10 items in your home that you can change to an ethical alternative

Posted on November 21, 2019

flat lay of reusable sandwich bags with fruit

It’s simple to make lasting, impactful change toward a sustainable future in your own life. Take a look around your home – I bet you can find at least 10 items that can be replaced with more ethical and sustainable alternatives. Here are some examples:

Grocery bags

Recently, New Zealand has said no to single-use grocery bags, saving around4 billion bagsgoing to landfill annually. However, even paper alternatives come at a cost to the earth. Try keeping a stash of reusable bags in your car or anywhere you might do a spot of shopping.

Shower head

You can pick up an amazing low-flow shower head from Bunnings or Mitre10, or look for specialists online for the latest European models. These heads can reduce household water consumption byup to 50%without sacrificing water pressure.

Reusable straws

Straws don’t have to be plastic – they can be glass or metal and can be washed and reused like any other piece of cutlery.

Shampoo and skincare

Bath and beauty products often contain ingredients that are farmed in an unsustainable way or directly contribute to climate change. Luckily, many ethical and sustainable brands are easily available in New Zealand. Check out Ethique, Ecostore and Lush for great skin and hair care products.

Loose tea

Grab a tea infuser and check out the exciting world of loose leaf tea. You can still get your cuppa without opening and throwing out so many disposable tea bags.


Did you know that in the US alone, people throw out69 million tons of notebooksevery year? Most of that paper comes from virgin forest. If you’re an avid notebook user, consider one of the many amazing reusable options, such as theRocketbook.

Compostable plates and cutlery

If at all possible, you should avoid disposable plates and cutlery, but sometimes it’s a necessity – like when 50 relatives invade the house at Christmastime. Go sustainable with compostable plates, bowls, dippers, and cutlery – there are great Kiwi brands likePalm Leaf PlatesandEarthpac.


A beautiful hardcover book may be a joy to hold, but the book industry is a huge consumer of virgin paper. Millions of books are printed and shipped around the world each year, only around half of them to be returned unsold to their publishers for pulping. If you’re an avid reader, help conserve forestry resources by considering reading via an ereader.

Natural cleaning products

Many household cleaning products contain chemicals like bleach and ammonia that can poison waterways and animal life. Try products made with natural ingredients like those fromEcostoreandLiving Green. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even find instructions online formaking your own!

New clothes

We all need new clothes from time to time, but do we need as many as we have? Fast fashionis an environmental disaster– the fashion industry is the second-largest polluter in the world. We can make better choices by looking for clothes made from sustainable fabrics by a fairly-paid workforce, by shopping second-hand, by making better use of the clothes we do own, and by renting formal wear instead of buying when we need to dress to impress.

These ten items are only the beginning. How can you make simple changes in your household to become more ethical and sustainable?