Wishing you could waste less like all your favorite zero-waste role models? Great news!
I am excited to continue my zero-waste habits into 2020 and boy have I learned a lot since starting out this year!
To celebrate my first full year making this change in my life, I’m sharing some recipes and products I learned about since starting out. So far I have experimented with homemade recipes for packaged products and I have tried out some great #zw alternatives made by small businesses!
Having zero waste items that the whole family can use makes keeping up with this lifestyle easier for everyone involved, all while benefitting the community and local business!
Making small swaps like dishtowels instead of paper towels is a simple swap, but there are tons of other products available for the whole family to use while staying low waste!
Keep the following items in shared areas of the home such as the living room, bathroom, and kitchen for optimal use:
Candle waste can add up quickly if you’re like me and like to burn them often.
Everything from the wick to the jar can impact the amount of waste that is produced when you burn down a candle and go to toss the empty container.
But don’t fret—this candle is composed of all zero-waste resources.
As mentioned above, every part of the candle can add waste to the final product, so having one that is sourced as well as this one is impressive!
Want to get one for yourself? Check out the wonderful owners of Free Reign Farm and their mission to create sustainable and eco-friendly lifestyle products!
Looking to prep more of your meals but not wanting to fight a roll of plastic wrap? Sounds like you need some beeswax wraps in your bag.
I absolutely love using beeswax wraps in place of plastic wrap for packing all sorts of snacks in my composed meal preps. While I’ve been using mostly large storage containers for a more freeing meal prep rather than individual meals, beeswax wraps make themselves useful no matter what.
Know what portion of veggie you’re going to want? Roll some up in a wrap and keep refrigerated! Keep irregular-shaped foods or bowls without lids fresh with a wrap on top before placing them in the fridge. Food typically stays fresh for 2-4 days (varies).
Having a clean home doesn’t mean having a cabinet full of toxic chemicals you wouldn’t want your children or pets around!
For mold, spray pure white vinegar on the affected area and let sit for 30 minutes. When you probably have in your kitchen cabinets! I like to keep white vinegar around for this reason.
For mold, spray pure white vinegar on the affected area and let sit for 30 minutes. When you return, take a warm washcloth and wipe away the vinegar. For tough spots, repeat this process and then do a wipe down with clean water before drying.
While there’s a long list of soap companies that will try to convince you their chemical creations promise soft skin, it’s important to understand keeping it natural is healthiest for your body.
There a TONS of self-care products available in zero-waste ways, including growing aloe vera plants or shopping from small businesses that use sustainable, natural products.
Pain Relief Cream
Doing so much work around the home and garden can mean achy joints that no one wants to deal with! Rather than turning to an OTC pain reliever, there are plenty of all-natural creams and salves that can be just as effective without all the added chemicals.
If you saw my zero-waste gift list post, you already know that I found a wonderful company with zero-waste muscle rub which is great for the hard workers in your family. I gifted mine to my father, though I can’t lie, I sometimes wish I kept it for myself because of how good it works, and it smells amazing!
Deodorant is a great place to start when thinking of what to simplify in your routine.
Why? Well, most of us put it on every day and it is typically sold in plastic containers that don’t tend to be recyclable. There are also lots of deodorant companies with extra chemicals or minerals like zinc that can agitate the skin.
Instead of using the most popular brands, stick to zero-waste deodorants or use a mixture of coconut oil and essential oils. I use plain coconut oil in the winter as I don’t tend to sweat very much as the antifungal disinfectant properties are really effective and it acts as a moisturizer.
Lotions are also easily made naturally but many companies still have chemicals in their products. Using coconut oil and shea butter as daily moisturizers in or out of the shower keeps my skin soft and I recommend it to everyone!
Lotions with essential oils are a great alternative to those with alcohol in them to strengthen the scent, which in turn will help to dry your skin out even more!
Not to mention the other chemicals that are added for better “softening” abilities that the natural stuff does better without all the complications.
At the very least, keep your skin happy with all-natural lotion bars that help limit waste and can come in stick form like those available by Free Reign Farm on Etsy! Check them out by clicking here!
With the skin on your lips being so much thinner than the rest, it is so important to use all-natural products. These will keep from drying out your lips and will be more effective at preventing chapped lips.
Finding lip balms with moisturizing base oils as their main ingredients are great for locking in the moisture you need for soft lips every day. Check out an all-natural lip balm that comes in a zero-waste cork packaging from ScentCerae on Etsy by clicking here!
Limiting the number of unpronounceable chemicals in your toiletries is a great way to simplify your routine. I started with switching from pumped body wash to bar soap and have had great results while spending less on gimmicky brands promising the softest skin.
With toothpaste being used several times a day, it’s easy to forget how big of an impact t has on our lives. Even worse, it’s easy to fall into the habit of replacing your toothpaste tube without a second thought.
Back when I started my zero-waste travel series, I tried out zero-waste toothpaste in a glass bottle which I loved! I you didn’t know, all toothpaste can be made zero waste because the main ingredients are all-natural.
Everything else is added for consumer preference, but it is completely unnecessary!This glass-bottled, all-natural toothpaste gets rid of the extras and still tastes great while keeping your pearly whites healthy! You can check out the product made by Elegant Rose Boutique by clicking here.
I have since then used the entirety of that product and have moved on to another kind which I was a little less familiar with—toothpaste nibs! This kind of toothpaste is actually in solid form and is chewable for each use and comes in really cool flavors you wouldn’t get commercially.
Toothpaste nibs are a great way to rid the product of even the most basic waste—complicated packaging! Curious to try them out on your own? Try the same kind I got by ScentCerae on Etsy by clicking here for her shop!
Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
As I mentioned before, switching to bar soap is one of the easiest swaps to bottled soap and limit waste in the bathroom. But body wash isn’t the only thing you can replace, as many zero-waste shops stock shampoo and conditioner bars made with all-natural ingredients.
As someone with a natural 3A-B hair texture, I was naturally a little nervous to try something so foreign to me, even though there was a promise of it being natural ingredients. I first used the shampoo bars by Elegant Rose Boutique last summer and was impressed with how nourishing it felt despite being shampoo.
I’ve now completely switched to bar shampoo and conditioner with coconut oil as an extra mask when needed and my hair is healthier than ever. The conditioner bar by FromEarthAU on Etsy did an impressive job at keeping my curls happy, though conditioner bars sud less than shampoo, similar to the kind out of a bottle.
I have found myself needing more soap less often and am happy to say that staying hygienic is no longer a bank-breaker. My curls have grown a lot since I started using these products and I think avoiding the extra chemicals is to thank for it!
Body scrubs are a timely way to keep your skin feeling soft all week long, but they are often sold for much more than what they are worth, no matter how good they are.
While it’s tempting to walk through the body care aisle and pick up all the sweet-smelling scrubs, making them at home is much cheaper and you can experiment with different scents!
I make my body scrubs with a mixture of coconut oil, brown or white sugar, and honey, for the best texture and smell, as well as a few added drops of essential oils when wanted. So far, I’ve saved a lot of money using what I already have at home while making a product I’ve come to love and use regularly.
Another homemade product I use regularly is hair masks. The great part about making your own masks is that you can guarantee the benefits depending on the ingredients.
I tend to mix and match depending on what my hair needs at the time but here are a few popular ingredients and their benefits when added to a mask.
- Avocado – Hydrating and strengthening
- Egg (raw) – Strengthening and promotes growth
- Honey – Nourishing and softens
- Banana – Promotes growth and nourishes
- Yogurt (plain greek) – Softens and gently detangles
If you’re not into the idea of putting mashed banana and raw egg in your hair, you can also use raw coconut oil in the shower as a pre-shampoo mask to protect your ends.
Unless your hair is seriously dry and damaged, I recommend not putting it near your roots or scalp, as it can make the hair look greasy if not washed properly or cause buildup if not necessary for your hair.
This is one of my longest posts, and with good reason! I hope that many of you will follow my journey into 2020 going more zero-waste and implementing more alternatives into my life.
Many of these are cheaper and more sustainable anyway, so even if you’re not crazy about the environmental effects of consuming so much, I’m sure your bank account is in full support of picking up these habits.
If you’re looking for more alternatives or tips to stick with it, leave a comment below or visit my Instagram @TheUntamedOptimist to leave me a message!
I love to help my viewers in any way I can and together we can also help keep our planet a little cleaner!