Simple Earth Friendly Household Swaps to Feel Good About

Saving the planet sounds like a big job. It’s not an undertaking designed for one person and a single, swooping grand gesture won’t magically undo decades worth of water pollution, carbon emission, or overwhelmed landfills. What will make a huge impact is a collection of small acts of kindness from everyday living- the National Ocean Service recommends these simple choices can support the notion that “protecting the planet starts with you”. Now before you run out for an expensive compost bin or book a solar panel estimate, you may have sustainable potential already stocked in your pantry or medicine cabinet at home. Consciously using a non-toxic cleanser, opting for some zero waste personal items, or simply reusing an empty pasta sauce jar all have the power to be kind to your home environment and treat the planet with some much needed TLC.


Read on for five Earth forward tips so you can start doing some good that you can really feel good about just in time for Earth Day.

Vinegar isn’t just for BBQ

Every time I open up a bottle of vinegar, any kind, I am instantly transported to one of my favorite BBQ joints. Vinegar is usually hanging out in your pantry, waiting to start the base to a homemade vinaigrette dressing or stew in your slow cooker. The natural acidity makes it a perfect non-toxic astringent for pretty much any surface in your house. Consciously choosing a natural product like vinegar, instead of one with ammonia is not an eye or skin irritant and better for the environment, in fact the EPA provides a list of safer household products that meet these standards. For a streak free glass cleaner all you need to reach for is the vinegar and some lemons (optional). Your washing machine drum smelling a little on the funky side? Splash a ¼ cup of vinegar in with a couple sprinkles of baking soda in and let soak before the rinse cycle. The combination of vinegar and baking soda predates your science fair days but the foaming action of the two makes the perfect clogged drain remedy too (just add a round of boiling water before and after the vinegar mix).

Raising the bar on your shower routine

I am obsessed with homemade soap. On a typical grocery run, I'll rarely pass up the bath aisle without stopping for a "smell the flowers," moment. If I find a vendor who sells handcrafted soap at the farmer’s market, you know a few bars will find themselves in my bag for me or a future spa gift to a friend. There’s something so indulgent about a shea infused, rose or charcoal bar piled high in an apothecary jar, but also in demand because ditching the plastic shower gel or body wash bottles is actually a selfless step toward sustainability. Vendors are fashioning all sorts of essential beauty products normally bottled up, like shampoo, conditioner and lotion into portable, zero waste bars. No need to sweat your ounce allowance in airport security or your next camping trip because these are conveniently solids, not-likely-to-leak on you liquids.  

  Bring Your Own Bags (BYOB)

Some stores have gone so far as to ban plastic bags, while others casually incentivize bringing your own bag with a fun prize drawing (Trader Joe’s), or make your shopping experience incomplete without a reusable option (Aldi and Lidl). All of these establishments recognize the fact that these non degradable food traps have been plaguing waterways, natural habitats and are an unnecessary single use touchpoint that is begging for an alternative. Well, there’s an easy fix. We all have canvas totes, beach bags or mesh produce bags right? Put that bag to good use and bring it with you on your next grocery or errand run. I can safely say I have not had that embarrassing broken bag debacle happen to me while trusting my souvenir canvas tote to carry heavy soup or apples. That’s definitely something to feel good about.

Please Contain Yourself

Do you remember discovering an empty container as a child and jumping for joy at all the possibilities of what you could store inside? Rinsing out a pasta sauce jar has the same effect for me to this day and a big bonus is I am also doing my part in reusing resources already in my pantry to save the planet. Part of my creative energy comes from cooking for my family. Storing all my spices, flour mixes and nuts in clear containers with lids really helps me visually select the right ingredient and know what is getting low before a shopping trip. It takes the guesswork out of my process but also adds some organic beauty to my otherwise neutral kitchen space. I have recently found shoe boxes without their lids make great and (free) drawer dividers. Every item in your house has the potential of living a second life as something useful to avoid a trip to the trash can.

Natural Beauty

We all love wrinkle-free clothing, especially when we are in a hurry but due to the harsh chemicals that go into making these clothes, polyester can be a little unkind on sensitive skin- designed to be stretchy, not necessarily breathable. Polyester is made with oil (requiring 10 million barrels of it!) and when it breaks down it is reduced into non-biodegradable microplastics that remain in the ocean or on land. Organic cotton is a great option for comfort and the environment. So many brands are embracing 100% organic collections that you don’t have to compromise on style to save the planet when you make this everyday swap.


Ready to swap out some everyday essentials and start making human sized impacts that benefit the environment? Start small, but think big. You have the power to make some positive change just by reaching for a bar of soap or sporting a springy cotton tee.


Learn more about Earth Day and how to get more involved and remember to share your household swaps with us on social using hashtag #EarthDay2021.