10 Overlooked Everyday Items with Sustainable Alternatives

Hello and happy Earth Month (and upcoming Earth Day)! We’re Proof Eyewear, a sustainable eyewear company hailing from Boise, Idaho - you may know us as a brand that ALDA hosts on their site. We were stoked when ALDA asked us to write a guest post for them so in the spirit of Earth Month we wanted to explore unsuspecting, everyday items that are often overlooked on their environmental impact.

While the rise of minimalism has certainly encouraged people to reduce their consumption, an excellent first step in living a sustainable life, without a doubt there are necessities in life that can’t be eliminated. The good news is we can always find alternatives that can help us decrease our ecological footprint if/when we're out looking for replacements. 

1 and 2. Sunglasses and Prescription Glasses

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Of course glasses had to be the first stop on our journey. While sustainable frames may not be news anymore, that was not the case when we Proof first entered the scene. Oftentimes, frames are made out of brand new plastics and metals, which requires significant resources to produce and neither of which will biodegrade. Regardless, sunglasses - and certainly prescription glasses - are a necessity.

At Proof, we offer frames made out of Sustainably Sourced wood, repurposed skateboards, recycled aluminum and biodegradable cotton-based acetate. These shades and glasses are not just environmentally conscious, but they are functional by featuring polarized lenses, as well as fashionable so you won’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability.

3. Stapler

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Ah, the unsuspecting stapler. Sure, staplers will not single-handedly be the cause of our environmental demise, but staples - while small - are purely single-use items. In addition, production of staples takes an extensive factory process that adds pollution into the environment.   

This staple-free stapler by Made by Humans uses the paper itself to secure pages together. While it might not replace the need for staples altogether, it can certainly help decrease their use.

4. Umbrella

Umbrellas may not be universally necessary, but there’s no denying their regional usefulness! Unfortunately, as innocent as they look, they are commonly made of many tiny pieces of plastics and metals that sit in landfills for years, or end up in the ocean. Microplastics are a massive issue with ocean wildlife especially because they are often mistaken as food, harming the animal.

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Thanks to The Brelli, their umbrella is one of the few environmentally conscious umbrellas available today. Made from Bamboo, BRELLIX film (the canopy), organic cotton string and fabric, natural rubber gum, these umbrellas are entirely biodegradable.

5. Hairbrush

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Unlike umbrellas, this is an easy one with plenty of options! You already know why it’s a good idea to reduce plastic, but wood and bamboo brushes have a multitude of other benefits outside of the environment: they reduce static, detangle gently, and increase shine!

Eco Tools is an awesome sustainable beauty brand, and so is Bass Brushes.

6. Socks

We can all agree, a really great pair of socks can make your day. And while they may be “one size fits all”, their environmental impact can differ widely! When your socks end up in need of a replacement, check out this list of ways you can reuse your worn out socks, and then consider these companies for your next pair:


Teko uses merino wool from South America, recycled polyester made from plastic drinks bottles, and regenerated polyamide made from commercial fishing nets in the production of their socks.

7. Toothbrushes

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Over 850 million toothbrushes are discarded each year in the U.S. and conventionally, toothbrushes are made out of plastic, rubber and nylon, hence they will never biodegrade. Fear not, you’re already a click away from the solution. Head over to Bogo Brush here on Alda Life and check out their eco options!

8. Aluminum foil / saran wrap

Recycling should be a last resort. While aluminum foil is recyclable, it’s better to first consider reducing your use altogether. Saran wrap, on the other hand, can only be thrown away and it does not biodegrade, making it an even worse option.

Abeego is on example of company producing reusable (and cute!) food storage wraps, and not only that, they are also made out of entirely natural materials .

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9. Jeans

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Oh, blue jeans....the iconic, the classic, the universal. I’m sorry… but yes, they too are ruining the earth. But, over the years we’ve wisened up to our mistakes and during that time, retro styles have since returned!

Go ahead, visit your local thrift store to find authentic high-waisted jeans straight from the 80’s versus the replicates made today. Not only is this an environmentally sound way to shop, you’ll be saving your piggy bank at the same time. Before you visit, you might as well take a peek in the dark corners of your closet for any items you can donate for someone else to love.

10. Paper Towels

Paper towels are the cornerstone of convenience, while they do biodegrade in the landfill, the excessive use of paper towels in the U.S. is staggering and their production, as you can imagine, is a huge impact. This Ted Talk is a delightful watch with a charismatic gentleman that will teach you how to dry your hands. Sounds ridiculous, but trust us.

Of course there’s a multitude of options such as… guess! Yes, using your old socks! You have been paying attention. Any rag would really work for these tasks, just throw them in the wash and repeat. But, if you must have paper towels try Bambooee - we’ve got a soft spot in our hearts for fellow eco-conscious Shark Tank-ers.

If you stuck through it all, congrats! You’re a true Earth hero for doing your part. Thanks to Alda for inviting us to chit chat about our favorite topic: protecting the planet. Cheers!

Let’s keep in touch:

IG: @proofeyewear

Twitter: @iwantproof


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