bottle of multi purpose cleaner on a counter next to cutting board

27 Easy Sustainable Swaps You Can Make This Year

Sustainable swaps are items or practices that you can swap out to replace ones that are less beneficial to the environment. Making these swaps and adopting a sustainable lifestyle is much easier than you think, and a few small efforts can make a big impact on the planet for future generations. Hive’s here to help you build a sustainable lifestyle with a swarm of simple hacks and easy swaps you can make this year.   

1. Swap for More Plant-Based Foods 

Swapping more plant-based foods into your diet can be much more fun than just having a big bowl of greens for dinner. From plant-based milk and cheese to proteins, there are so many satisfying sustainable swaps that can benefit the environment — and your tastebuds. 

While rotating more plant-based foods into your diet can help improve your personal health, it has an impact on the health of the environment, too. Plant-based food production uses fewer natural resources, less land, less water, and reduces the amount of greenhouse gasses that contribute to climate change.   

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Elmhurst 1925 Pistachio Milk

2. Swap for Sustainable Laundry Detergent

Did you know many of the leading laundry detergents are made from synthetic chemicals? Some chemical residue can stay on your clothes while some drain with the wastewater from your washing machine — and can make their way into the environment. On top of that, detergents typically come in heavy plastic packaging that takes a lot of natural resources to produce and can end up in the landfill.

Make the swap to sustainable laundry detergents made from non-toxic ingredients, like baking soda, washing soda, and vegetable soap. Powdered detergents (versus a similar water-based liquid detergent) can even help reduce the carbon footprint of shipping. Some brands like Meliora go the extra mile and package their powdered detergent in 100% recyclable cardboard and paper containers. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Meliora Laundry Powder

3. Swap for Compostable Food Wraps

Pass on the plastic and bring in beeswax and compostable cling wraps for a sustainable way to wrap and cover food. Beeswax wraps are washable and reusable, and once they reaches their end, they're even compostable. For Good offers another compostable cling wrap option that leaves no trace of microplastics after it breaks down. This sustainable swap puts a wrap on single-use plastics that contain toxins like PVC and dioxin that are linked to health issues. Who wants to wrap their food in that?

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Bee’s Wrap Reusable Food Wraps

4. Swap for Reusable Bags 

reusable shopping bags full of fruit apples oranges lemons limes bananas

Looking to shop sustainably at the grocery store? It’s in the bag. Reusable shopping bags are one of the easiest and most beneficial swaps for the environment. They keep plastic out of landfills and reduce the use of fossil fuels that make them. Some states have even banned plastic shopping bags entirely, making the swap a necessity for certain people. 

Picking a reusable bag that pops with color or is decorated with a quote or art you love is half the fun. Some stores even reward you with a discount for bringing your own bag. Keep a few bags by the door and make a habit to snatch them on the way out!

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Ecobags Tote Bag

5. Swap for Reusable Utensils

Stop forkin’ around, and prioritize reusable utensils. Each year, forty billion plastic forks, spoons, and knives are thrown away after only one use, ending up in landfills and oceans. We’re moving in the right direction with 61% of consumers saying they reduced their single-use plastics from 2020 to 2021. Keep it up! 

Reusable utensils made from stainless steel are the perfect swap for easy sustainability. When getting takeout, refuse the single-use plastic utensils most restaurants automatically include and pack a reusable utensil set instead. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: W&P Utensil Set

6. Swap for Compostable Sponges

Make the swap to compostable sponges for a sustainable sink. Not only do plant-based, compostable sponges reduce waste to zero, but each one can also do the work of 30 paper towel rolls. Compostable sponges are made from materials like natural luffa, wood pulp, and hemp, which makes them break down completely within a month after use. When you’re done, simply toss it in the compost bin and return it to the earth.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Sqwishful Plant-Based Sponge

7. Swap for Reusable Coffee Filters

Brewing coffee at home can save a lot of waste if you make the right choices. If you have a single-cup coffee maker, swap your single-use coffee pods for reusable ones. For traditional coffee makers, invest in washable, reusable coffee filters or compostable coffee filters that significantly minimize waste. 

Getting your coffee to go? Coffee shops love making your latte in your reusable coffee cup so make bringing one with you a part of your morning routine.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: GDS Cloth Goods Organic Reusable Coffee Filter

8. Swap for Bamboo Toothbrush

Want to see Mother Nature smile? Swap your traditional toothbrush for a better option: bamboo. Bamboo is a fast-growing, renewable resource, so look for a toothbrush with a bamboo handle and BPA-free nylon bristles that come in compostable or recyclable packaging. 

Most plastic toothbrushes get tossed in the trash and find their way to landfills. Instead, try repurposing your old toothbrushes into cleaning tools for detailing tight corners and hard-to-reach places.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: PANGA Bamboo Toothbrush

9. Swap for Bar Soap

whispering willow soap on a wooden soap dish and wooden table with leaves

Every year, over 1 billion plastic soap bottles are thrown away. Swapping from body washes packaged in plastic to bar soaps can significantly reduce that plastic waste. With recyclable or compostable packaging, bar soaps can be almost completely waste-free. 

Many of the body washes you find on your grocery store shelves are full of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens. Stop pouring toxic chemicals on your body (and down the drain!), and switch to bar soaps made from organic ingredients. Your skin will thank you.

What Hive is currently buzzing about Whispering Willow Lemongrass Bar Soap

10. Swap for Bamboo Towels

Paper products like tissues, toilet paper, and paper towels can produce a lot of waste, so why not swap them out for the sustainable superhero — bamboo? Bamboo towels are washable and can be there for you, spill after spill. Once a sheet has reached the end of its lifecycle, it’s completely compostable.

Bamboo towels come in a roll and fit on your existing paper towel holder for that same quick-grab convenience. One sheet of reusable bamboo towels equates to an entire roll of paper towels, so while you’re saving the environment, you’re also saving a few bucks.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Full Circle Bamboo Towels

11. Swap for Reusable Food Storage

Reusable products make sustainable options for storing food a simple swap. Pack your lunch with reusable Zip Top bags (that can replace 5,000 plastic bags!) or store leftovers in reusable containers. You can even repurpose jars to store sauces, soups, and other liquids.

Out to dinner? Pack a reusable container for your leftovers or dessert to go instead of using non-sustainable takeout boxes made from styrofoam or plastic. It’s a piece of cake.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Solo Rectangle Stainless Steel Food Container by ECOlunchbox

12. Swap for Bamboo Bandages

With 1 in 4 people having an allergic reaction to common bandage adhesives, someone in your home likely needs this swap. Traditional bandages are made from wasteful plastics and materials that can irritate your skin. Switching to compostable bamboo bandages saves you from allergens and chemicals while saving the environment from unnecessary waste.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: PATCH Kids Bamboo Bandages

13. Swap for Reusable Water Bottles 

Quench your thirst for sustainability by swapping for a reusable water bottle. Plastic water bottles take hundreds of years to break down, then become microplastics that leak into the water supply. If everyone reduced their plastic consumption and swapped to a reusable water bottle, it would prevent the use of over 400 billion plastic water bottles per year.

When exposed to heat, chemicals found in plastic water bottles, like BPA, can leach into the water inside. Not only is that bad for your health but it can even taste like plastic. Metal and glass reusable water bottles are free of those icky chemicals and maintain the fresh taste of the water you put into them. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: SOMA Glass Water Bottle

14. Swap for Shade-Grown Coffee

people drinking coffee with coffee mugs and pot of coffee on a table

Coffee is one of the most chemically-treated crops in the world. Because the demand is so high for these magic beans, many companies sacrifice sustainable agriculture methods to maximize their yield. Swapping for shade-grown coffee helps avoid harmful growing practices while, some say, achieving a better flavor.

Grown beneath a canopy of tall trees that provide nutrients to the coffee plants and soil, shade-grown coffee receives natural pest protection from the ecosystem. It also creates plant, animal, and organism biodiversity for a positive impact on the environment.  Make the swap for coffee brands like Larry’s Coffee that source shade-grown, organic beans directly from fair trade, sustainable sources to filter out the bad stuff so you can start your day with a hot cup of the good stuff. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Bad Kitty Blend by Larry’s Coffee

15. Swap for Upcycled Goods 

Upcycled foods take extra or unused parts of food that would otherwise be wasted and repurpose them to make something better. For example, Uglies takes the misshapen and unwanted potatoes from local sources and uses them to make kettle chips. It’s not limited to food — even some personal care brands use upcycled produce as ingredients in their plant-based products.

Brands like these save tons of waste (literally) while using fewer resources to make their products. Swap for upcycled products made from organic ingredients as a sustainable solution to help eliminate waste.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Renewal Mill Upcycled Snickerdoodle Cookie Mix

16. Swap for Sustainable Bug Repellent

The chemicals in traditional insect repellents won’t just bug you — they could be harmful to you, your family, and your pets. Since plants can naturally protect themselves from insects, it makes sense to use plant-based ingredients in your bug repellent. Swap for sustainable bug repellents that use organic ingredients like essential oils and witch hazel to keep your skin and the environment safe this summer

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Bug Repellent Spray

17. Swap for Bamboo Diapers

Disposable diapers are made from plastics and petroleum-based materials that create massive landfill waste, pollute the environment and the air, and contribute to ozone depletion. 

If cloth diapers are out of the question, try swapping to bamboo diapers, a sustainable solution to synthetic materials. Not only is bamboo great for the environment, but they are also just as comfortable on your baby’s skin as traditional diapers. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: DYPER Bamboo Diapers

18. Swap for Sustainable Deodorant

Does your deodorant pass the sustainability sniff test? Not only do many deodorants and antiperspirants include common toxic ingredients, but many have added fragrance formulations that can contain various unknown ingredients. Additionally, deodorant is usually packaged in hard plastics that aren’t reusable, recyclable, or biodegradable.

Swap to sustainable deodorants that use organic ingredients like cornstarch, which absorbs sweat naturally, and non-synthetic fragrances. You can also find deodorants packaged in sustainable, recyclable materials and even bars without packaging. If your deodorant doesn’t check these boxes, odds are it stinks.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve Bug Summer Rain Deodorant Stick

19. Swap for Composting

full circle compost bin on a kitchen counter surrounded by white flowers

Composting converts your food scraps, coffee grounds, yard waste, and more into mulch and fertilizer that boosts soil health with rich nutrients. Instead of sending this unwanted waste to the landfill, try repurposing these items and returning them to the earth for a great sustainable swap 

Composting can help reduce harmful greenhouse gasses like methane. You can invest in your own compost collector for your home or search for local composting services near you.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Full Circle Counter Top Compost Collector

20. Swap for Sustainable Sunscreen

Don’t get burned by non-sustainable sunscreens that are packed with toxic ingredients. Many standard sunscreens include chemicals that absorb into the skin and can cause allergic reactions and irritation. Look for sunscreens made from natural ingredients and essential oils for chemical-free fun in the sun.

In addition, an estimated 14,000 tons of sunscreen wash into the ocean, and these chemicals cause damage to coral reefs around the world. Make the swap to sustainable, reef-safe sunscreen to protect yourself, our aquatic friends, and their habitats. 

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Little Hands Hawaii Tinted Face and Body Sunscreen SPF 35

21. Swap for Non-Toxic Cleaners

Swapping out cleaners made from harsh chemicals in non-recyclable packaging for sustainable, non-toxic cleaning products can make an enormous positive impact on the environment. Sustainable brands like Dr. Bronner’s make organic Castile soaps that can be used to clean everything like floors, counters, dishes, and even your body. 

For DIY options, you can mix your own sustainable cleaning solutions out of ingredients like baking soda and white vinegar. The acidic properties of lemon juice makes a great natural cleaning alternative for harsh chemicals (and smells great too). Don’t forget the compostable sponges!

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Dr. Bronner’s Lavender Pure-Castile Liquid Soap

22. Swap for Bulk Foods

Stock up on pantry essentials and dry goods like rice, nuts, and spices by buying in bulk. This sustainable swap cuts down on packaging and food waste that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Bulk shopping usually means fewer trips to the store, further reducing your carbon footprint. As a bonus, bulk shopping is usually better for your budget.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Shār - Impossibly Good Trail Mix (Bulk Bag)

23. Swap for Sustainable Dog Treats

Most owners don’t know that a lot of dog treats are made from chemical-filled ingredients and unsavory byproducts. Common ingredients to avoid in dog treats include BHA and BHT which have been linked to cancer and banned from human consumption. If it’s dangerous for you, it’s probably dangerous for your furry friends.

Instead, swap to sustainable dog treats that are transparent about their natural and organic ingredients. Look for treats made by sustainable companies that go the extra mile for your pooch and the planet.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Chippin Superfood Dog Treats

24. Swap for Essential Oils

bottle of essential oils on a bed of rosemary

Essential oils have been around for centuries, being used by ancient civilizations for aromatherapy and healing. Swap out chemical-filled air fresheners for single-source essential oils to make your sustainable home smell amazing. Your nose will tell you — natural scents even smell better than synthetic fragrances.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Soli Rosemary Essential Oil

25. Swap for Trash Bag Alternatives

The most sustainable trash bag is the one you don’t use. However, since they are a necessity for many households, it’s essential to make the right choices regarding the materials that comprise the trash bags you buy. Swap for recycled-content trash bags to boost the market for recycled materials or plastic made from plant-based sources to lower dependence on fossil fuels.

On average, each person uses 83 plastic bags every year that can end up in the landfill. Make the swap for trash bag alternatives now and start reducing the amount of plastic waste on the planet.  

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Compostable Bin Bags by Repurpose

26. Swap for Bamboo Dental Floss

Conventional floss is made from non-biodegradable, petroleum-based plastics that can take between 50 and 80 years to decompose, and even longer for the plastic container. Floss picks have a more significant negative impact on the environment with their plastic handles being thrown away after a single use. Switching to bamboo dental floss might be an easier task than actually remembering to floss every day, but making the swap to bamboo will benefit your dental health and the planet.

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Terra & Co. Bamboo Charcoal Dental Floss

27. Swap for Recycled Goods

Recycling is tried-and-true and something that everyone can do. Many people often think of recycling in terms of packaging, but there are several other ways recycling helps with sustainability. You can buy goods made from recycled materials like toothbrushes and paper products — some brands even recycle plastic to make sustainable clothing

What Hive is currently buzzing about: Who Gives a Crap Recycled Toilet Paper

Start Swapping When You’re Shopping

hive box open on kitchen counter with sustainable products inside

Your sustainable choices have a direct impact on the planet. Hive is here to help you on your way with our sustainable grocery store designed to help make the better choice the easy choice.

What are you waiting for? Check out Hive’s Sustainability Starters so you can start swapping while you’re shopping.

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