35+ Alternatives to Plastic Items in Your Home
Are you ready for a long list of alternatives to plastic you commonly use and might think you can't live without?
Yes, it possible, affordable, and/or easy to go plastic-free around your home. I mean, don't get me wrong...It might be challenging to make the switch to 100% plastic-free, and it might take some time. But with the health and environmental dangers of plastic, it's worth it.
For the most part you're looking for things made from natural materials: glass, wood, cotton or other natural fabric, stainless steel, hemp, jute, rubber, and so on.
And there are very few things you can't swap out! Comb through this list for the plastic you think you can't get rid of and find a better alternative (and be sure to reuse and recycle the plastic you end up with):
|Common Plastics Used:||Alternatives to Plastic:|
|Art supplies||Consider homemade play dough, paint, etc (to store in glass or metal); choose items such as colored pencils and charcoal or pastels that come in cardboard boxes instead of plastic containers|
|Baby bottle||Glass or stainless steel, and silicone nipples|
|Bags, food storage (i.e. Ziplock)||Glass or stainless steel containers|
|Bags, shopping||Canvas or reusable shopping bags (homemade or bought)|
|Beverage container, store-bought||Drink water instead; Homemade beverages stored in glass carafes; buy milk in glass containers or from a local farm|
|Brush, scrub or bottle||Tampico fiber or Horsehair brushes|
|Brush, toilet||Pig-hair wooden toilet brush|
|Carpet (much of it is plastic-based)||Natural wool carpet, real wood floors, sealed concrete|
|Computer keyboard||Bamboo keyboard|
|Cooking utensils (spatulas, spoons, etc)||Invest in wood (naturally antibacterial!), stainless steel or silicone when necessary|
|Cups, drinking||Glass or stainless steel for toddlers|
|Dishwashing soap||Skip the store-bought and make your own homemade dishwashing detergent to store in a glass jar or stainless steel container.|
|Dustpan||Sweep out the door or use a stainless steel dustpan|
|Food storage||Glass and/or stainless steel containers|
|Hard hat||V-Gard GREEN Helmet (non-petroleum "plastic", made from sugarcane)|
|Ice cube tray||Stainless steel is best; also silicone, or natural rubber (if you're using an automatic ice cube maker, you're out of luck)|
|Lighters||Look for a metal lighter, such as a Zippo|
|Lint roller||Wooden and natural rubber lint brush|
|Lunchbox||Fabric lunch bags or stainless steel|
|Media cases (CDs, DVDs, etc)||Purchase digital through iTunes or Amazon, or watch online through Amazon Instant Video or Netflix|
|Microwave cover||Ditch the microwave, or just clean up the few splatters to save yourself from the plastic off-gassing|
|Office supplies||Check out paper tape (skip the dispenser); Many pens come with metal shells; you can often find all-metal scissors at craft stores (check the sewing department); choose moldable or square erasers (as well as single pens) from bins instead of in plastic packaging; look for metal thumb tacks, etc.|
|Popsicle mold||Stainless steel and silicone molds|
|Razors, disposable||All-metal razors and blades (non-disposable)|
|Rugs (much is synthetic polyester or recycled plastic)||Natural wool, help, jute, or cotton; choose a silicone non-slip pad underneath|
|Seasoning containers||Choose seasonings that come in glass with a metal lid, recycle the plastic topper inside, and consider growing and drying your own in the future|
|Shower curtain||Choose cloth, bamboo, or hemp instead|
|Skin care containers||Use coconut oil, essential oils, homemade sunscreen, and other homemade skin care options.|
|Straws||Glass or stainless steel; be sure your order includes a free straw brush for easy cleaning|
|Toothbrush||Plastic-free wooden toothbrushes|
|Toothpaste||Make your own homemade toothpaste and store in a glass or stainless steel jar.|
|Toys, misc||Replace with wooden, cotton, hemp, porcelain, metal, and other natural materials (tip: search "Waldorf" or "natural toy ______" to find specific alternatives|
|Trash bags||First be sure to precycle, compost, and recycle. With the small amount left, try going without a bag, using paper bags, or compostable bags (such as BioBags).|
|Utensils (especially when eating out)||Choose bamboo carry-out utensils and keep them in your vehicle|
|Water bottle, drinking size||Stainless steel, or glass with silicone or padded case to prevent breaking (these usually only come with plastic lids; if you find a quality bottle without any plastic at all please let us know!)|
|Water bottle, 5 gallon||5 gallon glass carboy|
|Water filter, refrigerator||Instead of the fridge filter, use a stainless and charcoal filter, such as Berkey filters|
|Yoga mat||Bamboo, hemp, jute, or natural rubber mat|
How to Find More Alternatives to Plastic
The alternatives to plastic are numerous. Usually they fall into the category of glass, stainless steel, or wood so if you're not sure try googling those words with the item you're looking for (such as "glass + straw").
Also, as demand for alternatives to plastic rises, more options will become available. And the only way to ensure that happens is to vote with your dollar by buying non-plastic items whenever possible, as well as requesting companies make switches to natural substitutes. And please, if you know of any unlisted or unique alternatives to plastic to add to this list, let me know! I'll find you an alternative!
How to Recycle Any Plastic
It's likely you'll still end up with some amount of plastic (or have some to dispose of when it's run its course). Here are a few articles to help you recycle ANY kind of plastic, even if your recycling company won't take it:
- How to recycle properly
- How to have a zero waste home (and recycle the odds and ends)
- Read more about reducing waste here.
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