Is silicone biodegradable and eco-friendly? It seems that lately silicone is everywhere. You’ve probably been getting a million ads on Instagram for fancy silicone toothbrushes and have noticed the sudden proliferation of silicone sponges and bakeware in stores. Maybe you already own one those super convenient collapsible silicone containers or regularly use a silicone spatula to avoid scratching your cookware.
Silicone is a relatively new material and, because of this, it’s a bit of a conundrum for most people: Is it plastic? Is it a rubber? is it safe? And – more importantly – why does it make everything look like a bright, colorful children’s toy? It usually gets marketed as a safer, greener alternative to plastic, and manufacturers from all industries – aerospace, automotive, construction, consumer goods, and medicine – sing never-ending praises to its superior durability.
The truth is, however, that although silicone is a much safer alternative to plastics or rubbers, that it’s much more durable than similar materials and that it’s an ideal choice for things such as aircraft and automotive components or medical equipment applications, it just hasn’t been around for long enough for us to know with a high degree of certainty whether it’s 100% safe for humans and the environment.
While that may make some people suspicious of silicone, it is for those same reasons that we shouldn’t be too quick to write this material off until we study it more extensively as it could be a big part of the solution to the global crisis with plastic pollution.
What is silicone?
First thing: let’s get our spelling right. Silicone is the material that we are currently talking about. It’s a synthetic polymer used to make things such as homewares, personal care products and medical tools such as breathing masks. Silicon is the element from which the silicate family is derived. It’s one of the most abundant elements in the universe and it’s present in rocks, sand, silicate minerals, among other things. From it we make glass, porcelain and the aforementioned silicone polymers. Highly purified forms of silicon are used to make semiconductors and the electronic chips found in phones, computers and other electronics.
So what is silicone? In short, it’s a bit in between plastics and rubbers. All three of these materials – plastic, rubber, and silicone – are polymers with the distinction that rubber is a naturally-occurring polymer while plastic and silicone are synthetic polymers.
The difference between plastic and silicone is that plastic is made from petrochemicals and requires additives that give it specific characteristics while silicone is made from the naturally occurring element Silicon bound to atoms from other organic elements such as Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, and Nitrogen. Silicones – known as polymerized siloxanes – are an extremely versatile family of compounds that have a wide range of applications: from sealants, lubricants and construction materials, a dizzying amount of consumer goods, and even cosmetics.
This video does a wonderful job explaining how different types of silicones are made.
Is silicone safe?
The short answer is: “yes” but there are some important things to consider. While the evidence on whether silicone reacts with or migrates into food is still inconclusive, most sources agree that silicone is a chemically inert and stable material that is not toxic. There have been some studies that have found very small amounts of siloxane that have migrated into food after exposing silicone objects to powerful solvents for extended periods.
While this may make a few people feel a bit uneasy about having silicone products in contact with their food, it’s important to remember that the conditions to which silicone was subjected in these experiments were much more extreme than any of those to which it is likely to be exposed to in most domestic settings.
Although more research on the matter is needed, the scientific community generally agrees that the small quantities of siloxanes that may migrate to into food or drink do not pose a significant risk for humans. Health Canada, the Canadian federal health agency, states that, based on all available scientific evidence, they have concluded that siloxane materials do not pose a risk for humans or the environment and that the quantities of these materials that are currently present in the environment are very low and shouldn’t be a cause for concern.
Is silicone eco-friendly?
Again, the answer is in between a yes and a no but leaning closer to a “yes”. The issue is that silicone is a synthetic polymer and there is simply no such thing as a 100% eco-friendly synthetic material. Manufacturing, transportation, marketing, and packaging always add processes and components that are not as planet-friendly as the product itself may be.
Silicone has two big advantages that make it a much more eco-friendly option than plastic, rubber and other man-made compounds and that is its composition and its durability. On the ingredients side, its main component comes from silica, which is found naturally in sand, quartz, gravel and similar materials. These materials are then heated at very high temperatures and put through different processes to alter their chemical properties depending on the products that will be manufactured from them.
Using elements and minerals that are easily extracted and pose a low risk of environmental pollution is, by far, a much preferable option to the petroleum-derived hydrocarbons needed to make plastic or synthetic rubber. Still, although making useful and long-lasting items out of sand sounds like the greenest, most ideal fantasy ever, there are consequences to extracting large amounts of sand and minerals to make products such as silicones or glass.
Though it seems unlikely, sand is one of the most-used resources on the planet. It’s mixed into concrete to make roads, buildings and homes; used to fill empty areas so that buildings and other objects can go on top of them and; make islands larger or make new artificial sand islands; and, lately, even to replace more sand that has been eroded. The demand for sand to mix into concrete for construction plus other applications such as the manufacturing of silicon chips, silicone consumer products, and glass has created a global sand shortage *Why the world is running out of sand – BBC Future*.
Since the sand that most manufacturers consider useful for these applications is the one that has been shaped by water and not winds such as the one found in deserts, this means that riverbeds and ocean floors are getting dredged and eroded at an alarming pace that affects everything from wildlife and soils to the very course that rivers follow.
Not everything is bad news, though, thanks to silicone’s second main advantage: durability. Since it’s such a stable compound, silicone can withstand a much wider range of wear, tear and extreme conditions. Materials that have longer lives and don’t require frequent replacement are always preferable to less durable ones as this means that fewer resources are needed to meet the demand for them and that we can also make fewer quantities of them.
As we have explained, silicone’s inertness also means that its particles do not migrate the same way that those in plastics and other synthetic materials do to accumulate in human bodies or the environment. You can use silicone products with a high degree of confidence that they are not contaminating food, polluting water sources or making you sick.
Is silicone biodegradable?
So let`s find out if is silicone biodegradable. As you may have guessed, a material that can withstand extreme heat, cold and pressure is not biodegradable. In fact, silicone doesn’t decompose at all. It is, however, recyclable but most people don’t know this, partly because it’s still such a misunderstood material and also because most recycling programs do not accept it.
There are a few downsides to silicone’s recyclability. First, same as plastic, it is not infinitely recyclable. Second, recyclers can only downcycle it into silicone oils so, for example, you cannot make a new muffin mold from recycled silicone. Third, most people will simply dispose of silicone the same way that they dispose of other trash and it will go to landfills. The good news is that, since silicone doesn’t decompose and its components have a very low migration rate, the environmental impact is significantly reduced in comparison to plastics.
There are still not a lot of companies recycling silicone but it’s a sure fact that as the usage of this material becomes more widespread, recycling it will become easier. For now, it’s best to choose products from companies that have take-back programs or find a company that collects silicone waste such as Terra CycleTerraCycle so that you can be sure that your silicone waste is being properly recycled.
What are the benefits of silicone products?
There are a lot of benefits to choosing items made out of silicone over rubber, plastic and other materials, especially for items that you will be using around the home:
You can rest assured that any silicone product that you purchase will last you for a very long time if you take good care of it. Silicone’s high resistance to stress, pressure, extreme temperatures and UV light make it a much longer-lasting option than either rubber or plastic while removing the risk of breakage that glass poses and the damages that metal surfaces may suffer. It can be subjected to both flaming hot and freezing cold temperatures for extended periods without its molecular structure suffering any changes.
Silicone is an extremely versatile material that can be used in a multitude of settings and conditions. Being resistant to such a wide range of conditions makes it an excellent option for those who are looking to downsize their kitchen and reduce their consumption of new items by using multipurpose products that are meant to last for longer and resist damage better.
For now, silicone is the safest material available that still holds the useful properties of plastics and rubbers. It’s inertness means that it will experience little to none migration of particles, which makes it especially beneficial for replacing plastic or synthetic rubber items for babies and children such as bottles, nipples, pacifiers, cups or plates.
Food-grade silicone is impermeable and does not absorb odors, oils or liquids meaning that cleanup will be easy and not require the usage of harsh surfactants or chemicals. This is especially useful around the kitchen and especially for food storage containers whose surfaces will spend a prolonged period in contact with food and may otherwise develop unpleasant odors, staining or discoloration.
Another reason why silicone is so safe is that it doesn’t transfer heat well. Because of this, it’s become a very popular material for items such as spatulas, bakeware, panhandle grips and oven mitts. It’s also used for containers and cups that can be refrigerated, frozen and are microwave-proof with no cause for concern regarding breakage, leakage or any other type of damage.
Our picks for the best and most useful silicone products:
Read on below to find out what we think are the best silicone products:
A super handy, multi-purpose bucket for people with limited space and even better for camping and outdoors. Use it for mopping, hand washing, dishwashing, carrying water, and even as a makeshift drink cooler for a picnic.
These reusable silicone bags eliminate one of the largest sources of kitchen plastic waste: plastic containers, cling wrap, and plastic zipper bags. And they’re not just for storing food: you can put them in the microwave, run them through the dishwasher, put them in the oven, and even use them for sous-vide cooking. Each bag creates an airtight seal that does not allow liquids to enter or exit it, making it perfect for storing liquids such as soups or marinating meats.
Ever find yourself wondering what to do with that half onion leftover from last night’s guacamole? These nifty food huggers will help you keep it from rolling around and drying out in your fridge until it’s time for you to use it again.
If that set of reusable metal straws that you bought last year after reading about turtles choking on plastic ones is killing your teeth, then this softer silicone version may be a much better option for you. Another thing your mouth will be very happy to know is that the straws in this set are much thicker in diameter than regular straws, which will take the struggle out of trying to sip your smoothies through a tiny, stick-thin straw.
This already super light bottle gets lighter and smaller as you drink from it – we can’t think of better motivation to drink more water! It’s great for keeping it ready to be refilled in your purse, gym bag, or backpack so that you never have to resort to purchasing a bottle of water last minute ever again.
Give silicone products a chance
I get it. Silicone is still far from being perfect. It is always preferable to use items made out of infinitely recyclable materials such as metal or glass or compostable ones like organic fibers and wood whenever possible. But, as I have shown you above, there are plenty of other items that just can’t be made from any infinitely recyclable or organic materials and that are usually made from plastic that can easily be replaced by silicone.
Switching to a durable and inert material that will require less frequent replacement and that poses much fewer environmental risks than plastics or rubbers will make a big difference in reducing waste and the demand for virgin plastics and could become one of the keys in solving the current environmental emergency that we have put our planet in.
I am confident, as technology progresses, silicone manufacturing will become cleaner and that, as the public becomes more educated about this material, recycling will become easier and more widespread.
Looking for an alternative to aluminum foil? We all know! Roasting potatoes in the oven, keeping your food spill-proof in to-go containers, or polishing tarnished silverware, aluminum foil seems to be the unbeatable jack-of-all-trades in any kitchen. Although you can recycle this versatile metal, there is an alternative to aluminum foil in your kitchen that’s more resource-friendly.
To help you discover that right product, take a look at this list of the best alternative to aluminum foil here.
From silicone produce covers to stainless steel grilling baskets, you’ll be glad you turned to something reusable or at least something safer for cooking purposes. Let’s dive right in to find the best alternative to aluminum foil.
Thisvegan reusable food wrap from KhalaCo is a mighty alternative to aluminum foil, plastic- or beeswax-based food covers. Instead of eco-intensive materials, these wraps are crafted from unbleached, organic cotton. Candelilla wax, soy wax, organic coconut oil, and pine resin help the wrap seal around your food. There is no palm oil, beeswax, or plastic in these wraps, making them both people- and environment-safe.
So how do these covers work, exactly?
They come in a flat square shape, but when you’re ready to use one, ball it up in your hands to activate its magical waxy properties. Cover leftover fruit, veggie, snack, or container, and voila! The wrap should hold its shape, keeping your food fresh until it’s time to snack again.
When the wraps are no longer as effective, rip them up and add them to your compost pile. They typically last up to a year when used regularly. Hand wash in cool water and air dry to keep them working for longer.
If you need a variety of sizes, you’re in luck. The set includes four square wraps: 13 by 13 inches, 11 by 11 inches, 7 by 8 inches, and 6 by 6 inches. These wraps are handmade in the USA, and with each purchase, KhalaCo donates to nonprofits tackling plastic pollution through 1% for the Planet. You can find more sizes and combo packshere.
This unbleached paper roll from If You Care is the best choice if you need greaseproof surfaces for baking. Think roasted carrots, potatoes, and baked chicken doused in oils and sauces. While the typical parchment paper brand offers an average of 40 square feet per roll, this best-value pick is a practical 70 square feet. Additionally, an unbleached certification means the paper doesn’t undergo any chlorine treatment.
Why does this matter?
Bleaching contributes to chlorine byproducts pollution in various bodies of water, including freshwater lakes and rivers. So if you need a steady and reliable supply of parchment paper for baking or simply wrapping foods, this is a top contender.
The If You Care brand stands for quality with integrity and judging by these chlorine-free parchment paper rolls, the statement is justified. These papers are not only good for baking, but you can also use them to wrap goods, dried meats, and to-go snacks. This product is only one of a large selection of environmentally-friendly items like natural rubber cleaning gloves, sponge cloths, and biodegradable coffee filters.
Though these papers are typically single-use, they’re compostable and come in a recyclable cardboard container.
The infinitely reusable silicone stasher bag features a pinch lock enclosure secure enough for holding in veggies or meat in boiling water. If your fancy dinner specialty is a fresh sous vide veggie bowl, this bag could be your next best cooking tool.
a bundle with the ½ gallon, two sandwich-sized bags, and a snack size bag.
The bundle is highly recommended for cost efficiency and to have separate bags for different occasions.
For color coordination, choose from colors clear, aqua, clear and aqua, blueberry, citrus, gray, lime, milky way (milky white), moonstone (gray-bluish white), obsidian, raspberry, or supernova (peachy/beige). You might designate citrus for veggies and aqua for snacks, for instance–whatever helps you remember which bag is which.
All are made of pure silicone with no fillers and conventional materials like BPA, latex, or PVC. One of the best parts about this bag is you don’t have to keep track of lids and other pieces. Like the single-use plastic sandwich bag, it’s convenient and straightforward.
Use it in your microwave, freezer storage, dishwasher, or oven with a maximum of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. In a nutshell, this is a formidable alternative to aluminum foil and plastic products.
Founder Kat Nouri is a mom of three and an admirable activist against plastic pollution. Your purchase helps ocean health-centric non-profits fight against plastic use in collaboration with 1% for the Planet.
Nab this set from BAYCO store if you need reusable glass containers mainly for storing food in the fridge or taking lunches to work. When you need to microwave food, remove the silicone lid and you’re good to go.
Two small containers (1.4 cups or 4.8 x 4.8 x 2.8)
One medium container (2.3 cups or 5.4 x 5.4 x 2.5)
One large container (3.4 cups or 6.3 x 6.3 x 2.7)
Crafted from borosilicate glass, the containers heat easily and last long. A BPA-free construction means your containers won’t absorb odors, nor will your food smell like plastic. With a strong snap lock system, even liquid foods like soups and marinades won’t escape.
Though tough and durable, keep the lids out of microwaves and refrain from leaving them in heated dishwashers for too long.
304 Stainless steel with BPA-free plastic and silicone lids
5-container set in assorted sizes
This 5-piece setfrom JaceBox is more suited for occasions when you need to keep food cold or warm. Each rectangular container is made of 304 stainless steel with a BPA-free plastic lid. A silicone ring ensures food content stays inside, no matter how bumpy the ride is from your home to the campsite.
Additionally, snap lock fasteners provide an extra spill proof security measure. The stackable and nesting design save space when they’re in the fridge or in storage. Convenient sizes allow you to pack anything from baby carrots to roughly six adult servings of spaghetti.
The rust proof stainless steel containers practically last forever, but if for some reason you need to retire them, they are recyclable. JaceBox recommends washing the containers with some soap and warm water before your first use. Wash the lid’s silicone ring every now and then to keep the container completely clean.
Velesco’s3-count set of baking mats is every baker’s secret weapon for cookies that are crunchy outside, yet chewy in the middle. Each mat is crafted from commercial grade, nonstick silicone and fiberglass. While the silicone prevents pastry bottoms from sticking to the mat, the fiberglass component gives you an even cooking surface all around, every time.
Another reason to get this set?
It eliminates the need for nonstick sprays and oils that may produce harmful byproducts as they cook in the oven. The nonstick feature also means less cleaning time. Simply run the mat with soap and warm water. If you prefer to wash in bulk, this utensil is also dishwasher-safe.
If you’re thinking of gifting this set to a friend who bakes, they’ll appreciate the standard baking sheet size of 16.5 inches by 11.63 inches. The set includes three, so they can whip up several batches at once or use one for kneading dough and the others for baking.
Beyond baking, the mat is also designed for freezing foods like fruits, dumplings, meatballs, and vegetables in temperatures as low as -40 degree Fahrenheit.
To store, roll them up and stash them in your kitchen drawer to save precious kitchen real estate. The mats are recyclable.
The longzon stretchy lids from longzon are the food covers you didn’t know you wanted, let alone knew existed. With 14 different sizes, the set is compatible with virtually any bowl, pot, cup, or fruit half. No more dried out lemon slices or exposed watermelon halves that somehow end up tasting like the other contents of your refrigerator.
These food-grade silicone covers are compatible with freezers or dishwashers, so don’t worry about them losing flexibility or shape. Though microwave-safe, keep the covers open when heating up food.
Each cover stretches without tearing, but take care not to exceed the maximum diameter. The set includes seven different diameter sizes in two separate colors each, for a total of 14.
2.6 inches, stretches up to 4 inches
3.8 inches, stretches up to 5 inches
4.5 inches, stretches up to 6 inches
5.7 inches, stretches up to 8 inches
6.5 inches, stretches up to 9 inches
8.1 inches, stretches up to 10 inches
9.8 inches, stretches up to 12 inches
When using bowls or similar containers, make sure the cover, your hands, and the container are dry to avoid spills. One of the best parts about these containers is they allow you to stack, cram, and wedge containers and food in your fridge to maximize space.
In other words, if you’re in dire need of fridge space, this is your chance to take back control!
Food Huggers’ silicone Food Savers Set is a patented produce cover pack of four that’s also compatible with cups, cans, and bottles. Rounded lips give these covers their signature hugger style, ensuring a secure embrace around your half eaten produce.
For folks whose pet peeve is half eaten bananas that brown when left out, no worries: the set comes with a Banana Hugger especially made for your tropical fruit, bringing the total number of covers in the set to five.
Since the covers are made of silicone, they’ll be okay in your dishwasher. The covers stack together in a Russian nesting doll-esque design, saving you cabinet space when in storage.
The covers are available in five different color schemes: Autumn Harvest (reds, yellows, and oranges), Bright Berry (blues, purples, and pinks), Fresh Greens (bright greens), Ice Blue, and Sage Green (more pastel than Fresh Greens).
Women-owned and the inventors of the products themselves, Food Savers is an independent business passionate about reducing plastic waste. The covers not only reduce the need for aluminum, but they also eliminate the need for single-use plastic wraps and are a great alternative to aluminum foil.
Versatile and eco-friendly, the snack and sandwich bags from If You Care are the best alternative to aluminum foil for folks who need a daily supply. Technically, the bags are reusable, so don’t be afraid to keep one around for a few lunches, given that your food isn’t too saucy.
So if your favorite packed lunch is a wet burrito with extra salsa, we suggest lidded glass or steel containers instead.
Nevertheless, you can pack your chips and extra tortilla on the side if you please. Each greaseproof, unbleached paper bag can handle it. When you’re ready to part with your bag, compost in your backyard or your municipal bin.
Choose from a 30- or 48-count pack in either mini baguette or sandwich/snack sizes. Better yet, take a pack of each to ensure you always have one at the ready. The bags are safe for microwave use, so you don’t have to eat a cold lunch by default.
If you were wondering, the bags are made from unbleached spruce tree pulp in Sweden. So what? Instead of energy-intensive plastic or recycled aluminum, spruce trees are a trusted, renewable source also used for Earth-friendly textiles.
Another cool thing is these bags are made with zero paraffin wax or petroleum, so they’re definitely safe for food use.
11.5 inches long on top, 8.5 inches long on the bottom, 2.5 inches in depth
Exclusively for grill masters and barbecue enthusiasts, these baskets from Grillaholics uphold your reputation behind the fire pit. Made of stainless steel and designed for easy use, this grill is best used for any barbecue staple like vegetables, seafood, or cut meat.
The basket features curved handles and reinforced corners that make it user- and food-friendly. Thanks to evenly-placed holes that distribute heat evenly, all food cooks thoroughly without any burnt pieces. Its large size and deep bottom allows you to cook more food at one time. The reinforced corners hold in weight without buckling under heat.
Use this basket with any type of grill: charcoal, gas, infrared, etc. Keep a grilling mitt on any time you’re handling the basket to avoid any mishaps.
Whereas wrapping your veggies in aluminum foil is a gamble when heat is trapped, this ensures that your ingredients are cooked to perfection every time.
It’s safe to use with any charcoal, gas, smoker, propane, electric, or pellet grill. Additionally, you can use it in an oven or open fire pit for pizzas or cookies. Even up to 500 degree Fahrenheit, these heat-resistant mats will stay intact. The fiberglass coating is a safer alternative to silicone grilling mats which may be unsafe in high temperatures.
After your day of cooking, pop these into the top rack of your dishwasher to clean.
Here are some hints from Cook Time: Cut up the mats to match your toaster oven or baking pans to prevent sticky messes. If you need a larger surface area for your sizable grill, place the mats next to one another. Flip a mat over if you need a new cooking area–the other side will be clean, but still steeped in a smoky flavor. Such a fantastic alternative to aluminum foil.
Rachael Ray’snonstick baking set includes every tin, pan, and sheet you need for fundamental desserts and dishes. The set is made of heavy gauge steel and equipped with grippy silicone handles you can clutch even through thick oven mitts.
These pans don’t require any oil or aluminum foil lining for stick-free desserts, so you can check off single-use sheets from your shopping list forever.
Try a 4- or 5-piece set if you want something casual, but opt for the 10-piece set if you’re a devoted baker who needs a tried-and-true bundle:
4-piece set: a 10-inch cookie pan, a 15-inch cookie pan, two 9-inch round pans for cake, and a 6-cup muffin pan
5-piece set: a 10-inch cookie pan, two 9-inch round cake pans, a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangle cake pan, a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan
10-piece set: two 10-inch by 15-inch cookie sheets, two 9-inch round panda, a 9-inch square pan, a two-piece meatloaf pan, a 9-inch by 13-inch rectangle pan with cover, and a 12-cup muffin pan
The sets are available in steel with Cranberry Red or Agave Blue grips. On the other hand, you can choose a Latte Brown finish with Cranberry Red or Agave Blue grips. Availability differs with each set.
Aluminum foil is a helpful kitchen product that also lends a hand in barbecuing, food storage, and to-go lunches. However, the alternatives are much more eco-friendly and also replace plastic wraps in most situations besides grilling and baking. Luckily, there’s an alternative to aluminum foil for every need you can possibly have. Now it’s your turn to make the switchto low -waste products and be glad you moved on from single-use products.
Zero Waste Deodorant? You might ask yourself where to look for it, but trust me, I know what an undertaking a sustainable lifestyle can be. Every detail of daily life gets dissected and analyzed, from the toothbrush you use in the morning, to the plastic bag you get no-questions-asked at the drugstore. Each mundane task you previously took for granted, has now transformed into a deeply existential question: “To create pollution or not to create pollution?”
When I started off in this pursuit myself, deodorant quickly became a concern. To start with, most deodorants I was familiar with can be classified as an antiperspirant, which I quickly discovered wreaks havoc on the natural detoxification process of our bodies. If you didn’t know, aluminum used as an antiperspirant works because it blocks up your pores from sweating. That may not sound so serious, but this very process has been linked to breast cancer. Once you get past the antiperspirant options, many natural deodorants still come packaged in disposable plastic packaging, and that’s equally bad for the environment.
That’s why I set off to find a list of zero waste deodorants, deodorants with no poisonous chemicals or animal testing in sight. I expected to find just a few worth mentioning, but the more I dug, the bigger this list got. These 25 plastic free deodorantsare a sliver of the many I tested, so I can promise these ones really get the job done.
If you’re hesitant about switching to a natural, zero waste deodorant, take this article as a push in the right direction. Now’s the time to go all the way, and choose one of these sustainable deodorants: Mother Earth will thank you.
Good-bye Plastic Packaging! Hello zero waste Deodorant.
Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve has developed an excellent deodorant stick, that I can’t get enough of. It comes packaged in a biodegradable cardboard tube, without a speck of plastic in sight. If you’ve never used a deodorant that comes in a paper tube like this, here are a couple tips for you:
First, all you have to do is push up on the bottom of the tube, no twisting necessary. Think of it like a Push-Pop for your armpits.
Secondly, this will go on much smoother if you first warm up the stick in your pit for a few seconds before applying – this will help the product soften a little from its naturally solid state.
I love the ingredients in Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve’s Deodorant Stick, starting with their use of baking soda and cornstarch, to first dissolve bad smells, and then sweat. Cornstarch absorbs oils without the pore-blocking nonsense you’ll see in a traditional antiperspirant, and has a more natural effect overall. Virgin Coconut Oil has antibiotic properties in addition to its lauded moisturizing effect.
This comes with no added scent, to compliment sensitive skin types. It does have a light scent of coconut, which I personally adore.
I know, first we have to address the adorably designed packaging – those little illustrations, the bold color! Ugh. If that’s not enough to turn you head, then you should know this deodorant also comes in a totally recyclable or compostable cardboard tube.
Meow Meow Tweet’s cruelty free deodorant is baking soda free as well, with respect to more sensitive armpits. This zero waste deodorant comes loaded with healing plant based ingredients like arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, and shea fruit butter. My favorite of thethree available scents is Rose Geranium – refreshing, zesty, and floral.
Meow Meow Tweet is an incredibly well formulated, beautifully packaged brand, that has the ethical standards to back it up. They produce small-batch skincare and bath and beauty products that are Leaping Bunny Certified. Their company is built on a mission to minimize the amount of plastic packaging used for any of their products. On top of all that, Meow Meow Tweet donates to over twenty different nonprofit organizations, such as The Navajo Water Project, RAICES Texas, Trans Lifeline, Earthjustice, and The Ocean Cleanup.
This particular Schmidt’s deodorant comes packaged in a reusable or easily recyclable glass container. I love products that come in these little glass jars since they’re so easy to repurpose once you clean them out.
Formulated without aluminum, parabens, phthalates, or artificial fragrance. I like how you can control the application more with a glass jar product like this, whether I use my fingers or an applicator of some kind. This combination of Bergamot and Lime is one of my favorite scents I’ve come across – the bergamot adds a kind of smoky herbal quality to the bright lime.
Schmidt’s is a household name, but you probably don’t know too much about their background. Schmidt’s was created in 2010 by Jaime Schmidt as a part of the Maker Movement, where she noticed a dearth in the marketplace. Just a few years later she broadened Schmidt’s horizons to include bath, oral, home, and child care products. Schmidt’s has rightfully earned its place as an industry giant among natural wellness and skin care.
Weleda’s beautiful deodorant comes packaged in a non-aerosol, glass spray bottle that is very easily recycled or reused. This is definitely one of the more unique packaging choices on this list (or anywhere else for that matter), and gives an elevated experience, much more similar to giving a spritz of perfume. Leave it to this European natural beauty brand to add a pinch of culture to something as basic as daily deodorant application. Weleda’s zero waste deodorant uses lemon peel oil and other essential oils, and no antiperspirants or aluminum-based salts.
Weleda is an excellent company to turn to if you’re looking for high quality skin and body care with a rigid ethical backbone. Here are some quick facts you should know about Weleda:
Absolutely cruelty free.
No parabens, phthalates, or any other nasty, poisonous chemicals.
All ingredients and packaging materials are sustainably sourced, “with respect for people and biodiversity.”
Weleda also has earned its Natural Skin Care certification from NATRUE.
Soul Sunday’s deodorant comes in a minimalistically eye-catching little glass jar. This deodorant is scented with a heavenly combination of French lavender and geranium. Lavender is a natural antifungal and antibiotic, making it the ideal essential oil to throw into deodorant. Lavender is also a natural anti-inflammatory, so your potentially raw armpits will thank you. Likewise, geranium essential oil is known to help with hormone balancing, that can encourage cell turnover. You’ll find this comes with coconut oil and shea butter which soothes as it moisturizes. Last but not least, arrowroot powder comes in to naturally soak up moisture.
Soul Sunday keeps a foot forward in luxury, with another foot in ethics. They are built on the principles of minimalism, especially the environmentally friendly ramifications – this isn’t just a pretty jar for your medicine cabinet after all.
Aquarian Bath makes one of the best natural deodorants, and conveniently enough, you can find it on Etsy. Their Deodorant Balm in particular is very popular, and it’s no surprise why.
This zero waste deodorant balm is formulated from baking soda, arrowroot powder, organic cocoa butter, vitamin E, and organic extra virgin olive oil. This formula is also completely vegan and cruelty free.
If you like to stay informed on environmental activism, you might recognize Aquarian Bath from Plastic Free by Beth Terry. That’s right: this deodorizing gem also comes zero waste, packaged in a reusable tin.
Aquarian Bath is smaller than some of the other companies on this list, but they’re no less accomplished or effective. For all things bath, beauty and hair, that are also handmade, vegan, and lacking synthetic, problematic ingredients – Aquarian Bath has your back.
For something a little more graphically bold and glamorous, take a look at Routine’s line of zero waste deodorants. All thirteen scents come formulated with coconut oil, cocoa butter, and marigold infused olive oil, for a gentle blend that moisturizes as it rids your pores of odor and germs.
My personal favorite of the thirteen botanical fragrance options is one named The Curator. This fragrance is composed of eucalyptus, patchouli, black spruce, and rosemary leaf extracts. Folks with easily irritated under-arms will appreciate this scent as well, since it doesn’t contain baking soda. Instead Routine makes use of dietary magnesium to soak up and stave off excessive sweat and bacteria.
As Routine cleverly puts it: “Always tested on friends, never animals.” What’s more is you won’t find any aluminum syntheses, parabens, triclosan, or any other intrusive chemicals in their entire product line. They’ve developed their brand with the intent to take care of Earth and the people who live here, and that’s exactly what they’ve done.
Baili Vegan’s Deodorant comes in a compostable cardboard tube, which in itself is made from post-consumer recycled paper – so from the moment of its creation, you know Natural Vegan is taking waste seriously. The formula of the deodorant itself was also developed to be completely biodegradable, so when you wash it off, it won’t bother our friends in the ocean.
In fact this formula is totally free from gluten, animal testing, baking soda, aluminum, palm oil, and anything else that hurts your bod’ or the Earth. The recipe for Natural Vegan’s zero waste deodorant includes coconut oil, arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, kaolin clay, grapeseed oil, and lavender essential oil for scent. Check out the link above for the full ingredient list, but I can tell you for a fact that you can count all the ingredients on your hands – rare for any product, natural or otherwise. Check out all the scents here.
Each product stands to make an impact on the world, after all. They strive to create 100% compostable packaging for everything they offer.
Okay, I see you readers who are looking for something not only natural and nice to the environment, but something that puts the luxe in luxury skin care. This one was made with you in mind. You can tell this is an Experience, with its light pink and gilt-edged packaging.
One of the things I like most about Aurelia’s Citrus Botanical Cream Deodorant is its cream to powder formula. Aurelia uses a specialized mixture of antimicrobial arrowroot powder and kaolin, which helps keep sweat and odor-producing bacteria at bay.
They use a base of moisturizing shea butter, with tea tree, eucalyptus, and peppermint for their antibacterial benefits. Lavender and bergamot essential oils create an added depth of fragrance, combining in a scent which is both floral and a little smokey. From the fragrance, formula, right down to the packing, you won’t regret shelling out some extra bucks for this high-end zero waste deodorant.
Aurelia has made a name for itself in the natural beauty market with its proprietary line of probiotic skincare, which works with your body to help balance skin concerns, and never against it. To clarify, they don’t believe in eliminating bacteria, and instead have scientifically developed methods of using good, healthy bacteria in conjunction. None of their products contain toxic synthetic irritants or chemicals of any kind. Aurelia Probiotic Skincare really isn’t just a pretty package – it’s the real deal.
I hope by now you’re getting used to the trend of incredibly cool packaging in this list, because Fat and the Moon is here to deliver cool packaging for their very cool product line — from eye paints and face oils, to tooth cleansing tabs and poison oak salve. Fat and the Moon’s Deodorant Cream uses coconut oil, baking soda and antimicrobial essential oils as its base, instead of harmful aluminum (Seriously, I think we’re at the point in this list where I don’t have to convince you we don’t need aluminum salts in our deodorant).
I love love love this scent, and is one of my favorites for that reason alone — aside from everything else I love about this formula and brand. It’s a warm spicy scent, with a mix of bergamot and black pepper, and a hint of clary sage – a little desert musk, in a scent that is distinctly unisex. If you like to wear perfume, as I do, this scent also won’t interfere, and was designed to have a subtle effect.
Fat and the Moon is a sustainable and cruelty free brand that I absolutely love for all things bath and beauty. Rachel Budde, Fat and the Moon’s founder, developed the brand after exploring her family’s heritage in Slovenian healing. This Eastern European tradition is based mainly in plant medicines, which you’ll see reflected in Fat and the Moon’s gentle, but powerfully effective products – medicinal and cosmetic alike.
PureChimp Natural Deodorant is a superb natural and very much zero waste deodorant option. PureChimp Zero Waste Deodorant comes packed with shea butter, coconut oil, and arrowroot powder, which makes a triple threat of moisture, antimicrobial power, and perspiration wicking. No aluminum, no parabens, no propellants, no alcohol – and 100% vegan!
The fresh lavender essential oil makes the ideal fragrance for any deodorant – it’s like a splash of cold water to your senses. Honestly, if you ask me, it’s almost better than a cup of coffee. Every time I catch a whiff throughout the day, it perks me right up.
PureChimp is a small company, but they’ve still produced a breadth of plant-based products, for hair, face, body, and wellness. This brand was built to honor the environment, and show appreciation for the medicinal gifts found in our backyard. This is definitely a brand anyone should give a try.
We’re all familiar with Ethique’s line of solid shampoos and conditioners (I’m partial to their Mintasy shampoo in particular), but did you know they also make solid products for your body? Ethique’s Eco Friendly Deodorant Bar comes with very little packaging. Like, literally just a paper carton, so hardly any packaging at all.
Can you tell I’m a little biased towards my woodsy fireside scents? Because Rustic must be sniffed to be believed how delicious this scent is. You’ll instantly be transported to a cozy bonfire beside a remote cabin. Smelling Ethique’s deodorant bar has to count as some kind of aromatherapy, right?
Some of you are probably giving me an odd look right about now, because how do you use a deodorant bar with no packaging – like, at all? But I promise, it’s just as simple as it looks: rub it under your arms just like you would with any other stick of deodorant. Except this one’s the epitome of a zero waste deodorant.
Ethique as a company has tied their mission to eliminating plastic waste, one solid soap or lotion at a time. This brand is plant based, cruelty free, sustainable, and affordable.
Primal Life Natural Deodorant is a simple but incredibly effective deodorant that comes packaged in a biodegradable, or recyclable cardboard tube. You can’t go wrong with the Black Lavender scent, since it’s both herbal and refreshing – so refreshing it leaves you feeling clean just from applying this alone. This is a solid option for anyone interested in trying out a deodorant in a cardboard tube, since it’s biodegradable, and a bit more familiar to more traditional deodorant.
Primal Life was established as a “one stop shop” for all things sustainable. They strive to make the zero waste lifestyle accessible to everyone, as much as possible. Anyone can agree, that these are admirable goals.
Booda Organics uses pure baking soda, shea butter, tapioca flour, virgin coconut oil, and cocoa butter for a nourishing zero waste deodorant that really gets the job done. I love the little glass jar Booda Organic’s Cream Deodorant comes packaged in, as it’s a piece of pie to repurpose. This stuff is everything you need out of deodorant, which includes a simple, natural formula, that really helps get rid of body odor.
All of Booda Organics products are formulated with the idea in mind that what we put on our skin will eventually end up in our bodies too. Booda Organics is a small, family owned and operated company, though they have the entire planet, people and all, in mind when creating these natural, gentle skincare products.
Dirty Hippie’s deodorants contain probiotics which helps tamp down unwanted, smelly bacteria, and boosts the healthy bacteria we all need for our bodies to do their thing.
You’ll also find their formula contains coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter, beeswax, and tapioca flour — all totally organic.
This comes scented with lemon, patchouli, bergamot, and lavender essential oils, in a bright, herbal fragrance.
You can order any of Dirty Hippie’s deodorants in either a cardboard push-up tube, or a refillable (and reusable) glass jar. I personally like the cardboard tube, since it provides a more familiar experience to your standard deodorant. However, the formula in the glass jar is softer and more pliable with a spatula or fingers.
Helmed by the singular Dawn, Dirty Hippie was created in New Zealand, after she developed an interest in natural personal hygiene products while pregnant for the first time. So many personal hygiene products, deodorant especially, contain harmful chemicals, that can have serious repercussions on our reproductive organs and lymph nodes. Dirty Hippie presents an alternative, that keeps our bodies and the environment perfectly healthy.
Just as charcoal has a powerful effect in skincare and dental health, so too does it in deodorant. Pretty Frank uses a gentle, baking soda free formula, with a base of moisturizing shea butter, with a dose of activated charcoal to help finish off odor-causing bacteria. I love the scent of Pretty Frank’s Seaside – it’s a real splash to your senses, with juniper berry, lemon, palmarosa, and lavender essential oils.
Pretty Frank as a brand prides itself on its no B.S., no nonsense attitude towards natural wellness products. They don’t hide behind fussy aesthetics or jargon, and keep it short and sweet: they care about the environment and keeping ingredients gentle, clean, and effective. Period.
Not only is Ben & Anna’s Natural Soda Deodorant NATRUE certified, but the cardboard packing itself has earned an FSC certification as well. A purchase of this deodorant also supports non-profit group, One Earth – One Ocean.
This Natural Soda Deodorant goes on smooth and soft thanks to the shea butter base, and baking soda helps keep pits dry and clean. Ben & Anna doesn’t make use of any stabilizing chemicals, so you’ll want to be careful to keep this deodorant at room temperatures, to prevent sweating and melting. You can stick this bad boy in the refrigerator for a little bit, if it starts getting too soft in warmer weather.
Like most other zero waste deodorants that come packaged in a cardboard tube, you can apply by pushing up on the bottom of the tube. Their full line of scents are meant to be gender neutral – we recommend the Persion Lime fragrance, for something light and zesty to get your day started.
Based out of Germany, this vegan couple have a shared concern for the environment and conscious consumption. They formulated their deodorant with this in mind, aware of how few options there are in even the natural skin care market. They’ve certainly impressed me with this product, and you’ll be equally wowed when you give this Natural Soda deodorant a try.
Some of you may recognize this gem from it’s stint on Shark Tank, but it doesn’t need any kind of mainstream recognition to prove it’s worth every penny.
PiperWai, like many natural, zero waste deodorants, is formulated to work with your body and its natural process of detoxification, and not against it. That’s right: we’re treating our pits with the respect they deserve, and instead of blasting our lymph nodes with chemicals and metals. PiperWai’s deodorant contains a wonderful combination of shea butter, coconut oil, and vitamin E oil. For scent, PiperWai has devised a proprietary essential oil blend of citrus and mint based fragrances, a scent that isn’t too herbal but is subtle enough you won’t be in a walking cloud of citrus.
PiperWai focuses on one thing, and that’s making really effective, really natural deodorant. In 2014 Sarah Ribner and Jess Edelstein took on the challenge of purging synthetic products from their medicine cabinets, where they became inspired to make their own natural deodorant. Shortly thereafter they earned a spot on ABC’s Shark Tank, and the rest is history.
This is another deodorant where the only packaging is a slip of paper to protect it during shipping. Seeing this method of basically no packaging, it really makes you appreciate how unnecessary the whole idea of packaging really is.
Pack & Leaf also provides some really helpful information for the first time natural deodorant user in the product description. For instance, one of the things they clarify is the detoxification period when you first switch to a deodorant without antiperspirants; you’ll probably expect to have a stronger body odor and sweat more, but this is just the result of toxins leaving your previously blocked pores.
Pack & Leaf works to concoct bath and beauty products that are sustainable through and through; if this thoroughly zero waste deodorant doesn’t tip you off to their ethics, now you know. Furthermore, Simple Good donates 5% of all profit to the Sierra Club and environmental advocacy. So, in a way, when you buy this deodorant, you’re also making a contribution to support environmental protection and advocacy.
You’ll notice right off the bat that this comes packaged in style, with beautifully minimalist lettering and a simple, aesthetically pleasing black and cream label over an amber colored jar. Don’t you just love amber glass packaging? Nothing makes you feel more like you’re cultivating a mystical apothecary, and not just keeping your bathroom stocked with basics.
I can’t get over this fragrance either. A scent like this belongs in Sephora’s low-lit perfume section, among bottles of Jo Malone and Chanel: sandalwood, vetiver, and cardamom. This deodorant definitely goes beyond the typical scent profile offered for any natural or zero waste deodorant, and shows that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it can’t have class and elegance.
Milk & Honey was developed in 2006 by Alissa Bayer, out of Austin. The idea was to replicate a premium spa experience at home, while also using the most sustainable ingredients and treating employees and community with respect. I can vouch for Milk & Honey, because this deodorant is exactly like taking a piece of spa with you wherever you go.
Lalin Et La Siren’s Manuka Probiotics Deodorant is another highly impressive, and ingeniously blended deodorant that moisturizes as it detoxifies. For those with gluten sensitivities, don’t worry – you can keep your pits smelling sweet with this zero waste deodorant, because even that controversial substance can’t be found here.
Lalin Et La Siren is a natural bath and beauty brand that was inspired by the brand-owners’ Afro-Caribbean roots, and a tradition of plant based healing practices. All of their containers are recyclable, reusable, or compostable. Like many other organic beauty brands, Lalin Et La Siren makes small batches, and many made to order items, which means products are more likely to be used up and not expire or go to waste. I love the story behind this small beauty and wellness company, and I couldn’t be happier with Lalin Et La Siren’s Manuka Probiotics Deodorant in particular.
Taylor Natural’s Elevated Pits! Stick Natural Deodorant claims to be the first natural and zero waste deodorant on the market, so really this doubles as a historical monument. This groundbreaking deodorant mixes herbs and plant by-products into a deliciously aromatic and gentle formula, that really takes care of odor.
The ingredients list includes raw shea butter, virgin macadamia nut oil, virgin coconut oil, and calendula oil, alongside a selection of essential oil-based fragrance options. I’m of course partial to their Feelin’ Woodsy scent, which evokes a walk in an evergreen forest, passing your hand along bushes of rosemary and lavender.
Also, side note, but did you know you could also use Taylor’s Natural deodorant on stinky feet as well? This is the only deodorant I’ve come across that can take care of not just your pits, but also your toes. That’s twice the bang for your buck.
Taylor’s Natural is an all over bath and beauty industry pillar. I recommend anyone interested in going zero waste but are concerned about what beauty products to turn to — take a look at their website. The link above to their deodorant alone provides some helpful information on switching to a natural deodorant, as well as the effects of plastic on our bodies and the environment.
This is one of the most unique approaches to zero waste deodorant I’ve come across, and it’s no gimmick: Myro is a refillable natural, earth-friendly deodorant based on a subscription service model. Buying this deodorant is a satisfyingly customizable experience, where you get to pick one of six bold colored cases, one of six scents, and finally the frequency at which you get your replacements delivered. You’re free to skip deliveries or change scents whenever you like, so there’s not too much rigidity around maintaining a subscription with Myro.
Myro was developed to address the trash that hygiene products produce, with a simple but brilliant solution. It works similar to makeup brands like Kjaer Weis, or vintage makeup brands, which used refillable packaging. Think of those fanciful compacts and lipstick bullets you’ve seen, because those were most definitely made to be refilled, just like Myro’s Refillable Deodorant.
I adored this deodorant by Apothecary Muse. I found myself particularly happy with the skin soothing effects of this deodorant, as it contains witch hazel. This ingredient really tamps down after-shave burns or itchiness that I often have to deal with. Apothecary Muse says “No more of that!” You’ll also notice that their zero waste deodorant’s scent lasts up to 12 hours, which is 4 hours longer than most others. For that, they are heroes.
I love the Trail Blazer scent, which combines sandalwood with lavender, in a true stroke of genius. This scent does everything I love in a deodorant — fresh, clean, and warm, but also still human and real. This isn’t shot through with alcohol or metals, or anything synthetic to amplify the fragrance. It’s nice and subtle, but still cancels out odor.
Apothecary Muse was created to take care of the planet, the people that live on it, and use their profit with integrity. They care deeply about the place their products have in the world, and take consideration in mapping out sustainable business, harvesting, and sourcing practices. This is an ideal business to support, since your money will do a lot more than line some anonymous executive’s pockets.
Where would we be today if Lush hadn’t established natural, eco-conscious beauty in the mainstream? I shudder to think of what the answer would be to such a hypothetical. Lush’s T’Eo Solid Deodorant proves what all the fuss is about, using a killer combo of powders and essential oils, to not only eliminate odor, but help absorb sweat as well.
T’Eo is fragranced with lemongrass oil, and makes use of tea tree oil’s antimicrobial properties, lemon oil’s cleansing properties, and fresh grape juice’s enzymatic cleansing effects.
Like their other bar deodorants, Aromaco and Sunflower, T’Eo comes with a piece of paper as packaging alone, so you can smell fresh with a clear conscience. T’Eo makes zero waste deodorants a clear “Yes.”
If you’re somehow not familiar with Lush, you should know this company is proof that companies don’t need to greenwash to be successful – that a company can thrive AND maintain 100% vegetarian ingredients, combat animal testing, and maintain sustainable harvesting and manufacturing practices. Since 2017 they have also kept in place a statement against modern slavery and human trafficking anywhere in their supply chain, as well — which isn’t something a lot of companies of their size can promise.
In conclusion, zero waste deodorant is a game changer.
Are we all on the same page? Because this is what I’m thinking: Plastic is old, dusty, and unnecessary — all that on top of being a fossil-fuel based waste generator. I’m gonna go there: plastic is even worse than your most problematic fave, plastic is down right ethically repellent. Yet it can be hard to avoid! Some of my favorite natural products still come packaged in plastic, including many deodorants. There’s only so many ways, if any, to up-cycle an empty, disposable deodorant container.
These 25 companies prove that even products that come packaged in plastic, don’t have to follow tradition. Zero waste deodorant seems like such a no-brainer to me now. In fact, I’ve started to look closer at all the other products I use to maintain my hygiene, and how the majority have some kind of wasteful packaging.
Why wouldn’t all products come with a reusable or biodegradable container? Aren’t you partially paying for the packaging when you buy a new product for yourself or your home? Why not let that packaging be something you can use again?
Do yourself and the planet a favor: give one of these deodorants a try.
Comment below and tell us which one you’ve got your eye on!
Zero Waste Mascara – check out these 10 brands that I reviewed + 1 easy DIY if you are looking to reduce your waste.
What’s the most difficult part about makeup shopping? Is it finding the right shade of blush to complement your skin tone? Testing the right eye shadow texture to prevent acne breakout? Whatever it is, I’m sure you’ll agree that finding the perfect mascara is also at the top of the list.
It’s rare to find one that ticks all the boxes.
Does not smudge.
Resists water and sweat.
Does not dry out in the container.
When you add on zero waste, organic, and sustainable criteria, it seems even more impossible to find the right one.
I bet you’ve come across different DIY recipes for zero waste mascara. And maybe you’ve even tried some out and loved the results. But if you don’t have much time or don’t have all the ingredients you need to make the perfect organic, sustainable & zero waste mascara, I’ve got good news. We conducted some good old research and combined it with trustworthy reviews from our zero waste warriors to help you find the zero waste mascara that works for you. We’ve investigated the best ones that tackle all common mascara problems.
I know it’s a tall order, but there are amazing brands that somehow meet all of the basic criteria I listed above. Moreover, I dug a little deeper and evaluated these brands on other standards.
Here’s the deal.
When I was researching all the highly praised alternatives to drugstore mascaras, I looked at three crucial factors. These are the three basic things you should look for when shopping for any cosmetic product.
One, is it cruelty free? A cruelty free certification or claim on a product means the company does not test its products or ingredients on animals. This is different from vegan products where no ingredients are sourced from animals. What this means is a product may not be fully vegan, but it can still be cruelty free. For example, a lipstick that has lanolin (a natural wax from sheep wool) is not completely vegan, but it may be cruelty-free if the lipstick was not tested on animals.
Companies that are Leaping Bunny certified will use a logo of a bunny mid-jump flanked by stars. This logo means the company met high standards set by the Leaping Bunny Program. A company agrees for specialists to assess their supply chain to ensure that the company is cruelty-free. And this certification is on-going, meaning the company is always making sure that their production, distribution, and disposal processes never harm any animals.
The bottom line is this. It’s never a good sign if a company tests on animals. Personally, this not only makes me question the organization’s moral code, but the safety of their ingredients. Which brings me to the next criteria.
Two, are the ingredients organic? While not all makeup ingredients can be food-grade, they should be organic (where possible) and safe. Anything we put on our skin is readily absorbed into our bodies, so we should be cautious about what we use everyday. This is especially true for mascara.
Think about it. Odds are, a little bit of product will get into your actual eyes every time you use mascara. To make matters worse, the area around our eyes is one of the most sensitive spots on our bodies–so we should treat it with extra care. Granted, there are a lot of related subcategories we can file under this second criteria. One example is whether or not a mascara is made with palm oil. Another is if the ingredients are 100% vegan. But for this article, I’ve included specific details under each specific product review below where appropriate.
It’s also helpful to remember that what counts as “organic” or “natural” may differ from one country (or even state) or another. For instance, a product may only be 80% organic in one country but is still considered organic under certain specifications in another country. This doesn’t automatically mean that the other 20% are made of harsh chemicals; it could be the case that the other 20% is made of byproducts that simply can’t come from organic sources.
At the end of the day, the choice is ultimately up to you and what you’re most comfortable with. Always conduct further research if you’re hesitant to try a product just based off of the website reviews.
Aside from ingredients and testing procedures, I ask, is the packaging recyclable? At the very least, is it reusable or refillable? It’s difficult for companies to get this part 100% right because of the mascara wand. Sadly, it’s usually made of different types of non-recyclable plastics. What’s more, most people simply throw away mascara containers because many recycling facilities do not accept them or the containers themselves are not properly labeled. So what can we do?
Luckily, many companies now offer refillable containers in recyclable packaging. In fact, we can start by cutting out plastic right from the start so we don’t have to worry about recycling or repurposing once the product runs out. What I mean is, we can actively choose products that don’t use non-recyclable or non-reusable plastics at all. There are plenty of eco-friendly packaged cosmetics, so why not take advantage of your options?
The less waste we purchase from the get-go, the better in the long run. Many companies take it even a step further and source their outer packaging from recycled or upcycled materials.
Fortunately, most of the top picks we reviewed do have recyclable packaging, so you can add zero waste mascara to your sustainability bucket list.
Now, let’s check out our best bets. Stay with me because this might be a lot of information, but trust me–you’ll be glad you did your research for the perfect eco-friendly zero waste mascara. Here we go.
Tarte is helping to revolutionize the way we approach our daily cosmetics ritual. Tarte`s end goal is to be the first zero waste cosmetics producer through sustainable practices, inclusive policies, transparency, and transformation.
For starters, all of their refillable products like their blush and eyeshadow compacts are housed in sustainable and reusable bamboo. As for outer packaging, their refills don’t use additional wasteful materials. Instead, their refills are sent in paper envelopes filled with wildflower seeds you can grow in your own backyard.
Tarte’s mascara is packaged in a compostable bamboo case with a recyclable plastic tube. The company is 75% waste-free, but the fact that their mascara tubes are recyclable and compostable is already a big deal! We hope that other companies follow suit.
With that said, their products are completely vegan, but only about 75% organic. Don’t worry–they’re working hard to make it 100%. In the meantime, the amazing organic mascara ingredients lineup includes carnauba palm wax instead of traditional palm oil, bayberry fruit wax, camellia leaf extract, and jojoba seed oil.
Their lengthening and volumizing mascara is ideal for anyone who tends to be extra active throughout the day. Even sweat or rain won’t give you the dreaded raccoon eye look. So if you’re prone to forgetting you’re wearing mascara and accidentally rub your eyes often, this is the mascara for you. You shouldn’t have to worry about accidentally smudging your makeup all day, and Tarte has you covered.
You may have heard of ILIA–they’re popular in the zero waste community. And for good reason! This means handmade, organic, and ethically sourced products. What’s more, their packaging is either recyclable or refillable. (They even have a recycling program where you can return containers).
ILIA’s lightweight and nourishing mascara is made with a blend of organic Bee and Carnauba Waxes to weightlessly condition each lash, while still keeping them lifted throughout the day.
Gentle enough for sensitive eyes, the 99% naturally derived formula also contains organic Shea Butter and fortifying Arginine (keratin) to help boost and enhance your lashes.
After testing over 100 mascara wands, we landed on our patented dual-sided brush for a perfectly natural application. Use the shorter side to curl and create volume, then the longer bristles to lift, lengthen and separate.
Who better to give makeup advice than a makeup artist?
Kjaer Weis is a sustainable luxury cosmetics brand founded by Danish makeup wizard Kirsten Kjaer Weis. She was inspired by Scandinavia’s minimalism and New Yorks’ electric, bold energy. Yes, she fused these contradictory themes together along with an eco-friendly business plan. And voila, Kjaer Weis was born in 2010. What’s unique about this company is that it offers a refill system where you can infinitely refill and reuse each compact, mascara, or lipstick case. Kjaer Weis partnered with a prestigious designer to craft timeless, refillable, metal compacts that were sustainable and fashionable.
This is great news! Beyond the compact items, this also means the Kjaer Weis mascara wand and “inner case” are recyclable–two of the most commonly discarded makeup items. Once you get your new refill in the mail or from a partner store, it’s easy to install. Check their website to see if there is a partner store near you so you don’t have to order from online.
I know luxury cosmetics may seem off-putting when it comes to upfront cost, but Kjaer Weis’ high-quality ingredients are totally worth it. Think of the quality of production and what you’re supporting with your choice. Their products are certified organic by the CCPB, which stands for Consorzio Per Il Controllo Prodotti Biologici or in English, the Consortium for Biological Control Products.
Listen to this. This Italy-based organization has one of the most rigorous criteria for companies, and Kjaer Weis meets them all.
For the zero waste mascara, you can choose between volume or length (or treat yourself and get both!), but either way you’re choosing between all-natural ingredients. So it’s a win-win. And get this: rosehip seed oil, lavander, castor seed oil, rosemary extract, and chestnut extract are just some of the top-shelf items on their list. All in all, Kjaer Weis’ mascara achieves a natural look, but it’s easy to build up and apply several coats for a more dramatic eye. She is a makeup artist after all, so she recognizes various needs across the board, whether it be for the client rushing to work or prepping for a wedding dinner rehearsal.
So glam up your look with an elegant mascara in a refillable container. If you want a luxurious go-to mascara, Kjaer Weis’ high-quality lengthening or volumizing mascara is your best choice.
Zao Organic Makeup is a classy makeup brand with products made in Italy and France. Zao, a combination of Zen and Tao practices, is built on respect for the planet. David Reccole wanted to highlight the power of sustainable, organic ingredients.
Consequently, all Zao makeup products have a low to zero carbon footprint and an all-natural composition. Zao Organic Makeup’s professional credentials are long, but one of their most noteworthy contributions is setting the bar high for organic certifications. They even have a specialized lab in Milan where many other makeup products from different companies are crafted.
Now, about their zero waste mascara. You can purchase the mascara with or without a refillable bamboo case and cotton bag. Think: you don’t have to dig through your bag every time you want to reapply mascara anymore. It saves you time and is much more hygienic. And you don’t have to keep using and throwing away plastic or metal containers either. Since bamboo is such a sustainable resource, Zao Organic Makeup is using it as a refillable case for most of their products–clean, chic, and eco-friendly.
While Zao Organic Makeup meets organic standards in most countries and states, this mascara contains 100% natural ingredients but only 40% organic ingredients. Unfortunately, this doesn’t meet organic certification in California, but in many other states and countries, they pass with flying colors.
Their ingredients are either derived from organic farming or processed from organic ingredients. For instance, their organic bamboo leaf hydrosol is a moisturizing substance that helps keep lashes healthy. But make no mistake–this mascara packs a punch. It’s meant to create an intense eye by providing volume and thickness.
If you want an easily buildable zero waste mascara for more formal occasions, Zao Organic Makeup is an ideal choice.
RMS Beautyproducts are made of food grade ingredients like coconut oil, cocoa butter, and tamanu oil. One of their key priorities? Delivering items that have gone through the least amount of processing as possible to seal in natural nutrients and nourish skin. All of their ingredients are high-quality, organic ingredients that are officially certified.
Let’s look at one example: tamanu oil. This extract comes from the tamanu tree nut, which is native to Asian and Pacific countries. It’s known to help combat dry skin, wrinkles, and scars. In RMS Beauty Products, tamanu oil is used as a natural preservative and prevents formation of free radicals.
Founder Rose-Marie realizes the importance of synthetic additives, chemicals, and GMOs. I don’t know about you, but I feel comfortable when a company’s philosophy is based on the idea that each and every ingredient should be safe, beneficial, and sustainable. In their holistic production process, RMS Beauty ensures that each ingredient is never bleached or stripped of its natural properties. On one hand, this preserves beneficial properties and on the other, avoids use of chemicals to treat the ingredients.
This is just one of the reasons why their mascara is very promising.
When it comes to their mascara, you have two options. One formula focuses on volume and the other on definition. The volumizing mascara is crafted with plant-based waxes and naturally-occuring minerals to give your lashes a noticeable lift. (Note that this product contains gluten). RMS Beautyuses the keyword “emollient” for their volumizing mascara because it moisturizes both hair and skin, ensuring safety for very sensitive skin.
By contrast, the defining formula is thick and luxurious to accentuate each lash and bring out your eyes without being uncomfortably cakey. Both mascaras are made of non-GMO and non-nano ingredients. Both also come in a traditional mascara tube with a built-in wand.
Try RMS Beauty Product’s defining mascara for a bold look without the hassle of fake lashes. If you want a more natural makeup remover, this mascara is best paired with RMS Beauty’s raw coconut cream.
Check this out:fruit pigmented mascara. Yes, you heard that right. If you’ve ever wanted to try a blueberry or a dark chocolate tinted mascara, here is your chance. And that’s not all there is to it with 100% PURE. The three founders Susie Wang, James Wang, and Ric Kostick all believe in positive change through healthy, high-quality products. Among many organic products and social programs, 100% PURE is committed to helping all beings on Earth live a healthy life.
At 100% PURE, they don’t just create safe and nourishing cosmetics. They also donate healthy food to dog shelters and donate to tree planting organizations. With each order, they donate either one bowl of vegan dog food to a partner shelter or pay the cost of one tree to be planted by a partner organization. You can choose which donation they make. Amazing, right? They’re clearly committed to making life easier for humans and animals, but how does their mascara hold up?
Let’s check it out. I know you can relate when I say mascaras are rarely available in colors other than black or brown. This isn’t that big a deal when you have dark hair, but for lighter hair or for those days when you want to switch it up, it does make a difference.
You’ll be glad to hear that 100% PURE’s fruit pigmented mascara is available in four tantalizing hues–blueberry, black tea, blackberry or dark chocolate. This mascara is suitable for people with sensitive skin seeking a lengthening mascara. The natural conditioners and pigments in the mascara help nurture hair and skin while keeping clumps at bay.
I know it may feel counterproductive to use food-based cosmetics but think about it. Makeup used to be made of naturally-occuring minerals and plant pigments. It was only when we started making cosmetics in labs and factories that we steered away from makeup’s natural roots. Something that lasts for an unbelievable amount of time (drugstore makeup) is made that way with preservatives and additives. By contrast, 100% PURE’s cosmetics are free of synthetic dyes and harsh ingredients.
You wouldn’t expect organic food to last as long as genetically modified produce, so let’s start setting the same standards for organic makeup. Nowadays, organic products are superior to synthetic products in so many ways. And it’s time we realize the potential of food-based cosmetics. It’s time to show that natural cosmetics are just as good, if not better than synthetic products.
Try 100% PURE’s mascara and you’ll see that it resists water just as well as your old mascara. To top it off, the packaging is recyclable and it is never tested on animals.
Bésame Cosmetics is inspired by vintage makeup of the 1920s and 1940s. Think bold red lip, strong, pronounced eyes and lashes. It’s definitely a vibe, and if you’re a fan of minimalism and high impact cosmetics, this cake mascara is the top choice. Makeup in the early to mid 1900s was less about carefully blended eyeshadows and just the right shade of contour cream. Instead, manufacturers focused more on the most effective solution with minimal product. These products emulated on-screen makeup and admirable movie stars. One such product is cake mascara.
As the name implies, Bésame’s cake mascara is available in a semi-solid form packed into a square tin container. The tin is collectible–it’s a deep red borered by a golden ornate design. It’s painfully Since vintage products are minimal by design, they are also multipurpose. Customers then didn’t have the convenience of thousands of products in one single store aisle. Keeping with the high-impact minimalism ideology, Bésame crafted this product to be used in various ways. You can use this cake mascara as an eyeliner or eyebrow filler. Just make sure you have the right type of brush for the desired effect. A flat or sharp brush is best for applying eyeliner and a brush or spoolie is best for eyebrows.
Alternatively, you can use a fine-tipped brush to fill in sparse areas in your brows–but use a very light hand! Cake mascaras can build up quickly and you don’t want solid blocks as eyebrows. To use as a mascara, first make sure the brush is damp. Then, take a drop of water and mix it into the cake using the provided brush. Let your lashes dry between coats to avoid clumping. To remove, use a gentle skin cleanser and warm water.
This mascara is ideal for someone looking for something versatile–finish your brows, eyes, and lashes with just one product. I don’t know about you, but taking just one eye product on-the-go is so much less stressful than lugging around three different containers.
The Bésame mascara cake weighs 0.39 ounces or 11 grams.
Note: while the tin and paper packaging are recyclable, the brush comes in a plastic bag.
Antonym prides itself in using primarily vegan and organic ingredients. Founder and makeup director Valerie Giraud wanted to bridge the gap between quality and organic certification. She noticed that natural makeup products tended to be less pigmented and offered a softer look, but she wanted to fill this hole in the market. So she founded Antonym in 2013 as a way to make high end, cruelty-free makeup products available to everyone.
Granted,the container and wand for this mascara isn’t recyclable, but Antonym uses Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper to make recyclable outer packaging. Remember that the FSC is a nonprofit that promotes sustainable forestry. Why is this important? This means Antonym uses packaging that’s sourced from environmentally-friendly forests and suppliers.
Furthermore, their brushes are not made with animal products. Unfortunately, a lot of companies use hair from animals like mink, sable, and even squirrel for makeup brushes. Some companies advertise these animal brushes as luxurious and cruelty-free. Sadly, more often than not, these animals were trapped and used for their hair. However, Antonym brushes are certified vegan by The Vegan Awareness Foundation.
The only non-vegan ingredient they use is organic beeswax in products like lipstick and their organic Lola Lash Too mascara. Note that 98.8% of this mascara is made from natural materials and 17.7% are made of organically-farmed ingredients. This might seem like a low number, but they are officially certified by Ecocert standards. Follow this link if you want to find out more about the certification process. I love their organic baked blush too.
But about their organic ingredients. Beeswax and carnauba wax gives lashes a plumped look for a fake-lash look with all-natural ingredients. Furthermore, beeswax also ties the ingredients together so it’s not just powder or liquid, but a pleasant mix between the two. Essentially, it’s what gives the mascara “body,” so to speak.
The rest of the mascara is made of rich ingredients like shea butter and sweet almond oil. In case you were wondering, sweet almond oil helps hair grow but keeps lashes apart to avoid unsightly clumps. If you’ve had enough of irritated skin and eyes from unnatural mascaras, give this one a try. You don’t need harsh makeup removers to take it off–simply use water and a reusable cotton pad or cloth.
Bee You Organics is a trustworthy brand. It’s a family-run business which was founded by Larissa, now a mother of two, when she realized mainstream cosmetics did not cater to sensitive skin. Furthermore, she understands the importance of organic and natural ingredients, as well as fair trade and sustainable practices. As a result, Bee You Organics products are handcrafted, organic, and environmentally sustainable.
For starters, their mascara contains no alcohol, which is known to dry and irritate skin. What does help is a mixture of castor-, jojoba-, and coconut oil and carnauba wax. The Black mascara is pigmented with activated charcoal and the Brown mascara is tinted with cocoa powder.
When choosing a mascara color, black is always a safe bet. However, if you have lighter hair and want a softer look, opt for the brown mascara. To use, insert the wand into the mascara container and then slowly sweep the brush alongside the jar opening. Make sure all sides are covered evenly to avoid clumps. Slowly build up to your desired thickness. When finished, you can keep the wand in a separate clean, mascara tube or in the provided cotton bag.
This product is available in a travel size (0.17 ounces or 4.8 grams) or full size (0.34 ounces or 9.6 grams).
If you need another reason to check out Bee You Organics, you’d be glad to learn that they partner with a wildlife organization that takes old mascara wands and cleans wild animals with them. Think cute, fuzzy squirrels getting a brush-down to remove small insects and dirt. What could be cuter? Or more socially and environmentally-friendly?
CleanFacedCosmetics is run by a single, dedicated employee out of an Etsy shop. This is great for multiple reasons–no harsh chemicals are used, most products are either zero waste or very close to it, and the products are handmade and of high quality. Additionally, supporting small businesses is always a bonus! In this case, you’re supporting someone who advocates zero waste habits and safe cosmetics.
Good news: there are actually two mascaras available from CleanFacedCosmetics. The first is their volumizing mascara. It comes in a glass container covered with an aluminum lid and a bamboo handle brush. But no pressure. If you don’t need a brush, just leave a note in your order. This brush is currently made of plastic spools, though the shop owner is actively searching for a plant-based alternative.
Like other products that don’t use alcohol and other synthetic ingredients, this zero waste mascara takes a few minutes to dry. However, this minor inconvenience is easily overlooked with the healthy and beneficial ingredients. Agave syrup, for one, seals in moisture and helps your lashes build volume. Castor oil helps condition your hair for healthy, long lashes.
If you’re looking for something more multifunctional, their vegan cake mascara can also be used as a liner, brow gel, and eyeshadow. Bamboo-handle brushes and applicators along with cotton bags are included if you need them. The cake mascara is crafted with castor oil, candelilla wax, activated charcoal, and kaolin. The key ingredient is castor oil which provides moisture and encourages hair growth.
To use, mix a drop of oil of your choice. Make sure it’s safe for use on skin, so consider well-researched options like olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Mix the oil with the cake using your brush. Note that you only need to do this prior to your first use and when/if the cake becomes dry. Proceed to use as a liner using the brush, as an eyeshadow using your finger or brush, as a brow filler using the spoolie or fine-tipped brush, and as a mascara using the spoolie.
Clean brushes with mild soap and water.
There are no specific weight/volume measurements on the site, but are similarly sized to other products on our list.
If you simply love making your own products and want to master your very own mascara recipe, here is a DIY zero waste mascara to help you get started.
11. DIY zero waste mascara
What you’ll need:
Container for excess product
3 grams activated charcoal
3 grams beeswax or bentonite clay (Optional, but good for thickening the mixture)
5-8 drops of skin-safe oil (coconut, olive, castor, etc.)
2-5 drops of Vitamin E oil
Believe it or not, the instructions are fairly easy and take little time. Ready?
Heat an inch or two of water in a saucepan until bubbles form.
Mix ingredients in a separate glass container.
Place this glass container in the simmering water until the ingredients are melted.
Mix with a clean stirrer or utensil.
If you use beeswax or clay, the mixture will be cakey and more solid. In this case, it’s ideal to pour the mixture into a shallow container like a reusable metal tin like an empty eye shadow metal compact. If you skipped out on the beeswax or clay, your mixture will likely be more watery, so you can use a mascara tube for easier application later on. Let the mixture cool and secure with a lid.
To use the mascara cake, dampen your brush before applying to loosen the mixture. To use the mascara tube, use like any other mascara and apply with a spoolie. Be careful not to apply too much product at once to avoid clumps.
Save the excess product in an airtight container for maximum shelf life. Use the bulk ingredients for other DIY recipes. In the meantime, enjoy your mascara for months!
So we’ve reached the end of our list.
Let’s reiterate the most important points.
Mascara is an invaluable makeup tool–one coat can elevate your look from “just woke up and rushed out of the house” to “charmingly natural, but somehow put-together.” An easy-to-use and dependable mascara is the simplest tool you can add to your daily routine.
Before grabbing the first mascara on the aisle, I hope you looked over our list of the top zero waste mascaras available. When doing your own research, remember to check if the product is cruelty-free, organic, and recyclable (both outer and inner packaging).
If a product is cruelty-free, they will have been certified by the Leaping Bunny Program. You’ll see a leaping bunny sticker somewhere in the product description or the website.
If a product is organic, you’ll find various stickers, logos, and certifications under the product. If you’re based in the U.S., you’ll see “NOP” certified or “USDA” on the label. If you’re based in Europe, you’ll encounter the white leaf made of stars on a green background.
Check the container itself or the packaging to determine whether a product is recyclable.
Beyond these three standards, the rest is up to you. As you can see, there is a wide range of zero waste cosmetics and mascaras available. There are fruit-pigmented mascaras, food-grade mascaras, multipurpose mascara cakes, and even DIY options.
As always, consider what you value most and compare that with your best options. Let us know which product you decided to try or make–we’re interested to see how natural cosmetics have changed your life for the better.
Zero waste store – the new alternative green shop where you can find plastic-free & sustainable products.
If I could design my perfect one-stop zero waste store there are countless items I’d want to offer as zero waste alternatives to single use, plastic, disposables. Obviously, I can’t list them all here, but I have put together a list of 101 products you can find in a zero waste store.
Every item on this list is something you can buy today from any zero waste store if you wanted to. I handpicked each of these products for the efforts their manufacturers are making toward sustainability.
For each product you can expect to learn:
What makes this product better than the traditional?
What materials and ingredients were used?
How is it packaged?
And last but not least:
What is the most exciting thing about this product?
Reusable, durable, washable these net grocery bags are more compact for storage than most tote style reusable bags. They will fit in your purse or backpack for last minute or unplanned shopping trips.
Not only that,
These bags are free of synthetic fibers and use GOTS certified organic cotton instead. Like the dish brush this bag is guaranteed to be shipped 100% plastic free. But, my favorite thing about these bags are the versatility. The net design gives flexibility to the bag so it can stretch to accommodate various size and shape items.
Reusable, freezer safe, heat safe up to 400ºF, and dishwasher safe.
These zip-top bags are plastic free, non-toxic silicone. They come packaged in recyclable cardboard.
I have quite a few reusable, silicone bags and I love that you can easily store frozen leftovers and the heat them up simply by popping the bag into boiling water! I recommend sanitizing them in boiling water occasionally and making sure they have plenty of ventilation when drying.
Stackable, easy closing air-tight lids, durable and long-lasting, and will not discolor over time like plastic containers.
These stainless-steel containers can stand up to high heat. These are made with versatile 304 stainless steel. I love that you can prep food in advance in these, or store leftovers then easily cook or reheat right in the pot! You can even cook with them in your pressure cooker without their lids.
Reusable, lightweight, and easy to pack along with you, this cutlery set will transform how you eat on the go. Since these are made with fast growing bamboo, they can be composted when they break or wear out. Shipped 100% plastic free
This set is perfect because it comes with everything you need for plastic free dining in any situation!
No more ugly dish soap bottle on the side of your sink, this block is built to last! If you’re like and could never justify putting your packaged liquid detergent in another package, you know there’s not much you can do to make that bottle look nice.
These NoToxLife dish washing blocks are made with actual soap, not synthetic detergent, but are backed up with the grease fighting power of saponin. It’s guaranteed to ship plastic free.
But that’s not even the best part:
One of these babies can replace up to three bottles of traditional detergent!
These cubes will chill your drink without diluting it. With stainless steel ice there’s no need to waste water to make ice, great way to cut down on unnecessary water use in areas experiencing a shortage.
This item may come packaged in plastic when shipped, but primary product packaging is cardboard These babies are made with durable, smooth stainless steel that is dishwasher safe and won’t scratch your glasses.
I like that these come with a sleek case and tongs, so you won’t have to freeze your fingers to get one in your glass.
Since this scrubber is made from natural renewable materials it is compostable at end of life unlike plastic or steel wool versions.
The handle of this scrubber is tough, damage resistant beechwood and it has scrubbing bristles made from a hard plant fiber sometimes called tampico. You can rest easy knowing that this brush will arrive at your doorstep in 100% plastic free shipping materials.
This scrubber is a perfect match for tough cooked on food and works great on my collection of cast iron cookware!
Light weight and shatter-resistant canisters last longer than plastic containers and are easy to open and reseal.
Crystal clear acrylic and silicone gaskets for tight seal make these a great option for storing dry goods.
The primary packaging seems to be cardboard but may come packaged with some amount of plastic. Once you get home with your haul of bulk goods, canisters like these make it easy to store and organize them!
Plows through cooked on food and rust and won’t leave scratches on your ceramic, stainless steel, or other surfaces.
Unlike a plastic scrubber or steel wool, this scrubber is machine washable and reusable! The secret is that its non-abrasive copper! Comes with little packaging and I love that this is a multi-use product, great for scrubbing all kinds of things from your old bike to the kitchen sink!
Pack your lunch entirely without plastic! This bento style box comes with reusable, perfectly sized insert-containers, nesting sections, and plenty of space for a full-sized sandwich and much more.
This box is made with high quality stainless steel and comes with a lifetime warranty. The packaging is practically non-existent.
And, as someone who is not a big fan of my foods getting too friendly with one another, I love the ability to organize and separate everything nicely, which is why these bento boxes get a shelf in my dream zero waste store!
These come in a variety of color and size options, and unlike the disposable kind are machine washable and reusable! The ones I picked out are 100% cotton and contain no synthetic fibers.
These may come packaged in plastic, but that is one plastic bag versus many in the case of the paper disposable kind. Not only will these make you feel classy at dinner time, you’ll cut down on daily mealtime waste with one easy change.
Scrub—your dishes or your body—synthetic free with a sustainable plant that is fast and easy to grow! These are the dried core of the Luffa gourd, which means this sponge alternative is vegan! Unfortunately, these be shipped wrapped in plastic.
I love the customizability of luffa, it’s so easy to slice into smaller pieces with a bread knife for a multitude of uses. When the time comes, toss it on the compost pile!
Refillable with homemade or bulk purchased cleaning or self-care items, these dispenser jars make a great addition to your zero waste home. Ball mason jar lids are often standardized in size, meaning that this pump should fit any standard Ball mason jar and will likely fit other regular canning jars.
The jar of course is glass and the dispenser is made with 304 stainless steel components. These are shipped in cardboard, which can be composted or recycled.
I have always had a special place in my heart for glass products, and I love the aesthetic as well as the practicality of these
This veggie peeler is plastic free, dishwasher safe, and will make quick work of carrots potatoes and more. Since these are stainless steel from head to toe, these guys can be recycled if they ever need to be! These may be shipped in some amount of plastic, but it should be minimal.
Not only are these sleek looking and durable, they also come with a lifetime warranty in case the blades fail to stay sharp! Definity a great item for a zero waste shop to carry.
Simply Curls carries styling products for a variety of hair types but specializing in curly hair care. Their formulas are plant based with no silicones, parabens, or common allergens
You’ll love their refillable products, which come in stainless steel containers. Send them back where they will be sanitized, refilled, and sent back to you to enjoy! I love that they stock many CGM friendly products. It’s a great way to do zero waste styling for those who don’t have time to DIY.
This gorgeous rose gold razor is easy to clean, has replaceable blades and a sturdy plastic free handle. The razor comes with replacement blades, so you don’t have to worry about buying more for a while. The whole razor is made with a highly polished, corrosion resistant finish. Enjoy the peace of mind of plastic free shipping.
The best part?
If you are like me and like to let things grow a bit, a safety razor means never have to worry about clogged blades again!
Oil based formula means a little goes a long way. Plus, it comes in a reusable or recyclable glass bottle with pump for easy application.
Moisturizing blend of oils to soothe post shave skin: sunflower, hemp, jojoba and coconut will soothe post-shave skin. I love incorporating the sweet, calming scent of lavender into my self-care routines whenever I can.
This replacement for the cotton bud, whose stems are usually plastic, is reusable and easy to sanitize.
Since it is made with sturdy long-lasting materials, this should be, as the name implies, your last swab. Both versions Packaged plastic free and comes with a corn-based travel case. The case makes it easy to take on the go
Plus, it comes in a make-up applicator version as well!
This toothpaste is made without SLS and other harmful synthetic ingredients. The formula is fluoride free and comes in a charcoal version as well. David’s always comes packaged in a recyclable aluminum tube with stainless steel tube key for easy squeezing.
I love this brand as a fluoride-free non-toxic option for young kids.
Want waste free toothpaste but need a fluoride version? I’ve got you covered! These are solid tooth tablets, making them great for both travel and everyday use.
Simply chew, polish, and rinse!
DentTabs are made in Germany and come in fluoride and fluoride free versions. They come packaged in a fully compostable paper pouch. These are possibly my favorite item in this section because it is so easy to keep yourself—or your kids—accountable by counting out tabs for the week then making sure they all get used!
Plastic free construction and made with medical grade stainless steel. Comes with two travel cases for fresh breath anywhere you go!
Get to the root of bad breath without impossible to recycle scrapers.
If you have struggles with tonsil stones, a good tongue scraper is probably one of the best purchases you can make. Now you can take steps to better oral hygiene without having to buy an impossible to recycle product!
Do you replace your toothbrush every three month as the ADA recommends?
If you do, buy a bamboo brush next time!
These little wonders can be composted at the end of their lives unlike traditional brushes, which, often cannot even be recycled! Handle is made from fast-growing, antimicrobial; bamboo and it comes packaged 100% plastic free!
Keeps your teeth clean without contributing to the landfill.
Bring along your favorite bar soaps without having to buy a plastic container instead. While these aren’t being marketed for this, these tin-plated steel containers should fit most small to medium soap bar sizes.
It’s nice to know you can keep using your favorite plastic free products wherever life takes you!
Not quite ready to go TP free? These rolls come individually wrapped in recycled paper. Who Gives a Crap carries options for recycled and sustainably grown bamboo TP. Plus, their TP is safe for composting toilets and septic systems too!
My favorite part?
Never worrying about running out. Subscribe to have it delivered right to your door!
Order your first with a pump then, when you order a refill, simply move the pump to the refill and send back your empties! Ingredients are natural, biodegradable, vegan and suitable for sensitive skin.
Moisturizing coconut oil is the first ingredient in this coco-stick. The cardboard push pop design is back to deliver odor fighting power to your pits! This stick has baking soda to neutralize bacteria and cornstarch to absorb sweat.
Do you want a GOTS certified organic cotton Duvet made with Oeko-Tex approved dyes that is synthetic and static free? Here it is! I couldn’t find out if this cover will come packaged in plastic, but you can rest easy knowing it was produced with sustainability in mind.
Double walled stainless-steel bottles like these keep cold things cold and hot things hot far longer than most plastic versions. I hardly go anywhere without my favorite water bottle; it makes it easy to stay hydrated without single use plastics.
Do you have worms? Well, why not? Both of these are continuous flow through vermicomposting systems.
This means worms are the primary things breaking down your food scraps, so, there should be minimal to no odor! These systems don’t require sifting or plastic trays and are great for creating healthy compost in small homes or apartments.
Use them again and again, compost when you are done! These are GOTS certified, unbleached, and organic cotton. There’s more! I’ve selected an option for you that is produced in a carbon neutral solar powered factory! These unpaper towels are shipped in minimal, sustainable packaging and are great to pair with natural cleaning products!
These are an alternative to synthetic dryer sheets and liquid fabric softener. Made from natural wool fiber, dryer balls will also help speed up drying process. I love to drip on a few drops of my favorite essential oils for a fresh scent!
Don’t forget Fido! This plastic free design has two sides: one with wooden bristles and the other with pig bristle. The natural rubber cushion allows for tug free grooming. Should come packaged free of plastic.
Stop wrapping poo in plastic! I will never understand why this is the way we decided to deal with pet waste. The no touch system of these eco-poop scoop bags will guarantee you won’t go back! The bags are made of biodegradable recycled paper and come packaged plastic free.
Sensitive skin formula, and organic ingredients selected with kiddos in mind. Like the other sunscreens on this list this one is packaged in a recyclable, reusable tin, is reef safe, and uses non-nano zinc. This formula is also moisturizing and water resistant for over 80 minutes.
Honest diapers are made with a high amount of plant-based, organic and sustainable materials. These are a great option for those not ready to jump into cloth diapering. Honest diapers are not entirely biodegradable, but a good compromise option.
Simply add water to your wipe warmer for a gentle, vegetarian, cleansing wipes solution. Baby bits are good for sensitive skin. You can also use this solution in any other applications where you may have used baby wipes. For example: as teat wipes for dairy animals or even a quick refresh for you between showers.
These are the Kid size version of bamboo toothbrushes. The handle is fully biodegradable, and the bristles are of BPA free nylon made in Germany. These come in a couple of cute colors to tell kids brushes apart and have a handle that is easier to grip with tiny hands.
When dropping off your kiddo at soccer practice, or whatever-practice, a refillable and BPA free water bottle is a great alternative to the disposable version. These come in fun patterns so that your kids will love them as much as you do.
This is a stainless-steel bottle so that means reusability without leaching concerns. The nipple is made from medical grade silicone nipple and the lid is BPA free. Steel is a reusable option without the worry of your clumsy-self breaking glass ones.
These lipsticks come in 100% recyclable packaging and tubes. Axiology products are vegan and never tested on animals. Their focus on lip care means they’ve got it this part of your makeup routine on lock.
Farm to face is not a phrase we often here, but that is exactly how Tata Harper’s products are made! Most of their packaging is glass apart from pumps and other parts that are required for functionality. Tata Harper’s boxes are 100% postconsumer material.
This is some seriously luxurious stuff and all of it is made ethically
When a product is multi-use that means one product’s worth of packaging for more than one function. The ILIA multi-sticks can be used as lip and cheek color! Plus, they are packaged in recycled, recyclable, and sustainable packaging!
Whew, what a list!
Did I get them all?
I hope this list gives you an idea of how many things in our lives produce waste and the kind of creative people who are working to change that!
Aluminum based antiperspirants eliminate moisture from the equation to prevent odor, but this means clogging up your pores and preventing normal perspiration.
Magnesium hydroxide and zinc oxide don’t stop you from sweating.
Instead, they fight against the bacteria that feed on your sweat and create odor.
This lets your sweat do what it was meant to do, cool you off, while avoiding the subsequent stink.
The other concern that comes up regarding these ingredients is the issue of Nano particles and the possibility that the structure of these small particles may allow them to permeate our skin.
Not only are many producers of natural deodorants moving toward non-nano versions—say that five times fast—but there isn’t much evidence that points to this being an actual danger to people who use these products.
This is a baking soda formula, which if you aren’t sensitive to it, can be great!
Baking soda is famous for its odor fighting power after all!
One thing I love about this deodorant is that there is no false advertising here in calling these coconut sticks.
Organic Virgin Coconut oil is the first ingredient!
With the addition of shea butter in second place this deodorant will definitely pack a moisturizing punch.
This formula uses cornstarch to help absorb excess moisture and gets an antioxidant boost from Rosemary Oil Extract(ROE).
Virgin Coconut oil has a much stronger aroma than the more refined versions, meaning this deodorant comes with natural tropical twist.
You can either enjoy the simple subtle scent that comes along with the coconut oil itself or try out the Lemongrass & Tea Tree scent which will have the added benefit of those oils’ antibacterial properties.
One good tip for this product is to make sure you allow it to get warm against your skin for a moment before applying it.
Shea butter tends to be solid at room temperature so make sure to give this one a second and your patience will be rewarded with a smoother application.
You’re probably aware at this point of the concept of there being “good” and “bad” bacteria in your gut, the balance of which can really impact your digestion and health.
Often, though, we forget about the variety of bacteria that make their home all over our bodies. Remember our equation from earlier?
Don’t get grossed out yet, stick with me.
We have a neutral, sometimes even beneficial, relationship with many of the bacteria that call our skin home. However, a few trouble makers like to make their home in the warm wet environment under our arms.
Here’s the part you’re allowed to get grossed out about:
It’s these guys who eat our dead skin cells, sweat, and sebum—pumping out stinky waste products as a result.
More commonly we just call this B.O.
But what if you could balance your armpit flora just like you do with your gut flora?
That’s where this next plastic free deodorant comes in:
Their probiotic formula reduces odor by encouraging the growth of good bacteria in order to reduce numbers of their smelly counterparts.
Dirty Hippie is also the first line on this list so far that has both baking soda and baking soda free offerings.
With a number of different scent options including Non-scents (unscented), Sexy Hippie (Ylang Ylang and Neroli), Don’t Worry Be Hippie (Lavender, Lemon, Patchouli & Bergamot), and more there is bound to be something for everyone here.
You can also choose between the softer jarred formula, or the firmer push pop applicator.
If all those options are a bit much—and you are indecisive like me—Dirty Hippie offers sample sizes!
So far, we’ve seen push pops and pastes, but this last plastic free option may be the most interesting one so far. Ethique’s deodorant bar is just that, a bar.
That’s not the only thing that makes this deodorant a unique one.
While many of the past formulas used arrowroot or cornstarch to absorb moisture, Ethique’s bar uses bamboo.
I know what you’re thinking:
What? How? Why?
Truth is, I don’t have all of the answers, but bamboo apparently has some super absorbent properties
Which I suppose shouldn’t surprise me, they do make pretty awesome paper towels.
Ethique claims that bamboo can hold up to 200% its own weight in sweat and oils.
On top of that, this formula has zinc oxide and magnesium hydroxide fighting back against those odor causing nasties.
Moisturizing ingredients such as jojoba and sweet almond oil will leave you moisturized and smooth.
Plus, the solid bar form means a no mess no fuss application!
This bar is another great option for those with sensitive skin as its baking soda free!
Choose from Lavender Vanilla, Rustic (Lime, Cedar and Eucalyptus) and Unscented options.
Natural Deo Tips
Since all of these plastic free deodorant are also non-traditional natural formulations there are a couple of things to be aware of.
If, like me, you have been using clinical strength deodorants or—deodorant with a lot of aluminum in the formula—for some time, you may notice when you switch to a natural product that your deo seems to be inconsistent.
Some days you won’t notice a whiff and other days you’ll realize you stink to the high heavens.
Let me let you in on a secret it took me way too long to discover.
It may be your clothes. Not your deodorant.
The waxy build up from aluminum deodorants you find under your arms in the shower also has a bad habit of getting embedded in the fabric of your clothes. Unfortunately, bacteria also find themselves stuck in this goop in your shirts.
Did you know pit stains have little to do with sweat and a lot to do with antiperspirants?
A bit on the ironic side if you ask me.
It’s pretty easy to find out if this is the issue. Often clothes that have this build up are visibly stained and will smell when you get them wet.
This is because the dormant bacteria in the shirt start their stinky work again once they come into contact with your sweat and body heat.
Depending on how old the garment is and how long the buildup has been there the problem may be able to be resolved through an enzyme cleaner.
You may notice that with each of these descriptions I stated whether or not the deodorant contained baking soda.
That’s because it’s a crucial detail for some of us.
Many natural deodorants use baking soda as a method for controlling bacterial growth.
While this works well for many people with zero issues, for those few of us with sensitive skin baking soda can cause a painful bumpy rash.
This may seem an obvious thing to say but it needs to be said:
Do not try to grin and bare it through the rash and continue using the deodorant if this happens to you.
As much as it may hurt your zero waste heart to abandon an unfinished product, your health always come first!
Zero Waste Sunscreen : better for your skin, better for the environment.
Let’s talk about zero waste sunscreen.
Sunscreen protects your skin and cells from the sun. It helps prevent wrinkles and fine lines. Most importantly, it helps prevent skin cancer. Good news is we researched countless different sunscreen options and curated this list of the top 15 options for you to check out.
I graded the sunscreens based on these criteria:
Zero waste packaging (No disposable plastic bottles or tubes)
Safe for skin (No harmful chemicals like oxybenzone or octinoxate)
Environmentally-friendly (No water pollution or chemicals, safe for coral reefs)
Note: I’ve tried out some of these products, but the other ones have only been recommended to me by personal friends or through social media. (You’ll have to let me know if you try any of these, we’d love to hear from you!)
But first–let’s get familiar with why choosing a great sunscreen matters.
Sunscreen and sun damage
Sadly, most people think sun damage only happens when you get a bad sunburn. You’ve probably been there. You stayed out in the pool for too long during a hot summer day, and hours later, your skin’s red and painful to the touch. The top of your shoulders and tip of your nose start to peel a few days later. Ouch!
If you’re lucky, you’re one of those people who can stay out in the sun as long as you want without burning.
The fact is, even if you don’t burn or see immediate damage, the sun is still hurting your skin.
Look at it this way: we think wrinkles and lines on our skin is part of growing older, but most of it is actually because of sun damage. This is because the sun shoots out radiation other than the sunlight we can see with our naked eye. To put it simply, we call these stronger, skin-damaging rays ultraviolet radiation.
Sounds serious, right? It is!
So why should you be worried about ultraviolet radiation? Well, ultraviolet radiation exposure changes and harms your skin cells’ DNA forever. This is terrifying if you really think about it.
You wouldn’t want to go near a radioactive spill site, so you should take every precaution against sun damage. Yes, we need some sun exposure to make vitamin D, but we should always be careful even when soaking in our daily sunshine.
Now, what’s the deal with UV radiation and why does it matter?
Listen up: There are two types of UV radiation you should know about.
The first is Ultraviolet A (UVA). Although UVA is weaker than the other type of radiation, it’s what causes skin tanning and aging. It is the type of radiation that we’re exposed to the most. Think about it. We’re exposed to UVA all day and all year long, but we only put on sunscreen when it’s 90 degrees outside. Obviously, we should think and do differently.
UVA reaches our deeper skin layers. Amazingly, it can even penetrate glass and clouds. So if you work in an office or space that faces the sun, you should also put on sunscreen indoors.
And that golden color people covet from tanning beds? It’s actually a defense mechanism your body uses against sun exposure. Here’s how it works. When the sun hits your skin, it damages your skin cells’ DNA. In response, your body tans itself to prevent further harm.
The second type is Ultraviolet B (UVB). Just one percent of ultraviolet radiation on Earth comes from UVB. Luckily, our ozone layer filters out most of UVB, which is stronger than UVA. Nevertheless, this type of radiation causes the most damage to the top layer of skin.
Typically, UVB rays are strongest from ten in the morning to three in the afternoon. Try to limit your time in direct sunlight during these hours. Of course, we don’t experience much UVB, but this type of radiation is known to cause skin cancer in the long term.
Speaking of skin cancer, there are type main types. Melanoma is more serious and is usually fatal. Non-melanoma is less fatal, especially if detected early.
But there is hope even with all this bleak information. When you use a sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher everyday, you reduce your risk of non-melanoma and melanoma cancer by 40 and 50 percent, respectively.
Let’s back up.What exactly does SPF mean, anyway? We know that a higher number offers more protection, but how does it work?
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It measures how long the sunscreen can protect you from UVB rays based on your skin type.
Put it this way. If your skin starts to burn after 5 minutes in the sun without protection, an SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen will protect you for 150 minutes, or two and a half hours. Whew, I bet you didn’t expect to do math today, but it’s simple enough, right?
Here is the calculation: 5 minutes x SPF 30 = 150 minutes
Note:ahigher SPF doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger or better at protecting your skin. Up to a certain number, a higher SPF will only provide a little bit more protection. By this logic, you don’t really need SPF 70 or higher, especially if you’re on a budget.
Moving on. It’s also important to find sunscreen that’s labeled broad spectrum. This means it protects you from both UVA and UVB rays.
So we’ve covered ultraviolet radiation and SPF, but what about ingredients?
Safe sunscreen ingredients–what to look for
There are two main types of zero waste sunscreens. The first is mineral-based. Almost all sunscreens contain some form of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which absorb UV rays. These minerals provide a protective layer on the skin. Remember: mineral-based equals safe.
The second type is chemical-based. More traditional sunscreens use chemicals like oxybenzone and octinoxate to absorb radiation under the skin. Ever wonder what the big deal is with chemical-based sunscreen? There are considerable reasons why most people are against them–including myself.
The first problem with chemical-based sunscreen is that they enter your body and disrupt various systems like your hormone system. Negative effects include lower fertility and even lower birth rates for babies exposed to these chemicals in the womb.
Want to hear something even more unbelievable? These chemicals can even be found in breast milk, which just shows how easily we absorb them. This is especially concerning to vulnerable groups like expecting mothers and children, but it affects everyone.
The second problem with chemical-based sunscreens is that they harm coral reefs. I’m sure by now you’ve seen a documentary or news report on dying coral reefs. The cool thing is, coral reefs live in harmony with algae that help them stay healthy. Algae gives corals their different lively colors and protects them from various diseases.
Unfortunately, sunscreen chemicals in the ocean break this relationship. This leaves corals vulnerable and white in a process called coral bleaching. When sunscreen chemicals are in oceans, coral reefs ingest these tiny chemicals (nanoparticles) and lead to coral death.
The point is, within mineral-based sunscreens, you should look for sunscreens that list “Non-Nano Zinc Oxide” as the main ingredient. This means the particles are big enough that corals can’t eat them.
Here’s another reason why non-nano mineral sunscreens are better than chemical-based sunscreens. UVR encourages free radicals to form, leading to cancer and other negative health effects. It’s thought that when sunlight reacts with nanoparticles in traditional sunscreen ingredients, they create free radicals.
In case you need a reminder, free radicals are single rogue oxygen atoms looking for partners. Just imagine that they’re one half of a heart looking for another half. The scary part is, they might grab a partner from a whole heart, which starts a chain reaction of atoms ripping apart whole cells, tissues, and even organs.
Unsurprisingly, a lot of diseases like cancer are caused by this chain reaction. However, free radicals seem to be a natural part of life. Free radicals come from food, chemical reactions, and other things we put into our bodies. Our job then is to discourage them from forming in our bodies by making better choices like choosing mineral sunscreen with non-nano particles.
Another thing to look out for is if the zinc oxide or titanium dioxide in your sunscreen is coated. Companies might do this to make the sunscreen more easy to spread. The big catch is the chemicals in the coating pollute oceans, contribute to coral bleaching, and harm other fish.
Besides the environmental impact, there are other factors you should consider when buying sunscreen–or any product, really.
It’s your money, so why not support sustainable businesses? If you’re deciding whether or not to buy from a certain company, you might want to check out their company partners and/or where they source their ingredients.
I looked at how the different sunscreen companies fared on ethical sourcing standards. Ethical sourcing partly means the ingredients are carefully selected for quality. More importantly, the ingredients must come from businesses that utilize environmentally-friendly practices such as organic farming. These businesses should also treat employees with dignity through fair wages, good working conditions, and workers’ benefits.
It’s no surprise that small producers usually can’t compete with big companies who sell much more at a lower price globally. With fairtrade, small producers are connected with companies/countries/businesses that will pay them a fair wage. Bottom line is, small producers usually create products using sustainable processes. By contrast, big companies typically use environmentally-damaging methods to maximize profit.
My point is, when you support fair-trade products, you support sustainable production and small businesses.
So let’s recap.
When looking for the best sunscreen for you and the environment, here is what to look for. I carefully reviewed 15 zero waste sunscreen choices and checked how they fared based on these characteristics:
Raw Elements Zero Waste Sunscreen is available on EcoRoots. It provides broad spectrum coverage up to SPF 30. The sunscreen comes in a 3-ounce (85 grams) reusable tin can with a biodegradable paper label. As always, we ship with zero waste packaging.
All the inactive ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, and mango butter are either natural or certified organic. This makes it safe for the environment and for all skin types–even children’s. What I love about it are the natural antioxidant ingredients like sunflower oil and green and black tea. I mean, how often do you come across sunscreen with tea or sunflower oil? My skin feels great after using this sunscreen–much better than greasy, chemical-based sunscreen.
In terms of the environmental impact, the sunscreen is labeled reef safe. The active ingredient is non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide.
I support Raw Elements as a company because they donate to nonprofits that help preserve ocean health. They are a socially-conscious company who are serious about providing products that are safe for humans and the Earth–something EcoRoots also stands for.
If you’re about holistic healing, but also need a strong sunscreen that’s been tested by pro surfers, check out EiR NYC. Their Surf Mud Pro facial sunscreen offers broad spectrum protection of up to SPF 50. It’s packaged in a compostable 1.5-ounce cardboard stick.
It features cocoa powder, which naturally protects from ultraviolet radiation. This sunscreen is based on a Mayan chocolate mask, which has beneficial antioxidant properties. Bonus!
The active ingredients are non-nano zinc oxide and titanium dioxide. Furthermore, the all-natural ingredients coconut oil and cocoa butter hydrate and soothe skin.
Their short ingredient list leaves out harmful chemicals, making this sunscreen safe for the environment.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much on their website about social impact, but their environmental rating gets an A!
All Good’s organic zero waste sunscreen butter comes in SPF 50+ in a 1-ounce (28 grams) recyclable tin container. Admittedly, one ounce might be a little too small for an everyday sunscreen, but it’s great for travel.
On the bright side, it’s broad spectrum and uses non-nano zinc oxide among six organic ingredients like calendula flowers and jojoba oil. Don’t believe me? This sunscreen was deemed safe by the Environmental Working Group, which is a nonprofit that brings awareness to issues like chemicals in consumer products.
Lastly, this sunscreen is coral reef safe, but works even in harsh conditions. Note that if you have dry skin, the sunscreen will work best if you apply moisturizer under. Otherwise, it’s a little harder to apply the sunscreen on smoothly.
All Good is a responsible company. For example, they partner with nonprofits to tackle environmental issues. To top it off, they recently added workers’ benefits throughout their company.
Balm! Baby is made by Taylor’s–a family-owned business. I resonate with their story because they started out by making their own plastic-free alternative soap. Today, they make all-natural products from cosmetics to postpartum care. How awesome is that?
Let’s look at their zero waste sunscreen a little closer. Their natural SPF 30 sunscreen is available in either a 2-ounce (57 grams) glass container with a tin lid or a 2-ounce biodegradable cardboard stick. Honestly, I have too many reusable jars at home, so I prefer the stick.
Moving onto their ingredients. Their ingredients are GMO-free and safe even for the lips and face. Parents, take note! You can use this as a diaper rash cream–it’s safe enough for the gentlest skin.
Frankly, a lot of smaller companies like Taylor’s don’t have the funds to get certified for broad spectrum. Nonetheless, they use similar ingredients that companies who are certified use for sunscreens. The owners claim that by the Environmental Working Group standards, this sunscreen is safe. Personally, I don’t doubt them at all.
The active ingredient in this sunscreen is non-nano zinc oxide with all-natural parts like extra virgin olive oil, sesame seed oil, candelilla wax, coconut oil, and macadamia oil. If you’re allergic to any of these oils, don’t worry! The cool thing about Balm! Baby is that they can customize every order to fit your exact needs. Yes, supporting small business has its perks! Just think: mass-produced chemical sunscreens doesn’t really cater specifically to your skin.
As for responsible sourcing, this zero waste sunscreen is made in the USA from sustainably-sourced, local ingredients like Hawaiian coconut oil. Finally, Taylor’s is a family-owned business that supports others companies who treat employees and the Earth with respect.
Say goodbye to chalky sunscreen! A lot of people would say sunscreen turns them off because it leaves a white residue that makes them look ghostly. Thankfully, Avasol seems to have solved this problem. One common praise I hear about Avasol is how their sunscreen comes in three skin color shades–light, tan, or dark.
The broad spectrum and all-weather sunscreen is available in SPF 30 or 50+ in recycled paper sticks. The solid stick weighs only 1 ounce (28 grams), but you can buy the sunscreen in cream form which comes in a refillable packet.
The active ingredient is non-nano, non-coated zinc oxide, along with high-quality herbs and oils. Avasol prides themselves in using safe ingredients that also serve a higher purpose besides just using exotic ingredients for no reason. For instance, most of their ingredients are unrefined because they are most potent in that form.
If you see “wildcrafted” on their ingredients list, this simply means that that specific ingredient was picked straight from the Earth. What better way to make sure a product is safe for you and the environment than supporting natural and sustainable farming practices?
Avasol is part of 1% FOR THE PLANET. If you’ve never heard of this organization, you’re in for a treat! Most socially conscious business are part of their membership program. Here’s how it works. Businesses join the 1% for the Planet membership program so they have access to a network of eco-friendly peers that they can learn from. Each company donates 1% of their proceeds to nonprofit organizations within the community. Sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, this is just one way Avasol keeps their promises on sustainability and innovation. From production to disposal, they pay attention to their environmental footprint and social impact.
This is another great product from Taylor’s--a family who started their own business to provide plastic-free products for families. This SPF 30 zero waste sunscreen comes in a 2-ounce (56 grams) glass jar with a tin lid.
As I mentioned, small companies don’t often get certified for things like broad spectrum or organic because it costs too much money. But this doesn’t mean the products aren’t organic or broad spectrum. In fact, this sunscreen is rated safe on the Environmental Working Group website. Now’s a good time to say that certified “organic” products may not be fully organic, so take certifications with a grain of salt. It’s also a good idea to really do your own research and be informed about the industry.
Let’s jump back to the Elevated Sun! sunscreen.
Aside from the plastic-free packaging, this zero waste sunscreen is safe for the environment with natural ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, raw macadamia nut oil, and lavender essential oil. It uses non-nano zinc oxide and includes vitamin E for extra skin nourishment.
Above all, Taylor’s supports other companies who share their same values of high-quality, environmentally-friendly products.
Suntribe’s all-natural sunscreen is available in a 1.5-ounce (42 grams) aluminum tin with a recycled paper label. In fact, they’ve perfected their label-making process and work with a company that’s near their production site. They recycle paper for labels to reduce waste as much as possible.
As for the sunscreen itself, it is broad-spectrum and SPF 30. It’s safe for your face, neck, lips, and even your ears.
Shockingly, there are only three ingredients: non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide, beeswax, and coconut oil. This product was made with sports like skiing, surfing, and running in mind. Consequently, it’s perfect for being outdoors during peak sun intensity. It’s a no-frill, heavy-duty sunscreen that’s safe for you and the environment.
There isn’t much information on Suntribe’s social impact, but they are certified by the New Generation Natural Cosmetics. Suntribe passes three key principles: no toxic chemicals, little environmental impact, and meet cosmetics industry standards. The organization also checks for sustainability all the way from production to recycling. Good thing Suntribe is meticulous about sustainability–they pass the test with flying colors.
The Little Hands sunscreen is available in a 3.4-ounce (96 grams) recyclable tin with biodegradable labels. You can choose plain white or tan. If you’re wondering how they achieve the tan color, the answer is simple. They use iron oxide minerals which also help protect from ultraviolet rays.
Non-nano zinc oxide is the active ingredient with organic coconut and jojoba oil, shea butter, vitamin E oil, beeswax, and frankincense essential oil. Not familiar with frankincense? Me neither, but here’s what I found out! It’s an oil that goes all the way back to Egypt. It helps smooth skin and impurities like scars. It revives skin cells and promotes new skin growth–all good things!
Overall, this formula is skin- and environmentally-friendly.
It’s no wonder that Little Hands highlights so many natural ingredients–they were founded in Hawaii. Even today, they produce and source local products as much as possible. For example, they use free range Hawaiian bees for the beeswax in the sunscreen. When they do source out-of-town, it’s for natural and high-quality ingredients like their African Karite shea butter or Ethiopian frankincense.
Laguna Herbals’ hypoallergenic, SPF 50 zero waste sunscreen is available in 1-ounce (28 grams) metal tins.
Their broad spectrum tear-free formula won’t drip into eyes, and is light enough to use as a primer under makeup. It is also paraben-, GMO-, and gluten free, so rest assured that this works no matter what your skin type is.
Furthermore, this biodegradable sunscreen is primarily made of non-nano, uncoated zinc oxide. There are only five other organic ingredients: coconut oil, beeswax, calendula, vitamin E, and jojoba oil. The verdict? These natural ingredients are safe for the environment.
Let’s learn more about the company itself. Laguna Herbals is a woman-owned and operated business in Laguna Beach, California. They focus on high-quality, natural ingredients that are safe for everybody.
I couldn’t find much information on their social impact programs or practices, but I found that all of their products are produced in the USA. If you’re from the US (or better yet, California), then Laguna Herbals is a great option.
Inactive ingredients include coconut oil, beeswax, jojoba oil, polyhydroxystearic acid, and sunflower vitamin E. Don’t freak out when you see polyhydroxystearic acid–it simply helps keep the zinc oxide together for smoother coverage and maximum efficiency. It’s plant-based and safe for skin.
Beyond that, the broad spectrum sunscreen is made of uncoated, non-nano pure zinc oxide. Which means? It’s safe for coral reefs! If you don’t believe me, I’ll leave this here: this sunscreen is one of the top rated sunscreens by the Environmental Working Group.
When it comes to Butterbean Organics’ social policies, I’m impressed. Their coconut oil and shea butter are fairtrade. I’m delighted to see this Florida-based, mother-owned business bring awareness to sunscreen safety with responsibly-sourced ingredients.
When it comes to zero waste sunscreen, don’t limit yourself to drugstores or Target. Smaller businesses on websites like Etsy offer far superior products.
Take Little Tree Naturals sunscreen for instance. Their raspberry seed sunscreen comes in a reusable glass 4-ounce (113 grams) jar. The sunscreen is estimated to be between 30 to 50 SPF. (Again, certification costs can be high for small businesses!)
Their products are handmade with all-natural, organic ingredients. For this sunscreen, Little Tree Naturals uses non-nano zinc oxide, raw shea butter, organic coconut oil, and grapeseed oil. What’s more, this sunscreen features oils you don’t usually see (but should!) on other sunscreens–carrot seed and red raspberry seed oil. Talk about natural.
These oils don’t just sound good on paper. Carrot seed oil is full of antioxidants to help keep free radicals in check. Red raspberry seed oil is a natural broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF between 28 to 50!
Since all the ingredients are natural and GMO-free, this sunscreen is safe for the environment. I really enjoy this sunscreen. It’s oil-based, but it isn’t greasy and spreads onto the skin easily. Although four ounces sounds so little, this product has surprisingly lasted a long time. Even though it hasn’t been tested for a true SPF, I trust this family-owned business.
If you’re looking for other natural products, Little Tree Naturals also makes other natural products like toothpaste and deodorant. The only catch is some of their packaging is plastic, so keep that in mind if you really want zero waste products. But if you’re looking for an organic, trustworthy sunscreen that fits easily into your purse, try this one out.
This oil-based, SPF 30 sunscreen is available in these sizes: 15 grams (0.5 ounces), 50 grams (1.7 ounces), 100 grams (3.5 ounces), or 150 grams (5.3 ounces). The sunscreen comes in a reusable tin container and a paper label.
It’s hypoallergenic and doesn’t clog pores. What about ingredients? This sunscreen uses organic raw shea butter, babassu oil, and arrowroot powder. You’re probably wondering, so I’ll let you know that babassu oil and arrowroot powder both soothe dry or itchy skin–perfect for rashes and sunburns. If you happen to be allergic to any of the oils in the original formula, you can easily substitute another one that’s best for you. Amazing!
Think it doesn’t get any better than this? Think again. This sunscreen contains no chemicals, so it poses no environmental risk. It is labeled reef safe.
However, note that sunscreens in the US contain only up to 25% zinc oxide because of FDA regulations. This sunscreen is made and shipped from the UK and contains 30% zinc oxide. This isn’t dangerous per se, just something to keep in mind.
Sol de Luna Crafts does not have any specific social impact initiatives, but they are a small, individual-operated company. It’s enough that they market natural products that are human- and earth-friendly.
This SPF 30 coconut sunscreen balm is available various sizes: 14 grams (about 0.5 ounces), 80 grams (2.8 ounces), and 90 grams (3.2 ounces). The smaller sizes come in paper tubes and the largest size comes in a refillable tin container. (Note that you can only refill the container if you currently live in Australia.)
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics really embraces zero waste packaging–their tape, padding, and boxes are all recycled or reused from local businesses.
As for the ingredients, they use virgin coconut oil, shea liquid and butter, candelilla wax, carrot seed, raspberry seed and wheatgerm oils, vitamin E, and lime essential oil for scent. Aside from carrot seed and non-nano zinc oxide, all the ingredients are certified organic.
This zero waste sunscreen was designed for sensitive skin, so I have no doubt that it’s safe for skin. What’s more, you can choose the formula that alsorepels bugs–ideal for hikes or summer nights outdoors. It hasn’t been officially tested for SPF, but the company is well-known and loved.
Some of our more outdoorsy friends have tried the bug repellent blend and I heard no complaints about it. The added ingredients are neem oil, cedarwood, pine, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, tea tree, and rose essential oils. The only slight inconvenience is that the sunscreen sometimes catches on the tube. What I mean is, the stick itself might not easily push up. I’ve had this happen with other products, and it’s not that big a deal.
Hint: if it’s really stuck, try warming it in the microwave for five seconds or so.
All in all, the ingredients are safe for coral reefs. Like I mentioned above, their packaging is sourced from local businesses. Part of being a socially conscious company is creating communities of eco-friendly humans. Dirty Hippie Cosmetics leads this community in many ways.
Are you ready for something completely different? Here we go. Anakiel’s handmade serum contains no zinc oxide and is made entirely of pure plant oils and extracts.
From the product photograph, the 0.9-ounce (25 grams) container seems to be made of glass with a wooden cap and plastic pump. Needless to say, it might not be entirely zero waste unless the parts are recyclable or if the container is refillable.
The serum itself is the epitome of skin pampering with nourishing oils like jojoba, sesame, and lavender. There is no specific SPF rating, but key ingredients like karanja and red raspberry seed oil absorb UVA and UVB rays.
Before we continue, let me clarify what karanja oil is. It’s made from the karanja tree seeds, which is found in various parts of Asia. It helps repair sun damage and prevent skin aging. Since this oil-based sunscreen contains no known harmful chemicals, it is safe for the environment.
Anakiel is based in Canada, but I found no information on their ingredient sourcing or social impact.
Last but not least, let’s look at Savonnerie des Diligences’ mineral butter sunscreen. This handmade sunscreen is available in 119 grams (4.2 ounces) or 240 grams (8.45 ounces) packaged in glass jars and tin lids.
Savonnerie des Diligences uses shea butter, non-nano zinc oxide, vitamin E, and various essential oils. The simple ingredients list makes this gentle for skin and safe for the environment.
The all-natural ingredients are sourced from fairtrade practices. Additionally, they make plastic-free soaps and moisturizers.
Aside from the high quality products, I love their artsy, colorful paper labels. I’ve gifted their products to friends and family who wanted to try natural products that were still effective.
So there you have it.
I’ve covered 15 different zero waste sunscreen options and judged them based on how they’re packaged, how gentle they are on the skin, how they safe they are for the environment, and how the company contributes to society.
How to protect yourself without using sunscreen
Did you know that each year, over 14,000 tons of sunscreen make their way to oceans? This isn’t just from swimming on beaches, but when you wash off sunscreen in the shower.
Let’s review what to look for when choosing a safe sunscreen.
Avoid chemical-based sunscreens with ingredients like oxybenzone or octinoxate. Chemical-based sunscreens are not safe for coral reefs like mineral-based sunscreens.
Another key factor in sunscreens is non-nano zinc oxide (or titanium oxide) with no coatings. These are the safest ingredients for humans and oceans.
Thorough research takes a long time. Luckily, you have 15 great options above based on your skin type and the kind of coverage you’re looking for. But you know what else?
The most important things you can do to reduce sun damage has nothing to do with sunscreen. You should try staying out of the sun during peak hours, especially if you have fair or sensitive skin. When you’re outdoors, wear hats and long sleeves. This won’t stop UV rays from hitting your skin completely, but it will reduce significant damage.
During summer months, try fabrics that breathe like cotton and linen, so you can still wear long sleeves and long pants. Break out that sun hat and make sun protection fashionable.
This guide is just a starting point for great zero waste sunscreen alternatives. Let me know about any great companies you come across that use zero waste packaging, use ingredients that are environmentally-friendly and gentle on the skin, and promote positive social impact values.
I love to support companies who create natural and safe products that work.
So naturally, I thought, what better way to be sure than making my own?
Here’s my take on an easy-to-make and natural homemade dish soap.
Homemade Dish Soap
Note: I made this recipe in bulk, but you can adjust the ingredients as needed. Feel free to make alterations too based on what ingredients you have at home.
6 tbs bar soap, grated
2 tsp of washing soda (See instructions below for making your own washing soda.)
20 drops essential oil (for scent)
4 cups water
Before we get to making the actual dish soap, let’s check off our ingredients list.
First, the grated soap. Most people use castile soap. It’s an olive oil-based soap that’s proven safe for cleaning around the house. It’s available in bulk soap bars and liquid form. The catch is, liquid soaps usually come in plastic containers. Of course, you can always recycle these containers, but when there’s a plastic-free alternative, the choice is easy.
Second, the washing soda. Making your own washing soda is actually surprisingly easy. First, shake out a thick layer of baking soda onto a baking sheet. Set the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake the soda for one hour and stir several times. Once the mixture has cooled off, put away what you don’t need in a safe container like a lidded glass jar.
I’ll tell you, it’s nice to have a ready-made container of washing soda. I have a glass jar container for different homemade cleaner recipes. I’ve used it to take out stains from dishes and clothes. What can I say, I love multipurpose products–they save me time, money, and effort.
The thing about washing soda is it will give your soap a little more kick. You can also use regular baking soda, but you might need a little more product to tackle the same amount of dirt. And remember, the more washing soda you add, the thicker your soap will be.
Tip: you can purchase washing soda from the store if you want to make the recipe ASAP.
Third, the essential oils. This part is optional, but essential oils are a nice add-in if you want a specific oil either for scent or another purpose. For instance, you could add rosehip oil for extra skin hydration. On the other hand, you can infuse your soap with lavender oil to make a vegan dish soap that’s soothing for your skin and mind.
Now, let’s get on with the magic formula:
Pour water into a pot and heat until hot.
Mix in the grated soap until melted, then take the pot off the stove.
Next, mix in the washing soda and let the mixture sit out until the next morning.
Then stir in the essential oil drops and transfer the mixture into a soap dispenser. Save the rest for refills.
This is a great opportunity to buy a reusable dispenser like a glass jar with a steel pump. (Try a secondhand shop before buying brand-new.)
Cutting out another plastic item? Yes, please!
It’s also helpful to mention that the texture comes out to a thick liquid soap, but if you prefer a more watery mixture, simply add more water. On the more extreme side, if the soap turns into a solid or really thick liquid, add warm water or blend it in a machine if possible.
I’m not going to lie. I’ve turned out some thick batches when I’ve made this recipe. That’s the thing about homemade soaps–they won’t always be perfect because the ingredients aren’t held together by synthetic chemicals to keep it smooth at all times.
It’s a small tradeoff for natural ingredients though, right? One trick I’ve learned is to leave a little room in the dispenser for warm soap so I can just shake up the soap if it gets too thick.
Premade dish soaps you can buy today
Admittedly, DIY dish soaps aren’t for everyone. If you prefer to support green businesses instead, I highly recommend two great products below.
Check out Fillaree’s dish soap, which is made of natural ingredients like coconut oil and a plant-based thickener instead of sulfates. It’s available in citrus and unscented options, but either way, this soap made my hands feel so soft.
Beyond that, the best thing about this company is their refill subscription program.
How does it work? First try out a small 16-ounce glass bottle sample to see if you like it. Then you can join their subscription program online.
Fillaree offers dish soap, body wash, and multipurpose spray. For this instance, you’d choose their Clean Plate Club Dish Soap first. If you’re satisfied, then you order a 32-ounce jug to refill the original bottle every one, two, three, or six months.
Once that refill is done, you send it back, (they pay for shipping and label!), they clean and refill it, and send it back to you. To top it off, their plastic-free packaging is compostable.
Yes, it’s true! I admire their commitment to a green approach as much as I enjoy their vegan dish soap. If you’re concerned about the carbon costs of shipping, you can visit any one of their retailers instead.
I haven’t participated in their mail-in subscription program, but I have gone to some of their retail partners to refill my bottle. I thought it would be messy and awkward, but all the staff are very helpful and most of them personally use the product too.
It’s super simple, and hassle-free. I would say one 16-ounce bottle will probably last the average family a few weeks. This means it’s even more worth it to subscribe if you have a large family.
You don’t have to keep buying soap in disposable plastic bottles anymore. Lastly,you can enjoy spotless dishes without worrying about water pollution or skin irritating chemicals.
I know what you’re thinking, a solid bar dish soap? At first, it sounds like it wouldn’t be very good for washing dishes. I thought the same thing, but this dish soap bar proved me wrong.
The best thing about the No Tox Life washing block is you can use it for other cleaning purposes besides dishes.
It also lasts a long time–mine lasted a couple months. I’ve used it to clean my kitchen countertops and oven range. They recommend that you use warm water for best results, and I’ve found that that’s true. Warm water made it easier for me to rub a cloth onto the bar and make suds.
What’s more, it’s fragrance-free, so it won’t leave you dizzy even if you use it to clean your whole kitchen. It’s also gentle enough to use on clothes for stains. Trust me when I say you’ll prefer using this soap bar on clothes instead of industrial cleaners that dry out your hands and wear out your clothes quicker.
The secret to making this soap bar last even longer is using a soft cloth sponge or something similar. I use a soft plant-based loofah, an wooden dish brush and a scrubber to clean dishes and a cloth sponge for cleaning surfaces.
I’ve heard that rough sponges tend to scrape off too much at once and can waste more soap than you need.
Why would you want to waste your money?
Another step you can take to extend the soap bar’s life is investing in a woodensoap dish that lets water escape. I’m sure you’re familiar with soap dishes that collect water and melt your soap. Not to mention hoard tons of bacteria!
Bottom line is, you can maximize a solid dish soap using the right tools without buying extra strength detergent.
Honestly, it’s strong enough dish soap and for a 7.5-ounce bar, it will go a long way.
Before I started making my own dish soap, these two were my go-tos. They were very effective and to top it off, the companies that supplied them were dedicated to making truly environmentally-friendly products.
A zero waste dish soap reduces water pollution and protects your skin.
Obviously, the biggest flaw with traditional dish soaps is the plastic containers they come in.
What about what they’re made of?
You might already know that mainstream dish soap companies use chemicals to create foamy products.
The only problem?
These chemicals aren’t gentle on your skin. Moreover, they contaminate waterways like rivers and oceans. What’s worse, the polluted waterways poison fish and other organisms.
Once upon a time, companies used phosphates generously. What’s the big deal with phosphates?
Basically, this mineral strengthens traditional dish soaps through various chemical reactions with water. Its main purpose is to eliminate hard minerals from your water source so the rest of the ingredients can do their jobs more efficiently. It’s helpful, but phosphates have big consequences.
Fact: when algae suddenly have too much to eat, they take over bodies of water. Typically, algae aren’t used to having so much food available. And what’s worse? This massive algae growth kills off other organisms like fish and plants.
Luckily, companies have been phasing out phosphates for the past few decades. But other chemicals in common dish soap brands remain problematic. They hurt the natural environment and your body.
Here’s a relevant example. You can find Sodium Lauryl Sulfate or SLS in a lot of dish soap ingredient lists. Essentially, it makes soaps foam up. People are split on SLS but fact is, it irritates your skin by stripping away natural oils. This means if you already have sensitive skin, products with SLS can make it worse.
Zero waste grocery shopping – thesustainable way of buying food.
We’ve all done it.
We’ve bought packaged fruit and vegetables because it’s convenient.
We go for plastic bags because we forgot to bring one of the twenty reusable tote bags we’ve got at home.
Is this sounding familiar?
Here’s another one. We’ve driven ten extra
minutes to the store across town that sells our favorite chocolate chip
cookies. Alright, I’ll stop here.
I know the scenarios above make you feel a
little guilty. But trust me when I say you
are not alone.
When it comes to grocery shopping, it’s easy to choose convenience over eco-friendly. This is exactly why we’re experiencing so many environmental problems today.
Reality is, most of us don’t think about the consequences of our actions. Especially not the negative environmental consequences.
But you know what?
The good news is that this doesn’t have to be you!
It’s never too late to change. If you want to be more environmentally-friendly, why not start with something you do every week?
Start with grocery shopping. That’s why you’re here, right?
In this list, I’ll let you in on 7 easy steps to achieve zero waste grocery shopping.
The unofficial first step is deciding you want to be better and if you’re reading this, then you’re already ahead.
Are you ready to take on the green challenge?
Then listen up!Let’s start simple.
1.Avoid packaging when you can!
Fortunately, a lot of grocery stores are ditching plastic to be more eco-friendly. I always say less is more. Especially when it comes to plastic packaging and plastic-covered products.
Now, our goal is to buy zero plastic packaging, but remember: it’s a learning process.
Any progress is still progress.
So let’s get back to the first step.
Say no to plastic-wrapped fruits and veggies. Pay attention to any packaged food you buy. Seek alternatives when you can.
Ask yourself these questions every time you’re at the store.
Is the packaging recyclable or compostable? Is it biodegradable?
Can you somehow repurposethe packaging when you’re done with it?
Be honest. Can you live without this plastic packaged product? If so, then say no! You have a choice.
Make a conscious effort tobuy less plasticevery single time you shop. Every. Single. Time.
until you don’t even have to think about it anymore.
I admit, single-use plastics like water bottles, chip
bags, and foam containers make life easier for a lot of people. We use the item
one time and then throw it away. No need to wash it or store it in the house.
But there’s a not-so-small catch.
All this plastic either ends up polluting waterways, getting incinerated, or filling up landfills. You’ve probably heard this a million times before, but sadly, it’s true.
And I don’t believe
convenience justifies any of these problems.
Yes, we need
single-use plastics in certain situations. For instance, we need things like
syringes, bandages, and gloves for sanitary reasons. But that’s a whole another
The moral of the story is that single-use plastics harm the environment.
So what can we do about it? Well, bear with me through these next six steps and find out how you can make a huge difference.
Let’s recap. You’ve said no to packaging. You’re buying loose products. You’re checking if the containers are recyclable, compostable, or biodegradable.
2. Buy in bulk!
This will make you think about what you really need and save you money. Think about it this way: you’re paying less per unit price when you buy in bulk.
Let me show you how easy it is.
When buying something in large quantities like beans or noodles, bring your own container and jot down the price look-up code (PLU). This is the string of numbers you see under the item label on the shelf. It’s usually under or on top of the barcode.
Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it seems.
When you’re at the
register, give the cashier the PLU code so they can weigh your item(s) and
charge you accordingly. It’s that easy!
Well, I point out to
the cashier how much the bag weighs so I don’t pay extra at check-out. Another
cool thing about these is that I can keep my produce separate instead of
stuffing everything into a tote bag. No more crushed tomatoes!
produce bags, not plastic bags, are
the definition of convenience! Seriously.
Need a bag for fruits and veggies? Check. Need something to hold your knick knacks from the flea market? Check. Need a compact laundry bag? Check. This bag is so versatile, I can’t recommend it enough.
And guess what?
This way, I’m not forced to buy plastic or paper bags when I’m out.
The bags are extremely durable, but if they do break down from wear and tear, they are biodegradable. Bonus!
So we’ve got the produce bags and the reusable bag.
At first it might seem strange, but remember: you’re making a lifestyle change towards zero waste grocery shopping.
Keep your end goal in mind!
Bottom line: you just need to get in the habit of making conscious decisions. Keep doing it until it’s second nature. Most people promise to make changes but don’t stick with their resolutions. Then they end up going back to their old habits.
The secret to breaking these habits? Sometimes
all you need to do is make one change
and the rest will follow.
For example, if you’re buying in bulk, then it’s easier to remember to bring your own containers, and vice versa. What I mean is, bringing your own containers means you’ll be able to buy in bulk without using plastic bags at the store. Everything is ready for you.
But one thing’s for
sure. If you’re not planning out what to buy at the store, then none of these
steps will make a difference.
So stick with me here. I have another secret for you.
5. Before you go to the store, make a shopping list!
It doesn’t have to be old-school on a legal yellow pad, just use the Notes app on your phone. Trust me on this.
Go in with a plan and you won’t come out with unnecessary stuff. Even I’ve bought things because they were on sale or they tasted good in the samples they handed out.
You’re at the store and all of a sudden, you have a gallon of dairy-free almond ice cream and five pounds of spinach pasta in your cart.
The point of the story?
When you have a shopping list, you are more likely to save money.
When you write down
only what you need, you’re saving money
and wasting less to none.
Well, waste doesn’t just mean the actual food, but everything involved in the food industry. This includes everything from production to transportation and disposal.In a nutshell, that’s fossil fuels, human labor, and other resources wasted.
Now this is a huge problem. This waste also includes restaurant and store wastes, but it is still a huge issue.
Imagine for a moment if we all put in more effort to reduce food waste. It would be an enormous first step in tackling environmental problems.
You can help change this. It’s as simple as buying only what you need. No, really.
It is that simple.
A lot of these lifestyle changes are attainable by most people. We just need to be more aware of our actions.
This next step will prove my point.
One big thing that most people overlook is how far they drive to the store.
6. My advice is to drive to and shop at the closest grocery store.
You’re probably asking yourself, what does driving to the store have to do with zero waste grocery shopping?
Let me tell you.
Even if you bring your own bags and containers, you’re still using gas if you’re driving too far to the store. The simple truth is, most people don’t think about this part of grocery shopping. And we should.
Before we go any further, remember when I said make a shopping list before you go to the store? Making a shopping list also means you don’t forget anything and have to drive back to buy it. That’s a lot of driving you can avoid.
Let me remind you of another step that will come in handy now. This is the part where buying in bulkmakes a difference.
Buying in bulk means you’re cutting down on gas with fewer trips to the store.
Luckily, there’s one thing you can try to avoid driving too far. At least when it’s the right season.
7. Shop at your local farmers’ market.
Believe it or not, they have affordable and healthy options. Furthermore, you’re supporting local farming families at the same time.
When you see familiar faces every time you buy produce, you’re building a community. You know where your money is going and who you’re supporting.
It gets better. When you shop at these markets, it means your food didn’t come all the way from another state or country.
Why does this matter? You’re supporting using lessgas for food transportation.
Your fruits and vegetables don’t come from huge trucks that are driven from thousands of miles away. They don’t come from cargo ships or planes that use up massive amounts of fuel. Which means? Less waste!
Another cool thing is that farmers’ markets usually don’t package their products. Ever. By contrast, traditional grocery stores package produce so they’re not damaged during transport. But local farmers’ markets don’t have that problem.
Let me tell you why. They use their own vehicles, (not huge trucks) and they transport way less produce. In turn, they don’t have to worry as much about damage during transport.
Unless it’s honey, eggs, or sauces that need to be in a container, almost everything is sold loose. Amazing, right?
So whip out your produce bags and shop guilt-free!
Personally, I enjoy farmers’ markets because the produce and products are always fresh. They sell fruits and vegetables that are in season.
To top it off, there are organic options that don’t break the bank.
I know in the winter,
there aren’t too many produce choices, but come spring and summer, the farmers’
market is the way to go.
It’s your money, so why not spend it on some eco-conscious products?
Well, this is the point where I wish you luck in your environmentally-friendly journey.
I hope you’ve learned a thing or two and I hope that you’re inspired to take on this zero waste grocery shopping journey.
So go ahead. Start with one step and see just how easy it is to grocery shop with zero waste. Here’s to a new, better, greener you!
The trick to recycling toothpaste containers is to shred them up, clean them, separate the materials, and then finally, recycle.
There is a chance that your local recycling facility has the capability to do this, but it is always best to check ahead of time. You do not want to risk contaminating the whole bin of recycling!
Harmful Chemicals in Many Toothpaste Formulas
Besides packaging, there are other reasons why many toothpastes are often times, not sustainable products.
Many formulas contain harmful ingredients that are potentially hazardous to humans, plants, and animals.
One common ingredient that is found in most toothpastes you will find in traditional stores is Triclosan.
This is typically added to products to help reduce bacterial contamination. Although that is a great idea in theory, it is known to be carcinogenic and harmful to the endocrine system.
Europe has banned many applications of this chemical. Many people still debate over whether or not it is harmful, but research has proven that it is. No thank you!
Another popular culprit in many toothpastes and other beauty products is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (referred to as SLS). It is a surfactant, which means that it helps to evenly disperse the ingredients within the mixture.
It gets worse:
Often times, SLS is contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which is a byproduct of the manufacturing process.
Research has shown that is most probably carcinogenic. It also aggravates gums, which makes literally no sense to include in a product you use in your mouth.
Fluroide; the most controversial dental ingredient out there.
Many dentists recommend using Fluoride toothpastes because it has an unique ability to prevent tooth decay. In fact, it has been widely added to our water supply for years.
Here’s the deal:
Fluoride is naturally occurring. It can be found in air, soil, plants, rocks, fresh water, sea water, and even some of our foods. It helps with the mineralization of bones and teeth, which helps make them hard and strong.
So, what’s so wrong with that?
Well, over the past few years, there has been more research into the consequences of the excessive intake of Fluoride.
It can cause Fluorosis, which is basically just excessive mineralization of bones.
Here’s what happens:
You can get either dental or skeletal Fluorosis.
Dental Fluorosis basically just visually affects your teeth causing white spots to form.
Skeletal Fluorosis is a little bit more severe.
Here’s the break down:
Skeletal Fluorosis occurs when there is an excessive accumulation of fluoride on your bones. This will causes stiffness and joint pain. Advanced cases can even alter your bone structure and calcify your ligaments.
So many beauty, food, and cleaning products contain palm oil, and toothpastes are no exception.
Palm oil is in virtually everything and the production of it is harming some of the most sensitive habitats on this planet.
I want you to think for a second about the nature of toothpaste.
We use it, spit it into our sinks, it gets washed down the drain, and into our waterways. If these ingredients are toxic to humans, they are definitely harming the environment as well.
Although many of these ingredients are up for debate, much of the research shows that Triclosan, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS), Fluoride, and Palm Oil are probably harmful to humans, the environment, and animals.
I personally prefer products that do not include these ingredients for this reason.
So, now that you know the truth about toothpaste, you may be wondering, “what are my other options?!”
Luckily, there are a bunch of zero waste toothpastes out there.
You really do not have to look too far to find them. In fact, today I will be sharing my favorites with you!
Let’s get to it:
My Favorite Zero Waste Toothpaste
All of the following products have been chosen with you and the planet in mind. I’ve tried them all and I like them for different reasons.
They are all eco-friendly, natural, and zero waste.
Here are my top picks:
1. DIY Solution
The easiest way to stay away from unnecessary packaging and lurking, harmful chemicals in products is to just make it yourself! It may take a little bit of extra time, but it is way more economical and eco-friendly.
Here’s how to do it:
This was one of the first zero waste DIY recipes I tried when I started transitioning into a plastic-free lifestyle.
All you need is:
–2 Tbsp. of coconut oil
–1 Tbsp. of bentonite clay
-1 Tsp. of xylitol
–1 Tsp. of baking soda
–15-20 drops of peppermint essential oil (for taste)
Mix all of these ingredients together, and voila!
You have your own toothpaste.
If you prefer tooth powder over paste, leave out the coconut oil.
Find a cute, reusable jar and store your DIY zero waste toothpaste in there.
Here’s the best part:
Once you run out, just make more and use the same container.
By using containers over and over again, you are doing your part by not contributing to the production of packaging waste.
I love DIY zero waste products because you know exactly what is going into it and there are no mystery ingredients.
This particular DIY is a staple for me. I often times purchase zero waste toothpaste, but if I have enough time, I’ll just whip up this recipe instead.
If you are particular about your toothpaste, chances are Georganics will have something that suits you.
This company challenges the use of bad chemicals in our oral care products. After the founder started making natural toothpaste products for himself and his friends, he decided to start Georganics.
Check it out:
This company promises to actually use all natural ingredients. This means no scary Triclosan, SLS, or anything else.
Their products are locally crafted in small batches and are all packaged with materials that are intended to be waste free.
It gets better:
Georganics never tests on animals. By being cruelty-free, ethically-sourced, all-natural, and waste-free, they have become one of my favorite sustainable oral care companies. Check out some of their zero waste toothpastes:
If you check out their natural toothpaste section, you may be surprised to see that they carry seven different flavors including English Peppermint, Activated Charcoal, Spearmint, Orange, Tea Tree, Pure, and Eucalyptus.
Here’s the deal:
All of these toothpastes are all natural, which means they are fluoride-free and SLS free.
They are packaged in glass jars with aluminum lids, which can be reusedor recycled.
They come in a paper, compostable box.
Here’s my favorite part:
Since these toothpastes come in a jar, not a tube, you may be wondering how you apply the paste onto your toothbrush.
Well, Georganics provides you with a cute, little bamboo scoop so you can easily use it.
That bamboo scoop is compostable which makes this a complete zero waste toothpaste!
You can get 180 refill tablets in a completely recyclable cardboard box. They package the tabs in three bags of 60 tablets in compostable bags.
Put them into the jar and you are all ready to go!
Take it a step further:
Do you already have some jars lying around? You can skip the starter kit and just buy the refill kit. Talk about zero waste toothpaste!
You’ll be getting sustainability points from me if you try out this method.
Although tabs are a little different than your more traditional paste, I really love them because you never have to worry about using too much product. It is already measured out for you! They are also great for traveling!
This helps you use up every single ounce of product, which helps a great deal with recycling. You can opt out of receiving another tube roller if you decide to purchase again (which you probably will because this toothpaste rocks).
Not only is the fully aluminum tube more sustainable, but wow, it sure is pretty, too! The sleek design of the tube with Davids trendy, minimal branding make this a super aesthetically pleasing zero waste toothpaste.
Remember that laundry list of scary chemicals I rambled on about before? Well, don’t worry.
Davids all-natural toothpaste does not include any of those! Yup, fluoride-free, SLS-free, and palm oil free!
Davids vows not to use artificial flavors, sweeteners, colors, or preservatives. They use a premium blend of essential oils in order to make their toothpaste minty.
They provide refills, so you can keep reusing your jar! Their blend of activated charcoal and peppermint floss tastes so great, keeps your teeth healthy, and helps you live a plastic-free life. Love it!
What good is zero waste toothpaste if you are putting it on a plastic toothbrush?
EcoRoots is a great one-stop-shop for anything zero waste related.
I know that I have given you a lot of information about sustainable toothpastes today, but if there’s one thing you take away, just remember that plastic-free, all-natural products are the way to go for a healthy future for both ourselves and the planet.
No matter which brand of zero waste toothpastes you decide to try, just know that you are doing your part. Thank you!