8 Easy Zero Waste Swaps for a Less Wasteful Lifestyle
Zero waste is a form of sustainable living that ultimately seeks to rework our linear model of consumption. Rather than send things to landfills, it asks us to refuse, reuse, and compost. Given the current trash crisis, zero waste is a necessary future.
It’s a daunting thought in a high stakes game.
However, zero waste online stores like Well Earth Goods are making it easier than ever to reduce our impact and go zero waste. Starting with simple zero waste swaps, you’ll see how opting for eco friendly alternatives can change your entire waste game without changing your lifestyle.
- Toothpaste and Floss
Toothpaste tubes are as troubling as tartar buildup. Zero waste toothpaste, whether it comes in the form of glass-jarred creams or toothpaste tablets, remedy all those issues.
Unpaste tablets in particular are good because they come in fully home compostable non-GMO corn starch bags and are available with or without fluoride.
Proper dental hygiene also requires flossing (as your dentist reminds you and your bleeding gums every time you visit).
Traditional floss, however, is as problematic as gingivitis. Besides the annoying plastic cubes that run out after a week, most floss is coated with plastic and PFCs which are linked to health problems like immune system damage, thyroid disease, and ADHD. Thankfully, there are also zero waste floss options for earthly friendly dentures.
Natural silk floss, while not vegan, is a lot healthier for your mouth and Mother Earth thanks to the non-toxic Candelilla wax coating and refillable glass vial.
The toothpaste and floss was the easy part. Now for the hard part of plastic free dental care. For years, toothbrush brands battled with how to make the bristles eco friendly. Bamboo handles became the norm, yet nylon bristles still plagued the industry.
Brush with Bamboo finally solved the problem with their zero waste toothbrush by adding 100% castor bean oil bristles to their existing organic bamboo handle. Being USDA-certified biobased, they are fully biodegradable, but not technically backyard compostable just yet (as they take a little longer to break down than official compostable requirements).
Save them up to compost at an industrial facility instead.
- Shampoo and Conditioner
Hair care is one of the biggest plastic perpetrators in personal care. If all the shampoo bottles thrown away each year were laid flat, they would fill 1,164 football fields. And we thought split ends were horrific.
Solid shampoo and conditioner bars may sound like a hair-brained idea when we’re used to our liquid defaults, but in reality, they’re just as easy to use, more convenient for travel (ta ta, TSA liquid restrictions), and last longer than the average bottle, which saves us money.
Plus, most zero waste shampoos require no more packaging than a compostable cardboard box.
B.O. stinks, but so does plastic pollution. Fortunately, we no longer have to choose between the two.
Traditional deodorant containers pose a big problem to low waste folks, considering just about every component (i.e. tube, dial, lid, etc) is a different type of plastic, thus making proper recycling a stick shy of possible.
Plastic isn’t the only thing stinky about regular deo, either, which is why most eco friendly alternatives also turn to natural, paraben and aluminum-free recipes.
Do you want to know more about natural deodorant and it's benefits for your body? You can read more in this very comprehensive breakdown called "The No BS Guide to Natural Deodorants, What You Need to Know".
Replace all those chintzy plastic razors that seem to rust after barely a week with a single stainless steel safety razor.
A zero waste razor is arguably one of the easiest zero waste swaps because it’s a one-and-done thing, aside from the occasional blade replacements. Just be sure you recycle the old blades when you’re done; as they’re stainless steel, it’s easy enough to do.
- Beauty and Skin Care
Take a look in your makeup bag or medicine cabinet. Try not to cringe at all the plastic pots, tubes, and unrecyclable junk in there. Time to give your beauty routine a makeover?
First things first, you probably don’t need half the products you own. A minimalist approach is one of the best ways to achieve healthy skin, which means you’ll need less zero waste makeup on top.
From there, replace your current products as you use them up with fewer, multi-use plastic-free alternatives. For example, did you know most mascara can double as eyeliner? For moisturizers, picking one or two all-around options made of gentle organic plant butters and oils is plenty for both the face and body.
Sustainable beauty should be simple and pure, something that’ll prove healthier for your skin, the planet, and your wallet.
Speaking of skincare, sunscreen is one of the most critical tools we have to protect our birthday suits. Unfortunately, it comes in yet another plastic tube.
We need not only be concerned with the waste on the outside of our sunscreen, but the waste within the sunscreen itself. We’re referring to the free radicals and reef bleaching properties in traditional sunscreens.
Truly zero waste sunscreen means not only being packaged in a reusable or compostable tin or cardboard tube for example, but also being free of nano-particles, toxic chemicals that end in “-benzone” (and plenty of others that don’t), and paraben preservatives.
Raw Love sunscreen is a good example of what all-natural full spectrum sunscreen should look like, all in a handy beach-ready tin.
- Cleaning Products
Round out your zero waste life by keeping not just yourself clean, but your home too with some of the many zero waste cleaning products available.
Start with the essentials, like a solid dish soap block and laundry detergent papers to cleanse your home of even more plastic bottles and SLS-filled detergents.
But what good is soap without a plastic-free way to scrub? Choose between tons of compostable cleaning tools, from compostable coconut scour pads to wooden toilet brushes. Before you know it, your home will be sustainably squeaky clean.
Final Thoughts on Easy Zero Waste Swaps
The term zero waste is an intimidating one, but as you can see from this list, it need not be. Going zero waste doesn’t mean producing ZERO waste; it’s about doing what you can. Making small changes that collectively cut out a lot of landfill waste.
Changing the world doesn’t have to mean changing your lifestyle. It can start with something as small as a biodegradable toothbrush.