The 10 Best Zero Waste Products You Need To Get Started
The zero waste movement has gained a lot of momentum and for good reason. People are more aware than ever about how their actions and particularly consumer habits are impacting the planet, and nothing makes me happier than individuals choosing to take a stand for the planet.
While the weight of climate change should not be held on the shoulders of individuals, that responsibility falls on the 100 corporations worldwide producing 70% of our carbon emissions, the impact that a passionately motivated group of global citizens can achieve should never be underestimated.
The Zero Waste Movement Is Creating The Conversations That Create Change
Will you personally choosing to eliminate single use plastic from you life save the planet? Absolutely not. Could your actions improve the waste in your community? Heck yes they can!
While individual choices and actions may not be able to alone create the systems change we need, individual choices and actions CAN impact other peoples choices and actions, which inspires awareness and eventually creates movements — the kind of change capable of dismantling broken systems.
We are not going to make the positive impact we need on our planet to reverse climate change, improve our air and soil quality, and clean up our oceans without extreme and swift policy change — and guess what, that policy change is only going to happen if the PEOPLE demand it.
Which brings me to the zero waste movement, a popular movement that is focused on reducing our overall waste and the impact it leaves on this planet. While the term “zero waste” has it’s flaws, not a single person on this planet is producing zero waste, the movement has brought a lot of attention to the systems that need to be changed globally to help make it possible for people to produce less waste overall.
The point is not to see if you can fit all your waste for a year in a jar, the goal is to really look deep into the way you are living your life, the impact you are leaving on the world around you, and how you may be able to do better.
Let’s Talk About The Role Privilege Plays In The Sustainability and Zero Waste Lifestyle Movement
Today sustainability as a whole is being confused with conscious consumerism — which is where I would put the zero waste lifestyle movement. This is a problem because it makes sustainability feel like something that has to have a financial component attached, and that financial component is usually more expensive.
This is what I have a problem with, because after working on global health and sustainability issues both domestically and abroad I can say that no matter your privilege or socioeconomic status every single person can choose to make a positive impact on the lives of those around them and their personal environment.
I will never forget meeting a grandmother in rural Guatemala who had set up a basic water filtration system in her home. She wanted to make sure that her grandchildren were drinking clean water, and the impact was incredible. Her grandchildren had better health outcomes than any other children in the community. This woman was a true change maker, and her socioeconomic status did not limit her capacity to do the best she could with what she had.
So while privilege and issues of privilege are woven into virtually every system in this world, and there is so much work that I and my peers need to do to recognize and dismantle many of the current inequitable systems in place, I want to make sure that I make one thing very clear — your impact on this world is not dependent on your back account.
Your impact is dependent on you doing the best you can with what you have, and once you can do better or know better — then do better.
So while this post is about the best zero waste products that you can choose to use if you are looking to reduce your waste, I do hope that you keep the bigger system and picture in mind when it comes to sustainability and the impact you are leaving on the world around you.
Because your impact is so much greater than whether you choose to use a plastic or reusable straw.
The 10 Best Zero Waste Products You Need To Get Started
If you are looking to make some changes to reduce your overall waste, the below zero waste products are some of the best places for you to get started and many of these items you may already have at home. Making zero waste swaps can be a whole lot easier (and cheaper) than you think, and I encourage you to always look around for what you have at home before going out to purchase something new.
You know all those little plastic bags that you put your produce in at the grocery store? You don’t need them. Switching to cloth products bags is affordable and so easy! Just bring them with you when you head to the grocery store or farmers market to keep your produce organized and protected, and make your shopping experience plastic free.
Try these multi-size cloth produce bags that are perfect for bringing to the grocery store or farmers market.
I would highly recommend investing in a straw market bag that is both functional and looks nice. I also love that these bags are made from natural materials that will break down overtime, versus the plastic materials that most reusable shopping bags are made from.
Check out this stunning fair trade straw market bag from Ten Thousand Villages
Once you make the switch to reusable straws you won’t go back. Straws are one of those single use plastic products that for most people are not necessary and can be swapped out pretty easily and on a low budget. I personally love using glass straws but use whatever works for you.
We love this eco-friendly glass straws that are Made In The USA
Ziplock Bags are made of plastic that cant be recycled and are often used just once. Luckily there are so many reusable options that make switching away from ziplock bags a whole lot easier. While it may take some time to collect a stash of reusable bags that meets all of your needs, in the long run you will save money by never having to buy ziplock bags again.
These stasher bags are made from silicone and can be reused over and over again.
Cloth napkins are such a game changer. We made the switch a few years ago (I personally got all of mine for the most part at thrift stores and antique shops) and haven’t looked back. I promise you will not miss your paper napkins once you switch to cloth.
If you are looking for beautiful fair trade cloth napkins, Ten Thousand Villages has some beautiful options.
Once you start eliminating single use plastic you will realize that glass jars and containers are your best friends — so start stocking up.
I personally love using Ball mason jars for storing food and also have a number of glass tupperware containers for storing leftovers. We also will simply wash and store any glass food jars rather than recycling them. Your jars don’t all need to match!
A bamboo toothbrush is a great switch from your usual plastic toothbrush. Rather than sitting in a landfill for the next century once you are done using your toothbrush, these bamboo alternatives are compostable.
Not only is your liquid hand soap full of ingredients that probably around that great for your body, the notion that soap needs to come in a plastic disposable bottle is totally unnecessary. A simple swap is to switch to bar soap that comes in paper packaging. You can most likely find a local soap maker in your area at a your local farmers market, but one of my personal favorite brands is Saipua — their soaps are absolutely heavenly.
With these 10 zero waste products in hand you will be well on your way to reducing your consumer waste and eliminating single use plastic for good. What are a few of your favorite ways to reduce your waste? Leave a note in the comments below!