Daily Products to Live Zero Waste
What is your reason for not living zero waste? Is it the inaccessibility? The difficulty? Laziness? While we’re sure it’s not laziness, we understand that going completely zero waste can be challenging. Especially for people like new parents, corporate workers, or those who still live at home. There are so many more producers of waste than we realize in our day to day lives. Can’t think of any? Let’s list out some of the main culprits, and offer you some options for avoiding, or replacing them with zero waste options.
We at jude & laurel aspire to be 100% zero-waste with our sustainable fashion, but even we are finding it to be a challenge! Our main issue lies with there being no substitution for elastic yet, but we’re always trying to find alternatives! Know of some good suggestions? E-mail us!
We’re not saying that you have to be able to fit all of your trash from the year into a Mason jar, but we can all do a bit better! Here are some of the daily culprits in waste production:
- Food packaging
- Plastic bags
- Cellophane (or saran-wrap)
- Coffee cups
- Single use coffee pods
- Water bottles
Let’s Do Better
That is a pretty standard list, but their zero waste counterparts are surprisingly easy to get a hold of! That’s why we want to start here, the simple, accessible, eco-friendly options:
Clothing: Aside from single use products that tantalizingly fill the supermarket shelves, clothing is a surprising culprit of not being terribly eco-friendly or sustainable. Your worn out t-shirt that you threw away will stay in the landfill for 3-5 months, emitting harmful amounts of methane. There are ample outlets for buying sustainable fashion, at competitive pricing, so you can feel great in organic clothing while helping the Earth!
Food packaging : Buy what you can in bulk! At almost any grocery store, you can bring in glass jars, have them weigh them, then fill them with the flour, sugar, oats, nuts, etc. that you need! Bulk options will vary depending on where you go, but it’s a cute, eco-friendly look to normal packaged groceries. For produce, reuse onion sacks, or find hand-made woven options to avoid the little plastic bags.
It’s true, not all foods are available to buy in bulk or unpacked. But if we can move forward in the use of what we are offered now, more and more companies will be inspired to make the effort, and go with less or no packaging!
Plastic bags : The answer has been there for us for a long time, say it with us now; reusable bags! These have been on the shelves at checkouts for years, but people still don’t use them! If you find you always forget them, they come as keychains and little zip pouches. If you don’t like bags, places, in this example, Costco, have collapsible bins that you can put all of your groceries in and carry neatly to your car. This is the weakest of all the zero waste avoidance arguments.
Cosmetics : This one is a bit tricky, unless you’re resourceful enough to make your own cosmetics, and if you have the time. A lot of us don’t, so the next best option is to buy from the eco-friendly, or zero waste companies - and there are a lot of them out there! Elate Cosmetics, Ilia, Axiology, and Besame are just a few options. Another large brand that does well for the environment is Burt’s Bee’s, if you’re looking for a household name!
Cellophane (or saran-wrap) : This is the absolute worst, and it doesn’t even work that well! Adopt alternatives like glass food containers, parchment paper, bee’s wrap, and sealable jars. If you use it for proofing while baking, a dishcloth works just as well!
Coffee cups : If I open my cupboard at home, I have about half a dozen thermoses that I can use for coffee cups. They’re a great gift that comes in hundreds of styles and brand names. I would be willing to bet there’s at least one in every home.
So why do we still use single use cups? One factor is if you don’t expect to get a coffee or hot beverage, then come across a craving or a caffeine need. Did you know there is such thing as a collapsible coffee cup? Portable, compact, and reusable - awesome!
Diapers : This one also takes very little commitment to make an eco-friendly change. For centuries, cloth diapers were the only option, so why not go back? Sure, it’s a bit more laundry, or you wash them in the sink. We all do laundry anyways, what’s a few squares of cloth to your loads?
Single use coffee pods : Yes, Nespresso makes some awesome coffee, but the nicer option is to buy the reusable pods; for them or for Keurig. Pods that you fill with your favourite coffee, then wash out and use again. Definitely the better of the two options when it comes to carbon footprints, even if you don’t get the signature Nespresso taste.
Luffas : Did you know that luffas are vegetables? Oh yea, we’re not kidding! Instead of buying those plastic balls that fall apart, opt for the 100% NATURAL OPTION! Check out this video for the process on how real luffas are cultivated. Our minds were blown!
Water bottles : Yes, we already covered coffee cups, but water bottles are an even bigger contributor. Same stats on reusable bottles in the home. Even less usage.
Here’s a story for you: an acquaintance of ours was recently in Paris over the summer. Our friend drinks a lot of water when she’s at home, somewhere around 2-3 litres a day. So she was worried about the accessibility of water while exploring the city. She really didn’t want to constantly be buying single use bottles, but didn’t want to tire out her back by carrying a big bag. Does her situation seem dire? It wasn’t! She was able to find a medium-sized, stylish satchel bag, and a reusable water bottle which was essentially a 1 litre bag with a spout at the top. All day, she was able to have it filled with water, folded slightly, and tucked perfectly into the purse.
Paris has the added charm of offering drinkable water fountains throughout the city, but even still, she could carry enough water on her to keep her hydrated all day long!
The excuse of “I use this stuff because there’s no other option” is dead. The absolutely stunning innovation of people all over the world has brought zero waste accessibility to our doorsteps. We hope that you learned about some great alternatives that you can induct into your daily living, and help us make the world a better place!