When starting your waste-free journey, it can be challenging to know where to start! With so many products on the market, the switch can be a bit overwhelming, and can often lead to you buying much more than you actually need — after all, the main goal is to minimize-waste, not buy more!
That’s why we are so excited to introduce you to Eunice & Jeffrey of @eunyandburke! With a passion for low-waste living, these two have compiled the ultimate list of reusable products that are sure to help you get the most out of your waste-free journey. Enjoy!
When we began our zero-waste journey, we were pretty overwhelmed by how much trash we were creating on a daily basis. We desperately wanted to make a change, but it was difficult to know where to start. We were eager to make a million changes at once, but quickly learned that that wasn’t realistic. We started with a few initial changes, and continued to grow from there.
So, after a year of trying out lots of different sustainable products, we’ve put together this list of all our favorite (and easiest) swaps to help you get started on your zero-waste journey.
1. Reusable Water Bottle
This one goes at the top of our list because it’s something we use every single day. A reusable bottle can replace over 1,200 plastic bottles a year – imagine how much we’d save if everybody used one! Skip the cases of single use plastic bottles, and try a reusable bottle instead. It saves you money, keeps your water colder, and helps keep the world a little cleaner. What’s not to like?
2. Reusable Cup + Straw
If you love your daily iced coffee (or in my case, boba tea), consider buying a reusable cup and Coconut Bowls Bamboo Straw. This could save over 300 cups and straws from going to landfills every year. Health experts have confirmed that reusables are safe to use during the pandemic, so ask your local coffee shop if they’ll let you use yours. Better yet, make your own coffee at home!
3. Reusable Bag
Ditch those flimsy plastic bags, and swap for a reusable one instead. You can buy one for as low as $1, and reuse it over and over again. They’re sturdier and can carry more items (which means less trips to the car), and are way nicer to look at than plastic.
Bonus Tip: Buy a reusable bag that’s compact or folds easily into itself, so you can easily store them in your car. That way, you’ll never forget it at home.
4. Wooden Cutlery
Take-out is one of the only ways to eat at restaurants these days, which means you’ve probably been collecting a lot of plastic cutlery. Next time, try to request your food without any silverware, and use your own instead! Wooden cutlery sets, like the Coconut Bowls Buddha Cutlery Set, are an awesome alternative, because they can be used over and over again and are biodegradable!
5. Bamboo Toothbrush
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is one of the easiest sustainable swaps you can make. They work just the same as the plastic ones, but are biodegradable and won’t sit in a landfill (or oceans) for decades on end.
6. Refillable Floss
Floss isn’t typically something you think about when it comes to creating waste, because it doesn’t take up a significant amount of space in our landfills. However, floss is coated in a thin layer of plastic which means it’s nearly impossible to break down. Luckily, there are refillable and biodegradable alternatives that are much friendlier to the Earth.
7. Bar Soap
Bar soap can replace all kinds of things in your house, like liquid hand soap, body soap, or facial cleanser. Bar soap also tends to come wrapped in paper, which means you’d avoid all of the plastic bottles too. They also have bar forms of shampoo, conditioner, and dish soap which gives you more opportunities to make sustainable swaps all around the house.
8. Unpaper Towels (or an old t-shirt!)
Paper towels are extremely wasteful because they can only be used once. Next time, try using unpaper towels made of organic cotton. They absorb more than ordinary paper towels, and are washable and reusable. Plus, they save you some money in the long run!
Bonus Tip: Want reusable towels for free? Cut up an old cotton t-shirt (flannels work best!) and use them as towels. You’ll be saving a little money while getting to repurpose that shirt that’s been sitting in your closet forever.
Remember, you don’t have to buy all of these things at once. After all, the main goal of living zero-waste is to reduce what you buy and reuse what you already have. As my favorite saying by the Zero Waste Chef goes, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”
Even after a year of developing our zero-waste lifestyle, we still have so many places to grow. A single swap is better than none at all – so start where you are, and go from there!