These 16 Eco-Friendly Products Can Help You Swap Out Single-Use Plastics for Good

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It's no exaggeration to say that our single-use plastic consumption has gotten out of control. Approximately half of the world's plastic manufactured from 1950 to 2015 was only made in the last 13 years, and alarmingly, only 9% of all plastic discarded has actually been recycled. Much of the rest of it is buried in ever-growing landfills and is littering waterways and oceans. Sobering evidence of its effect on our world's ecosystems and environment is not hard to find.

It's difficult to grapple with one's own impact on the environment. Although small changes can seem futile in the face of the hundreds of millions of metric tons of plastic thrown away each year, this change has to start on an individual level — especially since the Trump administration actively refuses to implement any environmentally conscious change on a national or global basis.

Making these changes also means speaking up about not being given more plastic than you need, even if it feels a little awkward at first. You can politely request to not have your groceries bagged, a straw served in your drink, or utensils packaged with your takeout dinner. Most importantly, if you don't see eco-conscious change happening in your community, you can use your vote, come election season, to back candidates who prioritize green initiatives on a city- and statewide level.

Changing the way we think about the disposable products that we use in our everyday lives can help us make better choices as consumers, as well. These 16 eco-friendly products were picked because they replace throwaway plastic items that would otherwise remain buried on this planet for hundreds of years, if not longer. Read on to see how easy it can be to make the switch.