If you want to replace everyday essentials with eco-friendly alternatives without any inconvenience, check out these below:
Dish towels and bamboo alternatives
If it doesn't have to be single-use, it probably shouldn't be. Using 100% organic cotton dish towels is a great substitute to paper towels, as you can throw them in with a load of dishes repeatedly.
If you really need paper towels, consider grabbing some made out of bamboo (which are also reusable). This version ($8.55) by Bambooee was on Shark Tank and the company plants a tree for every roll they sell.
Biodegradable trash bags
These trash bags are 100% compostable, meet the stringent requirements of municipal composting programs, and are BPI certified. For reference, they're almost half the price of Glad bags (also 13 gallon; 50-count).
Reusable grocery bags
Each year, we use an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags, which causes a lot of avoidable waste.
Using reusable grocery bags is a simple way to cut down on the habit without missing out on convenience. Some grocery stores even offer incentives for people who bring their own bags.
Earthwise Deluxe Collapsible Reusable Shopping Box Grocery Bag with Reinforced Bottom, Set of Two, $21.97
A shower timer
This shower timer helps you keep an eye on how long you spend zoned out under gushing hot water. It can help you monitor yourself, so if your goal is to cut down on water and heating energy, you've got an easy way to adjust.
Solar powered phone charger
Made of eco-friendly silicone rubber and ABS + PC material, this #1 best-seller solar charger is an eco-friendly alternative to the traditional rechargeable battery pack. It's water-resistant and shock-proof, so it can go where you go (and soak up solar power while at it).
The company notes that it is comparatively slow for the solar charger to recharge via solar power, but if you've got the time to wait or hang it on a backpacking pack on a day trip, you can get the convenience of a charger without the guilt.
Compostable cutlery and bowls
If you absolutely need disposable cutlery, why not grab some that are compostable?
FirstChoice makes a great option, and donates 10% of its annual net profits to non-profit environmental organizations. The utensils are FDA approved and are 100% biodegradable.
Outlets that actually draw zero energy when turned off
This energy-saving power switch draws zero energy when the switch is flipped off.
Belkin Conserve Energy Saving Power Switch, $17.64 [available from third-party sellers]
LED light bulbs
LEDs are up to 80% more efficient than traditional lighting options. How? 95% of the energy in LEDs is converted into light and only 5% is wasted as heat. They also use much less power, which reduces the demand on power plants and decreases the accompanying greenhouse gas emissions.
These bulbs have multiple color options and are dimmable, as well as being WiFi and Alexa enabled so you can control them by your devices.
Reusable non-plastic meal prep containers
Instead of adding more plastic, grab some glass meal prep containers for a non-toxic solution.
You may also want to look into U Konserve for their low-impact, reusable lunch containers with moveable and/or removable dividers. You can also pick up reusable sandwich bags, like these from ChicoBag or unbleached paper sandwich snack bags.
© Business Insider. Mara Leighton, Insider Picks. April 22, 2018.