11 Important Single-Use Plastic Swaps to Make Now
Here are easy-to-use eco-friendly home goods to start collecting and using now, to help protect our planet.
Eliminating single-use plastics
Canadians throw away three million tonnes of plastic each year, and not even 10 percent of that is recycled. It pollutes our water, harms wildlife and ends up in landfills. But it’s not all doom and gloom: In October 2020, the Government of Canada announced its plan to eliminate plastic waste by 2030.
What does this mean exactly? For one, all single-use plastic items — including shopping bags, straws, and food packages — will be banned, as they’re rarely recycled. But there’s no reason to wait until 2030 to quit plastic. With all the sustainable alternatives to disposable home goods on the market, why not start cutting single-use plastics out of your life right now?
Below, our favourite eco-friendly swaps for some of the most common single-use plastic household items, so you can get a head start on doing your part now.
Mesh cotton grocery bags
This cotton crochet knit bag is super useful — the mesh expands to fit more items than you’d imagine.
Reusable mesh shopping bag, $14, amazon.ca
Mesh cotton produce bags
Instead of using in-store plastic produce bags, bring these crochet cotton ones with drawstring closures with you to scoop up loose fruits, veggies and herbs.
Mesh reusable produce bags (set of 3), $16, simons.ca
Reusable snack bags
These 100 percent silicone bags are non-toxic and reusable, making them a great eco-friendly replacement for your single-use-plastic ones. The best part? They’re microwave- and dishwasher-safe, making them a totally fuss-free alternative.
Reusable Silicone Bags, starting at $16 each, well.ca
Glass food jars
Start shopping the bulk section — think grains, nuts, and seeds — and stay organized with this set of four mason jars with clamp-on lids.
4-Piece Clear Mason Jar Set with Clamp-On Lids, $40, bedbathandbeyond.ca
Organic kitchen linens
Made of 100 percent organic cotton, these multipurpose cloths make a green alternative to disposable dishcloths, sponges and scrub brushes.
The Organic Company Kitchen and Wash Cloth, $11 each, goodeeworld.com
These silicone straws come with a carrying case, making them easier to tote with you. When you’re done, just slip them in the dishwasher or clean with one of the squeegees.
Gir 5-Pack Standard Silicone Straws, $12 USD, madewell.com
(Related: Here’s the healthiest beverage to drink with those straws.)
Swap chemical dryer sheets for their eco-friendly alternative: these wool dryer balls. Handmade in Canada, they make a natural fabric softener, reduce drying time, and help eliminate static.
Wool Dryer Balls, $17, envello.com
(Related: How to Build a Sustainable Wardrobe)
Beeswax food covers
Made with Vancouver Island-sourced beeswax, pine tree resin, and jojoba oil, these cotton food wraps are a sustainable replacement for typical plastic food wrap.
Gardener’s Variety, $20, naturebeewraps.ca
This plastic-free pack of 30 pre-portioned laundry detergent strips is the eco-friendly equivalent to a 1-litre jug of detergent. That means, with every purchase of this pack of strips, one less plastic item is being sent to a landfill. Any load of laundry requires just one strip, which dissolves in hot or cold water and is suitable for all washing machines.
Laundry Detergent Eco-Strips, $15, hellogoodjuju.com
Plastic-free shampoo and conditioner
Each shampoo or conditioner bar from Upfront Cosmetics replaces up to three bottles of the liquid alternative— so with each purchase, you’re saving three plastic items from ending up in a landfill. Curious to know if these bars work just as well as the hair products you’re used to? Check out our shampoo bars review. (Spoiler alert: We love them.)
Kind Shampoo Bar, $14, upfrontcosmetics.ca
Keep your reusable water bottle cold
If you prefer bottled water for an easy-grab-and-go option for ice-cold water, we have an eco-friendly alternative: This ice tray creates ice cubes in long shapes that fit perfectly into your reusable water bottle.
W&P Design, Water Bottle Ice Tray, $12, amazon.ca