They say beginnings are always the hardest part.
Learning a new language, practicing a new sport, starting a new lifestyle,… Beginnings can get overwhelming.
And of course, this is the case with zero waste. There are so many items (and habits!) to change that it’s hard finding the balance between going zero waste and not losing our sanity.
So see this as your Zero Waste 101: the basic things you should get to kickstart your zero waste journey.
And when you’re done with this post, why don’t you go over here to learn 13 ways to go zero waste on a budget?
Let’s get to it.
1. Reusable bottle
This study shows that a million (ONE MILLION?!?!?) plastic bottles are bought EVERY MINUTE, and that this number will keep growing unless we change our habits.
That’s a lot to take in.
But do you know the best part of this? We can totally avoid this.
We can save the environment while saving money at the same time. Say what??
Let’s say that you buy a bottle of water each day you go to school or to work.
And let’s suppose that each bottle is around 1.5 $. That’s 7.5 $ in a week, 30$ in a month, and 390$ in a year.
That is 390$ that you spend to drink filtered tap water from a plastic bottle.
Now a reusable bottle doesn’t look like that much of an investment, right?
You can choose the material, the price range that better fits your pocket,…and now they make them SUPER CUTE.
So there’s no excuse not to buy one.
2. Reusable coffee cups
The same goes for paper coffee mugs. They have a plastic layer covering the paper that makes them almost impossible to recycle. And we don’t want that, do we?
What could you do instead?
Get a nice travel coffee mug. Not only will it help you saving plastic from the landfills, but it will make you look more conscious and interesting, and they look way better on your Instagram photos. Win-win.
And if you’re worried about them taking space all day in your bag after you’re done with your morning coffee, check this brand called Stojo. They have collapsible cups that will solve all your problems.
3. Canvas bag
Fashion statement that doubles as a practical item for your everyday life.
Use your tote bag when you go to a concert, a museum, or to have a coffee with your girls, and on the way back home go do the groceries. Plastic-free. Who doesn’t want that?
Oh, but if you’re not the type to carry your tote bag around (like, who wouldn’t, but you do you boo), get a foldable bag like these cotton ones. Just keep them in your bag or your car at all times for that unexpected run to the store.
Teabags can be the most convenient option when you’re camping. I agree.
But what not a lot of people know is that tea bags have plastic in them, and when you dip the sachet into hot water, these plastics break free from the bag into your drink, your body, and your drain. EW.
You know these plastics, they are the oh-so-hated microplastics.
And we don’t want that.
Instead, why don’t you use a french press or a good old teapot?
And we all know loose leaf tea tastes a thousand times better.
5. Beeswax wraps
Did you know your cling plastic wrap is actually not recyclable? We tend to think that anything made of plastic can go into the plastic bin. Oh, are we wrong…
Actually, only some types of plastic can be recycled. And even recyclable plastic is rarely recycled for different reasons.
And apart from that, I’ve always been super suspicious of this plastic because it feels flimsy and it doesn’t deserve my trust.
Beeswax wrap is 100% reusable, zero waste and can be composted when/if you decide to stop using it.
You get hundreds of uses out of each, so it will be SO worth to invest in.
Not to mention how adorable the different designs are. Like these ones with little pineapples on them. J’adore.
6. Cotton pads
No matter if you use them to remove your make up, nail polish, or what.
These little guys sometimes are made with plastic in them. Shocker.
One alternative is organic and plastic-free cotton pads. But even those often need a lot of water to be made.
The 100% zero waste alternative is reusable pads like these ones made of bamboo. You can use and reuse them hundreds of times before you have to get rid of them. And sometimes they’re compostable!
I’m not a big straw user. But I cannot leave straws out of this list.
Single-use straws are one of the most common items found during beach cleanups and they are responsible for the deaths of 100,000 marine mammals and over 1 million marine birds every year.
It’s just a matter of finding the perfect straw for you. Do you like hot beverages? Then choose a bamboo one. Cold ones? Maybe stainless steel will be better.
My local zero waste cafe has pasta straws and I find it so funny in such an adorable way. You can even get a pack of those if you’re organizing a party and need a ton of plastic-free straws!