Are you curious about what sustainable product is right for you? With all of the chatter about sustainable living efforts these days, it can be tough to know where to begin. Have you noticed the influx of eco-brand ads on your social media feeds? Try this unique, sustainable product, they say. It’s made from sustainable materials, they say. But what does that even mean? Aluminum, silicone, bamboo: what’s the best sustainable material for you?

The fact is that each of these elements is a sustainable and healthy option to substitute non-reusable products with. As far as which sustainable material is best suited to your lifestyle, well, that all depends on personal preference.

Please welcome guest author, Bag Lady, Meredith San Diego, who is living life as a permenant eco tourist. Stick around until the end to read more ways you can connect and follow along on her eco adventures.

First, let’s break down some facts about each element. 

WHAT WE’RE COVERING

Aluminum

As a low-impact (or green) material, aluminum is highly trusted. Arguably the most sustainable element of them all, aluminum is lightweight, strong, and highly recyclable. It requires fewer amounts of energy to recycle, 95% less, to be exact. Why is that? When melted at high temperatures, the metal’s properties do not fluctuate, which is to say that it can be recycled indefinitely.

aluminum cans with a message asking whats the deal with aluminum

Eco-fun fact, the more aluminum is recycled, the better it is for the environment. Aluminum is also chief among sustainable products because of its versatility. The material can be used for various products across various industries. Not to be confused with stainless steel. Stainless steel incorporates chromium, which adds a protective layer to fight against corrosion. 

The more popular sustainable aluminum products on the market are straws. But it is also constructed into decorative pieces, such as end tables, panels, even picture frames. And, of course, most pots and pans are made from aluminum. Speaking of kitchens, the quest to create a low-waste space will likely introduce you to additional materials, such as silicone.

Silicone

As another low-waste material, silicone can also withstand extremely high and low temperatures. This makes it ideal for kitchenware products. Consider replacing anything plastic in the kitchen with one made from silicone instead. Whether it’s for storing leftovers or baking a mini feast, silicone can get it done.

The important thing to know is that silicone doesn’t contain bisphenol A (BPA). Nor does it contain phthalates, both of which are found in plastic. Its durability means it can be safely used for longer than any plastic item can allow. It also means it needs to be replaced far less frequently. What’s more, it’s recyclable! Granted, not every recycling facility accepts it, so don’t chuck it in the recycling bin without checking first. 

display of various silicone products

Additionally, silicone is non-toxic to human, plant, or ocean life. That earns this material two giant green thumbs way up in the sustainable living community. Having made the transition to sustainability myself, I can testify that it’s not as difficult as one might assume. In fact, it was fun and empowering to do. Leaning on eco-conscious brands such as EcoInnova to do it also made it affordable. Items come in bulk on the website. Try teaming up with a friend or loved one to share the expense. Together you can push the movement from one household to another.

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Bamboo

Bamboo has quickly become the most popular material for sustainable product development. Considering that bamboo is durable, flexible, compostable, stylistic, and bacteria-resistant, it’s easy to understand why. Additionally, bamboo is a renewable resource; meaning it can be replenished quickly. As a plant, bamboo grows to astounding heights and fast all while requiring minimal amounts of water. 

Bamboo has begun to be used as a substitute for more than just plastic. It has been used to replace both metal and fabric, too. Making this a great time to mention the importance of being an educated and conscious consumer. Bamboo is a sustainable product when it is grown and harvested sustainably. 

bamboo speaker amplifier with phone

Greenwashing, a term worth becoming more familiar with, has become a trending method to disguise sustainable efforts. This speaks to the marketing spin used by big brands to mask the truth of the sourced materials used. This is also where terms like ‘fast-fashion’ come into play. These brands will label items as sustainable, vegan, or as made from reusable materials when they were in fact not.

What Else is Out There?

Now that aluminum, silicone, and bamboo have been broken down, are there other options out there? Absolutely! Recycled paper products are also an option. Innovative and sustainable (or green) products are taking off on a global scale. As evident from the increase of products made with raw sustainable materials. For example, in places like the Philippines, bioplastics are being created from mango peels and seaweed. Additionally, banana leaves (and other bioplastics) have begun to be substituted for styrofoam in packaging. 

As entire countries begin to ban single-use items, the time to adapt to a sustainable existence is here and now. Luckily, sustainable products and corporate social responsibility therein are on the rise. Making it that much easier to slide right into a sustainable life quickly and affordably. Just don’t forget to do so consciously as well. Just because something says it is sustainable, doesn’t mean it actually is. 

Discuss and Share

  • Now that you know more about sustainable materials and plastic alternatives, which option above can you adapt to your sustainable living quest?
  • What is the go-to eco-product that you swear by that’s always in your kitchen, bathroom, or travel bag?

Let us know in the comments so we can all discover new ways to cut our plastic waste with sustainable products and materials.