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7 Easy Sustainable Swaps You Can Start Doing Right Now

Ready to freshen up your life by going more sustainable? That’s great news, and with 77% people saying they want to go more sustainable, there’s never been a better time to start than right now.

Amazingly, it’s easier than you thought! One of the first things you’ll want to do is eliminate any potential waste from your life by swapping it for more something more sustainable. For example, you could swap a plastic bag for a tote bag, and a coffee machine for a French press.

In this article, we’re going to take a look at 7 easy sustainable swaps you can start doing right now.

👗 Instead of buying brand new clothes...

  • Mend or upcycle your old clothes
  • Swap clothes with your friends
  • Shop second-hand
  • Buy clothes made from recycled fabric

Quarantine may have changed you in more ways than one (I empathize, I’m a completely new person now). Essentially, quarantine has allowed some of us to either put on more weight, or lose lots of weight.

Either way, when you emerge from this strange period, where you probably chose to wear the same outfit several days on the bounce (you can admit it), you may want to treat yourself to something new.

Consider swapping clothes with friends or buying some pieces second-hand. By the way, we wrote a guide to thrifting, so make sure to check it out!

And if you’re about to buy something new, how about clothes made from recycled fabric instead?

👜 Instead of buying a plastic bag...

  • Reuse old plastic bags
  • Shop with any of your reusable bags
  • Buy a reusable tote bag

Reusable tote bags are mega cute. And they’re far better for this planet than plastic bags: they can replace up to 500 plastic bags per year! You can use them over and over again, and they can fill up with your groceries at your next shop.

If you’ve been wanting to stop using plastic bags at the supermarket for the longest time, now’s your chance.

And before you buy a new bag, remember...

🧻 Instead of using paper towels...

  • Upcycle your old clothes as towels
  • Invest in a reusable single cloth towel

Paper towels need to be disposed of as soon as they’ve been used once. And where do they go? Got it in one: The dreaded landfill!

Paper towels are actually the least green way of drying your hands, which really does make them a big no-no.

Naturally, we all need to dry our hands. But if you’re tired of using so many paper towels in a bid to warn off coronavirus and other germs, why not upcycle your old clothes or invest in a reusable cloth towel instead? Every single reusable towel replaces around 7,300 paper towels in total. Wow.

🚽 Instead of buying regular toilet paper...

  • Invest in a bidet
  • Buy recycled toilet paper instead

Toilet paper is such a permanent part of our lexicon that most of us never give it a second thought that toilet paper is made from paper. But the fact that it’s made from paper is highly damaging to the environment (for the same reasons as paper towels).

The good news is that you can swap toilet paper for recycled toilet tissue instead.

Yup, companies such as Who Gives a Crap make their toilet “paper” out of the likes of sugarcane and bamboo so that it’s a) still smooth and b) great for the environment.

⚙️ Instead of using regular aluminium foil...

  • Reuse your aluminium foil!
  • Buy recycled aluminium foil

Aluminium foil is one of our most used everyday items. It has its marvellous array of uses - as this excellent article demonstrates - but it does come at a cost: aluminium foil is actually even worse than plastic for the environment.

The only way to make it better is to reuse it several times.

Or, you can now get your hands on either 100% recycled aluminium foil, or organic reusable foil.

☕️ Instead of making coffee in a coffee machine...

  • Invest in a french press
  • Invest in a moka pot

Coffee lovers everywhere, listen up!

I’d hate the thought of you not getting your morning coffee fix, yet so many of us are brewing coffee in such a way that it’s pretty bad for the environment. See, while a coffee machine seems like a good fix, and while it lasts - on average - for 6 years, the bad news is that we’d get through 20,000 coffee filters in our lifetime if we drank a cup of coffee each day.

I’m not very good at math, but even I can see that’s a lot of waste!

An awesome alternative is a French press. With the right care, one of these can last an extraordinary amount of time without producing any waste. Even better, its parts are recyclable.

And an Italian moka pot like Bialetti? This one lasts for generations.

🍵 Instead of using tea bags...

  • Brew loose tea in a pot
  • Invest in a tea infuser

Prefer tea to coffee? (Me too)

The number of tea bags we get through each year isn’t something that usually concerns us. But teabags create a lot of unnecessary waste, with research even showing that they sometimes shed micro plastic whilst in your cup!

Who knew that teabags could be so… evil? I am shocked!

If you’re concerned about how much tea you get through each year, a single tea infuser can replace around 5,000 teabags. With the right love and care, it can last you years and years.

Over to you

As you can see, transitioning to a more sustainable life is not as complicated (and definitely more fun than you thought). It also doesn't need to be too expensive, either.

Naturally, there's more to it than that, and if you're in it for the long haul, why not subscribe to our newsletter to stay up-to-date with our latest sustainable tips, tricks, hacks and news?

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About Will Titterington

Will is a writer who's always looking for ways to live more sustainably. He’d probably like to build his own house one day but one step at a time — he’s only just learned how to change a lightbulb.