Bamboo Toilet Paper and Other Eco-Friendly Swaps To Try Today

Thinking going green is too hard or expensive? Here are 5 simple eco-friendly swaps you can make to help our planet without breaking the bank. A must-see list!

It doesn’t have to be Earth Day for you to be thinking about the planet. Do you think it’s challenging, expensive, or time-consuming to do the right thing for the environment? Guess again! Here are five simple and eco-friendly alternatives you can make to show you care about sustainability without breaking the bank.

Try These 5 Eco-Friendly Alternatives

1. Beeswax Food Wraps

Beeswax wraps - Beeswax

More than 300 million tons of plastic are consumed globally every year, including a trillion single-use plastic bags. And it takes 10-20 years for them to decompose. One way to put a dent in those numbers is to switch from plastic wrap to sustainable beeswax wraps for your household needs. These popular eco-friendly product wraps are made out of beeswax and cotton, and do a great job of protecting your leftovers. While they’re a bit more expensive initially, wrappers can be washed and reused for about a year before needing replacing. Now, that’s eco-friendly!

2. Bamboo Toilet Paper

Close-up of toilet paper on a dark wooden table.

It’s well known that bamboo is a common replacement for many wood products, from flooring to kitchen utensils. But folks concerned about the environment can bring the benefits of renewable bamboo even closer to home, as now it’s available in toilet paper! Traditional toilet paper from the major manufacturers uses mainly virgin timber—in fact, an estimated 15 million trees are cut down for bathroom tissue every year; though several companies have moved to some recycled paper products.

Unlike traditional timber, however, bamboo is the fastest-growing plant on the planet (it can produce an amazing 40 inches of new growth per day), and the plant regenerates without replanting. Internet-based tissue companies touting an environmental commitment are popularizing the use of bamboo TP and pushing profits from sales back into environmental awareness efforts. Bamboo toilet paper and paper towels are a bit more expensive, but worth the investment.

3. Plant-Based Party & Picnic Supplies

eco-friendly plates, cups and cutlery

Disposable plates, containers, and utensils are convenient for parties, picnics, and even everyday use. But the joy derived from the convenience of traditional Styrofoam, paper, and plastic products is usually accompanied by a little guilt over contributing to the growing problem of landfills teeming with waste that won’t break down for years or decades. But there is a solution to this disposal dilemma: plant-based and compostable cutlery and containers. Plates, bowls, and containers for leftovers are being made from sugarcane. Sellers of these new products, usually found online, say they are more functional than the petroleum-based versions we see everywhere.

The sugarcane products are grease- and cut-resistant, sturdy enough to contain soups and noodles, and are 100-percent compostable at commercial composting facilities. Compostable cutlery is made from potato and corn starches and vegetable oils, as indicated in the names of leading brands, including Spudware and Taterware. These compostable products are high-heat tolerant, can be reused many times, and ultimately recycled into soil.

4. Soy Insulation and Household Finishes

Hand painting slats of a wooden deck

Many products including paints, strippers, spray foam insulation, and adhesive for pywood and particle board, used in home construction and home improvement were made from volatile products that threatened consumers’ health or polluted the environment. That is quickly changing, however, and soybeans are one of the natural products that are making our homes safer and more sustainable. Two products in particular, stains and insulation, have been dramatically improved through the use of soy.

Soy-based stains preserve and beautify wood decks, replacing oil-based products thought to have a negative environmental impact. And soy is now offered as an eco-friendly alternative ingredient in spray foam insulation products that lower heating costs and make homes more comfortable.

5. Wheat and Corn Golf Tees

Golf tee with Earth balanced on top

While the golf industry hasn’t been able to produce a suitable ball made from recycled or green materials, the same is not true for the golf tee! It is estimated that US golfers go through 2 billion tees per year as they knock balls around the course. That’s a lot of trees to cut down for wooden tees. Thankfully, eco-friendly golf supply companies are now making the tees out of wheat straw and corn—natural materials that break down quickly when scattered around the fairways.

Try These 5 Alternatives To Single-Use Plastics

Weigh In

Would you try—or have you tried—any of these eco-friendly alternatives? Tell us in the comments below!

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Jim Kneiszel

Jim Kneiszel is a freelance writer based in De Pere, Wisconsin. He edits a number of trade publications and runs The Word House with his wife, Judy. His article, Infuriating and Frightening Invasive Species appears in the 2021 Farmers' Almanac.


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james g hatchett

3 issues to address here. First, the beeswax wraps made with cotton. Cotton is one of the top 5 crops heavily sprayed with pesticides and grown from GMO seeds. Second, the bamboo toilet paper is usually a blend of bamboo and rayon. Rayon is a petroleum based product therefore contributing to the profit of Big Oil and the pollution of our planet in the refining process. The golf tees from corn, corn is one of the top 2 or 3 crops grown now from GMO seeds and heavily sprayed with herbicides. All 3 of these products as the decompose put these pollutants back into our soil, air and water.

Susan Higgins

James, many of the companies that make beeswax wraps are certified 100% organic and use no pesticides. The companies that make bamboo toilet paper making a point to get away from impacts on the environment so choosing one without rayon would be smart. It may be a case of reading labels and making the swaps where you think you can make the most (or least) impact.

Janet Kinamore

Is the U.S. importing bamboo or growing it on U.S. soil? Thank you for the info on soy based house insulation.

Susan Higgins

Hi Janet, the bamboo used in the kind I buy indicates it is responsibly grown on family farms in China where it doesn’t need fertilizers or pesticides.


swapping for an imported item does not make any sense at all, given the carbon footprint of importing from China plus the social and other issues involved with Chinese products. Recycled paper is the only viable answer, not bamboo, since it should be readily available, and if not, it must become so. Hemp grows well in North American climates, and is just as eco friendly as bamboo, so that too would be a viable option.

As for soy and corn based products, they are only a viable alternative if the soy is not gmo and is grown without petrochemical inputs (fertilizers or pesticides) AND if it is produced nationally, not imported from third world countries that have deforested in order to monocrop soy for export.

John Traynor

There was once a political saying, “it’s the economy stupid.” A better saying now might be, ‘it’s the cost stupid.’ When replacement products of equal quality and effectiveness are available (without costing more to produce in terms of resources, like ethanol), Americans will vote with their pocketbooks. Pushing a liberal agenda on us while China, India, and others get away with massive increases in polluting our planet is categoriucally stupid.

Susan Higgins

Nobody is pushing a liberal agenda, John. We’re merely offering suggestions “to try.” If it doesn’t resonate with you, we completely understand.


Liberal agenda??? What the hell are you talking about? This is about sustainability and the health of every living being on the planet, and especially the health of the person using the products because the off-gassing and pollutant load on an individual body are affected by every product we use. Are you suggesting that because another country does not have healthy, logical, sustainable products and policies, then everyone else should continue with short sighted, stupid, wasteful, unhealthy, and polluting products and policies? That is the logic of a petulant toddler who has not learned how to reason yet.

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