10 Easy Sustainable Swaps to Help You Be More Eco-friendly

November 25, 2022 5 min read

eco-friendly options for the home

Contrary to what some believe, going eco-friendly isn't just about major changes to your lifestyle. You don't have to give up all your belongings and go live in the woods! (Though that could be nice, too.) There are many small, easy-to-do changes you can make to be a little more caring for the Earth in your everyday life. Here, we show you simple, sustainable alternatives to common items which you can consciously choose next time you have to shop. Take a look!


1. Washable kitchen towels over paper towels

Most paper towels in the market are made of virgin wood pulp, meaning they come directly from trees as opposed to recycled materials. And it takes a lot of trees to make them. One estimate shows that we would need to plant 51,000 trees every single day to offset the amount of paper towels we use and discard daily.

An oh-so-simple alternative to paper towels are washable cloth ones. You can buy them, or you can make it even more eco-friendly by re-purposing your old linens into cute kitchen towels! All it takes are some basic sewing skills to make these items from old blankets and sheets.


2. Whole produce over pre-cut

We've all bought pre-sliced fruits or vegetables at some point because of their time-saving convenience. However, they're far less ideal than whole fruits and veggies. First off, pre-sliced produce are more expensive. Second, they're less fresh -- peeling or cutting up these foods means they get exposed to contaminants. On top of these, they're packaged in plastics or styro, making them a source of non-biodegradable garbage.

Whenever you can, opt for whole vegetables and fruits. Your wallet and health will thank you, and so will the planet.

Wall art pictured above: "This Kitchen Is Seasoned With Love" Premium Canvas


3. Fresh fruit juices over store-bought

It's no debate that fresh, homemade fruit juices are healthier than the sugary, artificially flavored drinks on store shelves. The bonus is that homemade drinks don't require wasteful manufacturing, packaging, and transport -- you just make 'em and drink 'em! Try juicing every couple of days. You can store the juice in your fridge for not more than 72 hours.


4. Reusable tumbler over single-use bottles

Single-use materials are those that are meant to be used once then discarded. The most ubiquitous examples are plastic bottles for water and other beverages, which mostly end up in landfills or polluting the ocean. What about recycling, you ask? Sadly, recycling isn't efficient enough to curb the waste. About 60 million plastic bottles are thrown away in the US every day, and in general, only about 9 percent of all plastics in the world are recycled.

To be part of the solution, make it a habit to carry your own reusable water tumbler or flask every time you go out. Bonus health tip: Choose stainless steel flasks over plastic, because plastic gradually leaks chemicals that may harm your health!


5. Paper or fabric decor over plastic

This is the year you'll forgo plastic banners, Mylar balloons, and styrofoam decorations. These non-biodegradable materials quickly become litter, and more than that, they harm wildlife in various ways. Animals mistakenly ingest and choke on plastic bits, get caught in tangles of garbage, and consume toxins leaching out of these man-made materials.

Thankfully, eco-friendly decor options abound! From paper medallions and cardboard figures, to fabric streamers and foraged blooms, these ornaments have minimal impact on the environment. Of course, our favorite sustainable decor here at Gear Den are canvas artworks that are not only plastic-free but beautiful and durable, too!

Wall art pictured above: "Joy, Love... Christmas" Premium Canvas


6. Stainless steel razor over disposables

We don't think much about plastic razors, but when they accumulate, they're a huge contributor to the plastic crisis. Consider that about 163 million people in the US alone use disposable razors. Now think about how many razors each individual goes through. If a disposable razor becomes blunt after about 10 shaves, each person might use thousands of razors in their lifetime!

When you can, invest in an old-school but efficient safety razor, which is made of stainless steel. These are made to last a lifetime, so not only do you avoid producing more garbage, you also save money because you won't have to keep buying replacements over and over!


7. Ceramic, glass, or woven containers over plastics

Plastic bins and plastic food boxes are also among the most common items that people just choose for convenience -- but they're not really sustainable. As we mention above, a huge majority of plastics are not recycled but become pollutants in landfills and oceans. Plus, plastic isn't totally safe for storing food because this material emits synthetic chemicals that are linked to health issues.

So, for your kitchen and home storage, opt for non-plastic materials such as ceramic tubs, glass bottles, bamboo boxes, cardboard organizers, and woven baskets. What makes them even better is that they look so pretty compared to clunky plastics!

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Couple's Names Joined By Love" Rustic Premium Canvas


8. Plastic-free soaps, shampoos, and oils

Another way to reduce our dependence on plastic is to try out personal care and home care products that are packaged sustainably. Thankfully, there are many eco-friendly options in the market now, such as shampoo bars that are boxed instead of bottled, tooth cleaners in powder form instead of tubed paste, and moisturizers that are in glass instead of plastic bottles. There's also a wide variety of cooking ingredients and cleaning products with plastic-free packaging.


9. Wooden toothbrush over plastic

When it comes to personal hygiene, plastic toothbrushes are yet another seemingly innocent item that quickly piles up as waste. Each year, Americans can go through as many as 1 billion toothbrushes, and such plastics are not even recyclable!

This doesn't mean you have to stop buying toothbrushes though. It just means that next time you do have to purchase a new one, opt for a toothbrush made of natural materials such as bamboo. They do the job just as well for your pearly whites!


10. Local goods over imported

The long-distance transport of foods, fashion, home items, and other products emit so much carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. While it can be unavoidable for us to need overseas products from time to time, we also have plenty of opportunities to choose local.

Consider your usual sources of clothes, accessories, home decor, dinnerware, and more. Perhaps you can explore closer artisans, crafters, and designers who provide equally beautiful and useful items without needlessly long transports.

At Gear Den, we're proud to say that we produce our home decor items within the USA for our USA customers, and within Canada for our Canadian customers. Take a look at a few of our wall art pieces above and below.

Wall art pictured above: Personalized "This Is Us - Grateful, Thankful, Blessed" Premium Canvas


Wall art pictured above: Personalized "Family - Crazy, Loud, Love" Wood Style Premium Canvas


We hope these tips help you transition to a more eco-friendly, sustainable home! Which of these ideas are you trying out? We think you can do all of them!

For more of the wall decor pieces featured here, check out GearDen.com. We have tons of beautiful, customizable wall prints made of eco-friendly canvas and wood backing. Browse now!

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