Earth Day: Simple, accessible sustainable swaps of everyday products that don't break the bank

Making small changes when buying everyday items can make a big difference over time, and with more and more sustainable products entering the market, being environmentally conscious doesn't cost the Earth. 

According to Kantar's Better Futures Report, released in December 2021, 86 percent of Kiwis think they can do more to protect the planet. The research also found that more than two-thirds of New Zealanders are concerned about the build-up of plastic in the environment. As a nation, commitment to living more sustainably is gaining pace - but there's a lot more we could do. 

With Earth Day this Friday, now has never been a better time to make simple swaps in your day-to-day life that are kinder to the planet, but don't butcher your bank account. 

Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. First held more than 50 years ago in 1970, Earth Day now includes a wide range of coordinated events worldwide. The official theme for 2022 is 'Invest In Our Planet'.

It could be as simple as purchasing a Keep Cup for your morning latte, or as significant as swapping out your single-use bathroom products - think cotton pads and face wipes - for reusable or plastic-free alternatives. It doesn't matter whether it's big or small, making the change and taking action is the most critical part - and even little changes can carry a significant impact. 

To help encourage Kiwis to make small changes in their home, Newshub has put together a list of products that are big on sustainability, but not in price. Lower-cost options are now available at the likes of supermarkets, Kmart and The Warehouse, meaning it's never been easier to access eco-friendly products to suit all budgets. 

Earth Day: Simple, accessible sustainable swaps of everyday products that don't break the bank
Photo credit: Getty Images

Easy swaps to more Earth-friendly options

Reusable dishcloths

Instead of opting for single-use paper towels or disposable cloths, consider a washable, reusable and compostable dishcloth to play a small part in helping the planet - without compromising on cleanliness.

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Compostable Dishcloth, RRP$2.50
  • Countdown: Best Bamboo Cloths, 6pk, RRP$5
  • New World: Munch Cupboard Eco Compostable Dishcloths, RRP$3.

Reusable straws

Single-use plastic straws have no place in an eco-friendly home, especially as there are so many reusable alternatives on the market. A number of retailers now offer bendable, washable straws made from materials such as silicone or stainless steel that can be used time and time again - simply place them in the dishwasher. They also make an easy addition to your handbag while on the go - no more excuses.

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Stainless Steel Straw Set, 4pk, RRP$7
  • Countdown: Ambry Straws Stainless Steel, 4pk, RRP$6 
  • Kmart: Metallic Metal Straws, 4pk, RRP$3; Silver-Look Metal Straws, 10pk, RRP$7.
Earth Day: Simple, accessible sustainable swaps of everyday products that don't break the bank
Photo credit: Getty Images

Beeswax wrap

Plastic wrap can be a bit of a pain in the butt - it's clingy, sometimes the serrated edge isn't quite sharp enough, and it's easy to over or underestimate the amount you need. For the most part, it's also a single-use plastic - it's pretty difficult to reuse. Beeswax wrap is a great alternative: it still helps to keep food fresh, but is coated with a natural wax that can be cleaned and reused again and again. It also comes in a handy roll that you can simply cut to the size you need.

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Beeswax Wrap, RRP$12
  • Stevens: LilyBee Summer Fruit Beeswax Food Wrap, 3pk, RRP$30
  • Farmers: NIL Beeswax Organic Reusable Wrap, Medium, RRP$14.

Bamboo cotton buds

Cotton buds or swabs are one of those essentials that everyone seems to have in their bathroom cabinet - but don't be fooled by their size. Plastic cotton buds break down into microplastics, which can be ingested by the smallest phytoplankton through to the biggest whale. Microplastics can block digestive tracts of marine life and reduce their urge to eat, causing some species to starve and die. They also frequently end up in our waterways and oceans, contributing to plastic pollution. While reusable swabs can be purchased, often for a more premium price, a more affordable and sustainable alternative is opting for bamboo over plastic. With bamboo stems and cotton tips, they are 100 percent plastic-free.

  • The Warehouse: Natural Plastic Free Cotton Buds Bamboo Stemmed, 200pk, RRP$2.50
  • Go Bamboo: Biodegradable Cotton Buds, 200pk, $6.50
  • Chemist Warehouse: Swisspers Paper Stems Cotton Tips, 400pk, RRP$6.50.
Stock image of cotton swabs with bamboo stems on blue background
Photo credit: Getty Images

Biodegradable or plastic-free wipes

Wipes are another significant offender, with many people flushing them down the toilet. Wet wipes do not degrade during a flush or break down by the time they reach the sewer infrastructure. When the wet wipes make their way into the ocean, they get ingested by sea creatures, such as turtles, who mistake them for jellyfish. While washable and reusable alternatives are a good bet, plastic-free silk, bamboo or biodegradable wipes are another option that will break down naturally over time. 

  • The Warehouse: Bamboo Baby Wipes, 80pk, RRP$3
  • Pak'nSave: Silk Biodegradable Baby Wipes, 60pk, RRP$2.80
  • Countdown: Earth Smart Baby Wipes All Natural Aqua Wipes, 70pk, RRP$6.

Bamboo pegs

A simple swap that still packs a punch, reusable bamboo pegs still do the job, but are kinder on the environment than their plastic counterparts.

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Bamboo pegs, 50pk, RRP$8
  • Go Bamboo: Clothes Pegs, 20pk, RRP$6
  • Acquisitions: Bamboo Clothes Pegs, 20pk, RRP$10.

Reusable cotton pads

Like cotton swabs, cotton pads are typically single-use and end up in the bin. Whether you use them to apply skincare or remove makeup, there are numerous washable and reusable alternatives now on the market. Simply chuck them in the washing machine with your towels and they're good as new.

  • The Warehouse: Colour Co. Microfibre Reusable Makeup Removing Pads, 3pk, RRP$5
  • Countdown: Garnier Micellar Reusable Eco Pads, 3pk, RRP$17
  • Sephora: Sephora Collection Reusable Cotton Pads, 7pk, RRP$31.
Earth Day: Simple, accessible sustainable swaps of everyday products that don't break the bank
Photo credit: Getty Images


If you're looking to make small changes throughout the home, don't overlook the bedroom. There are more eco-friendly options for pillows and bedsheets that all play a part in helping the planet. Nowadays you can find pillows containing recycled polyester or microfibre filling - Living & Co's version contains the equivalent of 16 recycled bottles per pillow - or packaged in compostable materials. 

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Pillow Everyday Cotton Comfort, 2pk, RRP$19
  • Briscoes: Natures Feel Eco Pillow, RRP$60
  • INNATURE: Handmade Organic Cotton & Wool Pillow, RRP$65-80.

Produce bags

While single-use plastic bags have been phased out in supermarkets and most retailers, with customers encouraged to bring their own reusable shopping totes, plastic bags contain to make an appearance among the fresh produce aisles. However, if you already have a stash of fabric totes in your boot, there's no reason why you shouldn't add some reusable produce bags to the mix. Simply bring in them along with your shopping bags, place them in your trolley and use them to collect your fresh fruit and veg.

  • The Warehouse: Living & Co Reusable Cotton Produce Bags, 5pk, RRP$10
  • Countdown: Fruity Sacks Reusable Fruit & Veg Shopping Bags, 3pk, RRP$3
  • Kmart: Reusable Cotton Bags, 7pk, RRP$12.
Earth Day: Simple, accessible sustainable swaps of everyday products that don't break the bank
Photo credit: File