A big goal for me this year is to become green and switch to as many paperless and plastic-free products as possible. I want to reduce my contribution to Garbage Island as much as possible. So I've been doing some research and finding things to replace my most used single-use items.
I've already switched Paper towels and sponges for "bar rags" and I'm so excited to keep switching! A big thing I wanted to do while switching to Zero Waste is also buying my items from fellow makers. So I found as much of these as I could on Etsy. Another big 2020 goal of mine is to buy small any time I can. I'm tired of giving my money to Amazon and Walmart. Makers Unite!
Anyway, on to the items I want to get to switch to. Buckle up this is a long one. (PS click on any of the product photos to go to the items! All product images are rights to the original shops!) Washable Cotton Rounds and Felt Sheets instead of One Use Cotton Pads I use a lot of single-use cotton pads when washing my face or cleaning my nails. I can use the washable Cotton Rounds for my makeup removal and applying my toner and stuff. And I found that some people now have felt sheets for nail polish remover! How genius is that? I found this set of Cotton Rounds that I'm really into. There are plenty of designs and prints on Etsy but most of those are double-sided. I like these ones because they are my favourite leaf print but are pure white on one side. I like my skincare to be dye-free. This way I get cute ones and the dye-free I want. When it comes to the felt sheets I really like these ones. I don't want pure white ones since I think those are the most likely to stain. I like the grey colour of these ones and the edge detail is super cute! Plus this is the biggest set I could find so that's a bonus. Look how cute both of these are!
Flannel Toilet Roll instead of Toilet Paper This might seem gross at first, I thought so too. But I've thought about it and I've decided when I switch I'm going to make a "baby wipe" solution and put it in a spray bottle. When I wipe #2 I'll spray the cloth first. It will actually clean you better than toilet paper. You know since we wipe with the paper dry. Anyway, after looking at a bunch of options on Etsy, I picked these. Again I didn't want to go for pure white because there is a possibility of staining here and colour or design can cover that better. I'll be getting the mixed print for some fun. Like how cute are these?
Kitchen Brush instead of SOS Pads/Scrub Sponges Like I said I switched to "bar rags" for paper towel and dishwashing needs. And most of the time that's enough but sometimes something is baked-on or burnt on. I want to switch to ceramic cookware soon and you can't be using steel wool on that so I want to get used to a kitchen brush now. I chose this brush to put on my list because it's not bamboo (which rots too fast and gets mouldy) and because it was cute! Also, this one looked like it wouldn't be too rough for my ceramic. And I also like that it is handheld rather than a handle so I can get better leverage.
Product Bags and Grocery Totes instead of all that Plastic The worst part about grocery shopping is all the freaking plastic! The little green plastic produce bags and the mountains of plastic bags at the checkout. I live in a state that doesn't charge for the plastic bags so they are abundant here. I think my first Zero Waste purchase will be produce bags and grocery totes. I love the colour of these woven produce bags and I love that they stretch to fit lots of fruit and veggies! I also picked out a set of linen bags for things like coffee beans, bakery bread, bulk rice or beans, pasta, small fruits like strawberries and other bulk choose-you-own items that are too small for the woven bags.
As for the grocery bags. They cost a lot more than they used to. I know I'm on Etsy and people price for the time decorating them so it isn't too crazy that they are around $9-12. But they are crazy high on amazon. 3 plain bags are like $28! I'd rather pay a bit more per bag from a Maker and get a cute piece of art on my bag. So I'm going to link to a bunch of cute bags here. Click on the photo to be taken to that listing! A few of these bags range up a bit more than $12 but they are bigger bags. None of them are over $18.
Washable Loose Leaf Tea Bags w/Tea Leaves instead of Pre-bagged tea I discover that loose leaf tea bags are a thing and I'm obsessed with trying them! I chose these bags. I liked the size, style and fabric used. Like how cute are these? I chose washable bags over a tea infuser because metal changes the taste of tea and coffee. So these cute bags are much better for me. I'm excited to try these and finally try loose leaf tea!
Cloth Coffee Filters instead of disposable ones I debated on whether to switch to cloth or compost filters. I ultimately decided to go with cloth since they are more cost-efficient. I really want to switch to an espresso machine since I like lattes plus the machine is zero waste itself but I don't know when that will happen cause they are so expensive so, for now, it's cloth filters. I chose these filters since they came in a two-pack. Most days I only drink one cup but some days I want two. So having a second filter might come in handy.
Cotton Period Pads instead of Plastic Single Use Pads This one is a big change. It one month I can use as many as 40-50 plastic pads. Plus with the wrapping, they come it that is a huge amount of plastic I'm tossing out. So cloth pads were definitely one of the first things I thought of when switching to zero waste. Just switching to Cotton Rounds and Cloth pads I'd be cutting my waste drastically. This is the perfect starting place for me, especially because most pads make me super itchy. So the only ones I've been able to use are the Care Free Panty Liners that basically have super tiny orbeez in them so they are a huge waste producer. So I want to switch to cotton ASAP. Both for me and the environment. Now when looking into them I found that pretty much all of them have a fleece lining for your skin. Which just sounds awful to me. It sounds like sitting on a teddy bear. Sounds itchy and hot. I don't know about you but my time of the month is when my pelvic area is at it's hottest. (TMI?) So adding a fleece underwear situation to that just sounds horrible. So the search was on to find a full cotton lined pad. After 3 days of searching and enough fleece liners to make me go insane, I finally found an all-cotton outside pad! And a huge plus the pads in this shop are cute too! I gravitated towards the constellations in the sky pattern. She has the pads available in multiple lengths and padding levels so there is an option for everyone's flow! I can't wait to order some! Her unicorns print is pretty cute too! I'd love to see her do something with bees and maybe some Halloween and Christmas Prints when those times get closer. Yes, I am the kind of person who would buy seasonal print pads. A fall print would be awesome too! But how cute is this stars print!
Wet Bag (For Pads and Swim Suits) So witching to cloth pads means that sometimes you're going to have changed your pad in public. You can't just toss a blood-soaked pad into your bag. So toss it in a wet bag. I chose this one. I love that I found one that is a banana leaf print! Honestly, I think I'd buy everything in banana leaf if I could. Plus I can use this for wet swimsuits too!
Flannel Tissues instead of Kleenex So this is kind of like the pads. I can only use one brand Kleenex. I create so much waste with tissues. I have really bad allergies that cause issues even if I take my pills regularly. Plus there is plastic in the box window and I buy them in bulk so they are wrapped in plastic. My aunt always used a Viva Paper Towel as her "hanky" and kept it turned in her shirt sleeve or in her pocket. I'm actually really excited to switch to flannel tissues both so I can think of her when I use them and so my nose won't be as raw. I found this adorable set of three that comes with a cute pouch to keep them in!
Cotten Dryer Balls instead of Dryer Sheets With all these washables I'm going to be doing weekly laundry, well an extra load than I already do anyway. I've been looking into dryer balls for quite a while. I hate using dryer sheets but without them, the clothes are static fulled and kind of rough. I hate using fabric softener because it always leaves my clothes feeling grimy. But all the dryer balls I could find were wool or plastic. I don't want wool because I'm allergic and I don't want plastic because I'll have to throw them away eventually. So I was extremely excited when I found these cotton dryer balls on Etsy! They are hand-knitted solid balls. You can order them unscented or with a bottle of essential oils. You add the oils to the balls a few hours before washing. The shop makes multiple colours. I went with the black and white ones.
Wooden Hair Brush instead of a Plastic one My hairbrush is over 5 years old and is starting to lose its bristles. I got it for free from Sally Beauty forever ago. It's had a good life but now that I'm getting close to getting rid of it I feel bad because it's all plastic. So I want it to be my last plastic brush. I want to switch to a wood brush. When it starts to die I can take it apart and burn the wood pieces so they don't end up in a landfill. Or even just toss it in my compost bin!
In my search, I've found that pretty much all brushes are made of bamboo which worries me a little bit as bamboo rots when it gets wet a lot easier than other woods. But if I dry my brush every time I use it on my wet hair it should last quite a while. And at least when it does die I can burn it and recycle the natural rubber. Or just the whole thing into the compost! I chose this brush on Etsy since it uses a natural rubber that makes the whole brush compostable!
Silicone Zipper Baggies instead of Ziplock and Silicone Lids instead of Tinfoil/Plastic Wrap Ok back to the kitchen. I use a lot of zipper baggies. I use them to freeze, to store and in food prep, like shaking seasoning onto potatoes or chicken. I hate how many I use. This is a switch I need to make asap! I wanted to find these on Etsy because I could contact the seller and make sure there weren't being made in a sweatshop or something. I found the shop The Absolute Kitchen and found just want I need! She has a bunch of zippy bag options!
She also sells Silicone stretchy lids which is something else I need to move it. I use a fair bit of tinfoil and plastic wrap. stretchy lids would help so much with that! I chose to get the 6 Bag Set that comes with 2S, 2M and 2L. I also want to get 2XL bags and a set of 7 lids as a start. The lids are circular and a mix of sizes from 2.6in to 9.4 so I'll have a lif for just about every plate and bowl I own. I'm planning on using the baggies for freezing chicken and veggies and fruit so I'm defiantly going to be getting a lot more but the 8 is a good start and will give me an idea of what sizes I'll use most.
Cloth Snack bags instead of plastic baggies As a celiac, I have to pack lunch pretty much all the time. Depending on what I pack I use Tupperware or plastic baggies. I found this trio set on Etsy and I love them! I like that they zip so I can carry chips or dry cereal without them going stale. And the print is really cute!!
A Cutlery Bag to BMO instead of using plastic ones I love this idea! Keeping a set of cutlery in my purse in case I need it is such a great idea! And the bags I found are so cute!!! I'm definitely getting the cactus one! And I might get the triangles for my toothbrush!
Glass Pitcher and Charcoal Water Filtering Sticks/Pieces instead of a Brita So we literally just bought a Brita to cut the waste and cost of bottled water out of our budget but the filters are pricey and still create waste. Charcoal sticks, however, can be repurposed as deodorizer sticks and can them be tossed in the compost/garden or burned in the fire pit.
Now I'm only getting the charcoal sticks and pieces on Etsy because I want to get a massive glass water tub so I can have a lot of clean water at a time. The pieces are for the tub of water while the sticks can go in my water bottles. With the 9 pieces can clean 3 litres of water and with the stick set I can clean up to 6 bottles at once! They will last up to 4 months with a monthly boil clean!
Glass Water Bottles instead of plastic bottles Even when using a reusable plastic bottle you can still end up with plastic leaching so I want to switch to a glass bottle. I found so many cute ones on Etsy! (Click the image to see the listings!)
Wow, that ended up being super long! I actually cut some stuff to do a beauty edition part two. I hope you guys stuck around for the whole thing! Did I miss any Zero Waste essentials? Let me know in the comments! Thanks so much for reading this post! I hope you enjoyed it! Please leave a like if you did, it's much appreciated!
Photo Credit: Cover Photo was taken by me with a Canon EOS Rebel T5 with an 18-55mm lens and edited by me in Photoshop. All Product Photos are directly from the Etsy Stores that are linked and all rights to original owners. **This post was not sponsored**