However, before I begin, I want to encourage you to read my post about what I wish I knew before I bought all my zero waste products. As I’ve progressed with my new lifestyle, I’ve adopted a new mindset and while I LOVE the products I bought, I wish I had been more mindful from the start.
Here are ten of the most useful zero waste products I’ve found that have helped me transition.
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Reusable Shopping Bags
Reusable bags are a fantastic solution for cutting down on shopping waste. This is one of my swaps that I feel very good about. I can’t believe the amount of waste each trip to the store produced. Now every time I use my reusable bags I feel SO good about our low-waste efforts. As a beginner in this zero waste lifestyle, I think it’s important to hold on to the joy that comes from making simple swaps.
It took me forever to decide on what bags to buy. I knew I wanted the canvas material but I also had to carefully consider the sizing of the bag and the handle. I wanted them to comfortably sit on my shoulder.
The other type of reusable bags I purchased was a pair of cotton net bags. I adore these but definitely think the canvas ones can hold much more and heavier items. The cotton net bags I use mostly for our farmer’s market trips and yes, they were purely an aesthetic buy. They’re so cute! I have no regrets.
Glass Spray Bottles
Spray bottles are a great way to store and use your DIY cleaning, beauty and gardening supplies. I especially love the glass factor for my beauty products. Plastic containers can leach hormone-disrupting chemicals, which is something I’m trying to minimize in my beauty routine.
They have become essential for my homemade, natural cleaning routines. While I worried that the glass would be a risk factor for clumsy me, I have knocked and dropped them a few times and still they’re in perfect condition!
This is a swap I made before I even knew about the zero waste lifestyle. I wanted to reduce my plastic use for health reason and came across some beeswax wraps online.
These are super handy to have in the kitchen! I like to make my own instead of buying them new. Yes – they’re really easy to make and maintain. Here’s a link to my tutorial:
DIY Beeswax Wraps
But if you’re not into the whole DIY scene, then buying them new works as well.
Wooden Kitchen Cleaning Brush Set
As we handwash all our dishes, a good kitchen brush set was much needed. It took a bit of getting used. In the beginning, I tried using the brushes exclusively, but I found I needed something gentler to wash my fragile glassware. Now I use these brushes along with some 100% cotton dishrags I found cheap at Walmart.
One thing I realize now I didn’t do correctly was drying my brushes properly. The brushes I purchased had untreated wood handles and plant fibre bristles. Being fully biodegradable is part of the criteria, but at the same time, there’s certain upkeep that needs to take place so that they don’t degrade too quickly. If I were to do it again, I would probably treat the handles with some beeswax sealant to prevent them from wearing out too fast.
Reusable Produce Bags
Ah, where have these been all my life? There is nothing more frustrating than filling those plastic produce bag from the store, only for it to split, tear or just pile up at home as a bunch of waste to throw out at the end of your day. When I purchased these produce bags I wasn’t completely sure if they would be acceptable outside of bulk stores. Thus far, I have been able to use them without issue!
I decided to try out the mesh bags first. I liked that they were transparent enough for the check-out clerk to easily see what was in them. While these bags are made of mesh, the material is still fine enough for you to fill them with most grains or seeds. They hold up well when it comes to weighty items and I haven’t had any bags splitting or coming apart so far.
In the future, I would like to add some canvas produce bags to my collection as they would work well with flours and fine powders at the bulk store instead of using jars.
Before this Zero Waste movement became a trend, I was the girl with an unhealthy obsession for paper straws. My family even bought me some as a Christmas gift one year – and I loved it.
It goes without saying that I now have a collection of reusable straws and have bought the steel, bamboo and glass types to try (I might have a problem…)
Besides my weird love for collecting reusable straws; they definitely are a great way to slowly get into the habit of lessening your waste.
My keep cup was one of my first attempts at getting a handle on my waste production. I think it’s fantastic to bring along to coffee shops and so many of them are even offering discounts when you bring your own cup.
I love the cup I bought, but I have a confession. This has been the most difficult swap for me. I never seem to remember my keep cup because we mostly go to coffee shops as a treat. For our wedding, we got a drool-worthy espresso machine and since then we’ve been making most of our coffee at home. When we go to coffee shops we sit down and usually are able to ask for ceramic mugs instead of the to-go cups. So, all-in-all I’ve been successful lowering my single-use items. I still want to work on making it a habit to have my keep cup nearby on all our outings.
Even though I’m currently focused on making zero waste swaps for my kitchen, it came the time where I needed a new razor. I decided to get a safety razor. Kenny had already made this swap about 2 years ago, and he loves it.
Now, I have to say I was
I’ve been using the safety razor for 7 months now and I can officially say I prefer it to disposable razors. There has been bloodshed, but nothing more than usual.
Reusable Water Bottles
We’ve never been the type to buy bottled water. I actually can’t stand the taste of it, especially specific brands. In Canada, we’ve always lived in places that have tap water that’s safe to drink. When I lived in South Africa my family used the Brita for filtering water.
However, not everyone is this lucky and I completely understand that bottled water is a necessity. For people living in areas that have safe drinking water, reusable water bottles are a perfect solution for minimizing your waste.
I personally love using a glass bottle, and that’s why I chose this one with a silicon cover to keep it protected. For around the house, I tend to fill a 1l mason jar and sip at it with one of my steel straws. Find whatever works for you!
If you want to filter your water, consider using a charcoal stick.
Replacing your toothbrush with a (mostly) biodegradable one is such a simple swap. Then again, everyone has their own preference when it comes to their toothbrushes. My bamboo toothbrush has a small head and soft bristles. If this isn’t for you, I encourage you to keep searching other types till you find one that suits your preferences.
That’s my list! I hope this has helped you with the first baby steps on your zero waste journey. Even if you don’t purchase these items new, they’re a good way to figure out where in your lifestyle you can reduce your waste easily.