Did you know that the average American produces about 5 pounds of trash a day, and 12% of that is plastic!? When we change how we consume, we can directly improve our impact on the environment that we need to survive. Going zero waste can be a long process, but what I’ve learned on my own journey over the last few years, is that trying and doing it imperfectly is better than not doing it at all. That’s why I made this list of zero waste products to help you start to eliminate your waste room by room.
For those who are completely unfamiliar with the concept, Zero Waste at its core is an attempt to redesign resource life cycles by reusing products. The aim is to reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills and the ocean.
Around 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean each year, and 236,000 tons are microplastics. Plastic in general can be devastating for marine life, but micro-plastics pose a big threat to filter feeders like whale sharks. Microplastics also end up in the seafood we consume.
Shop my reusable tote bags for a good cause.
We can achieve a zero-waste lifestyle by purchasing and using products that by design, eliminate waste and are better for the Earth and the millions of species that also inhabit the planet, and therefore also better for us.
Make this your mantra: Reduce. Reuse. Repurpose. Recycle.
Reduce refers to reducing your consumption of single-use products (like take-out food containers and eating utensils, and to-go coffee cups) but also, it refers to generally buying less material goods that you don’t need. Ultimately, the more we buy (and what we buy) creates the demand for large corporations to keep producing unsustainable products in unsustainable ways.
Reuse and repurpose are pretty straightforward. Try to reuse single-use items as many times as possible and repurpose old or damaged clothes, shoes, accessories, furniture, etc whenever possible. You can also always donate things you no longer want that are still in decent condition, or even try to sell them to certain second-hand stores.
Note that “recycle” is last. It is traditionally one of the easiest and first methods that people attempt when trying to reduce their waste, and in theory, the concept is great. However, there are a lot of problems with recycling in practice. Mostly because we do not have the proper facilities or capability in the U.S. to truly recycle our plastics and other “recyclable” materials. For a more in-depth explanation, I encourage you to watch Netflix’s documentary series Broken (Episode 4: “Recycling Sham”).
A Few Quick Going Zero Waste Tips
Try to eliminate single-use plastics, throw-away products, and avoid unnecessary plastic packaging. You can typically accomplish this by making the following lifestyle and behavioral changes:
- Switch to a reusable water bottle and straw
- Switch to a reusable towel and napkin
- Carry a spork or bamboo utensils for dining out
- Transition to household cleaning, beauty and hygiene products that come in refillable or compostable containers or use soap bars
- Shop with reusable grocery and produce bags
- Buy groceries in bulk and store dry food in jars
- Use products with alternative packaging and if you shop online like me because you live in a rural area– order multiple items at once to reduce the packaging
- Compost your food waste that can be grown in a field or a garden
- TerraCycle products and packaging that can’t be recycled through your cities recycling services
The following list of reusable kitchen and bathroom supplies are a great starting place if you are looking to reduce the amount of garbage you produce and eventually become completely zero waste.
Zero Waste Items for the Kitchen
- Indoor Compost Bin
- Organic Bamboo Cooking Utensils
- Bamboo Cutlery Set
- Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
- All-Purpose Biodegradable Soap (can be used for hands and dishes)
- Bamboo Dish Brush
- Nano Sponge (no soap needed and can be washed in a dishwasher or washing machine)
- Beeswax food wraps
- Reusable Produce Bags
- Reusable Grocery Bags
- Reusable Silicone Meal Bag
- Dry Food Storage Jars
- Blueland multi-surface cleaner (comes with reusable containers and tablets)
- Telescoping Stainless Steel Straw
- Microfiber Dish Towels
- Reusable Water Bottle
Zero Waste Items for the Bathroom
- Bamboo Safety Razor
- Bamboo Hair Brush
- Bamboo Toilet Paper
- Toothpaste Tablets
- Biodegradable Floss
- Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
- Bamboo Shower Body Brush
- Blueland Bathroom cleaner starter set (comes with reusable containers and tablets)
- Reusable Make-up Remover Pads
- Biodegradable Bamboo Cotton Swabs
This list is in no way exhaustive, but rather it is meant to be a helpful starting place. Each of these products are things you can get from countless brands and in endless variations (so please buy whatever is affordable and accessible to you). All the items I link to in this post are products and brands that I have personally used.
Please feel free to comment with further suggestions of items and brands that have helped you eliminate your waste.
Disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Meaning, if you purchase anything through them, it won’t cost you anything extra and I make a small commission.