Need some new chapstick? How about coffee? I've compiled a list of some zero waste alternatives to day-to-day items we all replace eventually. I've found that all of these sustainable options work just as well for me, if not better than the plastic-packaged, toxic stuff we're all accustomed to buying. So, give these a try! Let your curiosity get the best of you and see how these things work for you. I guarantee you'll begin to think about how to make more sustainable swaps in every facet of your life if you just start small.
It wasn't until this summer that I finally used up the shampoo I'd bought in bulk and made the switch to a shampoo bar. My hair tends to be pretty oily and I thought the bar might not be strong enough to really clean my hair, but after a few uses, I've found that I really like it! I bought a Celestial Farms bar at my local farmer's market, and they had lots of products and scents to choose from.
This was also my first summer using a menstrual cup. I did my research on sizing and brands and ended up buying an OrganiCup. It comes with plenty of information and it's actually really easy to use. Not only is it less wasteful, but it's also less time consuming and expensive. You can literally leave it in for a whole day without emptying it or even having to think about it! Still, this might sound a bit scary, so if you're not ready to make this leap, choose the most natural and eco-friendly feminine products that you can! (Think less packaging and applicator-free tampons!)
DIY Lip Balm
The last lip balm I bought was also a Celestial Farms product because it was packaged in a small glass container and was sold locally! However, lip balm is actually pretty easy to make yourself. There are plenty of recipes with various different scents and ingredients, so it's only a matter of mixing some things up for your very own batch!
Although I've always used a natural deodorant, I was pleased when I found a similar product packaged in a glass jar instead of a plastic tube. I've bought Schmidt's jars recently, and I'm saving the empty jars to send back to their recycling club. For every five empty jars you recycle, they'll send you one jar for free! It's easy to use, smells great, and works really well!
Of course, plenty of people have jumped on the bandwagon in buying reusable straws. I absolutely love mine, but my best advice is to keep them handy so you have them when you need one! I keep one in my bag (with my bamboo utensils), in my car's glove box, and with my collection of reusable mugs and Tupperware. They're so convenient and honestly just logical! It's never the end of the world to end up using a disposable straw when it's handed to you, but the less straws we throw away, the smaller the market for plastic straws will become!
I absolutely love my bamboo utensils! They're totally handy but so small and lightweight that they can fit in any bag and be ready to use whenever! You can find them at most health food stores or co-ops, and they're very affordable. It feels good to be able to turn down a plastic fork when you have your own in your pocket!
I was on the fence about the DIY toothpaste until I actually tried it. I used a simple baking soda and coconut oil recipe, which is a bit salty to the taste, but with some essential oils ends up smelling great! I've found that it works well and it's so easy to make! The baking soda is a great ingredient for cleaning teeth, and when paired with a bamboo toothbrush, you have a match made in heaven!
Compostable Coffee Pods
I'm definitely a coffee drinker, but I haven't yet converted to a french press. Instead, while living in the dorms I wanted quick and easy coffee, so I bought some compostable K cups from Amazon. I bought these Tayst ones, which come in compostable bags and recyclable boxes. They even come with a handwritten note from the company thanking you for your purchase! It's good, sustainable coffee!
So, if you've been hesitant to make any of these changes, I can promise you that they're worth it. You don't have to start the swap right away; in fact, the whole point of zero waste is to use up what you have before tossing it out for something else. Just consider your options next time you run out of toothpaste or shampoo! Every little action is important, and you have the power to make a change.
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