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Having a zero waste lifestyle has always been an ultimate goal of mine. But, let me fill you in… it’s a pretty intense goal because it is a pretty intense lifestyle. If this is a goal of yours, I encourage you to take baby steps and to not try to rush in all at once. Becoming zero waste is an amazing way to make a giant impact on the Earth and environment, and I’m thrilled it’s becoming more and more popular. Because of this, I thought I’d recommend some of the products you’ll need in order to begin your zero waste or low waste journey.
What is a Zero Waste lifestyle?
First of all, you might be wondering what “zero waste” means, and how it can become a lifestyle. Being zero waste focuses on waste prevention, in terms of food, plastic, water and anything else that could be wasted. Basically, being “zero waste” means that you aren’t wasting anything. You don’t use single-use plastic, you reuse your shower water, you compost your leftover food scraps, and so much more. You can see why this lifestyle might seem like it’s unattainable – and to some – it definitely might be. But incorporating even the smallest amount of zero waste into your life, like having a low waste lifestyle, can make huge environmental changes. Consider this article a starter pack for some items you’ll find helpful in this journey. But, I encourage you to see if you already have anything that can work as any of the items on this list, because the most sustainable option is using what you already own and not purchasing more.
When it comes to the item you’ll need at the grocery store, here are a few replacements that can change the game and make an impact.
While this might not be a new idea to you, it’s a great place to start. Instead of using a ton of plastic grocery bags on your trip, fill up these reusable grocery bags instead. You can use simple totes (preferably ones you already have), or you can get some that even clip onto the cart for super easy transportation.
Another thing you might not think about is how many plastic snack, gallon or sandwich bags you use. This reusable option can be cleaned in the dishwasher, stored in the freezer, and can save you so much single-use plastic.
Headed to the farmers market? You’re already a sustainability superstar. But beyond their obvious use, these bags can be used at the grocery store for your meat and produce, so you don’t have to use those single-use plastic bags that will be tossed out later.
Need another option besides sandwich baggies? Bee’s wrap can take the place of plastic wrap, aluminum foil or other wraps you’ve used in the past.
I’ve already written an article about some of my favorite sustainable beauty products, but here are a few you might have never even thought about.
As mentioned in my other article, I’m obsessed with the Makeup Eraser. Think about all of the waste you’re creating when you use a bunch of makeup remover wipes or cotton pads at the end of the day. Instead of doing that, the Makeup Eraser only needs a bit of water and can be reused again and again.
Toothbrushes = plastic. Seeing the pattern here? Throwing away plastic every time you need a new toothbrush sucks, use these instead. With this option, all you have to do is get a new handle when you’re ready for a switch, and even then, bamboo is compostable and biodegradable.
Cleaning out your ears with a cotton swab might just be second nature. These are things in our life that we don’t even think twice about. Stop the waste with this reusable option that is easy to clean with a little soap and water.
Here’s another one you probably haven’t thought about. Shampoo and conditioner bottles waste a ton of plastic, so these bars are an awesome option. You might be weirded out at the idea of bar shampoo and conditioner, but reviewers swear by it, saying their hair has never felt better.
Once again: Plastic waste = bad. This razor is made of metal and reusable! The company also pledges 1% of their sales to the preservation & restoration of the natural environment, so win-win!
When it comes to cleaning and household items, I always figured it would be really hard to cut back on waste, but I’ve found a few awesome products to help us out in this category.
PAPER TOWELS! What a waste! While using rags is a lot of work, and might take up their own load of laundry. These bad boys can be thrown in the wash with all your clothes since they don’t take up as much room. Plus, the lemon artwork was designed by an artist specifically for these paperless paper towels!
When I was looking around my house for things I should cut back on, I noticed the box of Swiffer pads on my shelf. Instead of using those, these reusable microfiber pads are an awesome option.
Stop wasting food scraps with a compost bin that you can keep right in your kitchen.
Beyond shopping at thrift stores, donating and upcycling your clothes, and avoiding fast fashion, there are a few simple swaps that can make your closet sustainable.
Being a woman sucks for so many reasons, but one is the monumental waste we most endure every month (along with a period’s grueling side effects, of course). Introducing these period panties into your closet can cut down on how many paper or plastic period products you use a month. Pair this with a menstrual cup and your period waste journey is over.
While this isn’t necessarily a single item, having staple pieces in your closet can keep your wardrobe super eco-friendly. While stunning statement pieces are awesome, the single use idea surrounding them makes them very wasteful. Pick some sturdy pieces that will last you a lifetime and mix and match your outfits with them.
Don’t forget it, we still have to have fun! Here are a few hobbies that you can keep sustainable with a few simple switches.
Love photography? In the past few years, disposable cameras have gotten really popular because of the spontaneity they bring to life. I love the idea of snapping some fun photos without knowing what they look like until later. It keeps you in the moment and keeps you from scrolling through photos while you could be having fun. That’s why I’m obsessed with my Papershoot. It uses this same concept, but instead of being made from single use plastic, it’s digital. It’s made of paper, can use rechargeable batteries and keeps you from throwing out the plastic cameras, film canisters and more, while keeping the spontaneous fun.
Is baking your thing? These silicone cupcake liners can be reused again and again as you make awesome new recipes. Just remember to tell your taste testers not to throw them out!
Are you a writer like me? I love taking hand notes while interviewing sources or journaling at the end of a long day, but I didn’t like how much paper I was using. The Rocketbook is a notebook filled with reusable paper and you can easily wipe away your notes when you’re done. Better yet, you can scan your notes onto your device and have them automatically set up to fill up a folder on your computer, phone or Google Drive.
Are you considering transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle? Or maybe a low waste lifestyle? Do you have any other swaps to share? Let us know in the comment section below.