7 Natural Skincare Ingredients to Look For

Natural skincare is becoming the new norm thanks to its ethical ingredients and ability to truly transform even the toughest skincare cases. Made without sulfates, phthalates, parabens, and other nasty additives, natural skincare products utilize the power of nature to get the job done. But what ingredients are truly the best for your skin – and how can you include them in your routine? In this blog, you’ll learn the basics about 7 of our favorite natural skincare ingredients, if they’re right for your skin, and how to find them in EarthHero products!

What you’ll learn: 

  • Basic information around 7 of our favorite skincare ingredients like witch hazel, aloe vera, and more!
  • How to know what ingredients are right for dry, oily, and combination skin
  • Products we love that contain these natural skincare ingredients

 

EarthHero Blog 7 Natural Skincare Ingredients

Rose

The basics: From rosehip oil to rosewater to sprinkling loose rose petals in baths, roses have been used in natural skincare and beauty products for centuries. There are many reasons your skin will love a product with rose in it: the antioxidants in roses protect your skin from damage that occurs during daily life.

Is it right for my skin? Rosewater can be used as a facial toner to soften, smooth, and calm inflamed skin. Rosewater toner can also be sprayed throughout the day for an instant mood boost or splash of energy. Toners are applied after washing the face and before moisturizer. If you’re investing in a rosewater facial toner, make sure it is 100% pure rose water for best results- no filler ingredients necessary!

Products we love: S.W. Basics Rose Water Toner is a great place to start because they clearly promote their singular ingredient, 100% pure steam distilled rose water! The same goes for products with rose essential oil; water can often be a filler ingredient so search for the shortest ingredient list possible. Rose essential oil is moisturizing and can help to reduce wrinkles and encourage glowing skin. Badger Balm’s Damascus Rose line of products containing rose oil and extract are a great starting point. You can feel confident in their ingredient list and organic certification!

Aloe

The basics: Aloe isn’t just for sunburn anymore… this common houseplant can be your skin’s friend any time! Commonly known for its soothing properties, it’s no surprise that aloe is used for cooling and moisturizing cuts, abraisans, and burns (hello sunburn relief!). Because of these properties, aloe can even be used as a skin moisturizer in place of typical lotions because it won’t clog pores. Dermatologically, aloe can sometimes be useful in calming rosacea and acne, too.

Is it right for my skin? Aloe can be used as a moisturizer that doesn’t clog pores, therefore making it suitable for all skin types. If you are concerned with dermatological issues like sensitive skin, rosacea, or acne, aloe can sometimes be useful in calming rosacea and acne, too. And of course, aloe is useful in relieving sunburns all over the body!

Products we love: For your trusty after-sun care, this Goddess Garden Aloe Vera Gel is an excellent choice because it is cruelty-free, fair trade, and fragrance free, meaning it won’t irritate your skin even more! Avalon Organics Peppermint Lotion utilizes aloe for it’s moisturizing properties, too, creating a soothing and energizing lotion blend!

Chamomile

The basics: You might be familiar with chamomile as an ingredient in your tea cabinet, and for good reason. Chamomile is well known for easing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation. It just so happens that these properties carry over to skincare products that utilize chamomile!

Is it right for my skin? Products that incorporate chamomile provide antioxidants that protect your skin. It can also help to prevent blemishes and wrinkles and reduces inflammation to calm skin like it calms frazzled nerves.

Products we love: Bestowed Essentials Luna Herbal Toner uses chamomile to accomplish all these things and comes in a recycled glass bottle. Does it get better than that? Now, I wonder if the effects are doubled if you use chamomile facial products and drink chamomile tea at the same time…

Witch Hazel

The basics: Witch hazel is common in first aid kits for its ability to stop bleeding and inflammation and for its pain relieving and antibacterial properties. It is used in beauty products for many of these same qualities. Well known for shrinking pores and firming skin, witch hazel is a common ingredient in toners. Witch hazel plays well with other soothing ingredients like aloe, chamomile, and rose to create a perfect cocktail of natural ingredients for your specific needs!

Is this right for my skin? Because of it antimicrobial properties and ability to shrink pores and calm inflammation, witch hazel is often found in natural skincare acne care products for oily or acne-prone skin. Witch hazel can be drying for some skin types, so if this is a concern for you it’s best to look for one that includes an ingredient that can lightly moisturize, too, or search for an alcohol-free version.

Products we love: Nourish Organic’s Rosewater + Witch Hazel Face Toner is a great starting place because it includes aloe, rosewater, and witch hazel to balance and refresh your skin. It’s also alcohol-free: win-win!

Oats

The basics: Oatmeal isn’t just a healthy and hearty breakfast food or cookie mix in, it’s also excellent for use in body care products! You’d never guess by looking at it, but oatmeal is very nourishing and contains anti inflammatory products and a natural cleansing agent called sapolin.

Is it right for my skin? Oats have benefits for all types of skin! They contain anti inflammatory agents that can help to control redness, inflammation, and can even assist in soothing common sensitive skin concerns like eczema, rashes, and sunburns. Containing sapolin, a cleansing agent that removes dirt and oil from pores, oats are often added to exfoliating face masks and washes perfect for oily and combination skin. Oats are also highly moisturizing because they absorb and attract water, making them a great additive to moisturizers.

Products we love: Moon Valley Organic Oatmeal Sage Cold Processed Organic products contains organic oat powder, adding to the exfoliating and moisturizing properties of the soap. Organic and cruelty free, you can gently scrub away your skin concerns with a safe soap option!

Salt

The basics: Salts contain therapeutic and nourishing minerals useful to skin, commonly used in cleansers and exfoliators, similar to oats. Sea salt dries and cleanses the skin and is excellent for drawing out toxins. Pink salt gets its color from a high iron content and contains 80 kinds of minerals. Some relief for eczema and psoriasis may be found from pink salt products. Epsom salt is often used for calming muscle soreness and drawing toxins from the body.

Is it right for my skin? Salts are often found in body care products like foot soaks, bath soaks, and exfoliants. Harsh exfoliants, even natural ones, can be irritating for some skin types, so it is best to test how your skin reacts before committing to a product.

Products we love: S.W. Basics Organic Sea Salt Exfoliant contains sea salt and oat flour, two wonderful exfoliants. The oat powder helps to scrub away dead skin while providing a bit of moisture, too! S.W. Basics suggests mixing with water or olive oil for dry skin once a week.

EarthHero Blog 7 Natural Skincare Ingredients

Clay (Bentonite + Green)

The basics: Clay is well known for its ability to nourish skin by drawing out toxins, firming and exfoliating, and providing minerals and nutrients. There are many types of clay that can be used in skincare products. Specific properties are determined by the amount and concentration of minerals.

Is it right for my skin? Bentonite clay is very mild and therefore good for all skin types. It is soft and exfoliates well while it dries. A simple mask made of bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar or water is an excellent beginner’s product! Green clay is made from decomposed plant material often found in the ocean. It is also compatible with all skin types, making it an excellent clay to try! White clay, also known as kaolin clay, is the least drying clay yet still mild and is suggested most for dry or irritated skin.

Products we love: Bestowed Essentials Natural Clay Mask utilizes white clay’s cleansing and nourishing properties by giving you a powdered mask that you can mix with any number of wet ingredients, making it customizable for your specific skin needs. Goddess Garden’s Erase the Day Purifying Facial Cleanser harnesses clay’s ability to extract dirt and impurities from skin, promising smoother, softer, exfoliated skin with no artificial fragrance!

Shop all of our natural skincare products here!

*Even though natural ingredients are gentler, all products should be tested for reaction on a small area of skin before using.*

7 Ways to Use a Silicone Stasher Bag

Tired of your life being controlled by plastic baggies, cling wrap, and mismatched tupperware lids? There’s hope! The Stasher Bag is an endlessly reusable silicone storage bag with thousands of different uses. But how can a Stasher Bag fit into your life, and is it really safer than using plastic? Read on the blog to find out!

What you’ll learn:

What is silicone? 

Silicone is a plastic-like substance that can be shaped, molded, and formed into nearly anything! Silicone is created by melting silica, the raw material used to make silicone resins also found in quartz and beach sand, at a very high temperature and mixing it with carbon. It then is bonded together into a polymer to form the final silicone resin that you’ve come to know and love. It can be seen in silicone cooking utensils, ice cube trays, baking mats, and much, much more! Read all about silicone here.

Is it safe?

Silicone rubber does not react with food or beverages or produce any harmful fumes. Silicones are also more stable, meaning they have less potential to leach into your body during use. It is important to make sure that all silicone products you are using are high quality, either ‘food-grade’ or ‘medical-grade’! These high quality silicones do not utilize fillers or chemical byproducts that can leach into foods during use.

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

Silicone versus Plastic 

So, is silicone really better than plastic?

  • Silicone is more temperature resistant than plastic.
  • When plastic is recycled it is typically downcycled- recycled into something less useful and more likely to be thrown away. Silicone, however, is 100% recyclable (at select locations and with terracycle) and does not lose integrity with each use. It also does not produce hazardous materials when burned.
  • Silicone is oven, dishwasher, and freezer safe and will not degrade with use.

The Stasher Bag (and 7 ways to use them!)

So, why do we love the Stasher Bag? For all the reasons listed above and more. Stasher provides a compact, reusable alternative to plastic bags and storage containers. They are especially useful because they are easy to clean (dishwasher and hand wash safe) and they can be transferred from freezer to oven to fridge with no fear of breaking or shattering. Check out below our top 7 favorite ways to use our Stashers!

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

1. Food Storage + Meal Prepping

We’ll start simple. Stasher is mostly known for their ability to be awesome at holding and storing food, mostly due to the fact that they’re leak-proof, durable, freezer safe, and won’t impart other flavors or colors into your meal. As we mentioned above, they’re made out of BPA-free, non-toxic silicone that is completely safe for use around food – making them our go-to for food storage and meal prepping. Whether that means stashing leftovers in the fridge, or freezing your meals ahead of time for the whole week, Stashers help reduce both food waste and plastic waste that can come from leftovers or meal prepping.

With 3 unique sizes, there’s always an option that will work for your next meal! Plus, freezing your food and leftovers can help you reduce food waste while making mealtimes easier, making this a win-win for you and the planet.

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

2. Sous-Vide Machine + Steaming

If you’re not familiar (we weren’t…) sous-vide is a method of cooking in which food is plastic in a pouch or jar and cooked in a water bath for a longer cooking time at a highly regulated temperature. It’s awesome for veggies, fish, meats, sauces like hollandaise, and so much more!

But… most people use single-use plastic Ziploc bags with their sous-vide machines… making it not so awesome for the planet. Because silicone has such a high heat capacity, all Stasher Bags are sous-vide compatible, making it easier than ever to try this culinary technique. Test it out with this Salmon Dinner Recipe from Stasher!

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

3. The Instant Pot

The Instant Pot is the new culinary craze taking over the web, and we’re all here for it. It promises easy recipes, flavorful meals, and an easy experience for inexperience chefs. Want to upgrade your Instant Pot? Use it with a Stand-Up Stasher Bag!

This new Stasher fits perfectly in the Instant Pot, making it even easier to stew soups without having to deep clean the actual pot afterwards. The leak-proof design of Stasher let’s you store the soups easily afterwards, and even bring it to a pot-luck with ease.

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

4. Marinating

Good food starts with good seasoning, and marinations are one of the easiest ways to do that! Simply put: marinating means letting food sit and absorb a sauce before cooking it. Usually, we rely on single-use plastic bags for this – but these are prone to leaks and spills that make a huge mess in the kitchen.

By using durable, long-lasting silicone bags that won’t impart flavor into food, you can safely and easily marinate your steak, chicken, fish, or veggies for maximum flavor!

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

5. Microwave + Oven

The microwave has redefined the way we cook… but recent studies have shown that microwaving plastics can leach dangerous chemicals into our food – with a variety of negative health impacts beginning to be studied long-term.

Unlike plastic, silicone is 100% microwave safe for you and your whole family, and won’t leach chemicals or flavors when reheated in the microwave. Whether you’re defrosting a Stasher Bag full of leftovers, or simply reheating a yummy soup you stashed in the fridge, these bags make mealtime a whole lot easier.

Stasher is also oven-safe up to 450 degrees F – perfect for both your full-size oven, or a counter-top toaster oven, and can be tossed in the dishwasher afterwards for easy to clean up meals.

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

6. Traveling + Toiletries

Yes, Stasher is great for cooking – but they’re also great for traveling! Because they’re 100% leak-proof, highly-durable, and see-through, they’re the perfect solution for traveling with toiletries through the airport, especially with a carryon bag through TSA.

The pocket-size is amazing for keeping credit cards, cash, and headphones dry during adventures or camping, while the other sizes are awesome for larger assortments of products. Spills are bound to happen – but with Stasher you don’t have to worry about the rest of your bag getting messy!

7 Ways to Use a Stasher Bag | Stasher Bags | EarthHero Blog

7. BONUS: Literally Everything Else…

While these are some of our favorite ways to use silicone bags, there are probably millions of other ways you can use them if you get creative. The tare weights on these bags are easy to find, so they make great storage containers for shopping the bulk bins at the grocery store. If you’ve just gone to the beach or pool, you can use your stand-up Stasher to hold your wet bathing suit so it doesn’t get your bag wet. They also are great for protecting electronics on-the-go, holding first aid essentials, or even pet-food when traveling. Get a little creative, and the opportunities are endless!

Ready to start using Stasher Bags in your life? Click here to shop ALL of our assorted Stasher sizes, colors, and types here!

7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products

Here at EarthHero, our fur babies are 100% part of our family, and should be treated as such. That means high quality products, made from ethical materials, that enhance the lives of our furry friends – and the planet that they romp around on. Read on to learn about 7 eco-friendly pet products we’re loving, and how they can reduce the amount of waste your pet produces!

What you’ll learn: 

  • Which ethically made pet products work best for your lifestyle
  • How to reduce the amount of trash your pet produces

7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products | EarthHeroCompostable Pet Waste Bags

Fact: pet waste is an unavoidable part of being a pet parent. To pick up pet waste, whether it’s on a walk with your pup or cleaning up the kitty litter, we often rely on plastic grocery store bags or single-use bags to get the job done… which means for every doggy-doo we add another non-biodegradable plastic bag to our landfills. Meet the eco-friendly solution: compostable pet waste bags! Compostable pet bags, like these from BioBag, are certified compostable by the Biodegradable Products Institute ASTM D400 ensuring that the bags will compost both safely and rapidly in our landfills – without leaving dangerous microplastics behind.

Depending on your lifestyle, you’ve probably seen the green ‘compost’ bins at the local dog parks and community centers which accept pet waste in biodegradable bags. This ensures your pup’s waste is composted… but separate from the rest of the community compost stream, as pet waste can contain harmful pathogens and bacteria. While plastic bags negate the impact of composting pet waste, these compostable bags are compatible with the green ‘compost’ bins popping up, and reduce the amount of new plastic bags we use overall.

 

Hemp Fabric Dog Collar 7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products

A collar has always been a fun way to accessorize and keep your pet safe, but have you ever wondered what your pets collar is made of? Most collars from the pet store are made from virgin polyester and other synthetic fabrics that can get stinky, moldy, or chewed apart with ease.

Unlike classic collars, The Good Dog Company uses naturally renewable hemp fabric to create colorful collars for both dogs and cats. Hemp is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-mold, water-repellent, and durable – and when paired with an organic cotton fabric blend, makes an extremely soft material that won’t rub or tug at your pet’s neck. With a selection of patterns, fabric knits (we love corduroy), and colors, these eco-friendly pet collars are the ideal earth-friendly accessory for your pet.

 

The Good Dog Company | 7 eco-friendly pet products

Hemp Rope Dog Toy

Go to the pet store and take a look around. What do you see on every shelf? Dog toys, plushies, chews, bones, balls, and other playtime essentials… all made from plastic, polyester, and other synthetic materials. They look great, but in no time Fido will chew it up, leaving behind tiny pieces of trashy plastics that have to go straight to the landfill.

Unlike classic dog toys, this rope toy is made from natural hemp fibers – a natural and renewable resource – that is also extremely durable and naturally anti-bacterial so it won’t get disgusting. It’s extremely tough to tear apart, but if your dog manages to do it, they won’t be exposed to the harmful chemicals and toxins found in typical plastic dog toys, or end up consuming the inedible fluffing found in most plush toys. Plus, the natural hemp fiber rope  is knotted to stimulate your pets gums (great for puppies during teething!) and they’ll love the woodsy smell and texture of the hemp rope as well!

 

Dog Sun Protection Rash Guard7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products | EarthHero

Did you know that dogs can still get sunburnt under all that fur? We’re shocked too. And dogs with sensitive or thin hair/fur are especially at risk (we’re looking at you, Dalmatians!) Instead of attempting to apply sunscreen to your pooch, which is really, really difficult and likely will not work at all, just toss a rash guard on them for all-day sun protection.

Made from eco-friendly upcycled nylon fabric made from post-consumer recycled materials, this dog rash guard offers broad spectrum UPF 50+ protection that is chemical-free, reef-safe, and super freakin’ cute. Great for long walks, hikes, biking with your dog, swim days, or any pup who spends a lot of time out in the sun, this rash guard will keep them cool thanks to it’s breathable fabric, and cute thanks to the adorable turtle print. Your pup feels sun burns just like we do, so be sure to protect their skin all summer long!

 

Good Dog Company | 7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products | EarthHero

Hemp Canvas Harness

Dog collars are an essential for any pet owner – but not always the best option for walks or traveling. Unlike collars which only apply pressure to the neck, this dog harness from The Good Dog Company features contouring, adjustable shoulder and sternum straps that won’t pinch or cause hot spots for the most comfortable harness fit out there. The durable clasps adjust easily (perfect for growing puppies!) and comes with an extra large sternum strap to fit a variety of dog breeds.

Plus, this harness was handcrafted locally in the United States from a blend of naturally renewable hemp and non-toxic organic cotton which is anti-bacterial, water-repellent, and soft yet durable to prevent tearing, hot spots, and irritation on your pup’s skin.

 

Hemptique Hemp Animal Bedding | 7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products | EarthHero

Natural Hemp Animal Bedding

Not a cat or dog person? Don’t worry, there’s still a ton of ways to make your small animal live a little bit more eco-friendly! From purchasing fresh veggies from the store plastic-free for your hamster or gerbil, to wooden over plastic toys for your bird, try to stay mindful while shopping for your furry friend. When it comes to bedding (which can be super wasteful with weekly cage cleanings!), be sure to look for natural, renewable materials like hemp… not synthetic based bedding from polyester, a subset of plastic, or virgin wood or straw from new growth trees.

Now you’re probably wondering, “Is hemp bedding really better?” Simply put… yes, both for the planet, and your eco-friendly pet! Hemp animal bedding lasts longer compared to straw or pine alternatives as it absorbs moisture better, and is better as absorbing odors and reducing smell overall in your pet’s home. Made from 100% hemp which is naturally anti-microbial, water-repellent, and chemical-free, this bedding has a lower dust count than other materials, which makes your pet’s breathing environment better a lot better. When the time comes to replace the bedding in their cage, you can completely biodegrade this bedding – sending it to compost collection, not the landfill!

 

7 Eco-Friendly Pet Products | EarthHero

Coconut Oil Dog Toothpaste

Dog kisses: heck yes! Dog breath… not so much. Keep your pup’s pearly whites looking shiny, and their breath a whole lot less stinky with toothpaste designed just for them! From RADIUS brand, this dog toothpaste is made in the United States from USDA Certified Organic ingredients like coconut oil, plus added sweet potato and cinnamon powder for flavor, and contains no added fluorides, preservatives, colors, or synthetics. The coconut oil removes impurities, cleans the gums, and prevents tooth decay, so they can have a happy and healthy smile for years to come. Our pro tip? Apply the toothpaste with a children’s sized bamboo toothbrush like this one – not a plastic brush!

Know of some other eco-friendly pet products we should have on the site? Comment them below!

 

What is Reef-Safe Sunscreen?

You’ve probably heard of coral bleaching or reef-safe sunscreens on the news, with articles around the globe making headlines for banning chemical-based sunscreens, or closing coral reefs to rehabilitate them. But what really is reef-safe sunscreen, and why is it better for human health, and for the health of the planet? How is sunscreen linked to aquatic ecosystems, and why should you care? In this blog, we’ll dive into frequently asked questions around sunscreen and our changing planet.

What You’ll Learn: 

  • What “reef-safe” and “oxybenzone-free” means for your sun care
  • Why switching to reef-safe sunscreen is important for both human + ecosystem health
  • Learn answers to common sunscreen questions about ingredients, broad spectrum, the sun’s rays, SPF, and more!

Conventional Sunscreens

Fact: all sunscreens must contain some sort of active ingredient – aka any ingredient that produces a chemical or biological impact – to protect against the sun’s rays effectively. But… not all active ingredients are the same.

Conventional sunscreens, or chemical sunscreens, rely on chemical filters as their active ingredient, and contain a combo of oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate or octinoxate to ‘protect’ your skin from the sun by absorbing UV rays through a chemical reaction.

But the truth is that these chemicals filters are actually able to absorb into our skin – and are beginning to be linked to major health concerns, most prominently hormone disruption. The most recent study by the FDA this May has raised major concerns about the lack of long-term testing for these ingredients that were originally approved in the 70s, and has begun to push for greater scientific research overall. But, even without these long-term studies, we already know a lot about these different chemical filters…

Let’s start with oxybenzone.

According to the EWG, oxybenzone is in nearly 65% of chemical sunscreens. Studies show it can cause allergic skin reactions, acts as a weak estrogen, and has strong anti-androgenic effects – an important hormone in the male reproductive system. Oxybenzone can also pass from expectant mothers to their children through their breast milk, and more research is being done to study the ongoing impacts of such exposure.

Beyond just the human health impacts, oxybenzone is one of the leading causes of coral bleaching, a problem which has wiped out a sizeable portion of our global coral reefs. They work by decreasing the natural ability of coral to defend themselves against bleaching, and damage their DNA and development. This damage pairs with other environmental stressors like ocean acidification, rising sea temperatures, and water pollution to limit the ability of coral to reproduce and survive as a whole.

We all play a role

Research shows that coral reefs in Hawaii are exposed to 6,000 TONS of sunscreen each year that runs off of our bodies, whether it be in the ocean, pool, or just down the shower drain. And a 2015 study shows that oxybenzone can be harmful at concentrations as low as 1 drop of water in 6.5 Olympic sized swimming pools. In Hawaii, some swimming beaches have been measured to have concentrations of over 10x that amount – which is severely damaging reefs and the wildlife that relies on the reefs to survive.

But oxybenzone isn’t the only problem.

Danish researchers conducted a study back in 2016 and found that 8 of 13 chemical filters allowed in US sunscreens can affect calcium signaling of male sperm cells, which can impact male fertility. Investigations by the National Institute of Health found a link between high concentrations of benzophenones and reduced fertility for males as well, and higher risk of endometriosis in women.

To put it simply: conventional sunscreens are not good. While we’re still working to strengthen FDA regulations on chemical sunscreens, and perform more long-term studies, all preliminary research shows the same thing – they’re negatively affecting our bodies, our families, and most importantly, our planet! The good news is that there is a better way with reef-safe sunscreens

Reef-Safe Sunscreens

Reef-safe sunscreens, aka mineral-based sunscreens, are quickly becoming popular as a non-toxic alternative to chemical sunscreens that still protect you from the sun’s rays. They rely on active ingredients like titanium dioxide and zinc oxide, both of which provide ample UVA/UVB sun protection and are considered to be non-hazardous for both humans and coral reefs.

How Reef Safe Sunscreens work

Mineral-based sunscreens work by forming a physical barrier between your skin and the sun. You’ve probably seen zinc oxide slathered on the noses of lifeguards in movies, looking quite white and chalky as it forms that barrier. But zinc oxide has come a long way, and zinc oxide formulas have found ways to be tinted, clear, or easier to rub in – without compromising on quality.

Whether you choose zinc oxide or titanium dioxide for your active sunscreen ingredients, the most important facet of a truly ‘reef-safe’ sunscreen is that it is non-toxic & biodegradable. This means that all the ingredients in the sunscreen are able to naturally break down, without leaving chemical waste behind.

“Reef Safe” policies

Hawaii and Florida, two states greatly impacted by sunscreen pollution, have begun to take matters into their own hands by banning the sale of sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate. Both states will have these laws go into 2021, which is a huge step in the right direction. Many other international tourist destinations are also beginning to require biodegradable sunscreen from anyone who wants to visit… and confiscating chemical sunscreens if you bring them anyways.

And it’s actually working! Previously bleached corals in the Pacific ocean are slowly beginning to bounce back after severe damage, with further studies emphasizing the historic resilience of coral reefs – giving us hope for places like the Great Barrier Reef. When the corals come back, so do different aquatic species that rely on corals to survive, supporting biodiversity as a whole.

Don’t live by the ocean?

Reef-safe sunscreens, whether you live next to the ocean or not, are important for everyone on the face of the Earth. Scientists, dermatologists, and experts all recommend you wear sunscreen every day, every single time you go outside, no matter how warm or cold it feels. This is because it protects your skin – helping defend against aging – as well as your long-term health – defending against skin cancer and other sun-related health problems.

And, when you shower at the end of each day, all that sunscreen will go down the drain, and as we learned from Finding Nemo… all drains lead to the ocean! By choosing a reef-safe sunscreen for your everyday face and body routine you can reduce the amount of chemicals you send down the drain, and reduce your footprint on our marine life.

Common Sunscreen Questions

What’s the difference between UVA and UVB rays? How do I protect myself from them?

In general, ultraviolet (UV) rays refer to electromagnetic light that can reach us from the sun, and are categorized by the length of the energy wavelength. This means UVA rays, aka ultraviolet A (long-wave) rays, are different from UVB rays, aka ultraviolet B (short-wave) rays.

While UVB rays are linked to sunburns, UVA rays are linked to aging skin… But both are linked to skin cancer due to their ability to damage cellular DNA and create genetic mutations. UVA rays account for 95% of the radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, but they are less intense than UVB rays. Despite being less intense, they penetrate the skin more deeply, which is why they’re linked to aging as well as skin cancer. It’s essential that you protect yourself from both, so look for the term “broad-spectrum.” This refers to sunscreens that can protect you from both!

What does a higher SPF mean?

SPF (sun protection factor) is a measure of how much UVB that a sunscreen can filter and protect against. Since there is currently no way to label the degree of protection from UVA, this is the typical way we look at the level of sun protection. It indicates how long it will take for the skin to redden as compared to how it would react without the sunscreen. For example, SPF 15 means that it will take 15x longer for someone who is wearing the sunscreen to have their skin redden than without.

Also, the higher the SPF the wider the range of UV rays coverage it offers, however this will start to plateau as you get higher–SPF 30 covers 97% of UV rays, and 50 SPF covers 98%, for example. We recommend always starting at 30SPF, and then going up from there depending on how long you plan on staying in the sun.

How do I properly use mineral-based sunscreens?

One of the most important steps for applying mineral sunscreens is making sure you apply a thorough layer that covers the entire area you’re looking to protect. Because it works by creating a physical barrier, start with a small amount and spread the product evenly on the skin before adding a second layer. One ounce of sunscreen for your entire lower half is generally recommended. Then, make sure you reapply every 80 minutes, or more quickly depending on if you’re swimming or sweating. A water-resistant sunscreen will always have the time span that it should last for under those conditions!

Do babies and kids need special sunscreens?

Babies and kids have naturally sensitive skin, and can sunburn extremely easily, so they absolutely need to be wearing sunscreen and other sun protection items when they go outside. They’re also more prone to allergic reactions and adverse reactions, so it’s important that they are wearing a mineral-based, non-toxic sunscreen. But – from the selection of EarthHero approved reef-safe sunscreen formulas – there is actually very little difference between sunscreens labeled for babies vs kids vs adults. Some children’s sunscreens will contain skin moisturizing additives like calendula to help nourish the skin while it protects, and of course they can feature different SPFs, but for the most part you should be safe applying any mineral-based sunscreen to your little one (of course avoiding ingestion, and the eyes, nose, and mouth!)

What are nanoparticles, and are they safe in sunscreen?

Nano particles are simply smaller versions of any particle. The tiny size of these particles make them easy to absorb by the skin and into the body. Whether or not they are harmful has more to do with what substance these particles are a part of as opposed to just their size.

Many chemical sunscreens rely on nano-particles to ensure a clear application. The risk of nano-sized particles used in mineral sunscreens–zinc oxide and titanium-dioxide–is still up for dispute, but to be safe we prefer to stick to non-nano when possible! To play it safe, look for non-nano zinc oxide, and non-nano titanium dioxide.

Want more information on the science behind natural sunscreens, and help finding one that’s perfect for your lifestyle? Check out our Natural Sunscreen Blog! Or – shop all our sunscreen + sun care products here!

Chemical-Free Cleaning Products

We all want a clean house…. But nowadays, a clean planet is even more important. Luckily for you, you can have both thanks to our conscious companies that are finding innovative, zero waste ways to package and produce their cleaning tools, formulas, and products. They get the job done with ease (whatever the job may be!) and leave fewer chemicals and pollution behind for our Earth to deal with. Win-win. Read on below to learn about the benefits of natural cleaning products, and some of our favorites for tackling messes in every corner of the house!

What you’ll learn: 

  • Why chemical-free cleaning formulas are safer for your family, and the planet
  • How to choose products that work for your lifestyle
  • How to tackle every room of your house, from dirty dishes to messy bathrooms

Benefits of Non-Toxic Cleaning Formulas

They’re safe for children and pets!

Tired of evacuating the bathroom for hours after you clean it with harsh chemicals so that little ones don’t get overwhelmed with chemical-laden fumes? Unlike conventional cleaners, which can contain health-disrupting toxins (check out some toxins to avoid here!), natural cleaning products can be safely used around children of all ages. In fact, they can even join in on the cleaning when you use non-toxic formulas and begin to create healthy habits around their chores. While we still recommend adult supervision and suggest keeping the cabinet where you keep your cleaning products guarded against pets and little ones, you can clean worry-free knowing your products won’t be creating long-term damage.

They promote healthier indoor, and outdoor, air quality!

Look at the back of your conventional chemical-based cleaning products and you’ll likely see a giant warning label urging you to not breathe in the fumes. Which… frankly… is pretty hard to do if you’re deep cleaning smaller spaces like your bathroom. According to the EPA, the air quality inside homes can be 2-5x more polluted than the air just outside the home – and cleaning products play a huge role in that!

They protect our natural resources!

Conventional cleaning products like laundry detergents and fragranced aerosol sprays are often petroleum-based, which is a non-renewable natural resource that is extremely intensive to extract and transform. When we use large quantities of these petroleum-based, toxic products near sources of water (think down the bathtub drain!) it becomes nearly impossible for wastewater treatment plants to treat a large volume of these chemicals before they go to our aquatic ecosystems. Over time, this can negatively impact all sorts of wildlife and habitats – similarly to how microplastics accumulate!

Now that you know why… let’s get into how!

Laundry Room

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products | EarthHero | Soap Nuts

Soap Nuts

If single-use laundry pods are your thing, switch them out with soap nuts! Unlike Tide Pods and other laundry detergent pods, these soap nuts are 100% plastic-free, non-toxic, and chemical free – because they come from dried berries from trees in the Himalayas… not a factory. When the soap nuts are agitated in water they release saponin, which is a natural cleanser and fabric softener. Plus, they can be reused for several washes and then composted when you’re done with them. There’s also a liquid detergent made from soapberry extract, which is just as sustainable and comes inside an aluminum bottle instead of just being loose soap nuts.

Powdered Detergent

Want a cleaner & greener laundry detergent, but not ready to make the switch to soapberries? Powdered laundry detergent, packaged in refillable and reusable steel containers, is another great option! Made from concentrated ingredients like baking soda, washing powder, vegetable-based soap, and essential oils, powdered detergent can be used in both standard and HE style washing machines and easily removes stains and stink from all clothing types. No SLS, synthetic fragrances, dyes, plastic-packaging or optical brighteners needed. Plus, the canister can be refilled with more powdered detergent for a fraction of the cost of conventional detergents.

Non-Toxic Chemical-Free Cleaning Products on EarthHero

Cora Ball

While it’s important to ensure we aren’t sending toxic chemicals to our aquatic ecosystems through the washing machine, it’s also important to learn about the role of microplastics when washing our clothes. You can get the full scoop with the microplastic blog here, but to put it simply: when you wash clothes made from synthetic materials they release microscopic plastic threads that won’t biodegrade for hundreds of years. Plus, they get into the belly of animals and can cause a slew of health impacts for animals and people alike.

That’s where the Cora Ball comes in. Made from 100% recycled plastic, this scientist-tested ball captures and collects microplastics and microthreads that are released from your clothes so they don’t make it into our waterways. Just toss it in the washer drum with your laundry detergent of choice, and give it a few weeks to build up microparticles before you remove them manually and throw them in the trash where they belong.

Dryer Balls

Now that your clothes are clean, it’s time to dry them. Instead of tossing them in with single-use dryer sheets (which are full of chemicals and can actually damage your clothes), make the switch to reusable dryer balls. Made from ethically harvested & cruelty-free wool, they work by separating and lifting clothes to dry them faster and with less static. In fact, dryer balls are so effective that they can save you both energy and money. You can even drop some essential oils into the wool dryer balls for that “fresh-out-the-dryer” smell.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products | Bestowed Essentials | EarthHero

Spot-Treatment Stain Stick

Last but not least on the laundry lineup: stain sticks. Messes happen.. And sometimes you need ultra-concentrated cleaning power to handle them. But lots of stain sticks out there contain tons of bleaches, optical whiteners, and other toxic chemicals that are overkill. Natural laundry stain sticks, made from concentrated vegetable soaps, are a natural way to pre-treat tough stains before washing clothes to ensure they get 100% clean. Simply wet the spot, rub the treatment on, and toss it in the wash. Here is one we love with added baking soda, and here is one we love without it.

Bathroom

Meliora Non-Toxic Cleaning Products EarthHero

All-Purpose Cleaning Spray

Every household on the planet needs a high-quality cleaning spray for spills, smudges, and general life messes. But… most conventional cleaning sprays contain toxic phthalates, which are beginning to be studied in connection with long-term health impacts, and are almost always packaged in plastic. Ditch the single-use spray bottles and switch to a formula that works hard – so you don’t have to. This all-purpose cleaning spray comes with a reusable glass spray bottle and a steel canister of “cleaning flakes” made from toxin-free vegetable soap that are cruelty-free, SLS-free, and safe to use in any part of your home. Plus, you’ll save money: 18 refills of cleaner is only $8… that’s 44 cents a full bottle of surface cleaner.

Soft Scrub

Some messes, like those in the grout between your bathroom tile, require a little more elbow grease. This soft scrub powder from Meliora gets the job done, allowing you to really get to work in your spring deep cleaning. This scrub is safe to use on stainless steel, ceramic/porcelain tile, and most stovetops. Here is an awesome soft scrub, and here is a similar ‘scouring powder’. Don’t let corporate marketing fool you into thinking you need ultra strength chemical cleaners to get those tough to clean spots. These soft scrubs get the job done, without industrial strength toxins!

Eco Nuts Non-Toxic Cleaning Products EarthHero

Floor Cleaner

Up next in your spring cleaning to-do list is the floors! For sparkling tile, wood, and vinyl floors try this USDA Certified Organic floor cleaner. Made with essential oils and botanical extracts, this citrus spray is packaged in a reusable, recyclable aluminum bottle–so you have less plastic, and fewer toxins in your home. To use, simply spray on the floor and run a sweeper style mop (think Swiffer-style!) around until your floor is sparkling clean!

Kitchen + Dishes

Castile Dish Soap

We all wish our dishwashers (if you have one!) could clean everything in our kitchen… but for now… we still need to use dish soap to clean those pots, pans, knives, and cutting boards. Say goodbye to those wasteful (non-recyclable!) plastic bottles from used dish soap and say hello to castile dish soap blocks. Castile soap, basically just meaning a ultra-concentrated vegetable-based soap, is plastic, paraben, sulfate, and cruelty-free. It uses french green clay, sea salt, and natural oils to lather and cleanse dishes with ease. Pair with a natural loofah or sisal washcloth for a 100% zero waste clean!

Eco Nuts Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Veggie Wash EarthHero

Veggie Wash

Did you know that seemingly ‘fresh’ produce can often be coated with pesticides, dirt, wax, and other byproducts from the production and harvesting process? And while cleaning with water is an important step, sometimes it’s not enough! This USDA Certified Organic veggie wash is a great way to clean any and all produce before you eat it to ensure you’re not consuming anything but truly clean fruits and veggies. To use, simply spray onto veggies, allow to sit for 30 seconds, then scrub under running water. For softer items like berries, dilute 1-2 oz of the veggie wash in a bowl with the produce, allow to soak for 30 seconds, then rinse.

Surface Cleaner & Glass Cleaner

Tired of feeling like you need a hazmat suit to spray down the surfaces in your kitchen? From smudged fridges, to dirty glass cabinets, it’s important to have a good cleaning spray that can be used every day – without posing a risk to your family’s health. This organic surface cleaner and glass cleaner are safe for daily use near food prep areas because they’re ammonia-free, phosphate-free, and alcohol-free, and leave behind a gentle scent from essential oils that isn’t overpowering for the kitchen.

Essential Cleaning Tools

Now that you know why, and how, to make the switch to non-toxic cleaning products, it’s time to take what you’ve learned and put it into action. Conventional cleaning tools can be extremely wasteful, but we’ve rounded up some of our favorites to help you not only keep your house clean, but the planet as well!

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products Earthhero

Natural Latex Cleaning Gloves

Even though at this point you have switched over to only toxin-free cleaning products that won’t irritate your skin, it’s still a great idea to keep a pair of cleaning gloves on hand to protect you from hot water when cleaning and potentially dry skin. We’ve got you covered (literally). These natural latex gloves are slip-resistant, and feature 100% cotton cuffs to keep water from dripping down your arms. The inside is ultra-soft and comfortable, and they’re BPA, phthalate, and PVC-free. The perfect partner for any cleaning task!

Bottle + Straw Brushes

Your reusable bottles and straws are a great way to keep extra plastic out of the landfill, but they can be notoriously hard to clean. By investing in a brush specifically made for this task, you can save yourself a lot of time and effort. When it comes to bottle brushes there are a few options, including some with replaceable heads like this one, and others with various shapes for different types of bottles like this one. Take an inventory of what kinds of items you’ll need to clean – and pick which one works best for you. For straw brushes, it’s a little more straightforward when it comes to choices. Some are extra long, some are colorful, and some are just classic like this one. Whatever you choose be sure you keep it sink-side so you can clean out your bottles + straws after each use!

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products EarthHero Full Circle

Scrubber Sponges and Dish Brushes

A high-quality sponge or dish brush is essential for any cleaning project – whether you’re scrubbing dishes, cleaning countertops, or tackling grit and grime. But… many conventionals options are made from virgin plastic (that comes from non-renewable petroleum!) and have a pretty short lifecycle before they head to the landfill. Instead of buying wasteful plastic-based sponges, you can switch to an exfoliating sponge made from cellulose and walnut shells like this one – it can be composted after hundreds of uses! The natural walnut shells won’t shed microplastic pieces down the drain, either. Or try our 100% zero-waste loofah scrubbers that are made from unprocessed, chemical free heirloom Mayan loofahs that can also be composted when you’re done using them. You can get a 6 pack of smaller loofah scrubbers, or one large 4 inch loofah here – so that you have a scrubber for every assignment.

If you’re not a fan of sponges and loofahs, and prefer a traditional dish brush, there’s a ton of ways to reduce the amount of plastic they are made from. This dish brush flaunts a natural bamboo handle, and a BPA-free recycled plastic head & bristles to help reduce the amount of virgin plastic used. Small but mighty, this handle-free dish brush also relies on natural bamboo and recycled plastic to get the job done. Looking for something with a replaceable head is also a great way to reduce the amount of waste you produce. Whether you choose a dish brush, or a sponge-alternative, make sure you look for ethical materials, responsible production methods, and features that you know you’ll need when cleaning.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Products

Reusable Dish Towels

Paper towels: they come from trees (one of our most important natural resources!), they’re single-use, and let’s face it – they kind of suck for cleaning up messes. A great way to reduce paper towel waste and save yourself some money is to switch to reusable dish towels made from sustainable materials. Organic cotton towels like these are easy to clean + dry with, ultra-absorbent, and even have embedded loops for additional scrubbing power. Or, for a more refined look, you can try stonewashed linen towels like these! Whatever material floats your boat, made sure it’s a natural material like cellulose, linen, or cotton – and not synthetic!

Ready to start cleaning up the planet? Check out all our cleaning formulas and products here!

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

Fact: 85% of the toxic chemicals used in personal care, food, packaging, and other everyday products have not been tested–which means we have no idea what impact they can have on our bodies, and our planet. As more and more research on common additives is done, we’re finding out they might be linked to a slew of health problems.

From cancer-causing chemicals, to hormone-disrupting toxins, you’d be shocked to learn what secrets are potentially hiding in your everyday products. While it may feel impossible to completely eliminate your exposure, it’s important to play it safe and be educated about what’s is inside the products you use. Read on to learn about 7 of our least favorite toxins below, and how you can avoid them in your life! 

What you’ll learn:

  • A breakdown of 7 common toxic chemicals and where they are typically found
  • How to avoid them and recognize them in ingredient lists
  • How to use EarthHero’s sustainability logos to find safer alternatives

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

1. Phthalates – The Everywhere Chemical

Phthalates (pronounced Tha-lates) are chemical compounds typically added to plastic products to make them more flexible, durable, and long lasting. These little buggers are in almost everything — plastic food containers, cosmetics, “fresh” produce, electronics, children’s toys and even medical equipment. Simply eating from containers or using skin care products that contain phthalates can expose you to the chemical, and once they are in your body, they are quickly converted into metabolites (tiny molecules) that won’t leave your body for in several days.

Even though phthalates don’t stay in your body long, the impact they can have on your health is significant. One type of phthalate, named Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a known endocrine disruptor, and researchers are beginning to conduct long-term studies on how this chemical impacts human health. The biggest issue with phthalates, like many toxins, is that we truly don’t know what long-term continuous exposure from multiple sources (think food, skincare, packaging) can impact.

To learn more, the CDC measured 13 common types of phthalates in the urine of 2,636+ participants. What they found was that the general population has measurable levels of many types of phthalates in them–meaning that phthalate exposure is widespread amongst the US population. They also found that, on average,  adult women have higher levels of phthalate metabolites than men on average, specifically for the type of phthalates used in cosmetics and personal care products. They also found that, as with like most chemicals, children under the age of 3 are at greater risk when exposed to phthalates–due in part to their smaller body size, and from exposure to phthalates through items products they put in their mouths, like plastic toys, pacifiers, and more.

Phthalates are probably one of the most widely used chemicals in conventional products, and because there is currently minimal regulation when it comes to ingredients, with many companies choose choosing not to label their products as containing phthalates. This feels like seriously scary stuff, but there’s hope! To reduce your exposure, here there are a few things you can do: 

  • Look for skincare, cosmetics, and other personal care products  that is proudly to say “We are phthalate-free!”, and that also disclose their full ingredient lists.
  • Use phthalate-free food containers whenever possible (glass, stainless steel)–and never microwave food inside plastic containers that could contain phthalates, as the microwave process will leach those chemicals into your food.
  • Look at the ingredients list for these common phthalates: BBP (butyl benzyl phthalate), DBP (di-n-butyl phthalate) *commonly found in nail polish, DEHP (di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate) *often commonly added to PVC products to make them more flexible, DEP (diethyl phthalate) *added to personal care to enhance fragrance, and DiNP (di-isonoyll pthalate) *commonly added to toys and childcare products.

7 Toxic Chemicals To Avoid in Your Products

2. Parabens – The Preservative Chemical

These synthetic chemical preservatives are one of the most widely used preservatives in beauty and personal care products today, thanks to the fact that they keep bacteria and mold from growing in your products–extending their shelf life. While this sounds awesome, it actually negatively impacts human health…which is not so awesome.

You can be easily come into contact with parabens by applying them to your skin through makeup, moisturizers, hair care, and shaving cream, as well as by consuming them through preserved foods and food packaging (parabens are even in some pharmaceuticals. Yikes!) A study by the CDC on over 2,500+ participants found methylparaben and propylparaben, two of the most common types of parabens, in most of the people tested–indicating widespread exposure to parabens amongst the American population.

Other researchers have found parabens in breast tumors, linking the toxin to endocrine disruption and potential cumulative health impacts like cancer, as well as finding that butylparaben can severely impact the male reproductive system. Like phthalates, more long-term testing needs to be done to find a definitive relationship between health impacts and parabens, but we personally don’t want to wait to start limiting this chemical in our lives.

Currently, the FDA has no regulations against preservatives like parabens in cosmetics, which means that companies can include these toxins in their products without getting FDA approval–and without having to readily disclose that their products contain parabens. Which means, for now, that it’s up to the individual to protect themselves from such toxins! Here are some tips for doing so…

  • Look at the ingredients list for these common parabens: methylparaben, butylparaben, propylparaben, and ethylparaben. More and more companies are proud to say their products are “paraben-free” – be sure to support those ones!
  • Avoid food grown with preservatives and opt for organic whenever possible!

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

3. Sulfates, SLS, & SLES – The Lathering Chemical

Like parabens, these synthetic chemicals are also commonly found in beauty products and traditional household cleaners. They’re known for their ability to create that satisfying lather that elicits the feeling of true (but false) cleanliness! While bubbles are fun and all, absorbing toxins into your body is not. Some of the most common types of sulfate-based chemicals are Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLES), which are what allows your shampoo, soap, and bubble bath to suds up.

These compounds are produced from petroleum and ‘plant’ sources like palm oil, and are created through a chemical reaction with sulfuric acid and other chemicals. In short, they’re derived from not-so-great chemicals, and their production contributes to air pollution, increased greenhouse gases, and ultimately, climate change. But that’s not all…

Studies on sulfates, SLS, and SLES have found that SLS and SLES can irritate the eyes, skin, and lungs–especially with long-term exposure (which happens easily if these chemicals are present in your daily personal care products!). They also found that SLES may contain 1,4-dioxane, which is known to cause cancer in laboratory animals.

Beyond the environmental impacts of production and possible human health issues, simply using products that contain these chemicals can impact our animal biodiversity. The palm oil that is used to manufacture these sulfate-chemicals is a major contributor to tropical rainforest devastation, and then the final formulas are often washed down the drain (think of your shampoo!) where they end up in oceans, lakes, and waterways and can be toxic to different species of animals. All in all, we are not a fan of any version of synthetic sulfates. Check out some ways to avoid them in your life below:

  • SLS and SLES are usually found in: liquid soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, dish soap, toothpaste, bath bombs, and other “lathering” personal care items. Opt for solid and oil based soaps and shampoos rather than liquid versions–and keep an eye out for products that are proud to be “sulfate-free”!
  • Look at the ingredients list for: sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate, laureth-8 carboxylic acid, lauryl ether sulfate, and other common synonyms!

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

4. Oxybenzone – The Sunscreen Chemical

Oxybenzone, aka benzonephenone-3, has been getting a lot of (negative) attention lately–with sunscreen numerous companies  saying “we’re proud to be oxybenzone free!” But even so, oxybenzone is still in nearly 80% of conventional sunscreens, with studies from the CDC estimating that oxybenzones are present in more than 96% of the US population. It was initially used because oxybenzone provides UV coverage, while staying colorless, which many sunscreen companies loved for “spray” sunscreens and other innovative products. It’s also used in nail polish, fragrances, hair spray, and some cosmetics.

Despite the fact that oxybenzones are supposed to absorb UV rays and protect us from the sun, studies have shown that oxybenzone is readily absorbed by the skin–where it then stays in our bodies for an unknown amount of time. The EWG has found that oxybenzone, when in our bodies, is highly toxic–and has begun to link the additive to hormone disruption, damaged cells that could lead to skin cancer, and reproductive issues. According to one researcher, Dr. Kurunthachalam Kannan, a professor of public health and environmental health services with the New York State Department of Health, oxybenzone is an even stronger estrogenic than BPA–which has been widely banned due to its toxicity. In fact, oxybenzone even won an award (a bad award…) for being “Allergen of the Year” by the American Contact Dermatitis Society back in 2014.

Beyond that, coral reefs and other ocean ecosystems are highly impacted by the presence of this chemical in our sunscreens–as sunscreens are often rinsed off in the shower, pool, or ocean, where they can end up ingested by sea life, or absorbing into porous coral habitats. Despite all this research, oxybenzone is still FDA approved for use in our products, which means it’s up to us to reduce our exposure with tips and tricks like these…

  • Check the ingredients list for these common chemical filters: oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, homosalate, and octinoxate. Instead, look for mineral-based sunscreens that use active ingredients like zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide.
  • Allow your sunscreen to fully absorb into your skin before hopping in the pool or ocean to reduce the amount of run-off that occurs!
  • Accept the fact that you may have to rub in your white-based sunscreen a little bit more than your conventional clear sunscreen… or look for mineral-based sunscreens that are slightly tinted! Checkout our blog on natural sunscreens for more info here!

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

5. Synthetic Dyes – The Colorful Chemical

Fact: the food industry adds more than 15 million pounds of artificial food dyes into our food supply every year–putting them in everything from cereal to soda. They’ve become so prevalent that we often don’t even notice them, or know how to recognize them on the ingredients list. The same is true of synthetic colors in common cosmetics, personal care, and household products, with the FDA enforcing some regulations on what acceptive levels of synthetic colorants are, but not providing the consumer with information on how those additives can impact their health, or the health of the planet.

The truth is, coal, tar, and petroleum are the base for most of the artificial dyes that are used to color anything from clothing to personal care. These dyes contain heavy metals, plasticizers, fluorocarbons, and formaldehyde, and require a great deal of water and energy to produce them. Plus, most artificial colors aren’t readily biodegradable, and end up polluting our waterways and marine ecosystems. On top of that, although they are tested by the FDA, certain synthetic additives are linked to allergic reactions in sensitive individuals. For example, FD&C No. 5 can lead to itching, hives, and other skin reactions, despite the fact that they are considered safe. Some studies from the Center for Science in the Public Interest are even beginning to link these petroleum-based colorants to more serious health risks like cancer, hormone disruption, and hyperactivity (ADD and ADHD).

The good news is that you don’t need synthetic colorants in your products, because natural colorants exist! Things like beet juice powder, red radish powder, annatto powder, and water soluble carmine are all alternatives to synthetic red dyes–and are an awesome way to transform products to have the bold colors we’re so used to seeing.

How to avoid synthetic colors…

  • Check the ingredients list of your products for non-FDA-approved synthetic colors like tartrazine. Try not to confuse certified colors with their uncertified counterparts. For example, FD&C Yellow No. 5 is the certified form of tartrazine, and has been FDA certified, but tartrazine has not. You can find a list of FDA approved color additives here.
  • Switch from products that use synthetic additives (even if they are FDA approved!) to products that use only natural colorants from plant-based sources.

7 Toxic Chemicals to Avoid in Your Products

6. Synthetic Fragrance – The Smelly Chemical

Synthetic fragrances, aka the “new second hand smoke of 2019”, are one of the most prevalent chemical additives–and can be found in countless everyday products including scented candles, detergents, deodorants, air fresheners, shampoos, lotions, and more. Have you ever been around someone with just a little too much cologne on, or walked into a room that has been “Febreez-ed”? While it may seem innocuous, the chemicals that make up synthetic fragrances can be absorbed when we inhale them, and are linked to some serious impacts on our bodies and the planet.

About 95% of the chemicals used in synthetic fragrances are derived from petroleum (crude oil)–which is a finite resource that is extremely unsustainable to harvest, process, and transform into these synthetic chemicals. Beyond their impact on the planet, synthetic scents greatly impact our lungs and respiratory system. One such study shows a decline in exhalation volume by 58% when exposed to synthetic colognes, and is linked to a worsening of asthma symptoms. Additionally, synthetic scents can include those hormone-disrupting phthalates we talked about before, and be linked to health issues like cancer, birth defects, and reproductive issues. These same chemicals

Although fragrances are highly prevalent in our consumer products, it is possible to avoid them in the products you purchase by opting for “fragrance-free”, “unscented” products, alongside certified organic products and those who use essential oils in lieu of synthetic fragrances.

  • Swap out synthetic fragrance filled products with those that use natural & organic essential oils to fragrance their products. Avoid ingredients like: benzenes, aldehydes, toluene, styrene, and more.
  • Don’t be confused by the word “fragrance”. Fragrance is a catch-all term that can apply to nearly 3,000 various chemicals, all with their own serious impacts!
  • Look for unscented or fragrance-free products – but still read the labels carefully to ensure a company is not using some other chemical to masks scents to create the “unscented” experience.

7 Toxins to Avoid | BPA

7. BPA – The Water Bottle Chemical

Whether or not you’ve been paying attention to the toxins in your products, BPA has been making major headlines recently for two main reasons: almost everyone has detectable levels of BPA in their bodies, and they can create serious health impacts for fetuses and newborns. But what is BPA? Short for Bisphenonol A, BPA is an industrial chemical used to make polycarbonate–a hard, clear plastic that was used in plastic water bottles, food and product packaging, and as a protective lining in some metal-based items since the 1960s.

According to a study by the CDC back in 2003 on 2,500+ individuals aged 6 years and older, there were detectable levels of BPA in 93% of urine samples–which does not take into account the levels of BPA that may be present in children under the age of 6, the most at-risk demographic. Other studies pursued by the FDA’s National Center for Toxicological Research have continued to analyze the relationship between expectant mothers and BPA, with initial results suggesting long-term health impacts. Beyond that, it is linked to diabetes, heart disease, and endocrine disorders.

In July of 2012, the FDA amended its food additive regulations to ban the use of BPA is baby bottles, sippy cups, and infant formula packaging–but not other places where BPA were readily used. Despite this new regulation, many plastic products still contain BPA–leaving it up to the consumer to avoid it in their lives. But, because of the attention it has gotten, BPA is actually one of the easier toxins to avoid! Checkout some tips and trips to live BPA free below.

  • Avoid foods that could be packaged with BPA–like non-organic canned soups, preservative-packed produce, etc.
  • Choose cardboard and glass containers over canned goods! Highly acidic foods, like canned tomato sauce, are more likely to leach BPA from the can lining. Opt instead for cardboard and glass containers, instead of cans with plastic linings.
  • Do not microwave food from polycarbonate plastic! At high temperatures, these plastics can leach BPA into your food and become easily ingested. Although companies are not required to say if a product has BPA in it, polycarbonate plastics are usually marked with a number #7 recycling code on the bottom.
  • Look for baby bottles, toys, and other children’s products that are made by companies who proudly state they are “BPA free!” Because this is the demographic most impacted by the chemical, go the extra mile to research products that are truly BPA free.

 

7 Toxins to Avoid

BUT DON’T PANIC!

We know…. This is a lot of pretty scary information. And it can feel overwhelming. Toxins seem like they are everywhere–and can seem nearly impossible to avoid. The good news? Companies across the globe are taking matters into their own hands, and banning the toxic chemicals that are linked to negative health impacts… even if the FDA hasn’t.

By embracing the power of natural ingredients on a larger scale, brands are making it easier for their communities to shop products that are chemical-free. On EarthHero, we ensure that no brand or product on our site contains these toxins. Instead, we turn to essential oils, plant-based dyes, and other natural ingredients that work hard–without all the extra gunk added. Checkout our sustainability logos here that we use to label our products that are toxin-free, or look at the “Made Without” Sustainability Feature facet found on each product page! 

How do you live a toxin-free lifestyle?

 

Product Breakdown: FinalStraw

You, like many, love eating out at restaurants and consider yourself a lover of new experiences. Unfortunately… your dining experiences often include a waiter leaving behind an infamous plastic straw for your drink, whether you asked for one or not. You have always been bothered by this and one day, you reached your final straw (literally!) By investing in the FinalStraw, a reusable straw alternative, you have changed your dining experience – and our planet – for the better!

What You’ll Learn:

  • What is the FinalStraw, and the FinalStraw 2.0
  • How to clean and take care of your straw for years of use
  • Why reducing our plastic footprint is more important now than ever

The FinalStraw

FinalStraw: the world’s first collapsible and reusable straw. Made from stainless steel and silicone, this sleek metal straw folds to fit in a case small enough to attach to a key chain–making it perfect for the modern environmentalist.

But the straw isn’t just sexy—it’s essential, too. FinalStraw has quickly become a leader in the global movement to reduce the amount of single-use plastics in the world, replacing commonly used items with reusable alternatives. Every day, we use (and toss!) millions of single-use plastic straws, all of which aren’t recyclable and will never truly decompose. By switching to a reusable alternative, you can reduce the amount of waste headed to our landfills–while still getting all the perks of straws you know and love. Read on as we break down how to use, clean, and love your FinalStraw in this product breakdown!

The Straw

Sturdy stainless steel meets food-grade silicone to make the FinalStraw durable, collapsible, and perfect for kids and adults alike. Unlike classic stainless steel straws, that are perfectly rigid, this straw is made from 4 unique stainless steel sections, linked together by non-plastic silicone that allows it to easily self-assemble when pulled from its carrying case. This same silicone is added to the top and bottom of the straw as well, making it perfect for straw-biters, children, those with disabilities, or basically anyone who prefers a softer straw tip.

How-To: Clean & Dry

One of the biggest drawbacks for some around reusable straws is the question: how will I clean it? FinalStraw tackled that concern head on by making their straw easy to clean–whether you’re on-the-go, or at home. This is in part due to the unique travel case the straw comes folded in–featuring a telescoping straw cleaning brush made from the same durable stainless steel as the exterior of the straw.

To clean, simply remove the straw brush and extend it. With soap and water, run the straw brush through the straw until clean. Then simply allow the straw to air dry before putting it back into its carrying case.

 

The Travel Case

Another classic case against the reusable straw is that they’re difficult to carry around without getting dirty inside your bag or purse. That’s where FinalStraw’s unique keychain carrying case comes in, made from 100% recycled plastic that’s durable and protective. This mini case can be easily clipped to keys, carabiners, or stashed in a glove box–making it a perfect travel companion. Plus, it holds the straw brush we mentioned above… so you don’t need to bring additional supplies. In a variety of fun colors to match your personality, this case truly sets FinalStraw apart from the rest.

Why FinalStraw?

Single-use straws are often used for an hour or less as your enjoy your drink, then sent to the landfills where they will stay for hundreds of years before becoming microplastics (which are even worse!) Unlike single-use straws, testing has shown the FinalStraw can be used for 12,000 cycles – which is roughly 2 uses a day for 16 years! Perfect for both hot and cold drinks, with a variety of colors and options, this straw is truly the most innovative reusable we’ve found–and hope you love it as much as we do.

The visionary behind the sucking sensation is CEO Emma Cohen. Cohen, 32, holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University in Environmental Management and Sustainability, and worked in waste minimization at Los Alamos National Laboratory, before quitting to become a “strawtreprenuer.” Her Kickstarter campaign became a viral success with the FinalStraw team raising $1.89 million, and pre-selling over 85,000 straws.

The original FinalStraw, the 1.0, was a success from the start – but the FinalStraw team dedicated themselves to making it an even better product – which has lead to the FinalStraw 2.0 (the only version we have available on our site!) The 2.0 version is has a smaller, lighter case, and has a larger interior straw diameter for more straw sucking power. It has all the same features, but even easier to clip to a keychain and tote around. Whether you love your OG FinalStraw, or want to try the 2.0, you’ll find nothing but innovative design and durable materials!

Whether you’re new to reusable straws, or just want to try this innovative option, you can get your FinalStraw on EarthHero today!

Interview with Sanari Candles

Candles are refreshing, fragrant, and calming, but do you really know what’s inside your candles? You’ll be surprised to know a lot of the ingredients in classic candles carry chemicals, toxins, and fragrances from synthetic sources.

That’s why when Founder Rebecca Aghalarpour created Sanari Candles she did things differently. Sanari Candles are made from 100% vegan, plant-based ingredients and are packaged in reusable wine glasses!

What You’ll Learn:

  • What was the inspiration behind Sanari Candles and the team that makes the products
  • What are the ingredients in Sanari Candles, and how those ingredients are safer than conventional ingredients

About Sanari Candles

Sanari Candles isn’t your average candle company. Made from 100% vegan, plant-based ingredients, these non-toxic candles are packaged in reusable wine glasses–and burn bright without any added chemicals. Read on as we interview Sanari’s Founder, Rebecca Aghalarpour, and learn more about what inspired her unique brand.

Sanari Candles Earth Hero Interview

What inspired you to start Sanari Candles?  

“The combination of my experience leading a healthy lifestyle, and having a keen understanding of impure chemicals commonly used in beauty and home products led me to rid my home of anything remotely toxic. It was then that I came face to face with a cancer diagnosis. My research had taught me that traditional candles are full of toxic chemicals, like petroleum, dyes, artificial fragrances and animal by-products which go right into the air you breathe. The love of being able to burn candles in my home again inspired me to begin my journey with Sanari Candles!”

What does the word ‘Sanari’ mean?

“The name ‘Sanari’ is a combination of the names of my two amazing children, Aria and Sanam. Aria means Air and Sanam means Love,  creating pure love in the air you breathe.”

What’s your favorite candle scent out of the collection?

“I honestly can’t choose a favorite scent, since each blend delivers a unique sensory experience for your mind and body.  But my favorite plants are floral and citrus; so I love the Aria which has sweet and herbal notes of eucalyptus, bergamot and juicy sweet tangerine falling into beautifully fragrant of ylang ylang, fresh mint and lavender, finished off with patchouli and cedar wood. I also love the Sanam which has note of pomegranate and lemon, falling into a pool of delicate rose and jasmine petals, finished off with smooth dry musk–it’s delicious!”

What are some of the main goals of Sanari Candles as a whole?

Our goal and promise is dedicated to promoting a healthy lifestyle, using only the highest quality organic and green products in the industry. We believe in controlling the environment you live in, and created the first and only candle line to globally source the purest and natural ingredients with zero waste packaging. We pull from our earth to give back to our Earth, and to you!”

What do you do in your daily life to live more sustainably?

I have a plant based diet do meditation every morning, with deep breathing exercises, before I start my day. I love nature and take walks on the beach and hikes. I am extremely conscientious about waste and recycling. Most importantly, my spiritual studies helps me master things like patience, forgiveness observation and stillness–it simply takes practice.”

EarthHero Sanari Candles

What inspired you to make the candles’ packaging from reusable wine glasses?

Every aspect of Sanari is well thought out in order to eliminate waste. I wanted to use a glass that is pretty enough to collect and reuse. Our glass is a stemless wine/drinking glass with no chemical interaction, to ensure that the ingredients contained in our glass maintain their integrity and aroma. I also have to admit that I love wine… so it was an easy choice.”

If you could have everyone on the planet do one thing to positively impact our changing climate, what would it be?

“It is so important to be environmentally conscious and use sustainable products. It makes sense for people to be as efficient and green as possible in their thinking on a day-to-day basis. We should all be responsible for using recycled products and eliminating our personal waste.

Educate yourself about climate change and learn ways of managing the feelings that come up so you can face them–and not avoid the reality of climate change. Creating social norms about protecting the environment so that people see that ‘everyone is doing it and that it’s normal to be green is also extremely important.”

How has Sanari grown since day 1? What challenges have you faced being such a unique company?

It is important to educate the consumer about how to live a truly healthy lifestyle, and that has also been a challenge we’ve faced as a company. There are many traditional candle manufacturers using toxic chemicals such as paraffins and much more. The market can control what information gets released about its products, so consumers are often misled. It is our mission to be able to regulate this process and teach the consumer about the difference between our products, and conventional products.”

How are the ingredients in Sanari Candles unique from other candle companies?

“We use only the purest blends of essential oils to create fragrances that are unique and proprietary to Sanari Candles. Each of our blends truly delivers a unique sensory experience that also has proven health benefits. We have created a proprietary wax blend of Coconut and Soy; and no pesticides or herbicides are used at any stage in its cultivation. Our wax burns cleaner, cooler and longer. Plus, our wicks are made from 100% unbleached cotton wide wicks to provide a clean, pure and long lasting burn.” 

Sanari Candles Earth Hero interview

How does Sanari Candles give back to the planet?

“We are environmentally conscious and truly sustainable end-to-end. We use sustainable ingredients, recyclable paper and soy ink. We also donate a percentage of our sales to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, as their cause is very close to my heart!”

What’s your favorite environmental quote?

“‘The Earth is all we have in common’…. by Wendell Berry.” 

Thanks to Rebecca for sharing your story with us! Explore all Sanari Candles here!

 

 

 

Plastic Free Travel Essentials

Traveling can be stressful. All the packing, flights, car rides… and it can be even tougher when you are trying to balance an eco-friendly lifestyle on top of everything. Plus, a lot of common travel accessories are made of plastic or single-use materials in the name of ‘convenience’. But have no fear! It is possible to read lightly when you travel – it just takes a little extra planning. Read the blog to learn how to leave no trace!

What You’ll Learn:

  • How to travel plastic free and what essentials you’ll need
  • Why traveling with minimal impact is essential in today’s world
  • What brands and products can help to make traveling plastic-free easy

Plastic Free Travel

Fact: 9.1 BILLION Tons of plastic has been produced since plastic was introduced to us in the 1950s. This number is so staggering that the amount of plastic produced in one year is roughly the same as the entire weight of humanity. And this number is only increasing, day after day, piece by piece.

Now you may be thinking… “But what about the Seattle straw ban? What about the plastic bag tax? What about Starbucks going straw-free?” – and we totally hear you! There are a ton of amazing company and city-led initiatives popping up across the US and globally, but these bans or taxes often only address a portion of the real plastic problem. What is the real problem, you ask? Our single-use mindset!

It’s amazing that major companies are finally taking responsibility for their waste, but consumers must also be willing to take action. In practice, this means not just waiting for Starbucks to permanently ban plastic straws, but proactively bringing your own reusables as well. And while there are tons of ways to live a more sustainable life, in this blog, we’re sharing some of our favorite plastic-free, zero waste essentials for on-the-go. Whether you’re just on your daily commute to work, or a world traveler, you can make a more mindful impact on the planet with these 5 reusables!

Final Straw EarthHero Plastic Free Essentials

Collapsible & Reusable Travel Straw

There is no shortage of materials and styles of reusable straws out there, all offering a solution to the single-use straw crisis. They all have their own benefits and drawbacks, but when it comes to a true “travel” straw…. There’s simply no competition. The FinalStraw takes the cake because it’s collapsible into its own carrying case (which can be clipped to your keychain!) and contains its own straw brush and drying rack so you can easily clean it in an airport bathroom–not that we recommend that, though.

It’s made from stainless steel, so it’s practically unbreakable, but still comes in a bunch of cool colors so you can customize your look. Whether you just need a straw for your to-go iced coffee on the way to the office, or plan on backpacking the world, this little straw set is a huge game changer when it comes to kicking single-use straws to the curb. Not sold on this straw? Figure out which reusable straw is best for you here!

Stasher Bags EarthHero Plastic Free Travel

Leak-Proof Silicone Bag

We talk a lot about plastic grocery bags when addressing the single-use plastic issue, but rarely address the silent killer–plastic Ziploc and snack bags! From packing snacks for the road, to keeping your toiletries from spilling into the rest of your suitcase, Ziploc bags are used often and without abandon when it comes to life on-the-go. An easy way to cut this waste out is with a Stasher Bag!

Made from extremely durable silicone, these bags won’t break or rip, and are 100% leak-proof (you can put water in the bag, then seal it and flip it upside down…then shake it. Trust us, we’ve tried it!) They can be put in the freezer and microwave for meal prepping and storage, but are also a great solution for toiletries, makeup, and other potentially spillable travel gear. Basically, this bag does everything, making it our #1 travel buddy.

ECOlunchbox EarthHero Plastic Free Travel

Stainless Steel Snack Container

A great way to save money when traveling is to pack your own meals! But, without reusables, this could lead to a lot of single-use packaging and waste being left behind on your journey. The good news is… we have a solution for that too! Containers like these are easy to travel with because they’re made from durable stainless steel, come in a variety of nest-able sizes for easy storage, and have a leak-resistant silicone lid to keep everything secure. Simply put a sandwich in one, a salad in the other, stick them in a bag and head out! Plus, they’re oven safe, so you can reheat your food without having to transfer it to another container. 

EarthWell Reusable Bottles EarthHero Plastic Free Travel

Reusable Water Bottle & Coffee Mug

Did you know that 1 million plastic bottles are bought every minute around the world? And less than half of those bottles will make it to the recycling center… which means that our landfills are being rapidly filled by water bottles that are used for 30 minutes… and last 300 years. By setting yourself up with a reusable water bottle (and/or coffee cup, if that’s your thing!) you can not only reduce the amount of trash produced overall, but you’ll get some personal benefits like saving money and drinking more water in general (we hope!) Whether you prefer a beautiful glass bottle, something stainless steel, or just want to make your coffee mug a 2-in-1 water bottle as well, there’s no shortage of solutions for this single-use problem. Whatever way you sip, just do it sustainably.

United by Blue EarthHero Plastic Free Travel

Carry-all Bag(s)

Now this may seem pretty obvious for a plastic free travel blog… but you’re going to need a travel bag (or two, or three!) Most travelers assume that they just need their suitcase and they’re good… but this often leads to them collecting single-use travel bags on the way. The three bags we know you’ll need for any awesome adventure are these: a backpack, a grocery tote, and a lunch/produce bag!

By having 3 varying sizes of travel bags, you can ensure you’ll never end up without what you need. The backpack, of course, is perfect for toting all of your larger “everyday” travel items, such as a laptop, notebook, camera–and all the reusables we mentioned above. Also inside this backpack will be the other two bags, tucked nicely away until you need them.

The grocery tote is a necessity so that you can go shopping, either for food or just for fun, on your trip without having to cave to single-use shopping bags. Roughly 100 billion single-use plastic shopping bags are used by Americans alone each year, and although most people know that these bags are bad for the planet, when you forget your reusables it can be hard to say no. By keeping a grocery tote like this one around, you’ll always have a place to store extra stuff–without just shoving more things into that backpack.

The final bag you’re going to need is a lunch bag or a produce bag! They can be used pretty interchangeably depending on your needs, and store neatly alongside the rest of the reusables in your backpack. This is where you will keep those reusable containers that are pre-packed with food, that loose banana or apple you grabbed on-the-go, or anything else that wouldn’t do well loose inside a backpack. That way, if you’re traveling and are ready to break for a snack, you don’t have to dig through your entire backpack–all you have to do is remove your lunch bag and you’re set. Learn more about packing a plastic free school lunch here!

Five plastic free essentials…. One massive impact. By simply preparing yourself with products like these, then making a conscious decision to bring them with you when traveling anywhere, you can drastically reduce the amount of waste you leave in trash cans on your travels. Once you’ve mastered these sustainable swaps, you can expand your zero waste initiative to your home, kitchen, laundry room, and beyond! Plus, check out 16 more of our favorite zero waste essentials for everyday here!

Which reusable straw is best for you?

Scary story time: Imagine, you’re swimming through the depths of the ocean. Beautiful, still, and calm the ocean looks like it doesn’t have a care in the world, and as a result, neither do you. You swim deeper and deeper until you finally reach a majestic coral reef. Then, out of the ocean floor comes a sea turtle aged older than you. As it passes you, you notice the massive sea turtle munching on something… and with a closer look you can see it’s a plastic straw. In your horror, you turn around to see thousands upon thousands of plastic pieces floating around the endless ocean, blending in with the wildlife and ecosystem. 

Did you find this story scary? Yeah, us too! But you can be a part of the solution to ocean pollution – and help change our ocean ecosystems for the better. Read on to learn why reusable straws are an incredible option for anyone looking for an easy and safe solution to single-use plastics! 

What You’ll Learn: 

  • What material of reusable straw best fits your lifestyle and needs
  • Why switching to reusable straws is so critical for our planet

Which reusable straw is best for you?

Single-use plastic straws–they’re used for 30 minutes, but stick around for over half a century in our landfills and waterways. They can’t be recycled, they won’t biodegrade, and often end up polluting ocean habitats and damaging the environment! So why do millions of people each day choose to keep sucking on straws?

The truth is: straws can have some serious perks–from protecting your teeth from the sugars in drinks, to sippin’ drinks easily on the go, and they’re a great option for children or those with disabilities. But there is a better way than single-use! Reusable straws are an amazing way to reduce your impact on the millions of plastic straws that go into our landfills each week, while still enjoying all of the perks you love.

From long-lasting stainless steel to bendy silicone, read on to learn about our favorite reusable straws, and find out which one is best for your lifestyle!

Stainless Steel Straws

Over the last few months, fast-food restaurants and even entire cities have pledged to ban plastic straws, moving towards compostable alternatives or even modifying their products to not require straws (we see you Starbucks!) But, if you’re anything like us, ditching straws altogether just doesn’t work–especially when you’re on-the-go.

That’s why we love reusable stainless steel straws as one alternative, because they’re made from such a durable material that they can really go anywhere and everywhere with you without breaking–just toss it in your bag worry-free. Plus, stainless steel as a material is naturally non-toxic, rust-proof, and dishwasher safe, so cleaning and maintaining your straws is extremely easy.

Because stainless steel is, well, metal, we recommend that you only use this type of reusable straw on cold or room temperature drinks–not hot coffee or anything that could heat up the straw (ouch!) Another good thing to note about 100% stainless steel straws is that they’re not ideal for young children, or those with disabilities, as the mouthpiece is not as forgiving.

Pros: extremely durable, easy to clean, naturally rust-proof & non-toxic, lasts for years, comes in short and long lengths, recyclable, comes in bulk, looks great alongside classic silverware!

Cons: not suitable for hot drinks, or young children & those with disabilities!

Natural Bamboo Straws

There’s a lotta’ types of reusable straws.. but don’t get it bamboozled… bamboo straws are an amazing alternative as well! Usually known for being the fastest growing plant on the planet, bamboo is also naturally mold-resistant, anti-bacterial, and is as durable as steel. They will last for years with proper care, but when your bamboo straws do finally reach the end of their life, they can be commercially composted–so they don’t end up in the landfill.

In terms of usage, bamboo straws are easily cleaned with soapy water and a straw cleaning brush, and are naturally BPA-free, made without animal byproducts, and grown from bamboo that use pesticides or fertilizers. And although bamboo is a strong wood, it’s gentle and giving enough to be a great option for everyone–children, those with disabilities, you name it.

Pros: compostable & biodegradable after years of use, gentle enough for kids, good for hot and cold drinks, comes in short and long lengths, naturally mold-resistant & anti-bacterial, comes from renewable materials!

Cons: slightly ‘wooden’ mouthfeel, should not be left soaking in drinks for 12+ hours, most straw sets will have slightly different diameters because they come from whole stalks of bamboo, harder to clean!

Durable Glass Straws

Sip with class, thanks to glass! Reusable glass straws are one of the prettiest alternatives to single-use plastic straws, and there’s so many unique types! From short (8”) to long (10”), to smoothie width and regular width, bent and straight, and a variety of colors, there’s no shortage of ways to rock a glass straw.

Did you know that glass is 100% recyclable, and can be recycled endlessly without losing quality or purity? This makes it an extremely sustainable alternative to single-use straws–which can’t be recycled even once. Plus, glass won’t impart flavors based on what liquids it has come in contact with, so you can go from sipping a cup of iced coffee to a glass of wine without having to deep clean the straw.

Pros: easy to clean as the straw is see-through, dishwasher safe, lifetime guarantee, colorful, comes in smoothie width and classic width!

Cons: break or shatter slightly easier than other options!

Flexible Silicone Straws

While some of the other reusable straws might have bent tips, they don’t truly hit the mark for a flexible “bendy” straw that mimics the single-use plastic alternative. And for straw-chewers and little ones everywhere that was a huge issue.

That’s where silicone comes in–a plastic-free, non-toxic material that bends easily, but doesn’t break. Silicone has a high heat capacity, which means that it doesn’t change temperature easily, so it can go in your piping hot coffee, or in a cup of ice cold water. For the little ones in your life, the silicone straws can be easily cut down with a pair of scissors to create different lengths–but don’t worry, they won’t easily break or rip on their own!

Pros: flexible with a wide bent tip for easy sipping, doesn’t change temperature & can be used with hot and cold drinks, dishwasher safe, can be cut down to create “mini” straws, great for straw-chewers and won’t break!

Cons: harder to recycle at the end of life, and entire straw is flimsier than rigid stainless steel or glass.

Steel + Silicone Tip Straws

You deserve the best of both worlds: a bendy straw tip and a durable straw base. This straw does just that thanks to its flexible silicone tip attached to a high-quality steel base. When you want a pop of fun color, just keep the silicone mouthpiece on, or simply pop it off for a classic stainless steel look.

Pros: recyclable at the end of its life, nearly unbreakable, flexible bendy-straw tip, good for kids, straw-chewers, and those with disabilities, pairs with Klean Kanteen brand pints & tumblers, and made from non-toxic materials!

Cons: preferred hand-wash, and stainless steel cannot be used with hot drinks!

Compostable Straws

Alright, alright…. This technically isn’t a reusable straw, but it is another great alternative to single-use plastic straws. We totally understand that single-use straws are sometimes unavoidable, especially at large events like weddings, bars, festivals, you name it. By switching to single-use compostable paper over plastic, you can divert a huge amount of waste headed to the landfill, while still providing the single-use straws your event needed.

Most paper straws, like these, can compost in roughly 6 months to a year (compared to the 500 years plastic takes), and are made with chemical-free, food-grade inks, so they contain none of the yucky toxins that plastic straws do. Plus, they come in a variety of fun colors, making them the perfect partner for your sustainable party!

Pros: compostable & biodegradable, unique and memorable experience, fine for straw-chewers, kids, and those with disabilities!

Cons: not suitable for hot drinks, not reusable, each straw can only be used for a short period of time!

The FinalStraw

It’s time to #SuckResponsibly with FinalStraw–the world’s first collapsible, reusable straw that raised over $1.8 million on Kickstarter! This badass little straw is a convenient, durable alternative to the single-use plastic straw, using long-lasting materials like stainless steel and food-grade silicone… not wasteful plastic. Their patented self-assembling foldable design lets you tuck the straw into its recycled plastic carrying case with ease, and even comes with a telescoping straw cleaning brush for when it’s time to clean. Plus, the carrying case features a keychain clip, so you never have to worry about leaving your straw at home again. Plus, the silicone tip is great for straw biters!

Pros: comes with travel-friendly carrying case, collapsible, comes with straw brush, fine for straw-chewers and kids, can be used with hot and cold drinks, durable and long-lasting!

Cons: not great for thick drinks like smoothies, must be commercially recycled and taken apart at the end of its life.

Now that you have the tools you need to decide what straw is right for you, it’s time for the most important part: using it! When you go to restaurants, coffee shops, or businesses, make sure you proudly say “No straw, please! I have my own!” When you bring your own straw, others will notice, and hopefully spur a change in their own life towards less single-use items. Don’t think you can switch to reusable? It’s easier than you think! All you need is your go-to straw, a carrying case, and of course a straw brush, and you’re ready to start changing the world.

Comment your favorite reusable straw below!