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Not to add to your doom-scrolling habit, but the earth isn’t in such great shape right now. But unless you’re going completely off the grid, it’s tough to live a completely waste-free lifestyle — and replacing your single-use plastics with reusables is one small step that can still make a difference.
Even the best zero-waste products won’t single-handedly clear up the atmosphere, but they will help keep zombie-like trash from sitting in landfills and emitting pollutants for decades. And while recycling seems like a valiant solution, potentially recyclable items can end up as trash when they’re contaminated (which means they can’t be processed properly).
What’s more, recycling rules can vary from city to city (How2Recycle allows you to check local programs), which can sometimes make proper disposal equally confusing. Terracycle offers waste-saving programs that allow you to recycle empty plastic pouches, shampoo bottles, razors and other common disposables for free.
What Are the Best Zero-Waste Products?
It makes sense that some of the most popular zero-waste products are kitchen essentials and personal care items, as many of those items are the most convenient to use when they’re disposable. We’ve found that it takes little effort to go the extra mile with reusables like wax produce wraps and other products.
If you’re looking to be more sustainable in your everyday life, we’ve rounded up some of the best zero-waste swaps that make it easier to clean up your routine. Check out our favorite eco-friendly products below for a few simple low-waste swaps.
Tushy Spa 3.0
We made the switch to Tushy’s design-minded Spa 3.0 (during the great TP shortage of 2020, no less) and significantly cut down on our toilet paper usage to the point where we used just one roll per month. Tushy’s toilet seat add-on takes about five minutes to install (assuming you’ve got standard water hookups), and we like that this temperature-controlled version hooks up to your hot water hose for a warm rinse. (Otherwise, know that a cold stream isn’t as uncomfortable as it sounds.) You can also customize the knob style to match your bathroom’s aesthetic.
Bokashi Composting Starter Kit
If you’re not quite ready to commit to a compost tumbler, or you just don’t have a large enough space for one, you can put all of your apple cores and veggie scraps to work in Bokashi’s composting bins. This starter kit comes with two buckets and a couple two-pound bags of the brand’s composting bran, which helps your organic waste break down within four to six weeks. The spigot allows you get “tea” that can be used as plant food, and your fully fermented waste can be added to your garden soil, flower beds or lawn.
Stasher Reusable Silicone Storage Bags
It’s a lot easier than you think to cut out those oh-so-convenient plastic baggies. We’re fans of these reusable silicone bags by Stasher, which come in a variety of sizes and are great for food storage (including in the freezer) and cooking (like marinating and sous vide).
By Humankind Shampoo Bar
Today’s soap bars are no longer the skin-drying bricks that they used to be. By Humankind’s four-ounce shampoo bars lather up nicely and last for months, which is more than we can say for our plastic-bottled liquid shampoo. We like the fact that we can restock on pretty much all of our bathroom essentials from the carbon neutral company, which offers conditioner, body washes, dental care, deodorant and more.
Blueland The Clean Suite
Blueland’s kits eliminate the need to buy cleaning products the “traditional” way. The company’s non-toxic home cleaning products come in dissolvable refill tablets, so all you need to do is pop them into one of Blueland’s spray bottles and add water. (You can also use your own reusable bottles, so long as they’re the right size for the amount of water needed.)
Those looking to give their home cleaning routine an eco-conscious upgrade can opt for Blueland’s Clean Suite set, which includes multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom cleaners, powdered dish soap, 40 dishwasher tablets and 40 laundry tablets. The kit also comes with three durable and sleek spray bottles, a foaming soap dispenser, a silicone shaker (for the dish soap) and steel tin containers. The company also makes it easier to restock with its subscriptions, which will save you 10 percent.
Dropps XL Wool Dryer Balls
Ditch the dryer sheets in favor of these static- and wrinkle-fighting dryer balls, which are made of New Zealand wool. They can help reduce your clothing’s time in the dryer and soften fabrics.
Public Goods Bamboo Toothbrush
These compostable toothbrushes from Public Goods (which offers plenty more low- and zero-waste products) are a good plastic toothbrush alternative thanks to the compostable handle.
Bindle 20-Ounce Slim Insulated Storage Bottle
Reusable water bottles are a dime a dozen these days, but we’re fans of this one by Bindle for its ability to essentially expand your pockets. This 20-ounce insulated vessel keeps your drinks hot or cold for hours, and it also has a waterproof storage compartment on the bottom for stowing away your keys, ID and credit cards. It’s made of food-grade stainless steel and BPA-free thermoplastic
Pela Case Eco-Friendly iPhone 12 Pro Max Case
Safeguard your smartphone while protecting the environment with Pela Case’s line of sustainable tech accessories. The company uses a compostable plant-based material to make cases for iPhones and Android phones (including the Samsung Galaxy, Google Pixel and Huawei devices). We like that the brand is also a member of the nonprofit organization, 1% for the Planet, with supports environmental causes.
BioBag Pet Waste Bags
BioBag’s pet waste bags are made of a corn-based material that’s completely compostable, which means it’ll break down without harming the environment.
Zero Waste Shave Kit
Those five-blade razor cartridges may keep you looking smooth, but they’re not exactly a sharp choice for the environment as they tend to end up in landfills. That’s why many zero-wasters are going back to old-school safety razors, which are made of all metal and still deliver a close shave. This shaving kit comes with a metal shaver, 10 double-edged razor blades (which can be disposed via metal recycling or sent back to the manufacturer) and a shave soap bar.