We get it - 'zero-waste' is a high bar, and it's not at all easy to achieve. Recycling is a necessary step to reducing waste. But an even better way to help the environment is reducing our consumption and reusing those things we do bring into our homes. In fact, home is a great place to start—let's look at a few ideas for zero-waste swaps in your home.
1. Dish Soap Bar
Skip the plastic bottles of liquid dishwashing soap, and try out a zero waste dishwashing bar instead. It's a cleaning powerhouse with a rich, sudsy lather. Cuts stubborn grime and grease on dishes, pots, and pans. You can even use it for cleaning-duty all over your home. Take stains out of laundry, take labels off of jars, spot clean your carpet, use it to wipe down counters... it's a truly multipurpose product.
2. Wool Dryer Balls
Throwing a dryer sheet in with your laundry makes it smell nice—but they contain lots of synthetic chemicals, and you have to toss them in the trash after each use. Wool dryer balls are an eco-friendly alternative that are hypoallergenic, non-toxic, and reusable for up to a thousand loads. They help to reduce static and dry time without any synthetics.
3. Reusable Shopping Bags
The average American family uses nearly 1,500 plastic shopping bags each year. Those bags end up in landfills, on our streets, and in our oceans. The next time you go to the grocery store, bring along your own shopping bags instead. We keep them in our purse and in the trunk of our car, so we don’t have to think about it when we're in a rush.
4. Shampoo Bars
Leave the packaging behind while you suds up in the shower. Shampoo bars are a great alternative to traditional shampoos in plastic bottles—and many are made of natural ingredients to boot. They’re perfect for traveling (no more spills in your luggage!) and easy to use. Plus, they can last up to 80 washes, meaning they can easily outlast two or three bottles of your regular shampoo.
5. Beeswax Wrap
We love everything about this all-natural alternative to plastic wrap. Made from organic bee wax, jojoba oil, cotton, and pine resin, beeswax wraps create a seal when you warm them with your hands. They can be washed and reused for up to a year in the same ways you’d use traditional plastic wrap, like to hold a sandwich or cover a bowl of leftover spaghetti.
6. Eat More Real Foods
It’s tempting to grab a bite at your favorite drive-through restaurant—but all the packaging from your meal ends up in the trash. The next time you’re at the market, look for foods that don’t come in packaging, like organic fruits and vegetables or bulk granola. You can cook delicious and good-for-you meals to tote with you to work (in that cute beeswax wrap!)
7. Reusable Facial Cloths
The next time you wash your face, reach for a reusable facial cloth instead of a disposable wipe. Choose an organic cotton flannel option to limit your exposure to pesticides—they’re super soft on your skin and can be used just like the disposable ones to remove eye makeup, apply skin toner, and in lots of other ways. Simply throw them in the wash instead of the trash and tumble dry on low.
8. Say Goodbye to Junk Mail
Nobody likes junk mail, but somehow in 2019, it's still a thing. You can reduce the amount you receive by signing up for “do not mail” lists, or opting-in to paperless billing options with your credit card accounts, car payments, utilities, and mortgage. At first, it may seem like you're barely making a dent, but stick with it and you'll soon notice some relief in your mailbox!
9. Reusable Straws
Swap out plastic straws for an eco-friendly alternative. You can carry aluminum straws with you on the go in an organic cotton tote, so the next time you order a Frappuccino you can sip in style (and feel good knowing you’re helping the planet, too).
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It’s easy to be overwhelmed with the amount of trash we produce each year, especially when you don’t know how to start. What are good ways that you've found to move towards a zero-waste life? Tell us below in the comments!