Reducing waste is a journey that will take time. Replacing products with zero waste essentials as they come to the end of their useful life and not all at once is important. Otherwise, we’re just adding to the problem and creating more waste right?
When it comes to creating less waste we always recommend getting durable items that will last a long time along with items that contain less or no plastic or is compostable or biodegradable. Here’s our list of zero waste essentials by room.
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Zero Waste Essentails for your Kitchen
A few basic swaps can go a long way in the kitchen as it’s often a big contributor to plastic waste. When it comes to replacing items, think of the things that frequently go into the bin and how you can either re-use or remove products completely.
Coffee pod machines have a terrible reputation, mostly because they go through a lot of pods that will end up in a landfill. Even recyclable pods can be a pain to deal with. Pod machines are surprisingly efficient as they tend to use less coffee, so swapping disposable pods for reusable and carefully measuring the amount of coffee you use can go a long way.
Teabags often contain plastic and are bleached to make the bags white. Opt for a tea strainer with organic loose leaf tea. You’ll generate a lot less waste this way and make much better tea.
Dish Bocks and Washing-up Liquid
Switching dishwashing liquid for a dish block is super easy, although they might take a bit of getting used to as you won’t get the same level of foam as you would with a liquid detergent. Alternatively, if you’re set on a liquid detergent, consider Boden’s zero waste dishwashing liquid as they offer a package refill and return service.
Dishwashing Brush, Eco Scrubby and Swedish Dish Cloths
These three items work well together as each covers its own corner of the sink. Use a brush for scrubbing pots and pans, your eco scrubby when a softer hand is needed and a compostable Swedish dishcloth for wiping surface areas. It’s a kitchen cleaning trio to be reconned with and you’ll save a lot of plastic from going into landfills this way. See our post about zero waste washing up options for more ideas.
Stainless Steel or Bamboo Utensils
Swap the plastic for Stainless Steel or Bamboo when the time comes. We’d highly recommend avoiding buying any non-stick coated pots and pans, which removes the need for soft surface utensils.
When it comes to cookware, durable stainless steel or cast iron that will last a lifetime is an absolute must. Look for sets that have a thick base as these don’t burn food as easily. A little bit of oil to prevent sticking can go a long way. Pans with non-stick coatings are potentially toxic and don’t last as long as the good old fashion stuff.
Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes, Durable Water Bottles and Coffee Cups
Packing a lunch and using reusable drink bottles and coffee cups when you’re out and about is an absolute must. Don’t forget to give these a good clean when you get home at the end of the day.
Reusable Shopping, Food Storage and Produce Bags
In some countries plastic shopping bags are chargeable, but this does not happen everywhere. Go for a reusable shopping and produce bag, but don’t buy too many as that is also counterproductive! It’s easy to forget these and just buy another one in store, so keep a watchful eye.
Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials
Bathrooms can harbour a lot of plastic and disposable items. But with our zero waste essentials, there is no need to lose any sleep here. As you gradually replace items you might find that you’ve been missing out on some of these non-toxic and plastic-free products all along! For more dental floss and toothpaste, options visit our related posts.
Reusable face rounds work really well and can go in the washing machine quite easily, so there’s no extra work to do really if you think about it. Just waste to save all around.
Not only does eco-friendly dental floss generate less waste, but it’s also free of toxic coatings that could be harmful to your family. Go for a vegan floss and you’ll keep your pearly whites and the planet healthy.
Ditch the non-recyclable tube and go for a low waste toothpaste that contains fewer chemical ingredients. It’s a win-win overall.
Recyclable and Bamboo Electric Toothbrush Heads
Reducing waste doesn’t mean you have to ditch your beloved electric toothbrush entirely. You can go for a manual bamboo toothbrush for sure, but if your dentist has been nudging you to the electric variety that’s ok as you now get bamboo and recyclable toothbrush heads for both Oral B and Sonic. Alternatively, you can grab a Georganics eco-friendly electric toothbrush, the company offers a zero waste to landfill programme where you can return old brush heads for recycling. Read our post about finding a Zero Waste Toothbrush for more ideas.
Bar Soap and Shampoo
Organic bar soap is a wonderful find, and not to worry, studies have shown that it washes germs away just as well as liquid soap. You also get shampoo in bar form, but this may not be for everyone. If your hair doesn’t agree with a bar shampoo, there are always toxin-free shampoos that come in a recyclable bottle.
Washcloths and Loofahs
A good old fashioned washcloth lasts a long time and can go into the washing machine with no extra fuss. If you’re not a fan of the washcloth, then an eco-friendly loofah can work wonders.
Bidets or Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper
Take the plunge and get a bidet for the ultimate zero waste bathroom swap. But if you’re not ready to go that far, using a more sustainable toilet paper is the next best option. Read our post on eco-friendly toilet paper for more ideas.
Personal Care – Makeup and Deodorant
When it comes to personal care zero waste essentials, reducing waste and toxins often go hand-in-hand. Opting for a zero waste makeup and toxin-free deodorant is a wise choice. For more zero waste makeup, mascara and deodorant options read our related posts.
Cleaning Products and Laundry
There is nothing better than a clean and fresh smelling home. It lifts your mood and calms the spirit. Here are some of our favourite zero waste essential cleaning products to get started with. For more zero waste laundry detergent ideas visit our related post.
Zero waste laundry pods
Drops are super handy laundry detergent pods. Just add to your laundry and the outer shell will dissolve in the water.
Wool Dryer Balls
If you’re using dryer sheets, wool dryer balls is a great little swap to get rid of fluff and hair.
Closed Loop Furniture
Sabai makes sustainable furniture including sofas using recycled, up-cycled and nontoxic materials. They follow a repair don’t replace philosophy which means you can find replacement components if you need to repair a piece.
They also sell used sofas and partner with FloorFound to give second-hand sofas a second chance. This means that Sabai sofas are not likely to end up in a landfill, thanks to their closed-loop promise.
Read more about Sabai and our favourite sustainable furniture brands for more inspiration.