When we first approached the eco-friendly world, it wasn’t without some skepticism about these alternative replacements that were promising to work exactly as conventional products – less the plastic and/or toxic ingredients.
After all, we thought in our ingenuity, if these new promising products were working so well why isn’t everybody adopting them?
Truth be told, we were soon to discover that a lot of people out there still do not consider the environmental impact of their consumeristic choices (hello co-worker that still put their water bottle in the landfill bin) or maybe can’t simply afford or know anything different.
Additionally, we found that many eco-friendly alternatives are simply too complicated for nowadays busy lives and after the initial enthusiasm, they often get abandoned to create even more clutter.
But for those that do want to make some more sustainable choices and change their home into a more natural and eco-friendlier environment, what are the simple plastic-free swaps that work and are easy to adopt by the whole family?
We have chosen one product per each room (and added some bonus suggestions too!), something we think can really help you starting this new journey on the right foot and won’t discourage you in your effort!
For us it was simple: the first product that had to go was conventional deodorants.
To start with, their packaging is often made of plastic, is hard to recycle (think of the mixed glass and plastic rollers) or comes in aerosol cans, which contains substances like isobutane that are disruptive for the ozone and definitely not great to inhale every day.
Secondly, your armpits are designed to sweat to help your body eliminate toxins, which is what might cause some sweat odor. However, using anti-perspirants products that block this process cannot certainly be considered a good thing for your body in the long run.
There’s been a lot of talks about the effect that these ingredients might have on your body, with some research even linking them to breast cancer.
For these reasons, we started to look for a deodorant that was plastic free, as low waste as possible and possibly organic and oh-boy, the list of brands we tried is quite long! This was mainly because the products we tested were either plastic-free but not entirely non-toxic, were organic but came in a standard plastic roller, were natural but in a paste form which we don’t particularly love because it can get messy (especially with children). Or were ticking all the boxes but were not working at all.
What we finally settle down for were the Chagrin Valley Deodorants, an US based company that specializes in organic body care products, from soaps to shampoos to, luckily for us, deodorants! They are packed in a compostable paper push up tube and come in 5 different fragrances with some inspiring names such as Summer Rain or Woodland Breeze… we love keeping them in rotation depending on the season!
If this is not enough to convince you, these are some more pros of adopting a plastic free deodorant in your life:
We have an admission to make: we are a couple of clean freaks. Probably facilitated by not having children running free in our home, a generous amount of our free time is spent cleaning (mostly after our cat), doing laundry and tidying up.
In saying that, we have been initially a bit cautious to switch over to eco-friendlier cleaning products, probably misguided by the misconception that they would not work well or efficiently enough.
But it quickly became obvious that the more we use a non-sustainable product, the greater our impact would be when we’d make the decision to swap it for something more natural and respectful of the environment.
There are several products we have introduced since then, but there are two we really can’t see ourselves ditching any time soon: a vegan dish soap block and compostable dish sponges.
While we could probably use the dishwasher more, we admit we often wash our dishes by hand and for many reasons: being only two of us, it takes us forever to fill up the dishwasher and we would often find ourselves digging something out of it because we needed it again before it had a chance to get washed. Mostly though, it’s undeniable that washing by hand is much gentler on your cutlery, glasses and dishes and helps your pans last longer (especially if you still have those with a non-stick coating). We are very careful in minimizing the amount of water we use and know we can trust our vegan dish soap block to do its work.
Beside the fact that there is one less plastic bottle in our home, the soap block from No Tox Life we chose is vegan, made without palm oil and with added aloe vera to be gentle on your hands. It’s a real cleaning powerhouse with a rich, sudsy lather: beside cutting stubborn grime and grease on dishes, pots and pans, it also takes stains out of laundry, labels off of jars, spots clean your carpet and so on…
The perfect pair for it are compostable bamboo scrubbers, loofah sponges and compostable dish cloths. We vary between them depending on the dirt’s level of stubbornness: the scrubbers, made with bamboo handles and natural bristles, are perfect for those cooking accidents where half of your dinner get stuck on your pans.
The loofah sponge is so fascinating to use! Comes as a tiny thin layer of loofah (a plant native to center and south America) that gets at least 3 times bigger in contact with water. Beside saving transportation costs thanks to being so compact, we love the Zero Waste MVMT sponges because they come with no packaging and they’re a totally natural product that works exactly as your normal dish sponges (which are instead made of plastic). They also have a handy hook that allows you to hang them to your faucet and helps them dry faster to avoid possible mold. We use them to wash glasses, cutlery and dishes.
Lastly, we usually wipe our sinks and countertops with Swedish dish cloths, and we were ever so glad to switch ours for a compostable alternative that looks and works exactly the same! Made from a blend of cotton and natural cellulose, they are super absorbent (around 15x to 20x their own weight), machine washable (up to 200 times), and when you’re done with them, they can go in the compost. We went for the Goldrick ones because they come in a pack of 4 of super cute botanical prints.
When it comes to your pantry, the biggest way to reduce your environmental impact is to reduce your food waste. For this reason, it’s important to plan your weekly meals to avoid buying unnecessary extra ingredients and to store them correctly.
Even if we automatically think that storing everything in the fridge, and possibly still wrapped in their plastic packaging it’s the best way to preserve food, this is not always the case.
Think about onions, potatoes and tomatoes for example, which prefer to be stored in a dark and dry cupboard or of fresh herbs, which can last longer if stored upright in a glass with a bit of water and so on.
The biggest learning for us was that plastic cling wrap is actually not good for your food and is a big waste culprit in your kitchen.
As your food naturally mature, it emits gasses that, in turn, accelerate the ripening process. To keep food alive, it is necessary to store it in a material that allows it to live and breath and your standard plastic cling wrap doesn’t do that. It actually entraps these gasses making the food going all smelly, gooey and rotten if left there for too long.
Moreover, did you know that plastic cling wrap cannot be recycled if you put it in your yellow bin? Now you understand why it was imperative for us to replace it with a more sustainable alternative.
Thankfully we have found two products that helped us preserving our food a bit longer and eliminate the waste.
The first has been Beeswax Foodwraps, a cotton cloth infused beeswax that becomes malleable and self-adhesive with the heat of your hands and can be wrapped around anything: from bunches of herbs, half-cut onions, blocks of cheese, homemade bread, and everything in between. We have chosen the Abeego wraps, made with beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil infused into a hemp and organic cotton cloth, which have actually been the inventors of the beeswax concept! This is why we knew they had to be goo and boy, they did not disappoint!
The second lifesaver in our kitchen has been a compostable cling wrap: it looks exactly as the plastic one, but it’s made either out of corn or fossil materials and can decompose in your compost bin after being used! How about that for a sustainable change, right? Beware, though, of all the wraps now being sold as greener options which are instead made of a combination of plastic and natural materials: they can’t be composted and won’t fully decompose in the landfill either, leaving traces of micro plastic behind which are very dangerous for the wildlife and marine animals if it enters the waterways.
Our preference, in terms of durability and performance is the Rotofresh cling wrap, made in Italy from renewable resources. We found that the film lasts longer and it’s easy to use too by being pre-scored, which eliminate the need for integrating a plastic cutter in the packaging.
We are true believers that becoming more sustainable has to be something easy for everybody, regardless from how busy our lives are or how big the family is, and we hope that our humble suggestions will help you make the switch too!
Biocasa started as a project to detox our home, rebuilding our lifestyle with carefully selected products that were kinder to the planet. Once we found products that we truly loved, we decided to officially launch our website, to help other families undergoing the same journey. Everything has been carefully curated by us from products around the world to ensure the very best for your family, and for the earth! Today, Biocasa still operates on two credos: sustainability made easy, and leaving nothing behind. With Biocasa, we hope to help families just like ours to overall build a cleaner, healthier world for future generations
Browse our directory to find more eco-friendly alternatives for your home.