Swapping for sustainability

in Opinion by
According to the Evelve Project, the average American throws out 500 Ziploc bags a year. (Graphic/ Emily Anderson)

With so many distractions in our lives, it can be hard to focus on changing our habits. However, as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, this time at home could allow us to practice habits that are not only better for us, but also the environment. In this list, I have compiled 5 sustainable swaps for more wasteful products to make sustainability a little easier. 

Plastic Sandwich Bags

As many of us know, plastic bags contribute a lot of waste to landfills. In fact, according to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, Americans use around 500 billion plastic bags each year, meaning the average American family uses around 1,500 plastic bags a year. One way to reduce the amount of plastic bags we consume is to invest in not only reusable grocery bags, but also sandwich bags. The company Stasher bags creates reusable silicone bags that resemble single-use sandwich bags, but without the waste. Stasher also has a program that allows customers to send their bags back to the company to be repurposed at the end of their lives.


According to National Geographic, nearly a billion toothbrushes get thrown out every year. Because most single-use toothbrushes require petroleum in production and can’t biodegrade, they contribute a lot of waste to landfills. Bamboo toothbrushes make great alternatives to plastic and also can be recycled as plant labels in the garden. Companies like Wild Minimalist and the Package Free Shop have great options for bamboo toothbrushes. 

Body Wash

According to 2017 research from Reduce Plastic Waste, 238 million Americans use body wash in disposable bottles. A more sustainable alternative to body wash is bar soap. However, it is important to find a bar soap that does not have plastic wrapping because the plastic is usually not recyclable. Some brands that use sustainable packaging include Moon Rivers Naturals and Meow Meow Tweet. If you still prefer body wash over bar soap, there are sustainable stores that refill your personal containers with the body wash of your choice. Verde Market is a great low-waste shop for anyone who lives in the Miami area.

As a senior, Emily spends her second year on staff as both a copy editor and entertainment editor. Outside newspaper, Emily plays violin in the school orchestra and leads Dead Poets Society as president. When she's not at school, however, Emily enjoys writing poetry, repeatedly watching the same movies and, sometimes, succeeding in her goal of reading five books a week.