Simple Swaps for Sustainable Living: These Earth-friendly products help lead the way to zero waste living

From buying second hand to avoiding takeout, choosing organic to driving electric, there are countless ways to tackle climate change and help make the Earth a better place. But the reality is, changing habits can be hard for everyone, even with the best of intentions (remember those New Year’s resolutions?)

One easy and rewarding way to make a difference is to cut our household waste – especially the amount of plastics we toss. Got a full recycling bin every week? Unfortunately, only a small percentage of those plastics actually get recycled (around nine per cent based on Canada’s latest research). In fact, across the globe, less than one-third of plastics labelled ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the bottom of containers are recycled. And, numbers ‘3’ through ‘7’ are much more difficult to repurpose. This means cutting waste means more than eliminating garbage and single use plastics, we need to cut all those plastic containers we toss into the blue bin, too. Not so easy, right?  

Inspired by this year’s Earth Day theme, Planet vs. Plastics, we asked three local eco-friendly stores to help. They recommend top products to help families curb plastic waste and adopt a more sustainable household. 

Christine Kempf is the co-founder of Mrs. Greenway which specializes in products for a low-waste lifestyle with locations in Dundas, Grimsby and Elora. “We always tell people that even one eco-friendly change makes a difference. Many of these choices end up with cost savings as well.” 

Kempf recommends “unpaper towels” by Cheeks Ahoy to replace paper towels and napkins. Made from 100 per cent recycled cotton flannel, they can be washed and reused hundreds of times before being replaced. Bonus: you can use them to shield splatter in the microwave. “Reusable paper towels means you no longer have to purchase rolls and rolls of disposable ones, saving you money in the long run,” she says. 

The bathroom is another major source of plastic waste. Did you know billions of toothbrushes end up in landfills and oceans each year? The Nada is an aluminum toothbrush with a removable brush head that’s recyclable. Its metal handle will last a lifetime, making this an ideal alternative to the conventional toothbrush that’s not recyclable in municipal programs. 

Oakville-based Maison Apothecare develops its own line of eco-friendly refillable products for the home, from cleaning formulas to skincare. Founder Natacha Rey is passionate about holistic sustainability which she says is “the practice of being intentional with all we do. Our work at Maison expresses this through our ingredients, community and impact on the planet.” 

She recommends adopting refillable formulas for the typical household duties. The store’s lineup includes an all-surface cleaner, floor cleaner, kitchen hand wash, dish liquid, laundry detergent and toilet bowl cleaner – all made with ingredients that are not tested on animals, are biodegradable, septic tank safe and do not contain hormone disruptors.  

“By purchasing refills, you actively participate in reducing waste and minimizing your carbon footprint,” says Rey. You can refill bottles on-site or purchase a five-litre refill box. “For the month of March bring back your empty bottles and get a free refill!” 

A Greener Place is a zero waste online store and refillery based in Waterdown offering an array of products to level up your sustainable lifestyle. Founder Victoria Garofalo recommends two of the store’s bestsellers to help transition to low waste living. 

Ditching the shampoo bottles that collect in the bathrooms is a great start, making shampoo bars a perfect replacement. “They’re great for traveling and they last 50 to 75 washes per bar, plus they work so well,” says Garofalo. 

Cut back on kitchen waste with Swedish sponge cloths that can be composted when done. These popular products can be thrown in the dishwasher or laundry and usually last more than six months. They come in some pretty funky designs, to boot.  

Collectively, we can make a huge difference as more individuals intentionally choose to help heal the Earth through thoughtful shopping and incremental changes in our daily routines. 

“We have seen a huge increase of people interested in making more planet-friendly choices over the last five years,” says Kempf. “When we first opened we had 10 products and a handful of people refilling. Today we have almost 100 refillable products and we see hundreds of people in each week between our three stores!” 

Local Links

A Greener Place
Online only, Waterdown-based

Mrs. Greenway
2 King Street West, Dundas

Maison Apothecare
1173 North Service Road West,

Simply Green Baby
67 Bronte Road, Oakville

Refillery Market
Online only, Burlington-based

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