After much request and debate, I’ve decided to make the master list of zero waste swaps! I was hesitant to post its list because the most sustainable thing you can do is use what you have. Purchasing things, even if they’re sustainable, create demand and uses resources to create that item. What you have already exists!
I also don’t believe that you need to spend a lot of money in order to be sustainable. However, once you’ve used what you have or you need something new, these swaps will really come in handy! No matter if you’re a beginner or an advanced zero-waster.
Here are 50 Zero Waste Swaps:
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1. Shampoo + Conditioner bars – Shampoo and conditioner bars come without the plastic packaging, and since they’re solid they don’t come with excess water. (Which is what most shampoo and conditioners are made of anyway)
2. Natural loofah – These are made from compostable, natural fibres instead of all the plastic.
3. Safety razor – Say goodbye to single-use plastic razors and say hello to your new, life long friend! That’s right if taken care of properly, a safety razor could last you a lifetime with only needing to replace the blade. Read all about taking care of your safety razor here!
4. Bidet – Like a mini-shower for your butt. But seriously, a bidet will save you so much money and waste by cutting your toilet paper use by 90%! Plus, it’s far more clean.
5. Reusable Q-tip – Q-tips or cotton swabs are almost as bad as single-use straws when it comes to pollution and harming wildlife. Save the planet and the animals by getting a reusable one!
6. Bar soap – Pretty simple and basic and a lot of people still use bar soap! Opt for one instead of a shower gel or body wash in a plastic container.
7. Plastic free floss – Skip the synthetic, plastic-string floss and get some made from natural materials that come in a reusable glass container!
8. Bamboo toothbrush – We all know how harmful plastic-toothbrushes can be. Bamboo toothbrushes are all-natural and compostable so they leave no trace behind when you’re done with them!
9. Toothpaste tabs – Similar to shampoo and conditioner bars, toothpaste tabs are solid toothpaste that comes in a refillable glass jar! They also don’t contain excess water which is better for the planet and the product’s overall footprint.
10. Toothpaste in a recyclable tube – Toothpaste tabs aren’t for everyone. But the plastic tubes still aren’t a great option. The brand David’s sells toothpaste in recyclable metal tubes to minimize waste!
11. Period underwear – I’m a huge fan of Thinx period underwear. It completely eliminates the use for any single-use pad or tampons, plus they are SO comfy!
12. Menstrual cup – Another reusable option for your period!
13. Reusable pads – Yet another, fantastic option to minimize period waste!
14. Cotton rounds – I couldn’t even tell you how much money I have spent on single-use cotton rounds to remove my makeup. You can just toss these bad boys in the washer and use them over and over again!
15. Compostable bandaids – Burry them in the dirt when you’re done and they’ll disappear!
16. Homemade lotion – Lotions come with unwanted chemicals and plastic packaging. This is my tried and true recipe that’s SO easy to make!
17. Shave cream bar – Skip the metal tubes and get a naked bar that looks just like soap!
18. Plastic free deodorant – This deodorant comes in a paper tube that’s compostable so it leaves no trace!
19. Wooden hair brush – The bamboo material is built to last and biodegrade at the end of its life.
20. DIY Micellar water – I started making my own micellar water a few months ago and I’ve never looked back. It’s gentle on my skin and dissolves all my makeup while saving me money and waste.
21. DIY Cleaning products – Get rid of the waste, the clutter and the chemicals with this ultimate list of cleaning recipes!
22. Reusable rags – Skip the paper towels and opt for reusable rags instead! I make mine by cutting up old towels and t-shirts. You can also thrift lots of rags to use for cleaning!
23. Reusable napkins – Reusable napkins will save you so much money over time without the added waste.
24. Unpaper towel – Same goes for paper towels. Reach for a reusable one you can toss in the waste when you make a mess!
25. Tree-less toilet paper – If you’re using a bidet, you won’t need nearly as much toilet paper. But you may still need some, (especially if you’re not ready to get a bidet just yet!) so why not get some TP that won’t aid in deforestation?
26. Stasher bags – Single-use plastic Ziploc bags are a thing of the past. These reusable silicone bags are dishwasher safe and endlessly reusable!
27. Beeswax wraps – Instead of single-use plastic wrap, invest in a couple of beeswax wraps that are reusable and can be moulded to fit the shape of whatever needs to be covered!
28. Dish washing block – These dishwashing blocks are solid dish soap that sud up easily and get your dishes clean!
29. Plastic Free Sponge – Did you know sponges are made of plastic? And they never last very long. Which leads to a lot of waste. Get one that’s natural and will biodegrade!
30. Plastic free dish brush – This one has a removable and replaceable head! It’s also compostable!
31. Plastic free scrubbie – You know the drill by now 😉 Plastic-free is always better!
32. Reusable containers – These are perfect for storing leftovers, meal prepping, taking food on the go and taking leftovers home from restaurants!
33. Glass jars – Glass jars are practically the poster child for the zero-waste movement. These are great for storing food, bulk items, and bulk shopping and so much more! Head over to your local thrift store to snag some or just ask to raid your grandma’s pantry!
34. Reusable straws – It may be something “small| but bringing your own reusable straw (or just not using a straw) will help to save a lot of wildlife.
35. Water bottle – Let me say this loudly for the people in the back: water bottle company’s don’t produce water, they produce plastic bottles. That will be used once and end up in our landfills, oceans, and parks for hundreds of years. Get a handy reusable bottle and take it with you everywhere!
36. French press – A french press is much cheaper than a Keurig, and it makes a cheaper (and better!) cup of coffee without the waste!
37. Reusable coffee filter – If you’ve got a pour-over or a coffee pot, get a reusable coffee filter instead of going through dozens a month!
38. Tea infuser – Teabags contain plastic that seep into your tea. Ew. Switch to loose-leaf tea and get a tea infuser!
39. Reusable grocery bags – Bring your own to the grocery store! These are my favourite because they fold up really small and can fit right in your purse so you’ll never forget them!
40. Produce bags – The little plastic produce bags at the grocery store are the worst kind of plastic in my opinion. Bring your own!
41. Lunch bag – Let’s face it: brown paper lunch bags are so 90’s. Use a reusable one instead!
42. To-go coffee mug – Billions of coffee cups end up in our landfills every year.
43. Refillable makeup – Refillable makeup is probably the most sustainable makeup in my opinion. Instead of purchasing and repurchasing a product over and over and throwing out the packaging each time, you could simply refill the packaging forever!
44. Plastic free hair ties – hair ties aren’t usually single-use. But they’re probably the number one thing people lose and misplace. Getting plastic-free hair ties, makes it a little better knowing they won’t pollute the planet forever.
45. Plastic free tape – For crafting, sending packages, or gift wrapping! Opt for a paper tape that won’t end up in a landfil.
46. Bamboo cutlery – Similar to reusable straws, reusable cutlery is a great thing to keep on you or in your car if you’re someone who enjoys eating out or takeout. It’ll save so much unnecessary plastic waste!
47. Dryer balls – These reusable guys will eliminate the need for single-use dryer sheets!
48. Fountain pen – Fountain pens are similar to refillable makeup where you’ll keep the body or packaging forever and just refill the contents/ink! It’s so fun and sustainable!
49. Tree-less note book – Just like with toilet paper, you can get tree-less notebooks that don’t require trees to be cut down!
50. Compostable phone case – We change or phone cases or get bored of them so quickly that they often end up in landfills. And since they’re usually made of plastic, they won’t bread own. These phone cases from pela are compostable! You can literally just bury them when it’s no longer usable and it’ll leave no trace!
Of course, there are so many swaps out there that may not be on this list. But I think if you don’t know where to start this list of 50 zero-waste swaps can be a great jumping-off point!
But I just want to remind you before you make any swaps, that using what you have is the most sustainable option. So use up what you have, then feel free to make sustainable swaps!
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