According to Grove Collaborative's 2020 Sustainability Report, the ocean is contaminated with up to 24 billion pounds of plastic every year. In the report, Grove looked at how plastic-free products, for starters, might make a difference. But where can the average consumer start? Danielle Jezienicki, Grove's Head of Sustainability, tells Hunker that it's all about looking at "where you're using the most plastic."
Jecnezki mentions, for example, the plastic clamshells that are used to hold greens. If you have several of those in your bin, consider buying unpackaged greens instead. You can even use your own reusable produce bags or containers to do so.
And it's important to think about the possible impact of glass, aluminum, and cardboard — alternatives we might naturally gravitate towards.
"There are trade-offs to those things — there might be a higher carbon footprint because they're heavier," she says. "So just look at what has the least amount of packaging, in general, whether it's aluminum or glass."
To help you get started on this journey, we selected several plastic-alternative bottles, containers, and household products. But don't feel like you have to make these changes all at once — find what works best for you.
If you want to cut out multiple single-use plastic containers in one fell swoop, Blueland's Everyday Clean Kit provides you with three acrylic spray bottles, one glass foaming hand soap bottle, one silicone dish soap shaker, and one steel dishwasher tablet tin. Plus, the kit also comes with three cleaning tablets, one hand soap tablet, 16 ounces of powder dish soap, and 40 dishwasher tablets — so you'll have both the containers and zero waste products to fill them with.
If you prefer to use your own DIY household cleaners or cleaning concentrates, you can easily store them in a glass spray bottle from Grove Collaborative. It comes with a non-slip silicone sleeve and also features multiple colors (so you can use one color for each cleaning product, if you'd like).
By Humankind created a refillable glass mouthwash cup that can be sealed with a silicone storage piece. It's also perfect for traveling — just place your mouthwash tablets in the storage part and you're good to go.
You can switch out your plastic water bottles for a single stainless steel bottle from S'well. It's designed to keep beverages cool or hot, and according to the product description, the 25 ounce version can hold an entire bottle of wine. Cheers!
When it comes to eliminating single-use plastics that contain bath and body products, you'll want to give Plaine Products a try. Their starter kit contains four aluminum-packaged products — travel shampoo and conditioner, hand wash, and body lotion. The products can easily be refilled by the company — they'll provide a return label or replace via a subscription. The products are also sold individually.
This amber glass soap dispenser can be used for anything — lotion, shampoo, you name it. You can fill it up at your local bulk store or with a product you made yourself at home.
These stainless steel containers can be used to store pantry items, on-the-go snacks, or even leftovers in the fridge or freezer. They can be used to replace plastic food storage containers and plastic bags.
Made of recycled glass, this swing-top bottle can be used for oils, extracts, homemade cleaning products, and more. It's another great item that can be refilled at a bulk store.
Aside from this face cleanser (which comes in a glass or metal bottle), Meow Meow tweet offers plenty of face, hair, and body products that are plastic-free. Their deodorant sticks, for instance, come in biodegradable paper packaging.
If mason jars aren't your thing (especially when it comes to bulk shopping), Life Without Plastic's cotton bulk bags can be filled, tied shut, and folded for easy storage.
With the weight displayed on the outside of these jars, they are perfect for bulk shopping. Just fill them with whatever you'd like and take them right up to the cashier — no weighing necessary!
Anna is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who covers lifestyle and design content for Hunker. She's written for Apartment Therapy, the L.A. Times, Forge, and more. She previously worked as the lifestyle editor at HelloGiggles and deputy editor at So Yummy. Her email: firstname.lastname@example.org