It is much easier to be holier than thou than to make a difference. It is easier to declare that everyone else is doing it wrong than to actually start making changes ourselves. It is why all of us have heard “zero waste” even though we continue to buy on Amazon with all the excess packaging and contribute to the mass excess of waste instead.
This article is not a request to become perfect overnight. It is not suggesting that you are all wrong with the way that you live your life, because in my experience, being blamed and ridiculed is not a good place to start. It is better to start with small steps that you feel you can do rather than watching YouTube videos of people who can fit all of their waste for the year into a small office garbage can.
YouTube is great, but it sure can prevent us from getting started with our own lives, can’t it?
Here are some zero waste product ideas you can buy when you are in the mood to buy stuff. In the long run, they will save you a lot of waste and make you feel green AF.
1) Shampoo and conditioner. Big plastic bottles every month aren’t doing much good for the environment. Search online for aluminum bottles and plastic free solutions. Many companies also have options for shampoo refills that will save you money in the long run rather than buying a new bottle every single time. Or if you really want to zero waste the experience, consider a shampoo bar – like soap for your hair (but far less drying).
2) Dental floss. Some companies are beginning to make compostable dental floss. It is a matter of a quick Google search. Also consider companies that provide glass dispensers.
3) Makeup. Makeup can come in a whole lot of plastic packaging, but some companies are beginning to think differently. Bamboo, stainless steel or recycled aluminum packaging are now possible.
4) Laundry detergent. Again, another giant bottle that most of us take as a given. This is a pretty easy way to go zero waste as this can be as simple as buying the detergent in the cardboard box. Most brands still provide this, and it is a simple swap that is much more recyclable.
5) Cleaning brushes. With the resurgence of popularity with the dollar store, disposable brushes seem so much easier. Consider going with steel wool, bamboo brushes or even silicone sponges to keep the bacteria at bay without having to increase your use of plastics.
6) Pens. Even though many of us use computers and phones for, well, everything, we still have to own a pen or two in today’s day and age. When it runs out of ink, what do you do? Toss it, right? Consider looking into if that brand has refills for ink (many do) and you have one less thing in your garbage can at the end of the day.
7) Feminine hygiene. Disposable tampons and pads are not only incredibly expensive, they are also wasteful. Although reusable pads, period underwear and cups can be expensive to begin with, in the long run they save money and the effort of having to run out to get more products every single month.
8) Cotton swabs. Even Johnson and Johnson is looking into plastic free alternatives, but in the meantime, there are companies that are all about composable options. If this is an everyday product for you, it is a pretty simple swap.
9) On the go. A zero-waste plan is good to have in place. Have a space in your purse or your car or your office drawer that is grab and go. A reusable shopping bag, stainless steel container and coffee cup will make a world of difference in what you waste each and every day.