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15 Zero Swaps Items for a More Sustainable Lifestyle

The term “zero waste” is becoming more and more popular, but what does it actually mean? Zero waste living is all about reducing your reliance on single-use items and making more sustainable choices.

Here are products that are making low waste living easier.

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What is a Zero Waste Product?

A zero waste product is one that has very little to no environmental impact. It is designed so that all parts of the product can easily be reused, recycled, or composted without being discarded as trash.

When looking at the impact of a product it’s important to consider the materials used to make the product, the resources used to make the product, and the end of the products lifecycle.

zero waste for beginners

With greater public awareness regarding zero or low waste products and the positive environmental impacts they create, this revolution is steadily becoming the new normal.

15 Items for Zero Waste Living

Going zero waste can be daunting at first, but there are lots of easy lifestyle changes that anyone can make to reduce their impact on the environment.

Reusable straws, water bottles and grocery bags are some of the most common items people use every day that are zero waste alternatives. Let’s explore some other zero waste items that are great sustainable swaps. 

While I would have loved to make this a quick sustainable shopping list, there were just to many amazing products that can be useful in your zero-waste journey. Here’s an ultimate list!

zero waste swap ideas

Plus, I’m sharing some of my personal favorite zero waste swaps…the exact brands & products!

I’ve included suggested products from both small businesses and major retailers, so that when you’re ready to buy something new, you can purchase the swaps depending on what’s accessible to you!

Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy all these new sustainable products to live a zero waste lifestyle. It’s most sustainable to start with what you have around your house and build up these low waste swaps over time. 

Reusable Cloths 

There are many different types of reusable cloths. You can cut up old clothes or sheets and make your. Or you can purchase something like Swedish dish cloths. This a great swap for paper towels.

These reusable products are great because they can be cleaned so easily. Use them for spring cleaning or in everyday kitchen use and then put them in the dishwasher to clean and reuse. 

 
 
 
$6.97
$12.70 ($2.54 / Count)
$19.97 ($2.00 / Count)

Swap your paper towels with Swedish dish cloths that are Reusable & Biodegradable, made from 70% Cellulose + 30% Cotton, 100% Compostable in Your Backyard, and Screen Printed with Water-Based Inks.

These Swedish cleaning towels are 100% biodegradable, vegan & chem-free, made of 30% cotton and 70% cellulose, and compost in 6-8 weeks.

The Eco Guru’s Swedish Dishcloth is made from 100% authentic materials from Sweden. These absorbent dish cloths can replace messy kitchen cloths with long lasting superior cleaning! 

$6.97

Swap your paper towels with Swedish dish cloths that are Reusable & Biodegradable, made from 70% Cellulose + 30% Cotton, 100% Compostable in Your Backyard, and Screen Printed with Water-Based Inks.

$12.70 ($2.54 / Count)

These Swedish cleaning towels are 100% biodegradable, vegan & chem-free, made of 30% cotton and 70% cellulose, and compost in 6-8 weeks.

$19.97 ($2.00 / Count)

The Eco Guru’s Swedish Dishcloth is made from 100% authentic materials from Sweden. These absorbent dish cloths can replace messy kitchen cloths with long lasting superior cleaning! 

02/18/2024 03:18 pm GMT

Swedish dish cloths are usually pretty easy to find! Check your local stores, Etsy, and Amazon. I personally purchase mine from EcoRoots.

Metal Straws

Plastic straws are one of the top items that end up in our landfills and oceans. It’s estimated that over 500,000,000 plastic straws are used each day in the United States.

Opting for a reusable metal straw instead is an easy switch to make towards zero waste living. Carry your reusable straw with you wherever you go, so that you can ditch the plastic straws at restaurants too!

 
 
 
$7.19 ($3.60 / Count)
$23+
$7+

These are the reusable straws I have! This Set of 2 stainless steel straws are100% plastic free, easy to sanitize and dishwasher safe. 

This collapsible reusable straw is great when you're eating out! It's made with stainless steel and silicone. Easily keep it on your keychain. This is also a unique sustainable gift idea.

These eco-friendly straws are ethically sourced, made of stainless steel and silicone, making it bendable and also disabilities-friendly

$7.19 ($3.60 / Count)

These are the reusable straws I have! This Set of 2 stainless steel straws are100% plastic free, easy to sanitize and dishwasher safe. 

$23+

This collapsible reusable straw is great when you're eating out! It's made with stainless steel and silicone. Easily keep it on your keychain. This is also a unique sustainable gift idea.

$7+

These eco-friendly straws are ethically sourced, made of stainless steel and silicone, making it bendable and also disabilities-friendly

02/18/2024 03:38 pm GMT

I personally use Ukonserve metal straws and FinalStraw’s Collapsable straw if I’m on the go.

Other eco-friendly straw options include glass straws and silicone straws.

Reusable Make Up Wipes

Single-use makeup wipes are typically not recyclable or compostable, so investing in reusable makeup wipes or washable cotton pads is a much better alternative. 

Organic Reusable Cotton Rounds
$10+

Made of sustainable and biodegradable fabrics – organic cotton and bamboo, use these for applying cream face, lotion, toner, removing makeup, or clean your face with your favorite cleanser.

Buy Now

Consider a Bidet

Bidets can be a great low waste option to reduce the amount of toilet paper being used in your bathroom. I have the Tushy Bidet in our bathroom and we love it!

TUSHY Basic 2.0 Bidet Toilet Seat Attachment
$66.19

TUSHY cuts your toilet paper usage by 80%, saving you money every time you use the bathroom. By using the TUSHY bidet, you’re saving money, saving your butt and saving the world every time you poop

Buy Now
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If you’re not ready to take the leap to a bidet then consider bamboo toilet paper!

Plastic Free Lip Balm

Lip Balm often comes in a plastic tube. However, it’s pretty easy to find eco-friendly lip balm that is made with clean ingredients and comes in a compostable tube. 

 
 
 
$8.95
$12.99
$14.00

This ultra-hydrating zero waste lip balm is handmade with vegan, organic ingredients to protect, nourish and moisturize lips.

Ultra-hydrating sheer tinted lip balms that gives you a naturally moisturized "sun kissed" look. All of the ingredients are plant-based. River Organics uses cacao and mango butters which makes the lip balm smoother, thicker and longer lasting.

Not just for lips, this vegan "chapstick" can be used on hands and other areas of skin to prevent and repair dryness. This lip balm is sustainably packaged in a compostable tube.

$8.95

This ultra-hydrating zero waste lip balm is handmade with vegan, organic ingredients to protect, nourish and moisturize lips.

$12.99

Ultra-hydrating sheer tinted lip balms that gives you a naturally moisturized "sun kissed" look. All of the ingredients are plant-based. River Organics uses cacao and mango butters which makes the lip balm smoother, thicker and longer lasting.

$14.00

Not just for lips, this vegan "chapstick" can be used on hands and other areas of skin to prevent and repair dryness. This lip balm is sustainably packaged in a compostable tube.

Reusable Water Bottles

Single-use plastic water bottles are extremely wasteful and bad for our environment. It’s estimated that  481.6 BILLION plastic bottles were used worldwide in a single year. So, it’s best to carry a reusable water bottle whenever possible, which can be filled up whenever you need.

 
 
 
$34.90
$44+
$17.99

This sustainable water bottle is made with 18/8 Stainless Steel for the bottle and BPA Free Plastic on the lid. This water bottle is dishwasher safe.

Made of ceramic and stainless steel, each extra-large bottle is triple-walled and vacuum insulated, maintaining the liquid temperature you desire for hours. 

Stay hydrated throughout your day and leave the chemical leaching worries to us as this leak proof water bottles is engineered with prime Borosilicate glass.

$34.90

This sustainable water bottle is made with 18/8 Stainless Steel for the bottle and BPA Free Plastic on the lid. This water bottle is dishwasher safe.

$44+

Made of ceramic and stainless steel, each extra-large bottle is triple-walled and vacuum insulated, maintaining the liquid temperature you desire for hours. 

$17.99

Stay hydrated throughout your day and leave the chemical leaching worries to us as this leak proof water bottles is engineered with prime Borosilicate glass.

02/18/2024 03:58 pm GMT

On top of the waste from the plastic bottle, it’s important to consider the health impact of single-use plastics. It’s reported that BPA from plastic water bottles can cause potential health issues, so choosing reusable water bottles is good for the environment and for you!

I personally use a Hydroflask water bottle!

Reusable Grocery Bags

Single-use plastic bags are banned in some countries and other places are charging for them as part of an effort to reduce their use. Opt for durable and stylish shopping bags that can be reused for years. I’m sure you already have cotton tote bags which work great!

Reusable Coffee Cups

Most disposable coffee cups are not actually recyclable, as they have a thin plastic lining on the inside. Investing in a reusable coffee cup will help reduce your impact and save money over time.

 
 
 
$19.89
$16.95
$35+

This compact cup collapses down to just 2 inches. Whether you’re sipping coffee or a smoothie, the 16 oz Stojo is perfectly portable for your commute, camping trips, tea at home, and travels.

This sustainable coffee cup is made from rice husks. It's sturdy and dishwasher friendly.

Curved to fit comfortably in your hand, this mug is made of ceramic and stainless steel andtriple-walled and vacuum insulated, keeping your coffee or tea hot or cold for much longer than your typical cup.

$19.89

This compact cup collapses down to just 2 inches. Whether you’re sipping coffee or a smoothie, the 16 oz Stojo is perfectly portable for your commute, camping trips, tea at home, and travels.

$16.95

This sustainable coffee cup is made from rice husks. It's sturdy and dishwasher friendly.

$35+

Curved to fit comfortably in your hand, this mug is made of ceramic and stainless steel andtriple-walled and vacuum insulated, keeping your coffee or tea hot or cold for much longer than your typical cup.

02/18/2024 04:08 pm GMT

Consider purchasing a dishwasher safe coffee mug that is great for on the go. That way you can take this zero waste alternative to your barista and have them make your drink in your own cup. I personally have the Stijo coffee cup because it’s collapsible and easily fits in my bag.

Say Goodbye to Plastic Food Storage

Ditch the plastic baggies and consider plastic free food storage such as a mason jar, stasher bag, or glass container. Plus, these are a better solution for human health as it can prevent plastic from getting into your food.  

 
 
 
$9.99+
$16.99 ($3.40 / Count)
$38.97 ($9.74 / Count)

These bags are endlessly reusable, food-grade platinum silicone. With no BPA, BPS, lead, latex, or phthalates they're a safer choice. Plus, leak free patented Pinch-Loc™ seal & dishwasher safe.

 Made in America with USDA-approved and toxin-free soda-lime glass of food-grade quality. 

No need to worry about food, odor, or irritants seeping into these nonporous 36oz glass containers. Designed to safeguard your health, they are non-toxic and BPA-free.

$9.99+

These bags are endlessly reusable, food-grade platinum silicone. With no BPA, BPS, lead, latex, or phthalates they're a safer choice. Plus, leak free patented Pinch-Loc™ seal & dishwasher safe.

$16.99 ($3.40 / Count)

 Made in America with USDA-approved and toxin-free soda-lime glass of food-grade quality. 

$38.97 ($9.74 / Count)

No need to worry about food, odor, or irritants seeping into these nonporous 36oz glass containers. Designed to safeguard your health, they are non-toxic and BPA-free.

02/18/2024 04:17 pm GMT

Reusable Cutlery

Single-use plastic silverware is another common item found in our landfills, so carrying reusable cutlery with you is a great way to cut down on waste. When purchasing reusable cutlery look for sustainable materials such as stainless steel or bamboo.

Reusable Produce Bags

Single-use produce bags are typically not recyclable and often end up in landfills. Reusable mesh produce bags are a great alternative that you can use over and over again. You can easily find these!

 
 
 
$22.49
$5.49+
$6+

These kitchen reusable grocery bags are zero waste and fully biodegradable.

An essential for zero waste grocery shopping! Lightweight with mesh netting, these Organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bags replace plastic produce bags and can be stuffed full at the farmer's market. 

Reusable organic cotton double gauze produce bags for your produce. Your veggies and fruits will love it. 

$22.49

These kitchen reusable grocery bags are zero waste and fully biodegradable.

$5.49+

An essential for zero waste grocery shopping! Lightweight with mesh netting, these Organic Cotton Mesh Produce Bags replace plastic produce bags and can be stuffed full at the farmer's market. 

$6+

Reusable organic cotton double gauze produce bags for your produce. Your veggies and fruits will love it. 

02/18/2024 04:43 pm GMT

Bamboo Toothbrush

Plastic toothbrushes create a huge amount of waste and are hard to recycle. Opting for a bamboo toothbrush is an easy way to reduce your plastic consumption. This is also an affordable sustainable swap you can do for around $5.

Shampoo Bars

Ditch the plastic shampoo bottle and opt for shampoo and conditioner bars. Since we wash our hair on a regular basis, switching to a shampoo bar is a great way to reduce plastic waste.

 
 
 
$15.00 ($3.85 / Ounce)
$18+
$12+

This zero waste shampoo bar is Formulated using vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, paraben-free and renewable ingredients, sourced from sustainable producers paid a fair wage.

EMERALD Shampoo Bars are made with a gentle combo that will gently clean hair without leaving a residue or oily feeling

EcoRoots shampoo bars are Manufactured in the USA, Silicone Free, Phthalate-free & Paraben Free.

$15.00 ($3.85 / Ounce)

This zero waste shampoo bar is Formulated using vegan, cruelty-free, palm oil-free, paraben-free and renewable ingredients, sourced from sustainable producers paid a fair wage.

$18+

EMERALD Shampoo Bars are made with a gentle combo that will gently clean hair without leaving a residue or oily feeling

$12+

EcoRoots shampoo bars are Manufactured in the USA, Silicone Free, Phthalate-free & Paraben Free.

02/18/2024 04:57 pm GMT

Mason Jars

Mason jars can be used for storing food, drinks, or even as a portable to-go cup. This is an item you probably already have in your kitchen too!

Bar Soap

Ditch the plastic packaging and opt for bar soap instead. Bar soap is another affordable swap and something you can easily find. Try to look for bar soaps made with organic ingredients to choose clean soap for your skin!

Reusable Food Wraps

Beeswax wraps are a natural and eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap that can be reused multiple times before needing to be replaced. I personally use the Bee’s Wrap brand.

 
 
 
$16.99
$9+
$9.99

Made in the USA with certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin; this combination creates a durable, yet pliable plastic wrap alternative that can be used again and again.

Made with beeswax-coated cotton, they’re washable, reusable, compostable and keep food extremely fresh. 

 This wrap is the perfect size for sandwiches and ethically made in the USA with organic cotton.

$16.99

Made in the USA with certified organic cotton, responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic plant oils, and tree resin; this combination creates a durable, yet pliable plastic wrap alternative that can be used again and again.

$9+

Made with beeswax-coated cotton, they’re washable, reusable, compostable and keep food extremely fresh. 

$9.99

 This wrap is the perfect size for sandwiches and ethically made in the USA with organic cotton.

02/18/2024 05:07 pm GMT

Wool Dryer Balls

These are a great alternative to disposable dryer sheets, as they can be reused for hundreds of loads of laundry. I personally use the Friendsheep Dryer Balls and have always had a great experience using them.

 
 
 
$32.00 ($5.33 / Count)
$9+
$28.95

Made of 100% pure New Zealand wool (no cheap fillers!!), organic, chemical free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic.

These wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand wool and are a practical upgrade from standard dryer sheets.

These dryer wool balls contains no chemicals or synthetics. Perfect for sensitive skin, babies, toddlers, and pets!

$32.00 ($5.33 / Count)

Made of 100% pure New Zealand wool (no cheap fillers!!), organic, chemical free, fragrance free, hypoallergenic.

$9+

These wool dryer balls are made of 100% New Zealand wool and are a practical upgrade from standard dryer sheets.

$28.95

These dryer wool balls contains no chemicals or synthetics. Perfect for sensitive skin, babies, toddlers, and pets!

02/18/2024 05:23 pm GMT

Bring Your Own Reusable Food Containers to Restaurants 

Ditch the disposable containers when you want to take home your leftovers. Take your own containers or mason jars to save your leftovers in. Find containers are perfect for taking lunch with you on the go and can be washed and reused again and again.

Making the switch to zero waste products is a great way to live more sustainably, save money, and help protect our environment. With so many reusable alternatives available for everyday items, it’s easier than ever to start living a zero waste lifestyle. 

zero waste swaps for beginners

Where to Buy Zero Waste Products?

If you’re able to find a zero waste store in your area that would be the best way to support a local small business! If not consider checking out sustainable shops like ZeroWasteShop, Public Goods, or Thrive Market

You can also conveniently find swaps on Amazon, Etsy, and other retailers with sustainability becoming more popular.

Tips to Reduce Waste in in everyday life

We all want a cleaner, healthier planet and there are many small things we can do every day to reduce wastefulness. Here are a few tips that can be helpful as you begin your zero waste journey.

  • Try using reusable items instead of disposable versions whenever possible. Not only will this save money in the long run but it is also better for the environment. 
  • Reduce food waste by opting for portion control and meal planning rather than overbuying or ordering too much when eating out.
  • Properly recycle anything that can be repurposed instead of throwing it into the garbage bin. You might want to read up on what your local recycling center accepts and doesn’t accept.
  • Compost what you can! If you’re unable to compost in your backyard or purchase a home compost machine consider looking for local compost pick up options. Some cities offer this just like a regular trash pick up and in other places there are third party companies you can pay to pick up your compost.
  • Make sure to conserve energy at home by using energy efficient appliances and tools as well as keeping lights off when not needed. Making thoughtful everyday changes like these will go a long way towards reducing our environmental impact! Plus, this can save you money on your energy bill.
  • Consider looking to see if their is a bulk store or zero waste shop near you. If not, there are some great online zero-waste shops to order from! Remember you don’t have to go out and buy all new products. Start with what you have at home and build up your eco-friendly products over time. 
  • While it can seem overwhelming try to set a zero waste goal. Consider picking one swap and trying to really stick to that! Or if you feel extra motivated you could pick a section of your house such as the bathroom, kitchen, or personal care products to focus on.

How Zero Waste Can Be Beneficial

Going zero waste is an increasingly popular lifestyle that’s great for both people and the planet. By cutting out disposable items and packaging, individuals are able to save money long-term, reduce clutter and limit their contribution to landfills.

Even seemingly small changes like refusing a plastic straw or shopping with reusable bags can make a big impact on the environment by reducing nonrenewable resources used in production as well as curtail dangerous pollutants being released into the atmosphere.

zero waste produce bag for groceries

Additionally, resources are conserved when products are reused instead of thrown away– this often results in fewer items being produced which in turn facilitates global efforts to combat climate change.

All of these positive effects can be experienced without making drastic lifestyle changes; by adopting a few zero waste principles every day, everyone can help create a healthier and happier world!

Overall, the concept of a low waste lifestyle creates an opportunity for individuals to take practical steps towards reducing their environmental impact. That being said, as is the case with any major lifestyle change, striving for zero waste requires dedication and a willingness to learn and adapt.

By including reusable items in our everyday lives, we can go a long way towards minimizing our own personal waste production. 

With continued education and access to online resources, transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle is achievable and incredibly beneficial – not just for ourselves but also for the environment we inhabit.

The potential improvement in environmental health from widespread adoption of these values offers hope for a better future; one that takes into account not just our needs, but those of all the other species on our planet too.

Hopefully this guide helped identify some zero-waste products to make low waste living a bit easier and helped further your knowledge on the concept of zero waste. All of these small steps make a difference and help us head in the right direction.