. So if we reuse there is a lot of good in it. Plus you save so much money and it it’s good karma

      Health and safety with food and cleaning is a big topic. I am sure if you google it you will see how interesting it is. But also how much there is to it.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Love this V. I’m the same. My beeswax wraps keep avocados from spoiling when cut in half. I always use the darker colours on avo and perhaps that’s part of it. Everything personal hygiene wise that I use is reusable from makeup removal to menstrual to toothbrushes …actually the toothbrushes are bamboo so biodegradable.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’ve been looking into toothbrushes. What do you think of the bamboo toothbrushes? I’ve heard they can taste quite ‘woody’? I think that’s the only reason why I haven’t pulled the trigger on testing them…

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes I have heard of bamboo toothbrushes. I dont wear too much make up. I tend to just wash my face twice, and then only once in a while I use a cotton pad for make up. The pack I have still is a good few years old, because I use them so infrequently

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thank you for these tips. One they are environmentally friendly, but they also say money as we can reuse them . And most seem like they can be washed and cleaned in high temperatures to kill off any germs.

    I use eco clothes. We also reuse old hand towels around the house. Reusable bags, haven’t found any yet. We use the reusable shopping bags. We store fruit or vegetables in the open or in brown bags. I mostly avoid buying fruit or veg in plastic bags for 2 reasons. 1 it is environmentally friendly. 2 fruit and veg in plastic bags go off faster, as they sweat inside them. I don’t by prewashed items that are stored in plastic bags cause they dont last and often have bugs in them , eg prewashed mixed lettuce, spinach.

    Great post. Is there alternative to beeswax for those that are vegan?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good question about asking for alternatives to beeswax that are vegan. That’s not something that I’ve ever considered or has even crossed my mind. I’m going to have to do some research on that and get back to you!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You absolutely can! I think glass water bottles are actually really classy.
      I’ve never bought either only because I already own plastic ones and I wanted to get use of the ones I own. That being said, those Stainless steel bottles are having a moment – especially the ones that can keep your drink cool or hot for hours.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Every little bit and every small change that you can make will have a positive impact on our planet! The cotton pads you can make really easy by cutting up an old towel or an old shirt, or if you want to purchase them just google them and there’s plenty of big, and little, stores that you can buy them from for as cheap as 10 dollars!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. You put together such a comprehensive list with little run, none in my opinion to argue against. I’m with you on all of it, more power to the people that care about cleaning our planet and not creating useless mess😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re someone who’s big on intentional living, and this post is about intentional purchasing. I think the two go hand-in-hand, honestly.

      Like

  7. I use the reusable wraps and reusable bags a lot, but as for the dish washcloths. Just reminds me too much of my childhood, when handwashing the dirty dish clothes was the only option.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Disposable items were created for ‘convenience’. It’s convenient to buy cheap. It’s convenient to throw away. It’s convenient to not think about it ever again. But the truth is, like you said, it didn’t used to be this way and the world got on just fine before everything was disposable.

      Like

    1. Sure!

      4 pack Dishcloths – Saskatchewan seller- https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/818949692/4-pack-knitted-100-cotton-dish-cloths?ref=shop_home_active_11

      5 pack dish scrubbers – Saskatchewan seller – https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/834142859/5-pack-assorted-double-thick-non-scratch?ref=shop_home_active_1

      Or if you feel safe enough giving me your address I can mail you some for free to test out!

      Straws can be found in your local grocery stores. I’ve seen them in Loblaws, Co-op, Save on Foods and even shoppers Drug Mart lately. I’m assuming you have one of those nearby. I know it’s not small business if you go to a grocery store chain, but they’re reasonably priced, and you can order them online from Superstore if you go here: https://www.realcanadiansuperstore.ca/search?search-bar=straws There’s a few options that are from $2 – $10 depending on which type you buy.

      Dryer balls you can get from places like Home Hardware or if you have any local cutesy home decor related shops. If you buy them online, I recommend buying them from a bigger chain store or business, only because people can gouge the heck out of you with pricing if you don’t.

      Canadian Tire has a set of three dryer balls for $15 here https://www.canadiantire.ca/en/pdp/frank-wool-dryer-balls-3-pc-1530192p.html

      and Amazon has a set of six (the ones I have) dryer balls for $15 https://www.amazon.ca/r%C3%A9utilisables-assouplissantes-naturelles-s%C3%A8che-linge-Nouvelle-Z%C3%A9lande/dp/B07NRSF8M2/ref=sr_1_5?dchild=1&keywords=wool+dryer+balls&qid=1595795097&sr=8-5

      If you google them, don’t be shocked if you see huge price tags. I googled dryer balls to find you a couple of links and the first six items that came up were 3 dryer balls for price tags over $40. Often times the companies that sell them for the most money are the ones who pay for advertising to be at the top of google. With a little digging you can find a better deal on just about anything if you’re shopping online. The set I bought from Amazon is an independent seller that uses their platform to sell the dryer balls. So they’re very reasonably priced.

      Like

  8. I will be definitely looking into buying a steel or wooden straw, I have always thought about it but never got around to it. This gave me the push.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. With your first one, I use to use baby grows, those ones that have got stubborn stains on that you can’t get off, so can’t give away or sell, cut them up and use them as dusters or as dishcloths, not as effective as dishcloths, but great as dusters, I have just used up my last ones, last year and my son is now 8

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve never heard of baby grows before! You’re so right though – if something has a stain it’s really easy to cut it up and use it for a duster. You might not want stained things washing your dishes, but who cares about what you use to wipe away dust? It’s dust. lol

      Liked by 1 person

  10. What a great and informational post! I use most of these items already, but a few of them were new to me or really got me thinking about some other smaller changes I can make that, when others do it to, compound into significant and positive changes for our earth. I am guilty of using the one time use Neutrogena make-up removers, but it is time to stop that.
    My mom also makes me dish clothes! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t think that you should ever feel guilty for the products and items that you’re using. I think the important thing is that as you use things, you become more aware of what you’re using and why. Neutrogena makeup wipes have a time and place. But they don’t have to be used every day, if you know what I mean?

      I don’t believe there should be guilt for using single-use items. They do have a time and place in this world. They just don’t always have to be used. I think, at least I hope, that was the point that came across in what I was saying. If you caught me on a travel day (in a non-covid world) I’d be wandering through the airport with those Neutrogena makeup wipes. They’re easy to buy, easy to pack, can get through security and they don’t take up a ton of space. So yeah, I use them too.

      They’re not awful! They’re just not necessary for every day. That being said, if you have them in your possesion, use them. There’s no use in them going to waist. Right?

      Like

      1. I agree, your post did not make me feel guilt, but did give me a bit of reflection on how I can improve. The reusable makeup removers are something that I think my boys could use when applying sunscreen lotion to their faces. So I think I will get some and ease myself into using them instead of my beloved Neutrogena ones once I run out.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I’ve recently adopted a more sustainable way of living and I am so thankful that I FINALLY started! A few weeks ago I was so intimidated by the thought of living waste-free and thought I’d have to shell out hundreds of dollars to make the switch; turns out I was using some waste free practices in my life already! Loving this post, excited to start normalizing waste-free sustainable living to show others that living more eco-friendly is not only good for the planet but good for us as well! Loving this post, glad we’re able to make the world better together!
    xo Bri

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you’re definitely going into it with the right mentality. The entire premise can seem so intimidating at the start, but really it’s all about making smart choices, slowly over time. You don’t need to completely uproot and change your way of life over night. Implement small changes, one by one! And I bet you were using some low waste and no-waste products already! I bet that was a motivational booster for you, eh?

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Ive bought water bottles at the thrift store too! For anyone with safe drinking water, there’s tons of options! For those who don’t have safe drinking water it could be worth looking into getting filters installed to keep it safe- it MIGHT be cheaper than buying even gallon jugs if drinking water, over time. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Thrift Store is a great place to find water bottles too! After a good cleaning, every bottle you find can be good as new to you! Fun fact: I actually bought my set of dishes that I have in this new house from the Thrift Store. Corelle brand – 6 big plates, 6 small plates, 6 bowls and 6 mugs, $12! And they’re in amazing shape. The scrapes, no scratches, no nothing. Almost like someone never used them and just donated them to get rid of them! There’s plenty of gems at the Thrift Store.

      And good point about the Filters. I think that if that’s an option for people, it’s definitely worth looking into. I’ve seen a few stories about places in the United States where it’s just not safe to drink the water. There’s a portion of Texas where there’s so much lead in the water that drinking it could cause people to have lead poisoning. And in Flint Michigan, people there wouldn’t do any good with filters either. Water bottles are definitely something the majority of people can do. But, I just wanted to make sure that I acknowledge it’s not possible for everyone!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, I was thinking about flint when I said it might be a good option- something like that… filters just won’t be able to cut it for em. 🥺

        And no way! I got my dish cup from a thrift store too! I was so frustrated, I’d been on the HUNT for a set of beautiful and matching and egl aesthetic dishes that also happened to be microwave safe. Then I found two sets in a thrift shop. One was SUPER fancy and cost $100 (secondhand that tells you something) the other was a different brand, fairly battered, but still lovely and less than $30. I bought the one I had budgeted for but I still kick myself for not getting the nicer set. It night have carried me through to death- I don’t see this set lasting much longer than another decade- tops. 😭 I hope it found a good home!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Very interesting post, I try to go with reusable as much as I can. I have balked at the reusable straws as I don’t have a dishwasher and worry that they would be impossible to get really clean.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Most sets come with a tall super skinny sponge for cleaning them. At least all the sets that I’ve seen at the local grocery store here have. My set has one ans I bought my set a few years ago. So it is an option if you fo change your mind!

      Like

    1. I think your ability to make changes also is dependent on where you are in the world and what is available to you. Here in Canada we’re very fortunate with what we have access too. In your country, with the economic struggles, and lately, what’s been dominating the news lately (being vague because I don’t want to publicly post where you’re from in case you don’t want me to) swaps and opportunities for making changes might look very different!

      Like

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