The best part about your home is that it’s your space. There are 100s of ways you can make it your own – cozy, minimal, eccentric, bright, traditional, etc. We often share information about tailoring your space to a certain aesthetic, like organic modern, mid-century modern, or European modern.
Just as important as the style of your space is how you live in the space. What products do you use that makes your life feel easier, more satisfying, or protects our planet?
While we’ll forever sing our praise of living in sustainable interior design, eco-conscious practices within your home matter just as much. That’s why we’ve compiled 8 biodegradable products to make your life a little simpler.
No one needs the added stress of feeling like they’re contributing to climate change. Here are some products that are totally guilt-free. Swap out one at a time to make consistent sustainable changes!
Biodegradable Products 101
We always recommend doing your research before purchasing a product. So, before you dive into purchasing all the biodegradable products you can get your hands on, here is some general information on what a biodegradable product is.
What are biodegradable products?
Products that break down in a natural environment within a year are considered biodegradable. This process is called decomposing, and it’s influenced by bacteria and fungi in the soil, as well as wind, water, and sun.
When we say breakdown, we don’t mean that they leave residue or traces. Plastic may break down into microplastics, but it’s never really gone. Biodegradable products disappear completely.
Why should I use biodegradable products?
There are lots of reasons to invest in biodegradable products.
Let us first start by saying that not everything is a great candidate for being a biodegradable material. While we want your walls to be made of natural materials, we don’t want them to break down within a year. The same goes for your roof, kitchen sink, or windows. These products should be made to last, and repurposed at the end of their life cycle (a cradle to cradle principle).
For some products, especially the products we use and throw away on a day to day basis, the more biodegradable the better!
Biodegradable products help us reduce pollution, limit or eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, improve resource management and support positive human health. This makes them a good choice for you, your family, and the planet.
What’s the difference between compostable and biodegradable?
There may be some confusion between what’s biodegradable and what’s compostable.
Biodegradable products break down naturally on their own. Some compostable products are also biodegradable. But other compostable products require excess heat and airflow to decompose. This label is often known as ‘industrial compost only’ – which means your city or town has to have an industrial compost facility.
Compostable means it breaks down at a rate similar to paper in about 90 days without toxic residue.
Items that aren’t approved for backyard composting won’t break down on their own, and aren’t as biodegradable.
Are there products that aren’t biodegradable that are still sustainable?
Yes! If you’re stressing yourself out about only finding biodegradable products – stop! There are other sustainable options that are good for your home and the planet.
Look for items with a long lifecycle. We’ll go in more depth later, but a great example is the Huppy toothpaste tab container, which in theory should last your entire life (and then some)!
Consider products made of aluminum, which is endlessly recyclable. While it’s not great to use a ton of recyclable products, it’s far better than using landfill-bound products.
For instance, The Navy Chair sold by Emco (which you can find in our sustainable patio furniture blog) has a long life cycle and can be endlessly recycled rather than downcycled! Another great example of a long-lasting product are Stasher Bags, which are highly recommended by our principal designer Megan!
Biodegradable Products Ideal for Everyday Use
Vinegar and Water
An old school cleaning hack Megan loves using is vinegar and water to clean just about everything! From sinks, to toilets, to some LVP floors, vinegar is a good, non-toxic and natural cleaning product. Its antibacterial properties help kill germs and also deodorize your home!
Megan swears by it for countertops and as backsplash tile cleaner, too!
Blue Land Powdered Dish Soap
Everyone wants sparkling plates, but if you want sparkling plates without plastic waste, consider Blueland powdered dish soap. It has no harmful ingredients (to you or the planet) and the packaging in the powder comes in is biodegradable. We like to pour our powders into a pretty container – even if it does just live beneath the sink!
Dropps for Laundry Detergent
According to Megan, Dropps cleans better than many of the other natural or no-waste detergents she’s tried. The pods are manufactured in the USA, are leaping bunny cruelty-free certified, and are made from plant-based ingredients.
They have three different categories for detergent: stain and odor, sensitive skin, active wash, and ultra concentrated.
The pods come in scents like orange blossom, fresh start, lavender eucalyptus, rose energy, clean and crisp, or unscented for those with sensitive noses.
Mountain Time Soap
If you want to bring the scents of the great outdoors inside, we can’t recommend Mountain Time Soap enough. The Colorado soap company is based out of Golden, Colorado, is woman owned, and all of their soaps are biodegradable.
The packaging the soaps come in are also a biodegradable product. They also have a long list of sustainable processes they do throughout their business. We recommend trying out Idlewild, it’s our favorite scent!
Paper Products from Who Gives a Crap!
A great way to make blowing your nose a little more fun during the cold season – Who Gives a Crap has facial tissues, toilet papers, and paper towels. Their products are made from bamboo, and wrapped in paper instead of plastic. Their marketing is cheeky and fun. We highly recommend stacking a role or two in your guest bathroom!
All products are sent with carbon neutral shipping and they donate 50% of their profits to non-profit organizations.
They also have a good Swedish dishcloth made of cellulose and cotton, meaning it’s also a biodegradable product.
Natural Beeswax Food Wraps
No one is likely looking for a beautiful alternative for plastic wrap. Good news though, the sustainable version of plastic wrap is beautiful and eco-friendly! Introducing beeswax food wraps by Bee’s Wrap! They’re made with cotton, beeswax, organic plant oil and tree resin, meaning they’re completely biodegradable at the end of their life cycle.
Yet, with the proper care they last a while! You can purchase them in assorted packs, rolls, and are made for specific products (like bread!).
Compostable Pet Waste Bags
We love our pets in Colorado, it seems like just about everyone is a dog person! In fact, we’ve done a blog that features the biggest mistakes you can make during a remodel or new build, one of which being not remembering to design for your pup!
There are lots of great biodegradable products for pets now, too, like these compostable pet waste bags. They’re 100% plastic free, reduce odors on your walk, and are extra thick to prevent breaks.
There are so many little swaps we can make in everyday life that can have a big impact on the planet. One is toothpaste. Did you know that every tube of toothpaste you’ve ever used is likely still in a landfill somewhere?
It can take toothpaste 50+ years to break down. But Huppy has created a line of toothpaste to leave your teeth squeaky clean! Their aluminum case is reusable and recyclable at the end of its life… which would technically be the end of your life.
The tablets are whitening, remineralize enamel, reduce sensitivity and include only clean and safe ingredients. Each little refill pouch is made of materials that are biodegradable, meaning they’re safe for backyard compost.
This is Just a Starter List of Biodegradable Products
People want to find ways to live their daily lives without negatively impacting the future – that’s what the sustainability movement is all about. There are times when we get a great opportunity to make sustainable decisions on a grander scale, like remodeling a house.
Yet, you don’t remodel your home every day. The little decisions you make – like what soaps you use, or how you store your food – can have the same significant impact over time. Years of using an eco-friendly toothpaste or Dropps detergent, especially when done collectively, can drastically reduce our landfill waste.
This was a short list of biodegradable products for your home. If you’re feeling inspired, don’t stop here! There are endless ways to take care of yourself sustainability.
Pro-tip: If you don’t have time to do all the legwork to learn about something new, like sustainable design, you can always partner with an expert, like a sustainable interior designer!