7 Products to Help You Go Zero Waste

Set yourself up for zero waste success! We’ve narrowed down 7 products you can use to start living a more sustainable lifestyle. Seriously, it’s that easy.

1. Our first zero waste essential: This everyday reusable water bottle

klean-kanteen-zero-waste-classic-insulated-stainless-steel-water-bottle-20oz

So long plastic water bottles, hello reusables! Here’s a (not so) fun fact: every year the average American uses 167 plastic water bottles and spends about $225/year. This Insulated Klean Kanteen Water Bottle is only $28.15 and will last you a lifetime! Pick a bottle that fits your style keeps your drinks cold, and you’ll never forget to show it off. Think about how much “green” you can save just by going green and choosing reusable!

2. Ditch the cling wrap and turn to beeswax wrap!

zero-waste-bees-wrap

Up next is one of the cutest zero waste products we’ve ever come across! Upgrade your kitchen to Bee’s Wrap, a sustainable food storage alternative to plastic wrap. This fancy cloth is made with GOTS-certified organic cotton, sustainably sourced US beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and organic tree resin. Go ahead, wrap your avocados, tuck in your sandwiches, and seal up your baguettes. Once you’re done, wash it in the sink with cool water, and reuse it again (and again, and again).

We recommend beginning your Bee’s Wrap addiction with the assorted pack!

3. Say no-go to to-go boxes. Turn to a reusable food canister!

klean-kanteen-zero-waste-stainless-steel-insulated-food-canister-8oz
Skip the plastic containers and take your snacks on-the-go with this Klean Kanteen 8oz insulated food canister! Constructed from food grade stainless steel, this double walled, leak-proof, and shatter-proof canister will keep your soup piping hot come lunch time. And for dessert? This canister is great to keep some ice cream cold for an after lunch treat!

4. Reduce your forkprint with reusable utensils


About 40 billion plastic utensils are produced every year, and most of these utensils can’t even be recycled, so they end up in the landfill or the ocean. Breaking the single-use habit can be a big leap in living more simply, and To-Go Ware makes it simple with their reusable bamboo utensil set! Check out these cute utensils and organized carrying pouch, perfect for tossing into your lunchbox, purse, or backpack as you walk out the door!

5. BYOB: Bring your own bag

lassig-zero-waste-charity-shopper-reusable-grocery-bag

Do you collect plastic bags under your sink? Skip the clutter and switch to reusable! Plastic bags can’t be recycled in a curbside recycling bin, so only one plastic bag out of every 200 actually makes it to a correct recycling facility. By switching to a reusable shopping bag, you’re helping to eliminate plastic bag waste in landfills, oceans, and scattered around the planet. There are a bunch of awesome options out there, but we love these three by Lassig, Hemptique, and ChicoBag.

6. Protect your produce with these fruit and veggie bags

chicobag-zero-waste-produce-stand-reusable-produce-bags
Way to go, you remembered your reusable grocery bag! What are you going to do with your fruits and veggies, though? We have all sorts of reusable drawstring produce bags for your apples, kale, and tomatoes! Next time you go to the grocery store, grab these on your way out of the house. Not only are they reducing your plastic use, but they’re made of recycled plastic as well!

7. Say it with us: Straws Suck!

EarthHero - Zero Waste Essentials Straws

And our final zero-waste essential (drumroll please)… a reusable straw!

500 million plastic straws are thrown away daily in the U.S alone, and it’s estimated that if we don’t make a change, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Plastic straws are tricky little buggers–they’re typically too lightweight to be recycled properly, and oftentimes they get blown out of trashcans and landfills, ending up in waterways (where they get ingested by marine life and seabirds).

For those of you who prefer straws, there’s a sustainable alternative for you! Get yourself a reusable stainless steel, bamboo, or glass straw to take with you when you go out.

Shop all of our sustainable essentials here!

Hemp: It’s kind of a big deal

Let’s Talk About Hemp!

Due to its recent popularity, it may seem like hemp is a brand new discovery spreading throughout the sustainability world. In reality, this funky green plant has been used for a long, long time. Evidence of hemp use dates back to 10,000 years ago, and has been found in rope, food, textiles, paper, medicine, and more. Despite having a long history, hemp has only recently found its way back into the American economy. 

Why was hemp outlawed in the first place? Are hemp and marijuana the same? Why is hemp sustainable? Stick with us to learn why hemp is taking the American economy by storm.

The Elephant in the Room…  

Hemp hasn’t always been stigmatized. From the weaving of the first American Flag to drafting the Declaration of Independence, hemp has played a deep-rooted part in our country’s history. Even Thomas Jefferson recognized that “hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.”

In the early 1900’s, hemp production was becoming easier and more efficient, and its benefits were gaining attention. Paper, petroleum, and pharmaceutical companies recognized the threat that hemp posed, and they started getting involved. Then in the 1930’s, the stories of “evil” marijuana began to spread, and hemp took a major hit.

Now, don’t get the two mixed up! Due to the similar leaf shape, hemp is often confused with marijuana. While they do have some familial connection (they’re both “cannabis” plants), hemp contains no THC (the active ingredient that leads to a “high” from marijuana). However, because of the visual similarities, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act laid down the law–making it illegal to grow both hemp and marijuana.

After pushback in recent years, the 2014 Farm Bill finally allowed industrial farmers to start growing hemp again in states that choose to legalize hemp production. This breakthrough was the beginning of the end to the hemp-prohibition, and soon after, innovative hemp-based companies began sprouting across the country. This little plant is creating a big splash in both the American economy and in our progress towards sustainability.

Check out which states have passed laws allowing hemp production to some extent as of 2017!
Source: http://www.ncsl.org/research/agriculture-and-rural-development/state-industrial-hemp-statutes.aspx

How is Hemp Sustainable?

Less land, more crop

Not only does hemp grow in a variety of climates and soil types, it can also grow extremely close together. This means that less land is needed to produce more material–hemp can produce 250% more fiber than conventional cotton within the same amount of land! Plus, hemp grows super quickly, resulting in more yields per acre. The average tree takes about 10 years to grow to maturity, while hemp can take as little as 3 months to be ready to harvest. Economically and environmentally speaking; it’s a win-win; use up less land, and get more of a result, quicker.

EarthHero - Women's Kanab Summer Tank Top - Mango Heather
Check out this adorable hemp/cotton blend tee from Nau!

Farmers Love It

When farmers plant hemp, they reap more than a great harvest. Hemp grows like a weed (no pun intended), and therefore it literally takes up so much sunlight that actual weeds hardly ever crop up. While it grows, it replenishes the soil with nitrogen and other nutrients, while removing toxic chemicals at the same time using a process called phyto-remediation. (Fun fact: Hemp was intentionally grown at the radioactive Chernobyl site to naturally remove toxins and pollutants from the Ukrainian soil and groundwater.)

Because of its ability to replenish the soil as it grows, farmers can plant hemp year after year. This makes for happy dirt, happy farmers, and a happy planet.

Au Natural

Because the hemp plant is so durable, it doesn’t need any pesticides or herbicides to help it out. This reduces farmers’ exposure to harmful chemicals, meaning it’s safe for you to wear, dogs to chew on, and kids to play with! Hemp naturally comes in a variety of colors, and can be dyed with nontoxic, soy based inks that hold color extremely well, reducing the need for chemical heavy inks and dyes. 

Find hemp products for every occasion from Hemptique.

Strong natural hemp material often lasts longer than cotton, but once a hemp product finally runs its course, it’s 100% biodegradable!

More Water for the Fishes

Conventional cotton is highly water intensive, requiring nearly 20,000 liters of water to produce just 1kg of cotton (that’s just one pair of jeans and a t-shirt). It takes less than HALF of that amount of water to produce the same amount of hemp. Hemp is an awesome alternative for areas that are experiencing water shortages. Some cotton-producing areas are running out of fresh water for the water-intensive crop!

United States of Hemp

So, hemp is great for our planet, but could it get any better? You bet– hemp is great for our economy as well.

Today, America imports most of its hemp seed and oil from China and Canada, despite the fact that hemp can grow easily in our own backyard (and does!). In 2011, America imported $11.5 million in hemp products, increasing imports each and every year to meet demand. With the laws against industrial hemp changing, along with increased education around hemp products, there is a huge window for our country to capitalize on this industry. Some estimate that the industrial hemp market could bring in $500 million per year, with the potential for even more growth as technology adapts.

EarthHero - The Birch White Flannel
Bighorn’s The Birch shows off the natural beauty of hemp!

What’s in it for you?

This new phase of hemp growth in the US has brought with it a ton of uses for the plant. Hemp seeds are a superfood, “hempcrete” provides a carbon-negative alternative to concrete, and hemp oil can even replace fossil fuels!

There’s a million and one ways to utilize the hemp plant in a sustainable way. One of the most common uses for hemp, however, is to create comfortable, durable fabric. Hemp one of the most high-quality, low-impact textiles on the market today.  It’s naturally hypo-allergenic, bacteria-resistant, and anti-mildew, making it a great choice for sensitive skin. With a similar feel to linen, hemp is perfect for warm weather with its breathable, moisture wicking qualities. As a UV-resistant fabric, hemp will protect your skin from the sun all day long. Plus, it softens with each wash, becoming even more cozier each time you wear it.

Protect the planet, grow the economy, and treat yourself with hemp. Together, let’s break the stigma and bring hemp back strong.

Next up, How Sustainable is Bamboo?