If you keep up with eco news, you’ve probably come across the term “zero waste”.
If not, I’m here to tell you all about this new lifestyle. Don’t let the name freak you out! “Zero waste” sounds intimidating but “minimal waste” is a better way of describing it.
Basically, produce as little trash as you’re capable of – that’s it.
I won’t go into the philosophical details and how peeps live a full blown zero waste life. BUT! Imma give you the basics because I think we can agree that we all have a massive waste problem.
Zero waste is most definitely a way of addressing that. Ever heard of the 4 R’s (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Repurpose)?.
If you’re not ready to leap into a full-fledged zero waste life, no worries! We’ve rounded up 5 simple lifestyle changes to help you minimize your waste footprint.
1. BIODEGRADABLE TOOTHBRUSHES
You’ve probably seen this floating around because it’s gradually emerging into mainstream markets, and it’s a beginner zero waste product.
Sure, they don’t come in neon colors or cost as little as 2 bucks like conventional brushes do, but the environmental damage ain’t worth it y’all.
- Sustainable Jungle has covered this topic extensively in their zero waste toothbrushes article and it goes into detail about which brands are the most sustainable. One brand they do recommend is Brush with Bamboo the USA-made adult and kid toothbrushes with 95% castor bean oil bristles!
- Otherwise bogobrush (admittedly this is a shameless plug because we stock them at the ALDA market) is a good option.
2. REUSABLE BOTTLES
Oh, the good ol’ reusable bottle.
It’s a classic sustainable purchase and makes a perfect zero waste gift. It’s definitely the easiest thing to get your hands on and if we’re being honest, bottled water is just downright wasteful, right?
Not to mention paying for it and staying stocked up on it is a mild pain in the a$.
3. REUSABLE BAGS
This is another pretty accessible one that doesn’t get used enough IMO. And it’s a staple of any zero waste starter kit!
But like biodegradable toothbrushes, reusable bags have too many environmental benefits to ignore. Once you get in the habit of using them it becomes normal to be the person arguing with the self checkout that just doesn’t get that you don’t need its plastic bags.
Oh, and don’t worry, there’s no shameless plug for this one (even though we do stock ChicoBag).
- Etsy stocks a tooooon of reusable stuff. You can find heaps of hand made and beautifully designed tote bags, grocery bags, all kinda bags!
- This is also another item that’s pretty easy to find. If you can’t find it at a supermarket chain near you though, check your local health food stores.
Pro tip: Leave reusable bags in the trunk of your car that way you can’t forget them at home!
4. REUSABLE SAFETY RAZORS
Sustainable Jungle have covered zero waste shavers in detail – have a read if you want the low down on environmentally friendly shaving!
For score and seven years ago (or maybe more years I don’t keep track) they were replaced by disposable razors, which has ended up being sh*t for the planet. They look hella scary but if tons of people have managed to use them without cutting off a toe or leaving a gash in their cheek, pretty sure we can too.
Safety razors tend to be more expensive upfront, but obvs you don’t have to buy them nearly as frequently as your run of the mill razor, so you save money in the long run.
- You can get a really decent safety razor off Amazon like the Parker 99R Safety Razor. Solid make with fantastic reviews, and this butterfly-open razor is actually the same razor that Lyall (founder of this site) uses and recommends.
- For something a little special you might consider this open stainless-steel razor with a beautiful bamboo handle. It comes with a zero-waste natural shaving soap, making for a great plastic free shaving kit.
5. RECYCLED TOILET PAPER
We know, it’s a little surprising to think that this is a thing. In fact, zero waste toilet paper is even a thing!
Even though it’s not exactly the norm in the toilet paper aisle, like bamboo brushes it’s also becoming more and more common.
Let’s move on before I make you suffer through toilet paper and poo puns!
- Who Gives a Crap is a personal favorite (and not just because of the name, I promise). Read why they’re the best crap company here.
- Natural Value is another rear end winner. They’re a bit thinner than the above, but great for the more minimalist wipers who want to further reduce their consumption. You can buy some of their rolls off Amazon.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON ZERO WASTE SWAPS
Feeling a little overwhelmed? That’s normal. But you don’t need to make these changes at once!
If you’re the hella organized type you can make a schedule of when to transition to the next thing.
If (like me) you’re not, then just get a feel for using 1 thing on the list before you move onto the next so that your habits stay sustainable.
And with those green nuggets of wisdom my friends, as you’re transitioning to a lower waste lifestyle remember that you’re doing it to #protectyourwild.
*This article was originally published on Alda.Life, an online store and maker of epic outdoor gear, centered around preserving this world so we can go on more adventures, climb mountains and take long walks on the beach.