Zero waste is a concept often thought to be super expensive and is something that has a certain privilege to it.
Yes there are things that can only be found for those that are of a certain privilege; such as living nearby stores that sell items in bulk and being able to spend a little bit more money now, to save money later.
You don’t have to buy special products to be zero waste however, especially not while you have products that still work for you. I also won’t be mentioning any specific products or brands because the best brands are the ones you have in your home, that you find second hand, or that work the best for you.
The point of zero waste is not to keep buying products to replace what you have, but rather to use what you have. As much as I may want a cool, stainless steel water bottle, my current hard plastic one that I got a few years ago from Costco works perfectly fine and I will use it until it breaks.
Where you can see money saved is in the fact that you will stop needing to buy single-use items again and again as you find and replace them with products that can be reused over and over.
There are many items that used to have a significant place in my life that I am no longer buying, or other things that I have relegated to back cabinets to use only if needed (and I haven’t had to use them in quite a few months).
Here I will list some of these products as well as what I have replaced them with.
Completely Stopped Using
- Plastic Wrap: glass containers for storing items in the fridge, cloths to cover baking
- Aluminum Foil: baking dishes with lids for cooking
- Parchment Paper: silicon baking mats
- Makeup Remover Wipes: Ultrabland cleanser from Lush and a cloth
- Straws: metal straws
- Disposable coffee/tea mugs: bringing my own mug, not buying drinks out
- Plastic bags: bringing my own bags, carrying items out if I forget
- Disposable razors: looking into the best metal safety razor to buy
Significantly Lowered Use
- Paper Towels: rags for cleaning, cloth napkins for eating
- Single portion snacks (granola bars, pudding cups): fruit, veggies, bulk snacks I can buy in larger bags and portion out myself
- Dryer sheets (just finishing up the last few): Dryer balls
- Ziplock bags (if I do use them I reuse as many times as I can): glass containers, mason jars (yes, even for freezing)
Now not all of these swaps are ones that save money, but many of them will in the long run. In addition, I have noticed that I spend a lot more time in the fresh sections of the grocery store rather than walking through the isles of disposable products. This really saves money as well as helps out the environment, two things that I think are completely positive.