My Sustainable Shopping List to Reduce Plastic

One of my new year resolutions in 2018: come up a shopping list of sustainable brands and ethical brands. After I start searching for products, I found that many certificates fall into ethical category: BPI Certified Compostable, Certified B Corp, cruelty-free, fair trade, and so many more. Looking at my house (well, more like looking at my trash), the most impactful actions I could start with are: reducing single use plastic and using products made with recycled materials.

We all know those tricks: bring your own water bottles, bring your shopping bags, and so on. I did all those, but I want to do more with the power of purchase decisions. The main criteria to pick the products are:

1. affordable price
2. easy to get (at least available online and ship to USA)
3. reputable certificates
4. most households use them everyday.

So here is my shopping list focusing on replacing single use plastic and using products made with 100 % recycled materials (other products of cruelty-free, FSC, fair-trade and so on are coming up. I will try my best to write them soon)

IF you don’t have time to read through product reviews and where to find deals, here are the list of products:

BioBag compostable & Resealable Sandwich Bags

BioBag compostable & Resealable Gallon Bags

If You Care Recycled Aluminum Foil

Trader Joe’s Waxed Cotton Food Wrap

Eco Products Plantware® Cutlery and GreenStripe® Cold Cups

Repurpose Compostables cutlery

susty party

Green Toys

Rothy’s

Preserve

Fab Habitat Plastic Rugs

Most products can be found with cheaper price at  EarthHero.com, Vitacost and LuckyVitamin.com, especially during Black Friday sale. Subscribe to their newsletters to get deals such as 20% off site wide, 15% entire order & free shipping, or extra 15% off top brands, or forget about subscribe, just follow their newsletters at Groota app.


And here goes the reviews and where to buy

BioBag Compostable & Resealable Sandwich Bags & Gallon Bags

BioBag Sandwich bags
BioBag Sandwich bags

I use them to replace ziplock. They are more sturdy than ziplock. You can completely wash them inside out, and therefore they are reusable. In my case each bag can be reused for a few months. BioBag has many compostable products, and hands down sandwich bags are my favorite.

My favorite place to buy: EarthHero.com. Price is a bit cheaper than Amazon, but it’s tax-free to buy from them online and ship to my state. Subscribe to their newsletter to get occasional free shipping on all orders. There are tons of other ethical products you can buy from EarthHero, and they make shopping easier by putting certificate icons on product page.

If You Care Recycled Aluminum Foil

If You Care Aluminum Foil
If You Care Aluminum Foil

In my area I can recycle aluminum foil with food stains. With this 100% recycled aluminum foil, I can form a wonderful recycle-cycle 😉 I love their parchment paper too. Chlorine-free, FSC certified mix paper, and a great price (70 sq ft for 5 to 6 dollars at some websites).

My favorite place to buy: Thrive Market (if you have subscriptions), Target (availability based on locations), vitacost.com (price is usually lower than Amazon, and it’s tax-free in my state)

Trader Joe’s Waxed Cotton Food Wrap

I have BioBag for packed lunches, so why do I need waxed food wrap? Truth be told, I usually wash dishes once a week. It means I will sometimes run out clean covers to cover leftovers. I used to fall back to plastic wrap, and now I use waxed wrap. I also use them to wrap meat and fish to store in the freezer (I suggest that separating the wraps for meat and general use). You can find many waxed food wrap in the market, but Trader Joe’s Waxed Cotton Food Wrap is the best price I can find. Availability based on locations. If your local Trader Joe’s don’t carry it, you can try Bee’s Wrap, Abeego, or DIY at home.

Eco Products Plantware® Cutlery and GreenStripe® Cold Cups

Plantware® Cutlery
Plantware® Cutlery

I’ve hosted several big BBQ parties where my own silverwares and mugs are not enough for everyone. Before I found Eco Products I have no choice but use plastic utensils and cups. Eco Products’ Plantware utensils and GreenStripe Cups are BPI certified compostable. I’ve seen these products in local restaurants, so you can rest sure that they have good heat tolerance and they are durable. Bonus point: they can be reused many times.

My favorite place to buy: their online store at https://www.ecoproductsstore.com. It seems that you can only get these products from wholesales, so I just place orders on their site and pay the shipping.

Repurpose Compostables cutlery

repurpose compostable utensils
repurpose compostable utensils

Like Eco Products’ cutlery, they are durable with great heat tolerance. This is a good choice if you don’t want to buy big quantities. Some online stores such as Amazon can ship free with Prime.

My favorite place to buy: vitacost.com (tax-free at my state), luckyvitamin.com (tax-free at my state)

susty party

susty party utensils
susty party utensils

If you are looking for cute looking utensils for the party, try susty party products. The only place to shop susty is Amazon.

Green Toys

Green Toys
Green Toys

What’s more to say? Safe and cute toys with 100% recycled materials.

My favorite place to buy: Amazon, not the best price but it sells most of the varieties. If you have specific toy in mind, google the product name and you might find better price at Newegg, Overstocks.com or local Target.

Rothy’s

Rothy's
Rothy’s

Ok, these shoes are pricy, but not only they are made with 100% recycled water bottles, their shoes are insta-worthy and washable. And they are super durable.

Preserve

preserve tablewares
preserve tablewares

Toothbrushes, tablewares, and most plastic products they sell are made with 100% recycled plastics. Bonus point: a lot of them are recycled #5 plastics. If you have been recycling plastics, you would know very few waste management company take recycle #5.

My favorite place to buy: vitacost.com (no-tax at my state, occasional discounts)

Fab Habitat Plastic Rugs

FabHabitat rugs
Fab Habitat rugs

The rugs are made of plastic, so there are many obvious benefits out front: suitable for indoors and outdoors, mold and mildew resistant, and kids can sit on it and eat and get messy. Options of modern styles and colors are plenty, like this one, and 6′ x 9′ for $115 is a good price for a rug. Shipping cost depends on the location. To ship to my state it costs extra $20.

Recover

Recover fleece
Recover fleece

When you think of ethical or sustainable apparel, what comes in mind first? For me, five dollar signs (where Old Navy is one dollar sign). I understand they will be more expensive than Old Navy, but $100 a shirt? No,  that’s too much even for a person like me who rather spend money on ethical products than luxury goods. Recover is by far the best place to go when it comes to price and materials. Adult T-shirt is between $20-$30, Kids T-shirt costs $15, and an adult hoody is around $50. Let me know if you find other apparel brands that offer the similar price point & made with recycled materials, because I would also like to buy blouse, pants and scarves 😉

 

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What does compostable means

More consumers are aware of the threats that plastic brought to our environment, and products with labels of “compostable” and “biodegradable” are getting popular. To make things less confusing, BPI, a non-profit organization, issues certifications based on ASTM test methods and specifications, similar to European specifications being used. In short, if you see BPI certified compostable, that means the products are compostable in industrial facilities. Most landfills in USA is air-tight and nothing decompose, not even compostable products. Lucky for us, in many urban areas in USA, such as Seattle, you can put compostable products in curbside trash bins (In Seattle, the trash bin is marked with ‘compost’, the one you put food and yard waste). For more information on landfills, read this article from BPI, and to figure out if you have industrial facilities to handle compostable products, ask your local waste management company or search your zip code here. In most cases, if your local waste management company takes food waste and yard waste to compost site, you can put compostable products in that bin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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