18 Super Easy Eco Swaps You Can Do Today & Feel Better [2021 Guide]

Canva - Eco Swaps

Eco swaps and choosing sustainable alternatives are one of the best ways to live more sustainably and support eco-friendly businesses around the world.

In this guide, we’re covering the importance of eco swaps and 18 of the top eco swaps to make at home, and on the go.

We’ll look at eco swaps for the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom, as well for when you’re out and about and on the go.

To make going eco-friendly super easy, we cover what it is, what it replaces, why it’s better for the environment, and where to buy them.

Let’s get swapping!

Eco Swaps: Why They Matter

The day-to-day choices we make add up to the sum of our environmental impact over our lifetime. When we choose to live our lives more sustainably and choose eco-friendly alternatives for the things we use every day, we can make a huge difference!

We may not be the big corporations and industries that do the vast majority of environmental damage and cause the most pollution and greenhouse gas emissions… But our small steps and consistent good choices do add up. And they do make a difference! Especially when there are enough of us doing better, every day, in some small way.

As consumers, we all yield a certain amount of power that we can leverage. Our preferences and what we choose to spend money on can shift what producers and sellers decide to make and sell.

EcoSwap - Quote

 

This means that every small choice we make has a ripple effect that impacts the tide of what is made and sold, on a much bigger scale.

Making sustainable swaps and supporting companies that care for the environment is a great way to put your weight behind the push for better environmental practices and reversing climate change.

The best eco swaps you can make are the ones you will use often, for a long time. Here are our favorite eco swaps for your home, and when you’re on the go:

5 Top Eco Swaps for the Kitchen 

1. Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wraps are incredibly useful and versatile! If you have a food item, in a container or out, they will help you keep it fresh and protected. No matter how big or small, no matter how weirdly shaped!

They’re made from fabric (usually cotton, linen, or bamboo) soaked/covered in natural beeswax. Beeswax wraps are liable and moldable so you can form them around any shape to make sure it’s nicely sealed.

You can use them to wrap food items to go in the fridge, cover and seal leftovers in a bowl or dish, or even wrap sandwiches and cut fruit. The wax makes them waterproof so they keep the moisture in (or out) as needed.

Eco Swaps - Free Canva Image of Yellow Beeswax Wraps with a sandwich, cherry tomatoes and a lemon on a wooden cutting board

What they Replace

Beeswax wraps are a great eco swap for plastic wrap and single-use sandwich bags. They’re a great swap for aluminum foil and wax paper if you’re not heating anything (the wax will melt).

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Beeswax wraps are reusable and last a long time, so they’re a convenient and effective replacement for a lot of the single-use plastic we use in the kitchen.

Most of the plastic we use in the kitchen cannot be re-used and it cannot be recycled once it has been contaminated with food, so it just goes straight to landfills.

Where to Buy Beeswax Wraps

You can buy beeswax wraps from many zero waste stores and online. Check out EcoSwap, for a great selection of vendors selling beeswax wraps online: 

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of search results from EcoSwap.me

2. Reusable Fabric Napkins and Towels

Linen table napkins are a great eco swap to avoid using disposable paper napkins and paper towels. You can use as serviettes/table napkins or you can use them replace paper towel in the kitchen.

They’re washable, durable, and long-lasting, so you can use them for many years. When they’re past their prime, you can repurpose them as cleaning or dusting cloths. And finally, you can compost them, which makes them a zero waste eco swap too!

Linen is the preferred material as it’s a little better for the environment than cotton, but bamboo and cotton napkins are all better alternatives than single-use paper ones.

Eco Swaps - Free Image from Canva of Linen Napkins folded next to a place setting with metal cutlery and a yellow flowers

What They Replace  

Single-use paper towels and napkins/serviettes.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Switching to reusable linen, cotton, or bamboo napkins and towels means that you do not need to use any single-use paper towels or napkins.

Single-use paper towels and napkins have a huge environmental impact associated with how they’re made.

Commercial timber farming and the paper-making process are linked to deforestation, land degradation, habitat loss, excessive water use, and land and water pollution.

Every paper towel you use has been grown, harvested, processed, and manufactured for you to use just once – that is a huge impact for a tiny payoff!

Where to Buy Reusable Linen Napkins  

Reusable linen, Bamboo, or cotton napkins can be made at home, bought from zero waste stores, or bought online from vendors like Wild Minimalist on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of Linen Napkins from Wild Minimalist on EcoSwap.me

3. Silicone Food Covers

Silicone food covers are a great eco swap to use instead of aluminum foil and plastic wrap to cover dishes of leftovers and open food containers. You can also use them to cover items in the oven when you’re baking or roasting.

They’re stretchy and flexible so you can get them around containers in a variety of shapes, while still getting a tight seal. They make a great universal lid for containers that have lost or broken lids too!

Eco Swaps - Image from Cava of Silicone Food Covers on a bottle of olives and a bowl of seeds

What They Replace

Silicone food covers are an alternative to aluminum and tin foil, plastic wrap, baking paper, and container lids.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Silicone food covers are reusable and versatile so you can use them for many different applications and keep them for a long time. This eliminates single-use items like foil and plastic wrap completely, so no waste!

Where to Buy Silicone Food Covers

You can find these in most retail stores, as well as online on from marketplaces like EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Silicone Food Wraps

4. Glass Storage Containers

Glass is an infinitely recyclable material, that is hardy and long-lasting. Switching to glass containers and ditching your plastic food containers is one of the easiest and most impactful eco swaps you can make!

They’re durable, can withstand heat and cold, and come in a wide range of sizes and shapes. They also don’t discolor or absorb smells and flavors from their contents, which is another reason they’re superior to plastic.

Eco Swaps - Image from Canva of Glass Storage Containers with pasta and sauces in them

What They Replace

Glass storage containers can replace all your plastic food containers, from lunch boxes to storage jars.

Why They Better for the Environment

Eliminates plastic – less plastic being manufactures, less in circulation, and less to end up in landfills or the natural environment!  Containers made from glass are infinitely recyclable so if one breaks, you can always recycle it.

Where to Buy Glass Containers

You can get high-quality glass storage containers from most retail stores (think the iconic Consol jars) and zero waste stores. You can also find a great selection online from the stores on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for glass food containers

5. Eco-friendly Detergents and Cleaning Products

When it comes to eco swaps, some of the most important swaps you can make are for detergents and cleaning products. Conventionally, they are packaged in heavy plastics and contain many harsh chemicals. These chemicals are often responsible for water pollution, eutrophication, and the loss of aquatic life.  The plastics used in the packaging are often virgin plastic, rather than recycled plastic, and often not the whole container is recyclable, if at all.

Eco Swaps - Image from Canva of a woman in a blue denim short holding some Eco Friendly Cleaning Products

What They Replace

Conventional detergents, such as dish soap, laundry soap, surface, and floor cleaners.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products are made with the environment in mind. They contain less harsh chemicals and fewer toxic substances. They’re usually biodegradable and come in plastic-free or recycled plastic packaging. The packaging is also recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable.

Where to Buy Eco-friendly Detergents and Cleaning Products

There are loads of eco-friendly products available and you will need to have look at the options available to you to find the best one. You can find our favorite laundry detergents here, or you can search for products EcoSwap to find stores online:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for kitchen soaps

3 Top Eco Swaps for the Bedroom

1. Bamboo Bed Linen

Replacing your synthetic, polyester sheets and bed linen with ones made from bamboo is one of the most pleasurable eco swaps you can make!

A natural fiber, pure bamboo bed linen is soft, breathable, naturally hypoallergic, and great for regulating the temperature so that it keeps you warm in winter and cool in summer. It is also stronger and more durable, which means it will last longer.

Eco Swaps - Canva Image of Bamboo Bed Linen

What They Replace

Bamboo bed linen can replace all synthetic (such as polyester, nylon, and poly-blends) sheets, duvet covers, pillowcases, and mattress covers.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Polyester is a synthetic, petroleum-based fiber, whereas Bamboo fabric is a natural fiber that is readily renewable and easy to grow sustainably. If the fabric manufacturer is transparent about the origins of the Bamboo and how it is processed, Bamboo fabric is one of the most sustainable fibers you can use.

Where to Buy Bamboo Bed Linen

You can find loads of great quality Bamboo bed linen options from eco-friendly companies, and online from vendors on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Bamboo Bedding

2. Kapok Filled Pillows

Kapok is a natural fiber from the dried fruit of the Kapok tree, which is native to Mexico and South America, and the Caribbean but it is mostly cultivated in south-east Asia.

The fiber is ideal for pillow stuffing and makes a great alternative to synthetic stuffing options like polyester microfiber and memory foam.

It is naturally light, pest- and mold-resistant and insulates very well to regulate temperatures.

Eco Swaps - Canva image of a stack of white bed pillows with a magnolia flower on top of the pile

What They Replace

Pillows stuffed with synthetic filling, like polyester microfiber and memory foam.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

As a natural fiber, Kapok is completely biodegradable and compostable – no plastic waste from synthetic fabrics!

Where to Buy Kapok Filled Pillows

You can find Kapok stuffed pillows online, from the stores on EcoSwap or Etsy:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on Etsy

3. LED Light Bulbs for Lamps and Ceiling Lights

Switching to energy-saving LED light bulbs will cut your electricity usage, your power bill, and your carbon footprint with one, super easy, eco swap.  Ideally, you do this throughout your house and not just in the bedroom though.

Eco Swaps - Energy Saving Light Bulb and lamp - image from Canva

What They Replace

Conventional incandescent light bulbs.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

LED light bulbs use less energy and last longer than other types of light bulbs. This reduces the electricity you use and the emissions associated with generating it from fossil fuels, as well as the amount of waste generated by your home.

Where to Buy LED Light Bulbs

You can buy LEDs at most retail stores and hardware and electronics stores, as well as online from Amazon:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results for LED light bulbs on Amazon

6 Top Eco Swaps for the Bathroom 

1. Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars are a solid bar, which replaces your conventional, liquid shampoo and conditioner.

Conventual shampoos and conditioners usually contain many harmful chemicals and are packaged in hard plastic.

Zero Waste Bars, on the other hand, are usually made with minimal harmful chemicals and are packaged with minimal or plastic, in compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable materials.

Eco Swaps - Shampoo and Conditioner Bars - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Conventional shampoos and conditioners, packaged in plastic.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Zero Waste Shampoo and conditioner bars are packaged in eco-friendly packaging, which uses minimal or no plastic (usually recycled and recyclable), compostable and biodegradable materials. This means less plastic being produced, less plastic in circulation, and less plastic to end up in landfills and the natural environment!

Shampoo and conditioner bars are also often made with the environment and human health in mind. They generally contain fewer harmful chemicals, fragrances, and surfactants.

This makes them safer for human health and safer for the natural environment, especially water quality and aquatic life.

Where to Buy Shampoo and Conditioner Bars

You can find Shampoo and Conditioner Bars in your local zero waste stores or online from stores on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Shampoo Bars

2. Eco-friendly and Zero Waste Soap Bars

Eco-friendly and zero-waste soaps are soaps made with natural ingredients, like essential oils and coconut oil, and fewer harmful chemicals, like surfactants and synthetic fragrances. You can find soap bars to replace just about any soap or cleanser you use, from body wash to facewash.

Not all eco-friendly soaps are also zero waste, as they may be packaged in plastic or plastic-lined paper. However, most are packaged using little to no plastic and using compostable and biodegradable materials like cardboard and paper.

Eco Swap - Canva Image of Bath Soap Bars and Sponge

What They Replace

Eco-friendly soap bars replace conventual soap bars, liquid/gel body washes, and cleansers.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Much like Shampoo and Conditioner Bars, eco-friendly and zero waste soap bars do away with plastic-heavy packaging and contain fewer harmful chemicals that impact human health and the natural environment. Conventional soaps (and shampoos and conditioners) have a huge impact on water quality and aquatic life.

Where to Buy Eco-friendly and Zero Waste Soap Bars

You can find natural soaps, eco-friendly soaps, and zero waste soaps at many local shops and drug stores. You will also find great options online from marketplaces like EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Soap Bars

3. Bamboo Toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes are a great bathroom eco swap as your toothbrush is something you will use every day, forever. Over a lifetime, that is a LOT of toothbrushes.

Switching to a bamboo toothbrush eliminates the plastic from your toothbrush handles completely, replacing them with bamboo wood (depending on the type you choose, your bristles may still be nylon/synthetic).

Bamboo is an infinitely renewable and low-impact crop to grow and the wood is completely biodegradable and home compostable.

Eco Swaps - Bamboo Toothbrushes - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Bamboo toothbrushes replace your conventional, plastic toothbrushes.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Eliminating the bulk of the plastic from an item you use daily, for life, has a huge impact over time. Bamboo toothbrushes are biodegradable and home compostable, making them a great zero waste option.

Bamboo is a sustainable crop that uses little water and requires very little in terms of fertilizers and pesticides. This means that growing Bamboo has a low environmental impact, compared to other crops and timber.

Where to Buy Bamboo Toothbrushes

Bamboo toothbrushes have become a popular option and are widely available in retail shops and drug stores. You can also find them health shops, zero waste stores, or online from vendors on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Bamboo Toothbrushes

4. Bamboo Toilet Paper

Traditional toilet paper has a huge footprint when it comes to the environmental impacts associated with growing, harvesting, and processing timber to be made into toilet paper – the ultimate single-use product!

Switching to Bamboo toilet paper lessens the environmental impact significantly, without losing anything in terms of how comfortable or effective the product is.

Eco swaps - basket of white toilet paper rolls - image from Canva

What it Replaces

Traditional toilet paper is made from trees grown in commercially farmed timber plantations.

Why it’s Better for the Environment

Switching to a sustainable brand of Bamboo toilet paper makes a huge difference. Bamboo toilet paper is made from bamboo pulp, which requires less processing and is naturally hypoallergenic.

Growing bamboo uses less water, less fertilizer, and fewer pesticides than growing other types of wood. Bamboo also reshoots from the same base when it is cut down.

This means that it simply regrows from the same root system, and the land does not need to be cleared for the next crop to be planted, which is much better for soil health!

Where to Buy Bamboo Toilet Paper

One of the things we love about Bamboo toilet paper is that so many companies offer a subscription service! Check out some options from Who Gives a Crap and The Cheeky Panda, or from vendors on EcoSwap:

co Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Bamboo Toilet Paper

5. Reusable, Eco-Friendly Razors

Eco-friendly razors include old-fashioned, single blade, safety razors, and modern multi-blade razors that are either made from recycled and recyclable plastic or a metal handle with a replaceable head.

The type you choose will depend on where and how you’re shaving, but they’re all a great swap for disposable plastic razors that we use only a few times and then discard.

Eco Swaps - Safety Razor, wooden shaving brush and metal scissors - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Reusable, eco-friendly razors replace the plastic, disposable razors that we use a few times and discard.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Choosing a razor that you keep for years (or life!), while only switching out the blades is a great way to reduce the plastic waste you generate. Like toothbrushes, those of us who shave are likely to do so for most of our lives and all those plastic razors add up over time!

Where to Buy Reusable, Eco-friendly Razors

You can find safety razors and razors made from recycled and recyclable plastic in many retail stores, drug stores, zero waste stores, and specialist barbershops. You can also find them from Gillette or online from stores on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Razors

6. Reusable Cleansing Rounds

Reusable cleansing pads or swabs come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and materials. Bamboo, hemp, and cotton are popular options. The little pads are either made of sewn fabric or crocheted/knitted yarn.

They are great for removing makeup, applying toner or skin treatments, removing eye makeup, or wiping away excess product.

Eco Swaps - Reusable Cotton Swabs - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Reusable cleaning pads replace disposable face wipes, cotton rounds, and face cloths/cleansing cloths.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

As a reusable product that lasts a long time, it will drastically reduce the waste you generate during your daily cleansing routine.

They’re also made from sustainable, natural fibers and do not contain any plastic, so when they’re finally worn out you can compost them!   

The materials they’re made from only had to be grown and processed once, so the impact is significantly reduced than if every time you need to use one, you’re using a whole new pad.

Where to Buy Reusable Cleansing Pads

You can find these in local stores, zero waste stores, and many drug stores. You can find them online, from vendors on EcoSwap.

You can also make your own! Check out this video by Lily Rose on how to make your own zero waste, reusable cotton pads:

4 Top Eco Swaps for When You’re On-the-Move 

1. Stainless Travel Mugs

A reusable travel mug is an essential eco swap for anyone who drinks, well, anything on the go. Ditch disposable cups for good and use a ‘proper’ cup that will keep your drink hot/cold, seal properly and last for years to come. They’re also easy to clean and sterilize.

There are loads of options, but we love stainless steel because it’s light, incredibly durable, and completely recyclable. Many are made with minimal or no plastic, and use eco-friendly alternatives like plant-based bioplastics and natural rubber for the seals and lids.

Eco Swaps - Stainless Steel Mug - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Disposable beverage cups and lids for all your drinks (and soups, noodles, milkshakes, etc.) on the go.

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Like glass, stainless steel is infinitely recyclable. The lids and other non-metal parts are usually made from eco-friendly plastic alternatives. They last for years and years.

This all adds up to less impact from manufacturing, less plastic manufacturing, and less waste generated. Think of how many disposable cups you have used in your lifetime – a reusable cup eliminates them all!

Where to Buy Stainless Steel Travel Mugs

Stainless steel travel mugs are pretty common and easy to find but they vary hugely in quality. You can find a nice selection of high-quality mugs on from online stores on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Stainless Steel Coffee Cups

2. Reusable Cutlery and Straws

A reusable cutlery set is another essential eco swap for anyone on the move. Whether they’re made from stainless steel, wood, or bamboo, they last for years and are easy to keep clean. Most sets come in a carry case and include a straw, or you can buy them separately.

Eco Swaps - Bamboo Cutlery and Straw Set - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Single-use plastic knives, forks, spoons, straws, and even chopsticks (which usually come wrapped in more single-use plastic!).

Why They’re Better for the Environment

Reusable cutlery is the ideal solution to combatting the amount of single-use plastic you use when you’re eating and drinking on the go.

Where to Buy Reusable Steel Cutlery Sets

These have become a popular option and you can find them easily at retail stores, zero waste stores, and online from vendors on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for cutlery sets

3. Collapsible Silicone Food Containers

Silicone is a nice eco swap for plastic because it is not made from petroleum products and it wears really well, can take heat and cold, and is generally really useful in the kitchen and on the go.

Collapsible silicone containers are great for use when you’re on the move because they collapse down flat and take up very little space when they’re empty (and only as much as you need when they’re in use).

Collapsible Silicone Container - Eco Swaps - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Plastic food containers like lunchboxes or Tupperware, single use-plastic containers for things like leftovers or takeout, from any establishment that will allow you to use your own container. You can even use them as a portable water bowl for your pet!

Why They’re Better for the Environment   

Silicone is not made from petroleum and oil like plastic (it is made from silica in sand) so the manufacturing process is much less damaging for the environment and climate. Reusable containers allow you to eliminate a lot of single-use plastic from your day-to-day life and reduce the amount of plastic waste generated. Food containers are often not recycled due to contamination, so reusable food containers are especially important.

Where to Buy Collapsible Silicone Food Containers

You can find these easily in retail stores and online, from stores on EcoSwap:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for Silicone Food Containers

4. Reusable Water Bottles

A reusable water bottle is a great eco swap to use in place of single-use plastic water bottles. You can fill it at home and most places will allow you to fill it from their water cooler or kitchen tap.

They come in a range of sizes and materials, with glass and stainless steel being the more popular options.

Eco Swaps - Glass Water Bottle - Image from Canva

What They Replace

Single-use plastic water bottles and cups/glasses.

What They’re Better for the Environment

Switching to a reusable water bottle will eliminate a ton of single-use plastic bottles and cups from your life. This means less plastic being made, less plastic in circulation and less plastic to be recycled or disposed of.

Where to Buy Reusable Water Bottles

You can find these in most shops and online from places like EcoSwap, where you can choose between several different stores:

Eco Swaps - Screenshot of the search results on EcoSwap.me for glass Water Bottles

Final Thoughts on Sustainable Eco Swaps

We might not be the big companies doing the bulk of the polluting, but our small steps and incremental changes do have an impact and it starts at home. Making changes to your everyday life and incorporating sustainable eco swaps is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment and climate change.

It also leverages your power as a consumer to elicit change from producers and sellers. Every eco-friendly purchase we make, and every time we choose that option over a less sustainable one, is a ‘vote’ for more sustainable practices!

References and Useful Resources

Deloitte UK: Sustainability & Consumer Behaviour Report 2021

Eco & Beyond: Silicone vs Plastic, Which is Better for the Environment?

Good Natured Products: What are Bio-Plastics?

Good on You: Material Guide: Is Bamboo Fabric Sustainable?

Green Journal: Simple Sustainable Swaps You Can Implement In Your Business

SFGATE: How to Recycle Stainless Steel and Aluminium

Frequently Asked Questions

What are eco swaps?

Eco swaps or sustainable swaps are items that you can swap out for ones that are less environmentally friendly. Common examples include is using a reusable coffee cup instead of using disposable ones and using a reusable straw instead of a single-use plastic one. Eco swaps can be any product, as long as you're swapping out a less eco-friendly product and replacing it with something more sustainable. Check out the full guide for more info on eco swaps and why they matter.

What are the top eco swaps?

The best, easy eco swaps to make at home and on the go are:
1. Beeswax Wraps
2. Fabric Napkins
3. Silicone Food Covers/Lids
4. Glass Storage Containers
5. Eco-friendly Detergents and Cleaning Solutions
6. Bamboo Bed Linen
7. Kapok Stuffed Pillows
8. Energy Saving LED Light Bulbs
9. Zero Waste Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
10. Zero Waste Solid Body Soap Bars
11. Bamboo Toothbrushes
12. Bamboo Toilet Paper
13. Reusable Razors / Safety Razors
14. Reusable Cleansing Cotton Rounds/Pads
15. Stainless Steel Reusable Cups
16. Bamboo Cutlery and Straws
17. Collapsible Silicone Food Dishes
18. Reusable Water Bottles
Check out the full guide for more info on each of these essential eco swaps.

Are eco swaps and sustainable swaps the same?

In general, yes. Both terms refer to switching to more environmentally friendly alternative. Not all eco-friendly products are truly sustainable though, so take a good look at the company and where their products come from, as well as the product and what it is made of. Check out the full guide for top eco swaps you can make at home today.

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