8 Zero Waste Swaps to Help You go Plastic Free
Updated: May 27
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A big step in your zero waste journey is to stop bringing plastic into your home.
Plastic is toxic , it's harmful to your health, its harmful to animals, and it's harmful to the environment.
Because of cheaply made products, one time use items, and excessive packaging our planet is drowning in plastic. The majority of plastic can only be recycled one time before it ends up in the landfill or finds it's way into our oceans. Materials such as aluminum and glass can be recycled indefinitely, this makes them a better choice for our planet.
You do not need to be 100% plastic free to make a difference. I like to take it step by step instead of all at once. It is not sustainable for you or anyone else to do everything all at once. To prevent feeling over whelmed and giving up try to switch to plastic free alternatives as you run out of your current products.
It is not in your best interest or the earths best interest to get rid of all the plastic in your home. If you already have it, use it, reuse it, and repurpose it. Give it as much life as possible.
EASY Zero Waste Swaps to Help You go Plastic Free
1. Reusable Water Bottles & Travel Mugs
Making sure you have reusable options for your drinks is a great way to reduce your plastic footprint. One time use water bottles are rarely recycled are not safe to be reused.
One time use coffee cups typically cannot be recycled because they are lined with either plastic or wax.
One time use items are a HUGE problem. Billions of disposable cups are being used yearly.
An easy fix is to always be prepared with your reusable options! I avoid buying reusable plastic water bottles as well but if you already have one it is a great option. Using what you have is the most environmentally friendly thing you can do.
My favourite place to shop for water bottles and to go cups are thrift stores. You can get them for a fraction of the price and it is way better for mother earth.
Collapsible water bottles are something I have also been seeing a lot of recently. They are perfect if you don't have room to carry a water bottle with you. I prefer to buy the silicone water bottles over plastic. Silicone is better for your health, is more durable ,long lasting, and is more ocean friendly than plastic.
Reusable Travel Mugs:
I try to always have a to go cup in my car or purse. You never know when you are going to need a coffee and I'm not one to say no to caffeine. You can never have too many travel mugs
Collapsible travel mugs are also a thing!!
Note: They are usually made out of thin material and can get very hot and hard to hold if you are using them for tea or hot coffee.
2. Reusable Shopping and Produce Bags
Single use disposable plastic bags are harming out planet. These bags are made from non renewable resources and take large amounts of energy to make.
Not only that but they are releasing dangerous chemicals, are hard to recycle, and they are the most common type of litter worldwide.
Before you rush out the door to go get yourself some reusable bags remember the most eco friendly item is the one you didn't buy.
Plastic grocery bags and produce bags are strong and can be reused. If you have a huge stash of plastic bags why not reuse them? There is no harm in using items you already have.
Most of us already have reusable shopping bags due to many stores banning one time use bags!! YAY! But have you made the switch to reusable produce bags?
Reusable produce bags are just as easy to use as the disposable plastic baggies the grocery stores provide. I usually store my produce in my fridge in the produce bags. It's easy and the only extra step is to throw them in the wash occasionally.
I personally wish I bought the see through bags so the cashiers could easily see what is inside.
3. Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
This is one area lots of people seem to be afraid to make the switch. Switching up your hair and shower routine is a big deal I get it. No one wants to mess up their hair.
Think about the amount of plastic bottles you and everyone else use in their showers and bathrooms. That's A LOT of plastic .
Shampoo and conditioner bars are not only plastic free but they are better for your hair. They are usually natural and contain no added junk.
I have liked all the shampoo bars I have tried. They are easy to use, suds up good, and get your hair clean. Conditioner bars are a different story. The first bar I used was from Lush and it just didn't do the trick.
There are tons of brands out there. Be prepared to test out a few and see which you like the best.
4. Bamboo Toothbrush
Have you ever noticed that most bathroom "necessities" are plastic ,including your toothbrush?
In North America over a billion toothbrushes end up in landfills each year!!!! That doesn't include all the toothbrushes polluting our oceans and beaches.
Plastic toothbrushes take over 400 years to decompose. That means every toothbrush you have ever used is still here somewhere.
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is one of the easiest switches you can make. The bamboo handles can be composted and the bristles can be recycled!
Related: My Zero Waste Dental Routine,
5. Safety Razors
Honestly I haven't made this switch yet but I'll be sure to let you know when I do. I bought an excessive amount of disposable razors before my zero waste journey started and I plan to use them all up before I buy something new.
I am very excited to try out a safety razor!
The price of disposable razors or razor heads can get expensive and they create a lot of waste.
Safety razors are made from sustainable steel and will last you forever ( or close to it). You can collect our blades and recycle them in the metal bin at your local recycling centre.
I have been told Leaf is the easiest to use!
6. Cloth Pads and Menstrual Cups
Tampons and pads are so incredibly wasteful. Every woman will use approximately 12,000 pads or tampons in her life. They cannot be recycled because they contain human waste.
Switching to a waste free period is amazing. It's way healthier for your body. I can honestly say my periods are less painful and shorter now.
I am a HUGE fan of menstrual cups! You can go 12 hours without thinking about your period! They are reusable, easy to clean, and don't contain any anything harmful that will mess up your hormones. ( Shop menstrual cups on amazon.ca, amazon.com, and well.ca)
Cloth pads and period panties are also a great option. They are way more comfortable than disposables and come in such cute prints.
7. Reusable Wax Wraps and Reusable Baggies
Plastic wrap and plastic baggies are polluting our home and killing innocent animal life. I'm not okay with that! That's why I made the swap to wax wraps and reusable baggies. They are so easy to use, cute, and a great earth friendly option for food storage.
Wax wraps are a great replacement for plastic wrap. I use mine to keep sliced produce fresh, cover an uneaten bowl of food, and even keep my home made bread fresh.
Wax food wraps are typically made from cotton and bees wax. There are vegan options as well!
Once your wax food wrap's life is over ( around 6 months of heavy use) you can compost it!
Reusable Lunch and Snack Bags:
I love my reusable baggies! They are way cuter than plastic baggies and can be used for so many things! If you currently have baggies keep using them and reusing them for as long as possible. They are easy to wash and last a long time if taken care of.
8.Wool Dryer Balls
Dryer sheets are not only extremely wasteful but they are toxic ! They contain harmful chemicals that stick to your clothes , go into the air you breathe , and rub onto your skin.
That's definitely not an item I want in my no tox life.
Wool dryer balls are a great replacement!
They absorb moisture in the dryer which helps reduce static cling and reduce drying time.
I have seen vegan options online using bamboo but I have never tested them.
Related: My Zero Waste Laundry Routine
These 8 swaps with drastically reduce your plastic footprint and help heal our planet.
Remember it is best to take this journey slow. As you finish using up wasteful items start switching them to their waste free alternatives. This journey is not about being perfect, it's about doing your best for the earth. You cannot do your best if you stop because you are overwhelmed!
What was ( or will be ) your first zero waste swap?
Mine was a bamboo toothbrush.