It’s 2020, and that means new goals and opportunities for the new year (and the new decade!) Whether you’re new to your sustainability journey, or have been doing it for years, there’s always new ways to reduce your carbon and plastic footprints. To inspire you we’ve rounded up 20 of our favorite zero waste swaps, from the classic reusable straw and beyond!
It’s estimated that 500 MILLION straws are used every single day in the US. And.they.don’t.degrade.
#SuckResponsibly with FinalStraw 2.0 –the world’s first reusable, collapsible straw that raised over $1.8 million on Kickstarter! This badass little straw is a convenient, durable alternative to single-use plastic straws, thanks to long-lasting materials like stainless steel and food-grade silicone… not wasteful plastic. Their patented self-assembling foldable design lets you tuck the straw into its recycled plastic carrying case with ease, and comes with an innovative telescoping cleaning brush made from stainless steel for when it’s time to clean the straw. Plus, the carrying case features a keychain clip, so you never have to worry about leaving your straw at home again.
Swap Ziploc bags for a zero waste alternative! Designed to be reusable, washable, and totally sustainable, the Stasher bag is made from 100% silicone… not plastic. Stasher is the world’s first self-sealing, airtight, non-plastic bag to go against wasteful single-use plastic bags. Best of all, it can do so much more than plastic can. Use these silicone bags in the freezer, microwave, oven, dishwasher, or even a sous vide machine (and check out 7 ways to use a Stasher Bag here!) Perfect for meal prep, leftovers, cooking, and storage, starting the new year with a Stasher bag (or two!) will set you up for sustainable success.
Did you know that every time you do your laundry, your clothes release hundreds of thousands of microfibers–aka tiny plastic and chemical coated fibers–that eventually end up in our waterways? It’s even estimated that NYC alone has 6.8 BILLION microfibers flowing into its harbor each day.
Cora Ball knew this problem had to be addressed at the source (us!)–which inspired their easy-to-use laundry ball that catches the microfibers that naturally shed from clothes in the wash. Made from 100% recycled plastic, and recyclable after you enjoy it for years, the Cora Ball works by trapping and securing threads in its “spindles” that can be easily cleaned as microfibers collect in your washing machine. Microplastics will be a huge environmental issue that we have to tackle this decade–get a head start on helping with the Cora Ball!
Did you know that single-use grocery bags and shopping bags are not curbside recyclable? By simply bringing your reusable shopping bag you can stop hundreds of plastic bags from heading to our landfills (and save money from .10 cent bags!) Made from recycled cotton from post-consumer and post-industrial cotton scraps, this tote bag also supports both fair wages and fair labor practices through Eco-Bags’ supply chain. Plus, it features our sassy “Shop Like You Give a Sh*t” slogan, showing the world that you care!
Not only are plastic water bottles wasteful, but are more expensive in the long run than reusable alternatives, and don’t work nearly as well (warm water, no thanks!)
An easy, and cost-effective swap is getting an insulated, reusable water bottle like the ones from Klean Kanteen! Not only can it keep hot drinks hot for nearly 20 hours, and icy drinks cold for nearly 50 hours, it is non-toxic and BPA free. Plus, it has a loop top, so you can clip a carabiner on it and attach it to your bag or backpack, so it’s easy to bring along on adventures this year! Saving money + reducing plastic = what 2020 is about!
HiBAR shampoo and conditioner bars are changing the game when it comes to effective eco-alternatives for personal care. Traditional hair care products often contain harmful ingredients like parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or silicones, but HiBAR is choosing to truly “raise the bar” with thoughtfully chosen plant-based ingredients. Each zero waste bar contains high-quality, naturally-derived ingredients like nutrient-dense coconut oil, moisturizing shea butter, and fragrant essential oils. Plus, no added water means they’re super concentrated and a little bit goes a long way. Say “see ya!” to your plastic packaged hair care, and hello HiBar!
Using disposable cotton balls and facial rounds every day to clean your face and take off your makeup can get pretty wasteful. Marley’s Monsters created organic reusable facial rounds so you can cleanse your skin, throw it in the wash, and reuse. It’s that easy! Plus, these reusable makeup remover pads are handmade in the USA from 100% organic cotton so you’re not potentially leeching chemicals and pesticides into your body. Another cotton ball bites the dust! Pair it with natural and zero waste skincare products, and you’re ready to #glow this year.
Kick that plastic toothpaste tube to the curb and make the switch to zero waste with toothpaste tablets! Made from high-quality natural and organic ingredients free of fluoride, SLS, and glycerin, this product kills bacteria and promotes fresh breath and healthy teeth and gums. With a vegan and certified cruelty free formula, plus plastic free packaging, this toothpaste alternative is the perfect addition to your natural oral care routine. Not feeling the tabs? Try toothpowder, and finish it off with mouthwash tablets!
Did you know over 4.7 million plastic toothbrushes that will never biodegrade are dumped in our landfills and oceans every year? And this number is expected to increase this decade! Vote against plastic pollution with a bamboo toothbrush, made from 100% Certified Organic Giant Moso bamboo harvested in the wild mountain ranges in South China. The easy-to-grip bamboo handle is paired with plant-based bristles made from 62% Castor Bean Oil and is Certified USDA Biobased. Plus, when you’re ready to get a new brush, simply remove the bristles and you can commercially compost the handle instead of tossing it!
10) Safety Razor
Fact: over two billion plastic razors and cartridges are discarded annually in the U.S. alone – and almost all of those will head straight to our landfills (or wind up in our oceans!) With a safety razor you can reduce the amount of single-use plastic on our planet – while getting your closest, irritation-free shave.
With a sturdy handle made from solid brass and a single high-quality steel blade, this eco-friendly safety razor removes hair easily without tugging or pulling at the skin, which means less razor bumps and ingrown hairs. Plus, using a safety razor is more cost-effective than conventional razors over time – and both the blades and the handle are recyclable when they can’t be used anymore! Pair it with zero waste shave soap, and you’re ready for smooth skin!
Paper towels are one of the most common household products that create literal tons of waste each year (and contribute to deforestation!) No longer! Unpaper towels are a zero waste option that you can reuse again and again for messes, spills, and everyday cleaning. Handmade from 100% organic cotton, you won’t have to worry about pesky chemicals and pesticides ever coming close to your home and kitchen. Plus, you can just toss them in the washing machine when it’s time for a refresh! Save money, reduce paper towels, and protect the planet by switching to zero waste unpaper towels this year.
Swap your single-use paper coffee filter for a sustainable alternative with reusable coffee filters from Khala Cloths! Made from an eco-friendly blend of organic hemp and cotton cloth, this reusable coffee filter is a substitute for single-use paper or plastic filters and plastic coffee K-Cups. Handmade in Boulder, CO, this reusable filter is durable and washable, and will last about a year with proper care. Pick your way to brew: they have a cone filter for #4 compatible machines, and a pour over filter as well!
Did you know that studies estimate 309 million Americans used plastic trash can liners in 2018? Multiply this times several trash bags a week… and that’s a whole lotta’ single-use plastic coming just from trash bags! Reusable bin liners are different–made from durable rPETe from plastic bottles that can be machine washed again and again to reduce reliance on single-use trash bags. Perfect for things like recycling, yard waste, and other common sources of trash, these reusable bin bags are naturally water resistant–so they won’t break down with your waste. Zero waste living is all about reducing the amount of total waste you need to toss, and that includes the bags holding your waste!
The zero waste kitchen solution you didn’t know you needed is finally here: castile dish soap. Plastic dish soap bottles are extremely wasteful, and are often times not recyclable either. Castile soap has a vegan, natural formula that can get even the dirtiest dishes clean. It’s highly concentrated to last longer than a typical bottle of dish soap, and has French green clay, sea salt, and natural oils to lather and cleanse dishes. Pair with a natural loofah or sisal washcloth for a zero waste clean!
What comes to mind when you think about the dishwasher or the washing machine in your home? Maybe the amount of water or energy they require? What about the products we use to help them run effectively?
While often overlooked, household goods like dish detergent or laundry pods play a huge roll in the impact humans have on the planet. In addition to creating an incredible plastic-free cleaning product that we didn’t even know we needed, Dropps also partners with Oceana, the largest international ocean conservation organization. Through science-backed policy reform, Oceana is effectively tackling major issues like overfishing, habitat destruction, and various other threats to marine biodiversity. With Dropps, each load of laundry or dishwasher cycle that you do this year will mean that you’re contributing to real environmental change. Happy cleaning!
Stop wasting money and materials with single-use spray bottles, and switch to a reusable alternative with a refillable glass spray bottle. Unlike spray bottles that are made from plastic and cannot usually be recycled at the end of their life, this refillable glass bottle can be used again and again with all sorts of cleaning sprays or DIY recipes. Plus, you can write on the glass with a permanent marker, or create your own labels to help distinguish what’s inside! Get your DIY on this decade!
Unpaper towels are great for smaller spills, but sometimes you need to pull out the big guns. Reusable Swedish dishcloths are perfect for tackling tougher messes – and composting when they can’t be used any more. Made from cellulose, cotton and non-toxic vegetable dye, this set of two dish cloths is the perfect zero waste addition to any cleaning set up. They’re super absorbent (way more than cotton rags!), quick-drying, and machine washable so they’re easy to keep clean. When you’ve used and reused them, just throw them in your compost bin!
Did you know that single-use plastic produce bags and shopping bags are non-recyclable? By simply bringing your reusable produce bag you can stop hundreds of plastic bags from heading to our landfills. Made from GOTS Certified Organic Cotton that’s knit into a lightweight and breathable string bag, this medium-sized reusable produce bag is great for keeping fruits and vegetables that need to breathe fresh.
In ancient times, beeswax was used by the Egyptians to preserve food. Then, in the 1900’s, this inspired the use of beeswax infused cloths as food storage. A century later, Khala Cloths is here to put a modern (and vegan!) twist on these historic wraps with their plant-based food wraps. Moldable with the warmth of your hands, these wraps consist of a cotton-hemp fabric infused with consciously-sourced soy wax, jojoba and coconut oil, and tree resin. 2020 is all about healthy eating and sustainable snacking, and these are up to the task!
One or two? It’s up to you! Tiffins are a nifty lunchbox system from India that lets you travel comfortably with both hot and cold food, with a lid that doubles as a plate. It’s stainless steel construction with fold down handle is lightweight, making it easy to carry and clean, but hard to live without. The self-latching top container lets you use your tiffin solo for little snacks, or as a dynamic duo. Just pack it, stack it, and go! It’ll help you meal prep, save leftovers, and reduce plastic food packaging as a whole!
Bonus points: Zero Waste Home Book – learn all the different ways to keep your home zero waste with Bea Johnson’s book! No matter where you are on our journey, this book will set you up for your most zero waste year yet.