The internet is full of lists and posts about zero waste swaps. This blog included! But I wanted to take it back to basics and create a simple swaps list.
A lot of the lists I see are so advanced and can really overwhelm anyone just getting started in their zero waste journeys. Other lists are so complicated and full of things not everyone needs or would use in their daily lives.
I’m a firm believer that using what you have is the most sustainable option and that nothing is waste until you waste it.
Growing up my family would always reuse ziplock bags. That’s why I can’t stress enough: use what you have before you purchase anything on this list. Even your single-use items.
And when you’re ready this list is here to provide you with zero-waste swaps you’ll use every single day!
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10 Zero Waste swaps you’ll actually use:
1. Grocery Bags
Pretty much everyone buys groceries in some form or another. If you’re still living at home and your parents do the shopping, try getting them a bag or two.
Reusable grocery bags come in SO handy when you’re shopping and are much better because they can carry a lot more waste.
I swear by these from baggu. They fold up so nicely and fit in even the smallest purse so I never forget them!
Everyone brushes their teeth (at least, I hope everyone brushes their teeth!) so switching to a bamboo toothbrush when your plastic one has run its course is a natural step.
More than 1 billion plastic toothbrushes end up in our landfills every year. So next time you’re at the dentist say “no thanks” to the free ones they give out and use your trusty bamboo one!
At the end of your bamboo toothbrushes life, you can compost the handle and it’s like it never existed!
3. Water bottle
You know I had to put reusable water bottles on here. They’re so useful and handy and always having one on you will prevent you from having to grab a plastic one.
4. Coffee cup
If you’re someone who gets coffee regularly and hasn’t yet, switch to a reusable! Billions of coffee cups end up in landfills every year. Even paper ones aren’t recyclable because they have a plastic lining.
Try out a KeepCup, the world’s first barista standard reusable cup.
Something I see far too often with people transitioning into zero waste is they feel the need to throw out their plastic/Tupperware containers and purchase glass ones. Please don’t do this.
Use your Tupperware until it can’t be used anymore and then purchase these bentgo containers. The glass ones are especially great for taking food to work/school as they’re microwave safe! I can’t recommend them enough. I use them for meal prepping, food storage and they can even be used at a bulk store.
They seal so nicely and are virtually leak proof. Definitely a staple I’d recommend for anyone looking to replace or upgrade their current plastic containers.
Beeswax wrap at the perfect alternative to plastic wrap. Too many people are reliant on plastic wrap to seal and store their food. In my opinion, it’s the worst kind of plastic. So thin and completely single-use.
These wraps are all-natural and reusable. They can seem a bit pricey but totally worth the investment as they can be used over and over again.
7. Safety razor
There are disposable razors and there are reusable razors. Reusables are better but at the end of the day, they’re still plastic that will find its way into a landfill one day.
When you’re razor has lived its life, invest in a safety razor. A completely metal razor that is designed to last a lifetime!
8. Soap bar
A lot of people use soap bars without even realizing how sustainable they are! Opt for a soap bar in lieu of a body wash. You can use soap bars instead of hand soap and body soap!
9. Mason jars
A staple in the zero waste community. But they don’t have to be the mason brand they can be any jar you upcycle. My pantry is full of old salsa and sauce jars and they come in handy for everything!
From food storage to bulk shopping to crafts, you name it and a mason jar can do it! This is probably something you don’t even need to purchase, you probably have t already lying around your house!
10. Cloth napkins/rags
Before disposable napkins and paper towels were invented people got by using reusables! You can use any old rag/old towel/tea towel to wipe up a spill and even upcycle your own from an old t-shirt!
You can get as creative as you want with this one, but there really is no need to be purchasing napkins and paper towels anymore.
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Notice I didn’t include reusable straws on this list. While they can be a necessity for some, I don’t find an overwhelming number of the population to be reliant on them.
While I find them and all single-use plastic to be a huge problem I’m not convinced they’re the first thing you should swap.
Take note of the things you do every day and see what swaps you could incorporate that would be extremely useful to you. If you’re getting a drink almost daily that requires a straw then go ahead and swap it!
I hope you enjoyed my list of zero waste swaps you’ll actually use! What’s your favorite swap? Let me know in the comments!
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