I know that going zero waste isn’t a walk in the park, and it requires some adjusting and planning.
Especially when you are new to this lifestyle, it can really help to get some early wins in the bank. Hence why I created this list of 8 zero waste swaps for a successful eco-warrior. But first…
Have you heard of wish cycling?
I heard the term wish cycling for the first time when I caught up with the guys from LifeWithoutPlastic, and Chantal said it for the first time. It made a lot of sense to me. Never being entirely sure whether the item actually belongs in the blue bin, the yellow, or the green bin, but hoping that somehow magically it will be recycled.
Every state, country, and city has its own rules and ways to recycle, so make sure to check what your city offers.
Did you know that only 9% of plastic worldwide is being recycled?
Thankfully with the help of technology and the internet, there are now some fantastic apps to help you reduce waste, find a local compost bin, and more. If you are brand new to the zero waste lifestyle perhaps you might want to start with these tips first:
New to Zero Waste? Start here!
But why should I even care about zero waste and making swaps in the first place?
Imagine that every item made from plastic still somehow exists on this planet! That’s crazy, right?
This is the reason why we you are here, to improve your health.
- less plastic wrapped around your food = less chemicals in your body
- less plastic in the oceans = less plastic in our food
So here is the list of my favorite zero waste swaps for 2020 so far.
These items are my daily companion, and they show that you don’t need to have a green thumb or live like a monk to save the world. Anyone with a bit of brain can do it and make this planet a little cleaner.
My daily companion, the KeepCup.
I had this bad boy before knowing what zero waste swaps were. If you have been following this blog, you know I am obsessed with a good cup of coffee or two or three.
I love that stuff, and I am not the only one. Especially since we have been on the road, the KeepCup comes with me almost everywhere (unless I sit in the cafe).
I wrote a blog post about the best 10 non-toxic coffee mugs, but I prefer the KeepCup, because it is simple, with good-quality glass and cork. If you want to check out my YouTube Review, you can do so here.
2. Yeti Bottle
My next absolute must is a good quality reusable water bottle.
The Yeti bottle is my personal favorite. It always has a spot in my backpack.
It is stylish and super sturdy.
It keeps my drink warm or cold for hours. Now I use it with the binchotan charcoal stick that has enabled me to drink water from pretty much any source without worrying too much about the quality.
Suppose you want to learn how and why binchotan works great as a water filter; check out this post. Or perhaps you are more visual; I made a funny video about it too.
3. Beeswax Wrap
I didn’t think that I would put the beeswax wrap in the zero waste swap list, but hey, they have been such a great companion to keep that half-cut lemon from drying out or the onion.
We bought ours from Earthhero, and hey, you get 10% off with the code ZEROWASTEMAN.
Both work great, and I am thrilled not to use any plastic wrapping for the food we put in our bodies. This leads me to…
How to make your own?
4. Steel Tiffin
The stainless steel tiffin. I love that thing, and I use it every day.
It is a no-brainer if you want to prep your meal at home and take it to work without it being contaminated by plastic.
The only downside is that you can not put them in the microwave. But most workplaces have plates around anyway.
5. Bamboo Toothbrush
If you don’t own a bamboo toothbrush by now, you should stop reading and get one right now.
Just kidding, but seriously, this is another must zero waste swap.
Ask yourself this: What’s, is the first thing that you touch in the morning? Probably your toothbrush, right? Do you want it to be a plastic one that never leaves this planet or one that is partially biodegradable?
I use the bamboo toothbrush and a silk dental floss which comes in a glass container. I was never a floss person, but since I use the silk one, I floss every day.
Although I still have my electric toothbrush, my wife has swapped the bamboo brush and loves it. And I swap between my electric one and the bamboo brush.
No point in throwing your electric toothbrush out, is there?
Just know that your bristles are not biodegradable, so unless you dispose of them separately, don’t throw them into the compost.
Read here about the bamboo toothbrush.
6. Shampoo Bar
Well, sadly, the first shampoo bar I ever bought was left behind by me in a hotel.
Here is a picture of me holding it. Doh!
So I had to buy another one. It turns out; there is a bit of a difference between all these brands coming up with shampoo bars.
While I am not as fuzzy as a man, my wife has curly hair and her special shampoo. I haven’t found a bar that she will use. But nobody is perfect, hey? If you are interested, this is from the 31 days to zero waste challenge.
7. Fountain Pen
I have to say I love writing with my fountain pen, only because it feels like I am a grown-up.
The plastic pens feel cheap and childish, don’t ask me why. A good reason to swap to fountain pens is:
The most famous one, the Bic Cristal, sells 14 million per day. Imagine how many end up in landfill?!
I bought a $30 fountain pen from Pilot with a refillable cartridge.
But, there is one downside to this. Every time I refill my pen, I end up having blue fingers. I believe it is due to the refillable cartridge.
See how I fail at refilling my fountain pen in this video!
The last swap is not really a zero waste swap. The famous and most useful pocket tool is the leatherman.
The leatherman comes in handy almost every day.
Opening a can, fixing some sunglasses or cutting a string, tightening the handle of a pot or pan or whatever you can think of.
Leatherman’s are great, and they are made from quality steel. Just make sure when you travel to leave them in your carry-on. Yep happened to me; they take them away from you.
So there you have it. These are my eight favorite zero-waste swaps so far. This list is not an ultimate guide to zero waste but a great start to a healthier and better you. I know it sounds cheesy, but trust me, your body and the planet will thank you for every sustainable change you make.
Just imagine all the wildlife you can save by opting for more sustainable products.