If you’ve been paying attention to environmental issues for any period of time, you probably not only know about the dangers of fracking, how animal agriculture contributes to climate change and the problems with fast fashion, you probably also have a mental list of all the easy things you can do to avoid plastic. Here’s a few things you can swap out for the plastic free alternatives that you may have never heard of.

Say goodbye to your Brita water filter…

Say hello to binchotan charcoal sticks.

These traditional binchotan charcoal sticks work by absorbing chemicals from your water rather than filtering it. Most water filter pitchers use charcoal as well but come with lots of added plastic and they’re often not recyclable. These sticks can be composted after they’ve been worn out (between 3-6 months) so they’re a completely zero waste alternative.

They also come in a wide variety of sizes so you can throw them into any water or sports bottle. Or you could try this beautifully designed glass water bottle by BLACK + BLUM

I’m been using a gallon sized water dispenser in our fridge with one of the large sized charcoal sticks for almost a year now. I’ve been really pleased with how fresh and clean our water tastes after using them. Also because this set up is plastic free I don’t have to worry about BPA or other chemicals from plastic leeching into our water. If you’re worried about your water quality please check out EWG’s tap water database. Luckily we don’t have too much to worry about in our water, but in many major cities in the US there are issues with lead and other heavy metals: https://www.ewg.org/tapwater/

Your cell phone case and screen protector…

Did you know that every year more than a BILLION cell phone cases are produced? Not recyclable and as they are only used for a few years (if that) most cell phone cases end up right in the landfill or worse, in the ocean. Pela cases are different. They’re made from a flax polymer and are completely compostable. They also come with really cute limited edition designs like this sea turtle case above (this is the case I currently have on my iPhone SE). Pela has also invented the first zero waste screen protector that can cover 2-3 phones and comes in a glass vile.


I have a really bad habit of losing sunglasses. I once found a really nice pair of Ray Bans while cleaning a friend’s basement…only to lose them after taking them off to meditate before work (I really loved those sunglasses!) I figured rather than keep adding to all the plastic sunglasses waste I should find a better solution. And I did. Bamboo sunglasses.

These particular glasses come with a really nice bamboo case but there’s many different brands of bamboo and wood sunglasses online (I just went for the cheapest ones I could find). I also had a pair of Woodies sunglasses they have really neat designs but unfortunately didn’t last me very long. Pela recently released a series of biodegradable sunglasses made out of a similar material as their cell phone cases https://planet.pelacase.com

Do you have any lesser known plastic free swaps? Let me know in the comments!