During my 30 day zero waste challenge where *spoiler alert* I decided I want to stick to this lifestyle, I swapped out a bunch of waste producing products and things with zero waste alternatives. These sustainable and zero waste (or low waste) swaps are easy to swap out especially for beginners who just want to make more sustainable decisions in their life. You don’t have to swap out all of the alternatives I am about to mention and there might be different alternatives for the things I am mentioning but even the smallest change has a huge impact on our planet. (Keep that in mind and let’s start with the first swap)
1.Reusable Shopping Bags:
All the swaps are easy in my opinion but this one is the easiest! Instead of buying a plastic bag at the supermarket, just bring your own reusable one. There are many options and my favourite bags are the ones from ZeroByOlive in both the natural and black colour.
2. Reusable Fruit/Vegetable/Bakery Bags or Jars:
For grocery shopping I also recommend using small cotton bags to store fruits and vegetables as well as fresh bakery goodies such as bread. You don’t need a fancy one you can jus use an old pillow case and for liquids and grains I recommend to use a glass jar (this is especially for those people who go bulk store shopping). You don’t need a fancy one you can just use an empty pickle jar.
3. Reusable Straws:
Another easy swap, is a reusable straw instead of a plastic one. I am speaking from experience when I say: Sometimes it is hard to avoid plastic straws especially in restaurants. I once ordered a freshly squeezed orange juice and it got served with a straw in that one restaurant and in the other one without a straw. So from now when I am in a restaurant, a bar, a food stand, a café, I am always going to say: “Please without a straw, I brought my own one.” I have bamboo straws that I purchased when I was in the Philippines but I personally think my stainless steel straws from ZeroByOlive are more practical to take with me. These ones are from zero by olive and come in a great pack of two thin ones, two thicker ones (for smoothies) and four bending straws (which are my fave to use) as well as two cleaning brushes (a must).
4. Water Bottle:
Speaking of drinking the next are reusable water bottles. It is so important to me to avoid buying plastic water bottles (or plastic in general), that’s why I try to always bring a reusable water bottle with me. There are a ton of different options out there.
5. Coffee mug:
Same goes for coffee to go. I try to always bring my reusable coffee mug. The one I use is from KeepCup, but there are a lot of different brands out there and you can always just bring a cup that you use at home with you.
6. French Press Coffee Machine:
Speaking of coffee., I once used to own a Nespresso machine and the coffee cups produce a lot of waste. The best alternative in my opinion is a french press coffee machine. It is easy to use and definitely one of the most affordable options out there.
When it comes to food, instead of using aluminium foil to wrap your food, you can use reusable wax wrap or simply use a lunch box. You can use them for take outs and pretty much everything where storing food is involved.
When you are on the go and you are that kind of person that gets lunch takeouts with plastic cutlery, try to bring your own reusable cutlery instead.
9. Reusable Make Up Removing Wipes:
I use cotton pads to remove my make up, since I can wash them, they don’t produce trash and it is so much better for the environment than the ones that you have to throw away after using them.
10. Menstrual Cup:
This is a zero waste swap for women. To avoid the trash that tampons and sanitary pads produce, I suggest using a menstrual cup. I have to admit it took me a while to get the hang out of it, but now I can’t image going back. It definitely makes life easier (and it is better for the environment).
11. Shampoo Bar:
Instead of buying shampoo in bottles, I recommend the sustainable alternative – a shampoo bar. The one I use is from lush and yes it even foams. The same goes for conditioner and when it comes to hair masks, you can easily make one yourself.
12. Body Wash/Shower Gel:
Same applies to body wash and shower gel, you can either use a soap (I currently use my shampoo bar for my whole body) or make it yourself.
13. Face and Body Cream:
You can make that yourself as well (I will soon upload some easy recipes) or just use a piece of shea butter, cocoa butter or simply use coconut oil.
I make mine myself, it is super easy, I’ll share a recipe with you soon, but there are also great alternatives that you can buy instead of the ones that come packaged in plastic.
You can make your own toothpaste! All you need is coconut oil and baking soda! I also add bentonite clay and peppermint essential oil. You can also buy a sustainable option, I saw that Zero by olive sells them and if you don’t like the liquid option, you can give toothpaste tabs a try (available at lush for example).
16. Bamboo Toothbrush:
This is more of a low waste swap instead of zero waste, but definitely the best alternative to plastic toothbrushes. The one I use is from Zero by Olive and it comes in a pack of four. I love the bristles, they are not too soft and not too hard and are definitely affordable.
17. Bamboo Q-tips:
Instead of buying the ones with the plastic stick, go for the ones with a bamboo stick instead. Easy swap, that everyone can make, right?
18. Stainless Steel Safety Razor:
This might not be an easy swap for everyone, it took me a while to make this swap, since I was really scared to hurt myself with a safety razor, but I got used to it and I haven’t cut myself once. As long as you don’t put pressure on it, you should be fine, and keep in mind it is sharp on both sides. I still have my epilator, so I alternate between these two.
19. Cleaning Products:
You can make your own cleaning products. All you need is a spray bottle, vinegar and water and I also like to add lavender or lemon essential oil.
20. Laundry Washing Powder:
You can make your own washing powder/soap. For now, I still have washing powder that I need to use up and I bought one that is in a 100% recyclable packaging. After using up the one I have, I will give laundry nuts a try.
That’s it for my zero waste swaps or my sustainable alternatives. You don’t have to swap them all out at once and don’t put pressure on yourself. When it comes to sustainability just start today, start with something and keep in mind no matter how small the change, you can make the world a little better.