No one can deny that 2020 wasn't exactly the year many of us planned, and 2021 is shaping up to be just as challenging.
Living in unprecedented times, we’ve had to revisit a lot of our goals. One goal you don’t have to give up, however, is living a more sustainable life.
In fact, it’s the perfect time to transition to more eco-friendly products, and reduce waste!
Being at home a lot means you can switch to solid shampoo without anyone seeing the greasy-looking changeover period. With extra time on our hands, you can experiment with making your own DIY pantry staples. Or simply take the steps to finally stop that unwanted junk mail you receive, that ends up in landfill.
Let’s have a look at some of the best eco-friendly products you can bring into your life in 2021.
#1: Beeswax Wrap
Cling film is one of the ickiest single-use plastics around. It’s 100% single-use, and it feels horrible to wrap food up in that chemical-laden plastic. The solution? Beeswax wrap. It’s attractive, natural, eco-friendly and can be used time and time again.
#2: None Sponge
The synthetic fibres of your yellow-and-green kitchen sponge aren’t only ridden with germs, they’re also terrible for the environment. Among the many great eco-friendly products you can use instead is an unsponge. It cleans well, foams up nicely and is made of all-natural materials.
#3: Mesh Produce Bags
The war against plastic bags has been long. Luckily lots of countries now have laws to prohibit their overuse. But what about keeping your fruit and veg together on your weekly food shop? Mesh produce bags are an invaluable eco product. You can see what’s inside and use them to store things in the fridge.
#4: Silicone Stretch Lids
Now we’re all cooking at home, there are a lot of leftovers. Why keep buying plastic Tupperware or stretching cling film across your bowl when one of the easiest steps to a zero waste life is stretchable lids that will fit on any container?
#5: Bamboo Toothbrush
Once you learn that over 3.6 billion toothbrushes are thrown away each year, it’s hard to look at that brightly-coloured piece of plastic in your bathroom in the same way! Next time you need to replace it, opt for a bamboo one. These eco-friendly products are sustainable and biodegradable.
ABOVE: A BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH WILL DECOMPOSE NATURALLY, UNLIKE PLASTIC
#6: Plastic-Free Deodorant
One of the areas people seem least keen to make a zero waste switch is in deodorant. To be fair, natural deodorant doesn’t always get the best rap. However, as there are tons of chemical-free deodorants that come in compostable or recyclable aluminium packaging, you'll be sure to find one that makes you smell great!
#7: Shampoo Bars
If you’re switching to eco-friendly products, the stream of plastic bottles generated from your beauty routine is a good place to start. Shampoo bars are all-natural, last for ages and have completely biodegradable packaging.
#8: Safety Razor
These take some getting used to but now’s the time to practise. Disposable plastic razors take centuries to decompose and cost masses. Safety razors, on the other hand, look and function much better. All you need to replace is the blades (carefully!).
#9: Period Proof Underwear
Honestly, one of the best eco-friendly products we’ve ever invested in. Disposable pads and tampons aren’t only terrible for the environment, they’re also uncomfortable and expensive. Period pants are the opposite – comfortable, reusable and convenient.
#10: Reusable Face Rounds
Fight the fatberg with these reusable cotton pads. No more wet wipes and throwaway cotton balls; instead you can cleanse and tone your skin with these soft and washable rounds. They’ll save you a lot of cash and the more you wash them, the softer they feel!
#11: EcoEgg Laundry Egg
There’s nothing like the feel of clean clothes but doing laundry results in a lot of waste. Additionally, most detergents are packed with chemicals. These Ecoegg laundry eggs wash your clothes with natural cleaning pellets, reducing waste enormously.
Above: An EcoEgg laundry egg can save up to *40 bottles of plastic per year!
#12: Bamboo Cutlery
If you take a lot of packed lunches to work (maybe not this year!) or simply enjoy a picnic, great eco-friendly products to invest in are bamboo utensils. You can get a whole set and bring them camping, hiking or picnicking without weighing your bags down.
#13: Stainless-Steel Lunchbox
A stainless-steel lunchbox with different sections means you can make a meal with multiple parts, not simply a sandwich. Steel means no BPAs in your food, and no wasted plastic. Now that's eco-friendly!
#14: Reusable Q-Tips
Plastic cotton buds may seem fairly harmless - but they're actually one of the most common kinds of beach litter in Britain. If you want switch to a reusable alternative (and save money!), why not try oriculi, or reusable Q-tips, like the Japanese!
#15: Reusable Coffee Cup
There’s a reason reusable coffee cups are the most popular among all the eco-friendly products you can switch to. They look better and feel nicer than disposable cups; plus, at lots of coffee shops you’ll even get a discount for using them. In fact, why haven’t you got one yet?
#16: Refillable Water Bottle
Another thing on the ‘don’t you already have one?’ list is a refillable water bottle. Single-use plastic bottles are atrocious for the environment, languishing in landfill for eons. Get into the habit of bringing your refillable bottle everywhere and you’ll never be dehydrated again!
Above: Refillable Water Bottles made from stainless steel keep water cold all day long!
#17: Fountain Pen
Everyone’s looked down at their cheap ballpoint as it runs out again and wondered at how pointless these cheap, disposable pens are. Fountain pens don’t only reduce waste, they also look better, feel great in your hand and result in gorgeous calligraphy (OK, that last part is your responsibility!).
Above: The classic Parker Fountain Pen looks super stylish, without the hefty price-tag
#18: Dry Highlighter Pencils
Taking eco-friendly stationery to the next level, dry highlighter pencils allow you to colourfully annotate your notes and plans without throwing away dozens of plastic highlighter pens as you do so.
#19: Paper Potter
If you’ve got green fingers (or are hoping to!), you might despair at having to plant things in plastic pots – but there’s no need! You can get a paper potter or a set to make them, so that all your seedlings will start their lives in fully compostable containers.
Above: With a Paper Pot Maker you can make an endless supply of seedling pots
#20: Furoshiki Wrap
We can learn a lot from this Japanese custom of wrapping presents in cloth with beautiful patterns: it looks more attractive, shows that you’ve put care into your gift, and saves you all that non-recyclable wrapping paper. It’s also incredibly versatile, so you can use these eco-friendly cloths as carrier bags and lunch-wrappings as well.
Above: Furoshiki gift wrapping looks stylish and takes less effort: what's not to love?
#21: Soap Berries
Soap berries (also called soap nuts) for laundry are a game-changer. Non-toxic, sustainable and affordable, you’ll never look at a chemical detergent again! Just place 4-6 of them in a reusable muslin bag, and throw them in the washing machine with your laundry load. Easy!
Which of these eco-friendly products have you used? How did you find them? Share in the comments below and inspire us!