5 No-Brainer Swaps to Make Your Home More Earth-Happy

From eco-friendly mattresses to biodegradable vibrators, here are five easy ways to make your domicile into a more sustainable place with less waste.

Apr 22 2021, 9:36pm

Happy Mother’s Day to our juicy, exhausted orb. We celebrate your bounty, stand in awe of your HD iguana versus snake fights (IYKYK), and stress out about how soon we might be living in a shittier version of Waterworld. (Working title, Bezoslandia.) We humbly come to you with an offering of eco-friendly cleaning supplies, mattresses, and single-use plastic eradicaters to start making all of this [points to Gowanus Canal] better.

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We’re not here to take you on a lyrical doom scroll on this most resplendent, vaccinated Earth Day. The pandemic has already exacerbated our sense of mental stability, made its own environmental mess, and made us reconsider what exactly what practices we can feasibly do to live better within our communities, whether that means using less plastic, creating less overall waste, or learning how to protect our neighbors and ourselves in a food system with racial and socioeconomic inequalities. Maybe tomorrow we’ll wake up as a less optimistic flavor of concerned, but today we’re a scoop of Hallmark Channel-hopeful that we can all make better choices for less Trash Planet living. 

Easier said than done. But think of it like this: Look around your room, and consider your routines. What could you sub for something more eco-friendly? A mattress? Plastic bottles? Cleaning products? The good news is, if you can bust through the green-washing of it all, there’s a more eco-friendly version of everything from wax paper to vibrators on the market. 

Get an eco-friendly mattress that won't destroy the planet (or your health)

Photo: Avocado

Whether you've decided to make the adulting leap to being a Person With an Actual Bed Frame or you're still just chilling on a full-size on the floor of a converted loft, we all spend roughly a third of our lives in the cozy solace of our beds—snoozing, makin' love, or playing Stardew Valley on our phones until 3 in the morning—but many mass-manufactured mattresses are positively belching out chemical pollutants, including flame retardants, plastics, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Scientific American describes the bad-stuff stew found in the typical bed as "a nightmare," but there is hope for making your sleeping nest a better place for both your health and the Earth—and the best place to start is by swapping in an eco-friendly mattress. There are a ton of new-ish brands that fit the bill, but the most best-known and most beloved is probably Avocado, which has a CVS-receipt-sized list of eco-friendly certifications and makes its ultra-comfy beds out of biodegradable, recyclable organic latex, organic certified wool, organic certified cotton, and exactly zero nasty chemicals. There's even a wool-free vegan version, and it's all needle-tufted by hand by fairly paid workers who make a living wage. The company also donates 1% of its revenue to environmental nonprofits, as well as participates in a bunch of other climate-change-fighting initiatives that you can read about on its website. But most importantly, people love sleeping on its cloud-like mattresses, which have five zones with a whopping 1,414 pocketed support coils designed to offer the best zzz's possible.

If Avocado isn't your bag, also check out Brentwood Home's 100% carbon-offset Crystal Cove mattress, or Eco Terra's hybrid latex mattress, which is currently super on sale for Earth Day. (Also, do your research so you pick a mattress you're happy with, and that you'll stick with for years to come; don't end up being one of those assholes who cycles through free mattress trials, creating a nightmare in our landfills.) 

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Avocado Green Mattress, starting at $999 at Avocado

Crystal Cove Mattress, starting at $899 at Brentwood Home

Hybrid Latex Mattress, starting at $1,349 $849 at Eco Terra

Contain yourself

Photo: Food52

We all know plastic really sucks, and ICYMI, we found out during the chaos of 2020 that plastic doesn't even get recycled, so we've been kidding ourselves into believing that all of those empty two-liters and clamshells of romaine were somehow gonna have a second, let alone third or fourth, life. Yet most of the food we buy in grocery stores or get as takeout continues to come in plastic packaging. Some of that is outside our control, but what we can do is make our homes a plastic-free zone, with more sustainable food storage solutions. Package Free Shop is a great place to start for zero-waste essentials, from wax food wraps (for that random avocado half in your fridge) to laundry detergent in a jar and biodegradable pet poop bagsPackage Free Shop is offering 30% off today, and has loads of these kinds of goodies on sale (as well as various “zero waste kits” for diff needs).

Also, when considering stuff like Tupperware, think about how much cooler a 1920s vintage glass container looks (and how much longer it will last) than some throwaway plastic junk. We all know Mason jars are the bomb, but in case it needs to be said, glass is the way to go, or as we like to say, "glass gets ass." (We mean that in a good way.) These vintage French green canning jars from Food52 are as chic as they are guilt-free.

Yup, they make biodegradable vibrators now

Photo: Womanizer

For the love of goddess, please stop buying battery-operated vibrators. It’s hard, admittedly, when there are so many charming bullet vibrators out there. But picking out a good vibrator is an ~investment~ that should be able to go the distance with you and your pleasurable orifices, and we were jazzed to learn that Womanizer, as in, the makers of the iconic and near-sentient dual vibrator (the Womanizer Duo), has launched a brand, spank-banking new clitoral vibrator JUST for Earth Day [releases doves] and while it’s able to use the same Pleasure Air Technology that makes Womanizer one of the most labia-fluttering sex toy companies in the wild, wild web, the material of the new “PREMIUM Eco” is actually biodegradable, wrapped in 100-percent plastic-free (and recyclable) packaging, and every purchase after this April 22 will plant a tree via One Tree Planted. But... is it good? Knowing Womanizer, it’s going to actually be whisper-quiet, splashproof, and USB-rechargeable. We have a strong suspicion that the Barefoot Contessa and Jeffrey already own this.

The Womanizer PREMIUM Eco is $199 at Womanizer

Get an eco-friendly paper & household products subscription

Photo: Grove

When lockdowns first started, our roommate-heavy household thanked the gods for our reliable Grove subscription. Not only does this company’s “tree-free” bamboo toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels come right when you need them, but they come in totally plastic-free packaging, and as you build your subscription, you’ll have the option of tacking on loads of helpful complimentary goodies (coconut scrubber sponges, Mrs. Meyer’s Hand Soap products) to your order. This is one of those companies you’re going to want to keep tabbed, as their eco-friendly shopping sections just keep expanding. Run to them when you need household goods, like laundry powder packs. Check out their surprisingly exhaustive beauty selection (which even includes perfume??), and when/if you pop out some kids, they’ve got you with the diapers. 

Wipe your cornholio this way on Grove. 

Refillable cleaning solutions

Photo: Blueland

Sure, it can be fun to absolutely destroy grime and grease with nuclear-strength chemicals from the hardware store, but think about what you're really spraying all over your home—including your eating surfaces—as well as all of the plastic bottles that industry leaves behind. Blueland makes refillable home cleaning sprays for all surfaces, from kitchen to bathroom, and works by offering refillable "Forever Bottles" that you can then refill in seconds using tablets customized for various purposes, from laundry to hand soap. It's an amazing concept, and the company also ships everything in recyclable and biodegradable packaging free of single-use plastic. Force of Nature and Cleancult offer similar services, if you wanna shop around—which, of course, is never a bad idea. 

Now go give Mommy Earth a nice big kiss. 


The Rec Room staff independently selected all of the stuff featured in this story. VICE may receive a small commission if you buy through the links on our site.

Tagged:

shopping, green, biodegradables, kitchen, mattress, cleaning, eco-friendly

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