I will be the first to admit that I’m not completely zero waste yet. I still own plastic, forget to bring my reusable containers to restaurants, and have barely started transitioning to veganism. But I’m trying. These are my top zero waste everyday essentials for those wanting to transition to this lifestyle. It includes both simple switches (i.e. reusable mug, tote bag) as well as some other basics I glossed over when beginning my transition many months ago.
This switch took a bit more time to make. At first, I was committed to buying wood toothbrushes from a store, but I couldn’t find any. Not even Whole Foods carried a bamboo toothbrush. Or, if they did, it was packaged in plastic! I eventually decided to order online. One I bought from Urban Outfitters was packaged without plastic (woo!), but is produced by a company in Australia (boo!). Since I live in the United States, I sought other options. I have settled on Brush with Bamboo for now. Though I am not happy with their packaging, at least they are produced domestically. Brush with Bamboo might not be the best choice for you depending on your location and personal hygienic needs so be sure to do a little research before purchasing one!
This was the easiest switch to make. Be sure to buy soap with reusable or recyclable packaging! I buy Dr. Bronner’s peppermint soap and have been pleasantly surprised by the quality for the “lower” price point.
I know you’ve seen those cute animal-shaped tea infusers online. They’re adorable but unfortunately made of plastic. That means they’ll probably stain over time. My stainless steel one works great! By using a stainless steel infuser as well as loose leaf tea, you’ve eliminated the need for single use tea bags! Also, you now have the ability to choose how much tea you use for each cup.
Though the top of this mug is plastic, the bottom is stainless steel. Eventually I would like to acquire a more environmentally friendly option, but for now this will work. The only upkeep is washing it in between uses, so there’s really no reason not to get one! Starbucks will also take 10 cents off your order when you bring it in.
This can be used to carry snacks on the go or to take leftovers home. Plastic containers will stain over time, so glass is the better option. Plus, glass is recyclable!
This is a more high-maintenance switch. I have a few of these because once I get it dirty with food, I really don’t want to use it again. I loathe when zero wasters say “I just toss mine in with my laundry- easy!” Since I don’t have my own washer, I will either have to spend time hand washing them or let them stink up my hamper until I have time to do a load in my apartment complex’s (one) washer. However, cloth napkins do have their benefits. You can find them in many colors and patterns, and they’ll be sure to class up any meal.
Tote bags are so useful. I use mine for groceries and thrift store trips, as well as trips to the beach. There are so many designs and colors to choose from that you’re guaranteed to find something you like! Check out Etsy for more unique tote bag designs.
Here’s the video I made about these essentials:
Please leave any questions you have in the comments!