In this post, I will go over my favorite zero waste essentials.
Many people want to live sustainable, healthy lives, but find it to be difficult. Some people may even consider the zero waste lifestyle an extreme way of living.
When I tell family members or friends how I live my life plastic-free, an overwhelming look comes over their faces.
Plastic is all around us. What measures does someone have to go to in order to completely avoid it?
The answer I tell most people is, “It’s not as hard as you would think.”
It takes a little bit of time to adjust, but anyone can do it. You just have to commit to it and have an open mind.
Be critical of the products you choose to consume.
Think about the impact they may be having on the environment and research if there are any better alternatives.
Luckily, you are not in this alone and there are so many resources out there.
It took me some time to figure out what products worked for me and my lifestyle, but I think I finally got it pretty much nailed down.
I would like to share my ultimate zero waste essentials guide with you.
Here are some of my favorite sustainable, plastic-free, and natural zero waste essentials:
On-the-Go Zero Waste Essentials
Reduce: In the United States, 1,500 plastic bottles are discarded every second. An easy way to avoid adding to this statistic is to carry around your own water bottle.
I love the Hydro Flask because it is simple and keeps your drink cold/hot for a very long time.
Reuse: Do not leave the house without this one! Refill over and over again with whatever beverage you like. Hand wash in between uses to keep it clean.
I always recommend this product to people who are just starting to pursue a zero waste lifestyle because it’s a really easy alternative to transition to.
Recycle: The Hydro Flask is a very durable product. It will last you for years if you take care of it. If for some reason you do not want it anymore, do not worry. The flask is made of stainless steel and is 100% recyclable.
Reduce: It is no surprise that we are completely overusing plastic and that this is causing catastrophic environmental impacts. Half a trillion disposable cups are made around the world each year. Yikes!
One way to avoid contributing to this statistic is to avoid single-use cups and get this stainless steel tumblr.
Reuse: I personally love the versatility of this tumblr. It can be used for any of your favorite beverages. It’s simple, durable, and eco-friendly.
Oh, and it comes in both a gold and rose gold finish.
Such a cute zero waste essential!
Recycle: There really is no reason to ever have to get rid of these, but if you need to, just recycle them! They are completely made of stainless steel.
Reduce: Morning rituals are an important step to starting off a productive day. For many of us, this includes coffee.
Baristas hand us 2.7 million disposable coffee cups each day. You do not need to ditch your favorite coffee shop in order to be more eco-friendly, you just need to carry this awesome reusable coffee cup around.
Reuse: We are all creatures of habit. If stopping at a cafe before you catch the train in the morning or grabbing a coffee after lunch is a daily routine for you, come prepared!
Simply carry this product in your bag or keep it in your car. Just remember to give it a quick rinse before reusing it.
Recycle: This cup is sturdy and long-lasting. In fact, it comes with a lifetime guarantee! If you ever did want to dispose of this coffee cup, it can easily be recycled since it is stainless steel.
Reduce: Being zero waste does not mean that you have to stop eating at on-the-go restaurants, it just means you need to think ahead a little.
Plastic utensils are very unnecessary, especially if you are equipped with this awesome Bamboo Cutlery Set.
Think of all the plastic forks you are going to prevent from polluting our Earth!
Reuse: I love this particular set because it includes a fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks and a straw.
Seriously, what more could you ask for! It also all rolls up into a small canvas pouch which makes it so easy to keep in your bag. Once you are done with your meal, just hand wash the utensils and repack them for next time.
Recycle: Not only is bamboo naturally regenerative and environmentally low-impact to produce, it is also biodegradable.
No landfill waste here!
Reduce: Plastic zip bags are kitchen essentials for many people because of their convenience.
Have you ever considered their environmental impact, though?
The average American family uses around 500 of these bags each year. Since there is no way to recycle or compost them, they are all going straight to landfill. There is a great alternative. Try these reusable silicone food bags!
Reuse: I love these bags because they are just as convenient, but way more sustainable. They are self-sealing and keep food amazingly fresh. They are also microwave, dishwasher, and freezer safe.
Once you are finished using them, just wash them and they are ready to be used over and over again!
Recycle: The simple design of these bags make them stay strong for years of use. If you eventually feel as though you want to replace one of your bags, they can be recycled.
Reduce: Not only are we polluting the oceans with plastic, but global warming is resulting in the destruction of coral reefs. Many of the sunscreens that we wear contain chemicals that are harmful to reefs, but this Raw Elements sunscreen is different because it is completely reef-safe.
This sunscreen is my favorite because it is also plastic-free, cruelty-free, and very moisturizing.
Reuse: Simply apply this sunscreen before sun exposure. It works wonderfully on both your body and your face! Since this formula is so gentle, it can easily become a part of your daily skin care routine.
This product is soy-free, gluten-free, nut-free, cruelty-free, and certified organic. Just remember to reapply every 80 minutes if you are directly in the sun!
Recycle: The container that this sunscreen comes in is completely plastic-free and made of tin. I love the size and shape of it because it is easy to throw into your bag when you are on the go.
The tin can either be reused once it is empty or recycled.
Natural Bath & Beauty Necessities
Reduce: If you are into makeup or skincare, chances are you may use disposable cotton pads to apply certain products. What if I told you that there was a zero waste alternative?
I love the EcoRoots reusable cotton pads. They are way more sustainable!
Reuse: It’s easy! Simply put your favorite cream, lotion, toner, cleanser, or makeup remover onto one of the pads and apply it to your skin.
Throw them into the wash, air dry, and then you are all set to use them again. Don’t worry, the pack comes as a set of ten, so you won’t have to constantly be doing laundry!
Recycle: These cotton rounds are made from organic-certified, sustainable, and biodegradable fabric. If you wish to dispose of your reusable cotton rounds, just compost them.
Reduce: Not only are periods messy, painful, and annoying, but they also are huge creators of waste. On average, women generate 250-300 pounds of feminine hygiene trash in her lifetime.
Luckily, menstrual cups are a great, cost-effective, and more sustainable option.
I personally recommend the Lena Menstrual Cup.
Reuse: Unlike most feminine hygiene products that get thrown in the trash, this menstrual cup can be rinsed and reused.
When using the bathroom, simply remove, empty, clean, and reinsert. The cup can be left in for up to 12 hours. Since the cup is reused and you do not need to buy more each month, you will end up saving money. It’s an economic and sustainable solution!
Recycle: The Lena Cup is made to last up to 10 years. After that time, the cup might start to show wear, and you may want to replace it.
Since it is made completely from high-quality medical-grade silicone, it can be recycled.
Reduce: Our daily routines can easily be modified to be more eco-friendly. Whenever I finish a tube of toothpaste, I never know what to do with it.
Can it be recycled? Do I have to just throw it in the trash?
Luckily, with David’s Natural Toothpaste, that ambiguity is eliminated.
Reuse: This toothpaste works just like any other toothpaste, but better. It is all-natural, Fluoride-free, SLS-free, vegan, and fights plaque!
I love it because it isn’t gritty and goes onto your toothbrush very smoothly. The blend of mint oils in this formula makes it taste and smell so fresh and amazing.
Recycle: This toothpaste tube is made from metal, so it is easily recyclable, unlike most toothpaste packaging.
I also love that it comes with a free metal tube squeezer to help make sure you use every last drop in the container.
You will never want to go back to your old toothpaste!
Reduce: Every product that we interact with has some sort of impact on the environment. It may surprise you that 50 million pounds of waste end up in the landfill each year from just toothbrushes alone.
Isn’t that crazy? Luckily there are Natural Bamboo Toothbrushes that eliminate the creation of waste.
Reuse: Not only are these toothbrushes more stylish, but they are more sustainable, as well. Bamboo is naturally regenerative and does not require a lot of resources or land to grow.
Bamboo is also anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial, so it is the perfect material to make a toothbrush out of!
Recycle: Since bamboo is a natural material, it easily biodegrades. Simply compost the handle of the toothbrush once you need to replace it.
Reduce: Think about this: 120 billion units of packaging are produced each year from the beauty industry alone.
The silly thing is that many of these products do not really even need packaging. That’s why I love zero waste shampoo bars. They eliminate the need for plastic by being in the form of a bar and they work just as great!
I love the wide variety of EcoRoots shampoo bars. There is a scent for everyone!
Reuse: It’s quite simple. Gently massage the bar into your hair until it starts to foam. Rinse just like regular shampoo and you are all set! Just allow the bar to dry in between uses and it can be used for up to 75 washes.
Recycle: There is literally zero waste when it comes to shampoo bars. Once they are done, you are left with nothing to dispose of.
Reduce: This EcoRoots Rose Gold Safety Razor is one of my favorite sustainable products for many reasons.
First off, it saves two billion plastic razors from making their way into the landfill each year. It also is beautiful and gets such a close, smooth shave every single time. I could not recommend this product more. ❤️
Reuse: It’s really quite simple once you get the hang of it.
Instead of tossing the whole razor once the blade gets dull, simply pop a new stainless steel blade into the gorgeous rose gold handle. It may seem like an investment at first, but you can buy new blades for next to nothing. This product is more economical and sustainable!
Recycle: This razor is completely plastic-free. The handle can be reused over and over again, but it can be recycled. Once a stainless steel blade is dull, it also can be recycled.
However, be sure to check with your local recycling facility to see how they recommend to safely recycle sharp objects.
Face Lotion Yay For Earth
Reduce: I have a long list of my favorite zero waste beauty products, but the Yay For Earth Face Lotion always lands at the top. It is completely plastic-free and is so luxuriously moisturizing.
It can be applied at any time throughout the day to balance, calm, and hydrate your skin. It’s a great product to incorporate into your daily skincare routine.
Reuse: This formula is completely organic and all-natural. Since this is an oil-based moisturizer, a little goes a long way. This small container will definitely last you longer than you would expect. Whenever I apply this on my skin, it gives me such a healthy, beautiful glow. I just can’t get enough!
Recycle: The packaging of this product is plastic-free. It comes in a little glass jar with the cutest sunshine illustration on it.
Whenever I finish one, I usually end up repurposing the jar just because it is too adorable to get rid of. However, it is 100% recyclable.
Plastic-Free Deodorant Stick
Reduce: Finding a plastic-free deodorant stick is no easy feat.
That’s why I always point my friends in the direction of this Soap & Salve Co. Deodorant stick. It is also USDA organic, cruelty-free, and works amazingly! You will not have to worry about body odor or plastic pollution with this product!
Reuse: Simply apply this product in the morning and you will be set for the day! The coconut oil in this formula will allow your skin to feel moisturized and will naturally neutralize odors. There is no added scent to this product, so it will work wonderfully even on the most sensitive of skins.
Recycle: Good news! This deodorant stick is packaged in a cardboard tube. This means that it is 100% compostable and recyclable.
I love that is is completely plastic-free. This biodegradable deodorant stick rocks!
Green Home & Kitchen Go To’s
Reusable Produce Bags
Reduce: Every second, 160,000 plastic bags are used around the world. Many people do not realize that this figure also includes the plastic bags that we use in the grocery store for produce. The good news is that there are alternatives to carry our fruits and veggies in.
I love these awesome EcoRoots Reusable Cotton Produce Bags.
Reuse: It’s simple! I just store my reusable produce bags with my shopping tote bags. Whenever I am about to go to the grocery store, I grab all of my bags so I am ready to shop plastic-free. Just put your produce in the bags as you normally do.
Recycle: These bags can be used over and over again! They are completely biodegradable since they are made of organic cotton.
There is a stainless steel cord on each bag, but this can be cut off and recycled separately.
Mesh String Bag
Reduce: Since we are on the topic of plastic bags, I’ll share with you my favorite sustainable bag: the EcoRoots Organic String Bag.
I call this my “market bag” because I love bringing it to farmer’s markets. It looks so cute full of veggies, fruits, herbs, flowers, etc.
Reuse: This bag folds up super small, so it is perfect to store in another bag. It has a long handle and stretches. It even holds up to 40 pounds! I love how multifunctional it is. I’ve used it as a beach bag, laundry bag, and shopping bag before.
Recycle: Since this mesh bag is made of 100% GOTS Certified Organic Cotton, it is completely compostable. Hey, if you are planning on disposing of one of these, just send it to me instead because I seriously love it so much!
Stainless Steel Food Containers
Reduce: Not only are plastic food containers bad for the environment, they also tend to get stained, warped, and just generally degrade over time. That is why I recommend these Stainless Steel Food Containers. They are super durable, plastic-free, leak-proof, and smell-proof.
These are a zero waste kitchen essential!
Reuse: These are great for lunch, leftovers, and camping trips. Fill it with your favorite food and snugly secure the top with the latches. Store it in the fridge or in your lunchbox until you are ready to eat.
I love this set because it comes with three different sizes that all nest inside one another for storage.
Recycle: These food containers are made to last. Seriously, they do not even stain or warp. If you did want to get rid of them, they are made from stainless steel and can be recycled.
Stainless Steel Straws
Reduce: We all love turtles, so we should switch to stainless steel straws. The plastic that we consume often ends up in our oceans. If we stop consuming plastic, then we can help fight the waste issue and protect wildlife.
Reuse: I particularly love this set because it contains straight straws, bent straws, and straw cleaners. It really is the ultimate sustainable straw set. Either use them at home or carry with you to use them at restaurants, coffee shops, or cafes. They pair nicely with a stainless steel tumblr.
Recycle: Unlike single use straws, these can be reused indefinitely. You could always easily recycle them if you wanted to dispose of them since they are made from stainless steel.
Talk about a zero waste essential right here.
Reduce: Cling wrap is a product of the past. Made from cheap, filmy plastic, these are impossible to compost or recycle.
Even though I refuse to use plastic wrap, I still want to keep my food fresh. That is why I love Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps.
Reuse: You can wrap cheese, fruit, vegetables, bread, or whatever else you can think of with this product. The beeswax will allow it to keep it’s shape. Simply wash with cool water and a mild soap once finished. Allow the wrap to dry and it is ready to be used again!
Recycle: The only two materials of this product are organic cotton fabric and beeswax, so it is completely biodegradable.
What an awesome zero waste product!
Dish Washing Block
Reduce: In most cases, packaging really is not even needed.
This amazing Dish Washing Block proves that. Most dish soap comes in a plastic bottle, which is just contributing to the global plastic waste crisis.
This block stands on its own, almost like a bar of soap or a shampoo bar. Seriously, it’s a genius idea that will have you saying “goodbye” to liquid dish soap.
Reuse: Just have this block sit next to the sink. When you want to use it, rub it with a wet brush, sponge, or rag until it starts to lather. Then, just wash your dishes like you normally do. It gets even better. Not only does it wash grease and food off of your dishes, but it can also be used to clean counters, wash out stains in clothing, etc. It truly is an amazing multipurpose zero waste home essential.
Recycle: The block will shrink as you use it. When it’ gone, it’s gone. The only waste created is the small sleeve it is packaged in, but that is made of cardboard, so it can be recycled.
Eco-Friendly Laundry & Cleaning Staples
Laundry Detergent Sheets
Reduce: Whenever I walk down the cleaning aisle in the grocery store, anxiety hits me. So many chemicals, dyes, and plastic.
How do I navigate through all of it?
One of the first zero waste laundry products that I came by were these laundry detergent sheets. They are fragrance-free, dye-free, chemical-free, cruelty-free, natural, hypoallergenic, and plant-based.
Reuse: These function like any other laundry detergent. Just pop one into a load of laundry and you are all set. This box comes with 64 strips. Talk about bang for your buck!
Recycle: I especially love this brand because their packaging is plastic-free. Pods come in a cardboard box, which can either be recycled or composted.
Wool Dryer Balls
Reduce: I hate taking my laundry out of the dryer and having to pick off all the dryer sheets that cling to my clothes. I also hate that once I do that, I have to throw them into the trash. It’s completely unnecessary!
Check out these reusable wool dryer balls. They eliminate the need for those waste-creating dryer sheets.
Reuse: These organic cotton dryer balls can be thrown into your dryer with your laundry. They have no chemicals, are hypoallergenic, and great for those with sensitive skin. Reuse them over and over again and you will have fluffy, soft laundry every single time. They are unscented, but I like to put a few drops of lavender essential oil on mine.
Recycle: Since these are made from all-natural wool, they can be composted. These are total zero waste essentials!
Laundry Stain Stick
Reduce: At one point, I thought that finding a plastic-free stain solution for my clothes was next to impossible. That was until I discovered this Juniper Seed Mercantile Laundry Stain Stick. This handmade, all-natural bar works wonders on stains and does not create any waste!
Reuse: Use this stick to pre-treat stains or grimy spots. Dampen the stain then give it a good scrub. Then, just wash your laundry as you normally do. Voila! No more stains and your clothes look as good as new.
Recycle: There is no outer packaging or bottle to this bar. The only thing is the paper sleeve that it initially comes in, but this can be recycled.
Wooden Cleaning Brush
Reduce: Kitchens are full of grease, food staines, and grime. Thats why I love this wooden cleaning brush. I use it for tough spots on dishes, cleaning the oven, etc.
Use this wooden brush and your kitchen will sparkle.
Reuse: Wet with water and then add some natural cleaner to the bristles. Scrub the dirty surface until it is clean and then rinse. It’s that simple!
Recycle: This product lasts a long time, but it can be composted. The handle is made of sustainable wood and the bristles are made of sisal, which is a plant-based fiber.
Reusable Sweeper Pads For Mop
Reduce: There is convenience in just throwing away dirty things, but it is not very good for our planet. That’s why I replaced my disposable sweeper pads for these reusable sweeper pads. Washing them is an extra step, but it is a sacrifice that I am willing to make for our planet.
Reuse: These thick fabric pads can be used as a dry or wet mop. Use water and soap to get your floors to shine. Wash or rinse in between uses.
Recycle: These can be used over and over again, but if they become raggedy, you can dispose of them by composting.
Stainless Steel Furniture Dusting Spray
Reduce: I hate dusting, but I also hate a dusty house. It’s an oxymoron, I know. I do love cleaning my house with sustainable products, though, and that is why I love this zero waste essential Furniture Dusting Spray.
Reuse: This all-natural formula can be sprayed onto the surface and then wiped with a dry cloth. Use on surfaces such as wood, laminate, and other durable surfaces.
Recycle: The best part about this formula is that it comes in a stainless steel bottle. When finished, simply recycle.
What are your favorite zero waste essentials that you use?