I think we can all agree plastic is soooo last decade. Climate change is real, and our single-use products aren’t helping Mother Earth heal. It’s all about small, little changes that add up over time. The least we can do in our households is to switch from single-use items to reusable, zero waste options. I’d be willing to bet you never even thought of some of these as wasteful. But to make it easier, we’ve compiled our ultimate list of zero waste swaps to get you started.
Ditch plastic utensils that restaurants dole out like candy for this sustainable flatware set you can keep in your purse. Just make sure to tell the restaurant no utensils!
Discarded paper towels result in 254 million tons of trash every year. Swedish dishcloths are reusable, biodegradable and dry quickly so they don’t breed bacteria. This one comes in a variety of darling prints we love.
Say goodbye to plastic shampoo bottles, because bar shampoo is where it’s at. With varieties for a multitude of hair types and zero waste packaging, you’ll never go back to traditional shampoo again.
This one should be a no-brainer. No more plastic straws! We like to keep stainless steel straws in our bags for on-the-go and this glass set at home for daily sippin’.
Clean your home with toxic-free products that don’t contribute to the landfill. Save space, money and the earth by switching to a reusable set of cleaning essentials like our favorite from Blueland.
Produce bags are a super simple swap to make when reducing your plastic consumption. Instead of grabbing that overhead plastic bag, bring along one of these mesh produce bags that are made of 100 percent organic cotton and are machine washable.
Plastic toothbrushes take more than 400 years to fully decompose! Switching to a bamboo toothbrush has a significantly lower impact on the planet since bamboo is 100 percent biodegradable and won’t overstay its welcome on Mama Earth.
Standard period products are problematic because many of them are made using single-use plastics and conventional cotton. There’s a huge carbon footprint that goes into making them and then they get thrown on the ground, washed into rivers and eaten by fish. Switch to a reusable option such as a menstrual cup or period underwear for a zero waste swap!
Plastic bags are right up there with plastic straws. Especially if you pack a lunch every day, you’re blowing through plastic like it’s going out of style (which it is). Silicone bags provide a zero waste option and are dishwasher-friendly. Plus, how cute is this one?!
I know I sound like a broken record here, but if you’re still drinking out of plastic water bottles, you’re not doing the earth any favors. 80 percent of the plastic water bottles on earth never get recycled and it takes more than 700 years for a single plastic water bottle to fully decompose. It’s a no-brainer! Switch to a reusable water bottle and stay hydrated!
If you wear makeup or have a skincare routine, you likely use cotton rounds or cotton balls daily. They may be small, but those single-use products add up over time! Try switching to reusable face rounds that you can throw in the washing machine each week.
Switching from plastic razors to a safety razor may seem daunting at first, but I promise it’s super simple and once you use a safety razor, you’ll never go back.
Earth911 estimates that approximately 4.6 million pounds of wrapping paper is produced in the U.S. each year, and that about 2.3 million pounds of it ends up in landfills. But reusable gift wrap exists and it is adorable!
Just like with your shampoo, dish soap can also be swapped out for a solid bar form. It’s a sustainable, eco-friendly way to keep your dishes clean and the earth happy.
There seems to be a lot of needless waste when it comes to drinking coffee, from excessive paper filters to pesky little pods full of grounds and foil coffee bags that seem recyclable but are not. Switch to pour over coffee for a zero waste option while still getting your caffeine fix.
Traditional deodorant is not only harmful for your pits, but the plastic packaging always ends up in the landfill. We love this natural option from Meow Meow Tweet for its earth-friendly ingredients and the fact that the packaging is 100 percent biodegradable!
Dryer balls last two to four years and for more than 1,000 loads, which minimizes waste. Dryer sheets and fabric softener containers must be thrown away frequently and take up space in a landfill.
While you’re at it, let’s ditch the fabric softener as well. These eco fabric fresheners are reusable and earth-friendly. Just add some of your favorite essential oils to them before tossing in with your clothes.
Dental floss is an environmental nightmare. Because traditional floss is made of nylon, it’s not biodegradable. And even still, it’s so small it often ends up not making it in the landfill and ends up in the ocean where it can harm the animals. Read more about why traditional floss is bad here.
Reusable beeswax food storage wraps are a safe, non-toxic seal to sustainably store your food; no single-use plastic waste necessary.
I know what you’re thinking, a reusable cotton swab? Hear me out. We’ve all seen the picture of the seahorse with its tail wrapped around a cotton swab, right? 1.5 million disposable swabs are produced every single day and require resources to produce, ship and package them all to be thrown out after one use. Sometimes they are even flushed down toilets or sneak out of our trash systems and into the environment.
Cloth napkins are an easy at-home zero waste swap to make. No more paper napkins at dinner!
The amount of single-use coffee cups that are thrown away daily is atrocious. Try a reusable travel mug for your daily caffeine fix on the go.
If you travel a lot, you might be reliant on those little single-use travel-sized products for your daily necessities. But instead of purchasing those and tossing them when you’re done, just fill up these reusable bottles with products you have at home.
Shop our zero-waste swaps:
featured image via our home tour with Kaylee Crane