Zero Waste Products – what do you actually need?
What zero waste products do you really need to become zero waste?
Does Buying Zero Waste Products Actually Help The Environment?
It seems kind of contradictory to be writing a post about buying more things in order to produce less waste.
There are so many ‘zero waste products’ on the market right now that it’s impossible to work out which ones will actually help you to produce less waste.
The reality is that it’s pretty impossible to be 100% zero waste. What I mean is, unless you live entirely self-sufficiently, everything you own, everything you consume has been produced and has created waste somewhere along the line.
The zero part of “zero” waste is kind of misleading in that it’s an aspiration rather than an achievable outcome.
Becoming zero waste is about sending as little as possible to landfill and recycling by only buying things that can be reused or composted when packaging is necessary.
The reality is that in order to do this we need up change our habits.
Some of the changes that we can make to produce less waste are super easy but at the same time, impossible without the right tools.
Owning the right zero waste products can make these changes a lot simpler…even easier than before! For example, you can’t bulk buy oatmeal without your own jar right?!
What zero waste products do I need?
So, I’ve chosen my favourite 18 Zero Waste Products and have noted them all below. Now, some of them may make your essential list too but others may be entirely useless.
So please don’t think you need to order them all on Amazon (affiliate links by the way!) in order to join the Zero Waste Club.
If you’ve already amassed 237 cotton totes over the years then don’t buy another because it has a cute design on it! But, of course I’m pointing out the obvious there…just incase 😂
ZERO WASTE PRODUCTS YOU NEED (maybe!)
1. jars and bottles
If you’re going to be shopping at a zero waste store (lucky you!), heading to a local farmers market or simply making the best of the terrible offerings you have you’ll need storage jars.
They’re great for storing flour, sugar, rice, couscous, etc. They’re also handy for keeping leftovers or prepared snacks in the fridge.
Unless you enjoy being hairy then you probably own a razor. Disposables aren’t recyclable so a really easy change is to buy a reusable one.
This one we have is made from bamboo and stainless steel. The blades are recyclable and last so long! We’re still on the same blade since August (that’s months!)
Apart from looking super cool it is so easy to use and will quickly save you money.
When your toothbrush is due to be replaced grab yourself some bamboo toothbrushes.
You can get children’s ones too.
If every American did this it’d be 850 million less toothbrushes being discarded every year.
This is probably my favourite of these zero waste products. I only wish I’d heard of them sooner.
Like the razor above, these reusable period products will also save you money.
Apparently the average woman uses over 11,000 tampons over her lifetime! Menstrual cups last for years…some say as many as 10 but it’s probably more like 3-4 years if you look after it.
These leak proof pants and pads are brilliant too.
5. shampoo bars
Another zero waste product for your bathroom. Reduce the number of plastic bottles you send to landfill or to be recycled and use these bars instead.
Ethique, say they’ve prevented 1 million plastic bottles being disposed of already! They do a kids version too.
These are perfect for travelling too as there’s no risk of leakages and they can go in your hand luggage.
From the same folk who make the shampoo you can buy deodorant in a bar!
These are perfect for carrying in sports bags and backpacks and they smell amazing.
7. a bidet
OK, we don’t own one of these but we want one…I think!
Being from the UK I’d never really considered an alternative to toilet roll.
These bidets have amazing reviews and apparently they’re easy enough to fit yourself!
treehugger.com reports that making just one toilet roll uses 37 gallons of water. In comparison an average bidet uses only 1/8th of a gallon per use!
To produce that single toilet roll it’s also taken 1.3 kilowatt/hours (KWh) of electricity and around 1.5 pounds of wood!
These washing up brushes are compostable so they won’t be sent to landfill once they’ve done their job.
A metal scourer is also handy for scrubbing pots and pans.
A lot of teabags actually contain plastic so they aren’t compostable.
A tea strainer means that you can buy bull in compostable packaging and enjoy a lovely cup of plastic-free tea!
Read my full guide to zero waste tea here.
You literally use the heat of your hands to shape it over the food you’d covering and within seconds it will cool and form a seal.
11. produce sacks
Cotton bags take a lot of energy and resources to produce. If you have a tonne of bags reuse them…even if they’re plastic. Reusing is key.
The ones below are for filling with loose fruit and veg.
Packing a picnic stops you being tempted into every cafe you pass.
These food boxes are also perfect for keeping in your backpack incase you fancy any take away food whilst out and about. It doesn’t take long to get used to asking for your zero waste takeaways.
If your out and about a lot either travelling or away from drinking water when a reusable bottle should be on your zero waste products list.
We also use ours for warm soup when we take picnics out and about.
14. reusable nappies
If you have a baby then try reusable nappies are so easy to us nowadays. We use pocket ones like this as they just pop on and fit from newborn to potty training!
Ours are still going strong after two boys. They dry so quickly too.
I hate baby wipes!
They have become a parenting staple and many people couldn’t imagine a chance bag without at least two packs.
We cut up cloth squares in a tub. When we need a wipe we just pour on some water from our bottle. The dirt wipes get stored in our nappy pouch until we get home.
16. toilet brush
Next time you need to buy a toilet brush, look for a biodegradable one rather than plastic.
17. soap nuts
Soap nuts aren’t actually nuts but dried berries that come from small trees harvested mainly in India.
When they come into contact with warm water they release the saponins which act as a soap in your machine.
You just put 5 nuts in with your laundry and the hot water will get them working.
Make sure you’ve set your machine to cold rinse so the nuts ‘deactivate’.
You can dry the nuts out and reuse them around 4 times.
They can be used for washing reusable nappies too.
This book by Bea Johnson is packed full of ideas and inspiration to get you living a minimalistic and waste free life.
You may be interested to know that we have a downloadable Zero Waste Challenge Checklist to get you started on your waste free journey.
Would you add anything else to this Zero Waste Products list?