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Zero Waste. This movement has been around for while, but recently it has been catching waves all over the world. Bulk food stores are popping up all around, plastic straws and bags are being banned, and more people are looking for alternatives to plastic and really anything else that could be considered “single use.” Have you heard of the zero waste movement?
Now I’m now zero waste expert, but I really have been trying to be mindful how how I buy and use products lately, especially in the kitchen. We live in a part of the country where the trash collection is only once every two weeks, and compost and recycling is picked up every week. They are really pushing us to create less waste, so we are trying to follow suit!
I am not perfect. I really enjoy buying NEW things when we can and there are some plastic things I can’t give up (i.e. specific skin care, etc. etc.). I still purchase things with plastic when I need to, but I do try my best to find alternatives when I can and when they are affordable, especially when it comes to food items. Each shopping trip and each day I try to improve, but for now easy swap outs are what I am all about. It’s a slow process for us, so I thought I would share my top 11 easy and simple zero waste swap outs that weren’t inconvenient AT ALL, to hopefully inspire you. Have you tried any of these? Do you have any to add to our list? Let us know by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. We are always looking for more easy swap outs!
Seems easy enough right? Well, it can be, depending on where you live. Like I mentioned above, we live in a part of the U.S. where they give us a huge bin and we just fill it up with compostable items and place it out on the street to be picked up once a week (unlike the trash, which is every other week). If I’m being honest, even as simple as that is, we weren’t doing it until just a few weeks ago regularly. It was just so easy for us to use to trash bin, it was second nature. Not until we purchased a compost bin for our kitchen did we really get into it. Now, we notice that we really only use one full trash bag every two weeks. That is a huge improvement for us!
We’ve been very lucky to have lived in several cities across the U.S. and I am aware that this type of composting procedure is fairly uncommon. If you live on a farm or you own a good portion of land, it is possible to compost yourself, which from what I have seen, can be pretty easy after you get the hang of it. For the rest of the country where composting yourself and city wide composting isn’t available, there are still other options. Maybe not quite as easy, but worth looking into.
Another thing that seems simple enough, but so many people are not doing it. We are not perfect, but we are trying to pay more attention and do the best that we can. Similar to the compost bin, we are lucky enough to have a large recycling bin that is also picked up every week, so it really is super easy for us, as long as we take the time to do it each week.
This was probably the easiest swap out of them all. We change our toothbrushes every few months and when we ran out of the plastic ones that the dentist normally gives us (I’ve started declining the plastic ones and they in turn donate them to a nearby nursing home - win!), and we purchased a set of bamboo tooth brushes. The ones we purchased are 100% biodegradable, which is awesome. There are so many great options out there, do a quick google search and there will be several inexpensive options to choose from.
METAL TOOTHPASTE TUBE
Yep, it’s a thing! We recently switched over to David’s Toothpaste, which is a non toxic toothpaste that comes in a 100% recyclable tube. Pretty cool, huh? It is about double the price of our old favorite plastic tube toothpaste, but sometimes we see it on sale at Whole Foods. Plus, it comes with a little metal key to squeeze out all of the toothpaste so you don’t waste a drop, so I think in the end it evens out. Give it a try! The peppermint flavor is pretty mild, so don’t let that scare you away.
BRING YOUR OWN TO-GO CONTAINER
This is one that I have seen done a lot, but haven’t really had the opportunity to do myself. We don’t eat out a ton, but the next time we go out I hope to do this! We have so many glass containers that we use to store our leftovers in at home, so why not just bring one with me the next time we plan on eating out? It is so easy to throw your leftovers in there, plus you don’t have to wait for the waiter/waitress to bring you back a to-go container (let’s be honest, sometimes they forget!)!
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
Reusable water bottles have been around for a long time, and I’d say that most of the U.S. has caught on to using them, but there are still a huge percentage of people using and purchasing single use water bottles out there! This was a no brainer for me. I always drink water and use my reusable water to track how much water I drink per day. Win -win!
BEESWAX WRAPS, INSTEAD OF PLASTIC WRAP
I purchased some beeswax wraps several months ago and I am so ready to start using them. Unfortunately, we purchased a jumbo sized plastic wrap a looooong time ago, so we are slowly working through that. Once we finish the plastic wrap, I am all in for the beeswax wraps though! They are reusable, washable, and they even come in cute patterns! I’ve seen people DIY them before, so that might be something we look into in the future. One step at a time!
REUSABLE FOOD POUCHES, INSTEAD OF PLASTIC BAGS
How many of you have kids and pack lunches? Or use plastic bags to pack your own snacks? No kids yet here, but I definitely pack my own snacks in plastic bags! Why not switch over to reusable ones? I’ve seen some really great silicone options and paper options. This one is super easy to find replacements for. I even saw some impressive options at our local grocery store yesterday. The silicone ones are washable, paper ones are recyclable. Take your pick!
UTILIZE THE LIBRARY
I posted last week a bout 5 Books to Read This Winter, did you see? Well, if you are a reader like me, utilizing the library in your neighborhood will be fun. I love strolling through all the books to see what is new and interesting. Best part is, it’s FREE! All you have to do is sign up for your library card and you are free to roam and check out books, movies, music and more. If you haven’t already signed up for a library card in your city, I highly recommend it!
REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS
This one was so easy for us to implement. The hardest part is just remembering to bring the bags with us! Our goal is to start leaving a few in the car so that we always have them handy. Plastic bags are banned in our city, which is nice, but I know in my hometown in Tennessee that is not the case. Always bring your reusable bags! We have some great options in our shop…and BONUS, they are beautiful too. Our backpack, french market tote, circle bag and oval bag are all perfect for shopping!
REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS
Just like the plastic grocery bags, let’s ditch the plastic produce bags too! You can purchase some cotton bags or mesh bags to replace them, or even make your own from scrap fabric. The best thing is…they are reusable and washable. The photo at the beginning of the post shows one that we made over the summer from some scrap white fabric and a drawstring.
If you are still with me after all of that, thank you! I hope those little swap outs inspired you to start making some small changes here and there that will greatly affect our environment. Here are my two favorite zero waste Instagram accounts to follow. Both of these ladies are an inspiration and I am no way near to where they are, but I truly believe that every little bit helps…
Last, but not least, we are trying to be more mindful of how we package our goods to be shipped out to all of you! A lot of our items are fragile, so unfortunately, bubble wrap is a must. We do hope that when you receive your items from us you recycle and reuse when you can, as we do too! A huge portion of all of our packing materials are recycled materials, which we are proud of. All of our paper is 100% recycled and recyclable, same with all of our boxes. Thanks again for reading along and for supporting us!