What zero waste products do you really need to become zero waste?
Zero Waste Products That You Might Actually Need
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 become zero waste.
Somewhere along your zero waste journey you’re likely to need to change some existing habits.
Some changes will be super easy without buying anything new like reusing your shopping bags. Others will be pretty impossible without the right tools…you can’t bulk buy oatmeal without your own jar right?!
Some of the zero waste products in this ultimate list will be items that you may already own, can find for free or can source second hand or locally.
Buying or sourcing pre-loved should always be our first port of call before buying new online.
What zero waste products do I need?
So, I’ve chosen our favourite zero waste products.
Some of them may make your essential list too but others seem entirely pointless. The less you can get by with the better.
So please don’t think you need to order them all on Amazon (affiliate links) in order to join the Zero Waste Club.
If like most people you’ve already amassed 237 free cotton totes from events over the years don’t buy another because it has a cute design on it! 😂
ZERO WASTE PRODUCTS YOU NEED (maybe!)
Zero Waste Products For Groceries Baking and Food Storage
jars and bottles
If you’re going to be shopping at a bulk store, heading to a local farmers market or simply making the best of the terrible offerings you have in a supermarket you’ll need storage jars.
They’re great for storing flour, sugar, rice, couscous, soft fruits, deli items etc.
They’re also handy for keeping leftovers or prepared snacks in the fridge.
You can often find these easily in charity shop or by asking friends. It’s worth checking what jar’s you already have in your cupboards or recycling stash.
I have some old glass juice bottles that are great for storing rice and cous cous.
Just make sure you sterelise them properly first.
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.
We also use some really simple ways of to store food:
– place leftovers on a plate and cover with a bowl.
– use a jar with lid for storing leftovers like beans, cooked vegetables.
– freeze homemadr cakes and cookies in a jar or Tupperware.
– wrap bread in cotton before freezing.
Cotton bags take a lot of energy and resources to produce. If you have a tonne of bags then reuse them.
The ones below are for filling with loose fruit and veg.
We also use ours to buy oats, pasta etc from our bulk store and decant into jars.
Some people put dry goods directly into jars in the store but I find it easier this way with two toddlers in tow!
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.
Replace your disposable coffee filters with hemp ones.
We do own some muffin liners that we were given but more often I just bake soft oat cookies directly on a tray rather than in using little moulds.
Non-stick pans are usually coated with teflon (read more here). Teflon is not great for the planet or our health, so avoid it all together and choose stainless steel or ceramic.
Zero Waste Products For Cleaning
I hate to admit that in the past I’ve actually bought a toilet brush that came in a special holder contraption. The whole thing needed to be thrown away when it was replaced. So much unnecessary waste for something so simple.
Next time you need to buy a toilet brush, look for a biodegradable one rather than plastic.
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.
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.
Avoid using a mop with disposable heads
We’ve written a full post about the best zero waste mop ideas and hacks here.
Zero Waste Products For Your Bathroom
Unless you prefer the natural look then you probably own a razor.
Disposables aren’t recyclable so a really easy change is to buy a reusable one.
We chose a safety razor that is made from bamboo and stainless steel. The blades are recyclable and last so long! We’re still on the same blade after 9 months.
Apart from looking super cool it is so easy to use and will quickly save you money.
Take a look at our zero waste shaving guide here.
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.
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.
Although, we started using these, we’ve been washing our hair with water alone for around 6 months now and feel much better for it.
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.
I’ve always been a flannel girl myself but if you love your developed then try reusables.
switch to solid bars of soap with no nasties added. We use Savon Marseille all around the house.
Washable cloth hankies are so much gentler on the nose than paper tissue so add a few to your zero waste stash.
OK, we don’t own one of these but we want one!
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!
A cheaper alternative would be to use family cloth. Google that if you’re not sure what it is! 😁
Zero Waste Products For When Your Out And About
Packing a picnic stops you being tempted into every cafe you pass.
A food box is 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.
Any box will do even a food-grade plastic one that you already own.
Remember to pack some cutlery, either bamboo or metal.
If your out and about a lot either travelling or away from drinking water then 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.
Before getting our steel bottle I also used a jam jar for carrying water.
Zero Waste Products For Babies and Kids
zero waste nappies
If you have a baby then reusable nappies are so easy to use nowadays.
We prefer pocket ones like the ones above 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 detest single-use baby wipes!
They have become a parenting staple and many people couldn’t imagine a changing bag without at least two packs.
If you’ve become dependent on them then try reusable.
If you can’t bear the thought of a nappy change without throw-aways then start slowly.
First try using washable wipes for faces and hands after snacks and messy play. Just throw them in with you towels to wash.
Then you could start using them for just changing peepee nappies. Pop them in a bin or dry bag if you’re out and about and then wash as normal.
You don’t need to buy wipes. You can cut up cloth squares from old tea towels, sheets or similar and pop them 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.
So, that’s it for now.
Would you add anything else to this Zero Waste Products list?