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35+ Alternatives to Plastic Items in Your Home

35+ Alternatives to Common Plastic Items, via SustainableBabySteps.com

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 suppliesConsider 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 bottleGlass or stainless steel, and silicone nipples
Bags, food storage (i.e. Ziplock)Glass or stainless steel containers
Bags, shoppingCanvas or reusable shopping bags (homemade or bought)
Beverage container, store-boughtDrink water instead; Homemade beverages stored in glass carafes; buy milk in glass containers or from a local farm
Brush, scrub or bottleTampico fiber or Horsehair brushes
Brush, toiletPig-hair wooden toilet brush
CalculatorBamboo calculator
Carpet (much of it is plastic-based)Natural wool carpet, real wood floors, sealed concrete
Computer keyboardBamboo keyboard
Cooking utensils (spatulas, spoons, etc)Invest in wood (naturally antibacterial!), stainless steel or silicone when necessary
Cups, drinkingGlass or stainless steel for toddlers
Dishwashing soapSkip the store-bought and make your own homemade dishwashing detergent to store in a glass jar or stainless steel container.
DustpanSweep out the door or use a stainless steel dustpan
Food storageGlass and/or stainless steel containers
Hard hatV-Gard GREEN Helmet (non-petroleum "plastic", made from sugarcane)
Ice cube trayStainless steel is best; also silicone, or natural rubber (if you're using an automatic ice cube maker, you're out of luck)
LightersLook for a metal lighter, such as a Zippo
Lint rollerWooden and natural rubber lint brush
LunchboxFabric 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 coverDitch the microwave, or just clean up the few splatters to save yourself from the plastic off-gassing
Office suppliesCheck 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 moldStainless steel and silicone molds
Razors, disposableAll-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 containersChoose 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 curtainChoose cloth, bamboo, or hemp instead
Skin care containersUse coconut oil, essential oils, homemade sunscreen, and other homemade skin care options.
StrawsGlass or stainless steel; be sure your order includes a free straw brush for easy cleaning
ToothbrushPlastic-free wooden toothbrushes
ToothpasteMake your own homemade toothpaste and store in a glass or stainless steel jar.
Toys, miscReplace with wooden, cotton, hemp, porcelain, metal, and other natural materials (tip: search "Waldorf" or "natural toy ______" to find specific alternatives
Trash bagsFirst 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 sizeStainless 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 gallon5 gallon glass carboy
Water filter, refrigeratorInstead of the fridge filter, use a stainless and charcoal filter, such as Berkey filters
Yoga matBamboo, 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:

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