Have you heard? It’s raining plastic, making it more important than ever to focus on going plastic-free. Researchers are now detecting microplastics in the air, the rain, the seafood we eat, our bodies … the list truly goes on and on. According to research published in Science Advances, nearly every piece of plastic ever created still exists in some way, with the exception of the small amount we incinerated. It takes plastic beverage bottles approximately 450 years to decompose in the environment, and 91 percent of plastic isn’t recycled. That means it has to go somewhere — and apparently it’s going everywhere. Thankfully, the public is responding, and companies are shifting product packaging and offering innovative plastic-free solutions to help battle the apparent plastic crisis. Here are 17 innovative products from forward-thinking companies doing their part in the fight against waste…
1. Cleaning Supply Refills in Paper Containers with Cleancult
Cleancult is proudly 95 percent plastic-free. How, you may ask? Cleancult sells cleaning supplies along with cleaning supply refills in paper-based milk cartons. What does that mean for you? Once you have the bottle that came with your first order of dish soap, simply order refills there after and they’ll arrive in paper-based cartons. No more buying a new plastic bottle every time you need some all-purpose spray. The company offers everything from wool dryer balls to laundry detergent to all-purpose cleaner and more.
2. Toothpaste Tablets with Bite
Don’t stop brushing your teeth in the name of plastic. Instead, you can switch to toothpaste tablets. Bite makes a more traditional fresh mint toothpaste as well as an activated charcoal mint toothpaste. Activated charcoal can help detoxify and fight surface stains on the teeth. Bite’s bottles are plastic, but refills are sent in compostable pouches.
3. Compostable Shampoo Bottles with Seed Phytonutrients
Several companies sell shampoo bars as a completely plastic-free alternative for hair care. Seed Phytonutrients, though, offers an innovative solution for those who want to keep the liquid/pump setup of most conventional shampoos while helping to reduce plastic. Here’s the inside scoop on the packaging: the outer part is made up of 100 percent post consumer recycled paper. Inside, a plastic bag holding your shampoo or conditioner uses 60 percent less plastic than a traditional bottle. Between the two pieces of the bottle is a fun surprise: a packet of seeds for you to plant. Shampooing your hair has never been so fun, really …
4. Deodorant in a Jar with Meow Meow Tweet
Conventional deodorant is a hazard for the planet in its plastic sleeve — and our health with its aluminum content. Meow Meow Tweet offers an alternative. According to the site, “All products are made with organic, unrefined plant oils and butters, steam-distilled and cold-pressed essential oils and organic and wild-crafted botanicals.” You can purchase the aluminum-free deodorant in a glass jar or hand-wrapped in PCW paper.
5. Big Brands Zero-Waste Style with Loop
We at DrAxe.com may not stand behind the nutritional value and purity of all of the products sold on Loop, but we can surely appreciate the innovation. Loop takes your favorite big brand names and turns them zero-waste. All you have to do is shop online; Loop will deliver your products in a Loop Tote. Once you’re done enjoying the products, place your containers back into the Loop Tote and schedule a free at-home pickup for your packaging to be reused. You don’t even have to clean the containers. Loop uses state-of-the-art cleaning technology to get them ready for reuse. If you love the products you chose, you can even set them to auto-refill to take that hassle out of reordering. Fingers crossed they’ll add some more clean and green brands to their lineup soon.
6. Plastic-Free, Recycled TP with Who Gives a Crap
Most toilet paper is wrapped in a clear plastic to bundle all of the rolls together — not Who Gives a Crap. In fact, Who Gives a Crap TP arrives right to your doorstep in a cardboard box. No more lugging an armful of toilet paper around the grocery store. To add to Who Gives a Crap’s sustainability efforts, its toilet paper also doesn’t kill trees. Your options are recycled toilet paper or bamboo for tree-friendly TP. Plus, 50 percent of profits go to helping build toilets for those in need. All this to say, Who Gives a Crap has a whole lot to offer besides just being plastic-free.
7. Reusable Coffee Cups with KeepCup
It would be a tough sell trying to convince people to give up their coffee runs in the name of the waste crisis. Thankfully to companies like KeepCup, you can grab a coffee on the go without ever having to throw anything away. KeepCup offers eight ounce, 12 ounce and 16 ounce options for any of your coffee needs. Just bring your cup with you to your favorite coffee shop, order as usual, ask them to fill you up in your KeepCup and get on with your day in a more sustainable way.
8. Compostable Cutlery Made from Corn with World Centric
Ideally, you’re not using any type of single-use product. Why throw something away after one use when you can use a set of traditional kitchen utensils for years on end? Well, sometimes it’s the best option. And we get that. Baby steps to better choices are much better than drastic, unsustainable choices (that’s true with reducing waste and improving your health). So, World Centric offers non-GMO corn-based compostable cutlery when you find yourself needing a quick, ready-to-dispose option. The company also provides sustainable options for plates, cups, bowls, trays and more.
An even more eco-friendly option than any type of disposable cutlery is reusable utensils. You can find portable individual sets that come with a carrying container (and sometimes even a reusable straw) to bring to your next party, picnic or event.
9. Sports Drinks Without the Bottle with Nuun
Do you reach for a sports drink in a plastic bottle during your workouts, or a flavored beverage in a bottle at any point throughout the day? Nuun may not be completely plastic-free, but these plastic tubes contain 10 tablets each. That means this one little tube can replace 10 plastic bottles from the landfill. Your body will also love the swap, as Nuun is plant-based and free of common additives found in sports and sweetened drinks and contains significantly less sugar than most.
10. Leakproof Food Storage with Blueavocado
Blueavocado‘s (re)zip line of products offers leakproof reusable storage solutions. It may feel most obvious to fill these reusable bags with food since they’re food-grade and freezer-safe, they’re also the perfect solution for traveling with makeup and other personal care items, like shampoo, conditioner or soap you don’t want to end up all over your luggage.
11. Grocery Shopping with Whole Foods
When it comes to grocery stores, Whole Foods seems to be leading the way for waste-reduction when comparing big name brands. For starters, Whole Foods cuts plastic use in the most noticeable way: paper bags. The grocery store supports lower-waste alternatives by offering bulk goods as well. Whether you’re looking for whole nuts, nut butters, dates, flours, oats, etc., Whole Foods has options. Bring your own mason jars from home to fill up for a truly plastic-free option.
Whole Foods isn’t growing complacent in their efforts against waste either. In July 2019, the chain swapped plastic straws for paper. They also announced plans to implement smaller plastic produce bags and swap bags that use 70 percent less plastic for rotisserie chicken in place of the old plastic containers
12. Sustainable Food Storage with Bee’s Wrap
Beewax wraps are cotton infused with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin and serve as washable, reusable and compostable alternatives to plastic wrap. Need to cover up a bowl? Beeswax wraps have you covered. Want to wrap up your sandwich to take to work? Beeswax wraps have you covered. Looking to store a halved apple, onion, avocado, pear or, well, anything? Bees wax wraps have you covered. Bee’s Wrap is an excellent choice, because they use organic cotton and jojoba oil.
13. Waste-Free Period Solution with OrganiCup
Hopefully (if you’re a women and unless you’re trying to get pregnant), your period comes once a month like clockwork. When it does, more likely than not, you reach for a box of tampons. Each day, you swap them out, multiple times per day. Depending on the brand, but again, more likely than not, you toss out a plastic applicator each time, multiple times for what could be up to a week. The bathroom trashcan starts to fill up. Take note that even if you’re opting for pads, most contain polyethylene plastic. With menstrual cups, you can enjoy an empty bathroom trashcan for months on end. They can last for years! Simply insert, all the cup to do it’s job, empty it at least every 12 hours, clean, reinsert, sanitize between cycles. No waste. You’ll save yourself some money — and the landfill from pounds of waste.
Organicup has a really helpful calculator on their website to illustrate the huge impact of menstrual cups. For example, if you’re a 30-year-old woman using tampons with plastic applicators, you will save approximately 80 pounds of waste and $737 before menopause. Now, if you’re an 18-year-old woman, that jumps up to approximately 125 pounds and $1,157. While we’re focusing on plastic waste, menstrual cups also offer a safer, healthier alternative to conventional tampons that typically contain harsh chemicals like rayon, dioxin, chlorine and more — not to mention the potential pesticide problem that comes along with non-organic cotton.
14. Natural Sunscreen with Avasol
Sunscreen is a touchy subject. Most conventional sunscreens out there in the United States today contain a list of hazardous chemicals not allowed in Europe, and quite frankly, not safe for anyone. Avasol has not only created a natural sunscreen, they’ve also put it in a convenient plastic-free stick. With an ingredients list containing coconut oil, jojoba oil and argan oil, you can feel good about how this product affects your body and the planet.
15. Plastic Water Bottle Replacement with Klean Kanteen
Swapping out single-use plastic water bottles for a reusable water bottle may be one of the more commonly discussed plastic solutions around (right up there with reusable straws), but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be overlooked. In fact, it’s often talked about, because it’s one of the easier switches to make without much money or effort on your part. Klean Kanteen is a wonderful plastic water bottle replacement, but there are also numerous other brands out there to choose from. Take your pick!
16. Stainless Steel Carryout Containers with ECOlunchbox
When you start becoming conscious of your plastic consumption, your world starts to shift a bit. For example, the first time you go out to eat and have food left on your plate, you’ll feel a little twinge in your chest when the waiter politely hands you a styrofoam to-go container. What’s worse? Leaving your food on the table to end up in the landfill, or tossing out a styrofoam box? Well, food waste is a who other issue we won’t have time to tackle today, so the ideal is you can do neither. Instead, carry around one of these stainless steel containers from ECOlunchbox, which you can also conveniently use for your lunch box!
17. Sustainable Toothbrush with Goodwell
Your dentist typically recommend switching out your toothbrush every three months. Do you know how much plastic that is? With Goodwell’s Premium Brush, “you keep the recycled aluminum handle for life and change out the biodegradable brush head every three months.” That equates to 70 percent less plastic than your average toothbrush. Goodwell is looking out for your teeth too! The Premium Brush bristles are infused with charcoal to help balance the pH in your mouth and fight off bad breath and tooth decay.
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