How can we stop plastic pollution from filling our oceans and endangering wildlife and the environment? Simple: Every one of us, from world leaders and corporate leaders to individuals, needs to take urgent action to reduce how we use and dispose of plastic.
It can seem like a big ask at first, with everything seemingly wrapped up in plastic from food to everyday household products. The good news is that there are eco-conscious brands that want to reduce the amount of plastic you bring home. Finding replacements you can trust can feel overwhelming, but it helps if you know where to start looking.
According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, humans produce over 330 million tons of plastic waste every year, and most of this ends up in landfills and our natural environment. In fact, only 9% of all plastic waste ever created has been recycled — so we can’t rely on recycling. We also have to reduce the amount of plastic waste we generate.
Like any environmental issue, the responsibility can’t be solely on individual people. But implementing and adopting eco-friendly spending habits helps show governments and corporations that the people want plastic-free products. So flex your buying power and start at the individual level by taking our plastic-free pledge here — and you can also join us in taking action here to call on governments, corporations, and philanthropists to do their part for the environment too.
To help you kickstart your plastic-free journey, we asked Global Citizens to tell us about their favorite plastic-free products that have helped them be more environmentally-friendly every day.
Here are 10 of the best plastic-free products, as recommended by Global Citizens.
1. Reusable grocery bags
Opt out of plastic bags at the market. Grab a tote bag — charity and thrift stores and online marketplaces like Etsy are great places to look, or learn how to make your own! Natasha Jhala, Global Citizen’s director of global marketing and loyalty program, can’t go anywhere without stylish reusable grocery bags from Baggu.
2. Package-free haircare
Shampoos and conditioners typically come in plastic bottles, which can be a nightmare for anyone looking to cut plastic waste out of their bathroom. Here are some plastic-free recommendations worthy of the swap.
The zero-waste shop Package Free also has multiple options for package-free haircare. And if you’re not a fan of bar soaps for hair, the shop also carries refillable conditioners (packaged in aluminum) that are vegan and chemical free. Opt out of the pump and go for the cap for a fully plastic-free conditioner.
3. Reusable drinking straws
Plastic straws litter our oceans, causing harm to wildlife and are polluting our environment. How have Global Citizens solved this everyday problem?
From Canada, Twitter user @tamtam7791 recommends FinalStraw, a collapsible metal straw with a silicone tip, carrying case, and cleaning brush. FinalStraw has everything you need to start cutting disposable straws out of your life.
4. Plastic-free dish soap
Looking for a plastic-free dish soap? Timea Dancs, Global Citizen’s art director, recommends Zero Waste Outlet.
Zero Waste Outlet offers a plastic-free vegan dish-washing block that can last you up to six months of use. You can also purchase its three-piece dish-washing kit that includes the soap block, a palm pot scrub brush, and a bamboo soap dish.
5. Reusable water bottles
From Twitter, @WiseLionMan in the US shouted out a favorite plastic-free item: the classic stainless steel water bottle.
6. Reusable and plastic-free food storage and service
Twitter user @btsarmystreamer wants to see more plastic-free businesses like Australia’s Precycle Pantry. Precycle Pantry’s goal is to cut down on plastic waste by providing sustainable grocery shopping. The shop uses compostable paper bags and glass bottles to deliver its food products, which include pantry essentials such as flour, nuts, grains, pasta, dried fruit, and spices. There are three options for shopping with Precycle Pantry: order online, book a community refill, or visit its mobile shop at your local market.
You can also switch out your single-use saran wrap for some sturdy, reusable Bee’s Wrap — another great recommendation from Art Director Dancs. The wrap comes in various sizes and funky prints and is reusable and biodegradable.
7. Eco-friendly menstrual products
Periods can get wasteful. From plastic tampon applicators to plastic-wrapped pads, menstrual products are designed for waste. Global Citizen writer Leah Rodriguez, who writes about women and girls and water and sanitation, suggests plastic-free menstrual cups.
While the popular menstrual cup the DivaCup is made with silicone, it’s the most waste-eliminating option for menstrual hygiene. The cup comes in different sizes for different ages and flows. Washable, reusable, and chemical-free, the DivaCup gives users up to 12 hours of protection and is a cost-effective and eco-friendly solution to disposable period products.
8. Make laundry day plastic-free
Liquid laundry detergents packaged in plastic containers can be easily switched out for more environmentally friendly, natural soaps. Global Citizen Chief of Staff Blaec von Kalweit loves the plastic-free options from his friend’s store, The Waste Less Shop.
The Waste Less Shop carries the Tangie Laundry Paste Bar, a plastic-free alternative to average liquid soaps. The bar is made with 10 simple ingredients and dissolves to create refillable laundry detergent that lasts over 500 loads.
9. Waste-free skincare accessories
Disposable cotton rounds and their plastic packaging are wasteful. Von Kalweit also recommends The Waste Less Shop for reusable facial rounds, which come in two colors for different applications. The rounds come with a wash bag to keep things clean and plastic-free. An additional alternative to wasteful cotton rounds comes from the plastic-free shop Last Round, another recommendation from Rodriguez.
Rodriguez also recommends switching out plastic shaving razors for reusable metal razors with replaceable blades instead. Her go-to choice is the Vikings Blade Safety Razor.
10. Plastic-free oral hygiene
Twitter user @SciTeacherMsJ had multiple recommendations for keeping your teeth healthy and plastic-free.
@SciTeacherMsJ uses the bamboo toothbrush from Zero Waste Cartel, which comes in packs of 10 and also has options for kids.
Bite Toothpaste Bits, meanwhile, is @SciTeacherMsJ’s plastic-free tooth care of choice. The bits, which can replace your plastic toothpaste tube, come in a refillable glass jar and are a great first step to making your daily routines plastic-free.
You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.