Best Zero Waste Products for Beginners
If you’re ready to start reducing the amount of waste in your life but you’re not sure how to begin, this helpful guide will go over the best zero waste products for beginners and the zero waste products to avoid.
Living a zero waste lifestyle is a journey, and we’re all at different stages. If you’re just starting out, welcome! If you feel overwhelmed and not sure where to begin, this is the perfect guide for you.
Zero Waste Products You Don’t Need
When you’re just starting out with your zero waste lifestyle, you don’t need to go out and buy every product on the market.
For example, when I first started transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle, I still had A TON of plastic toothbrushes I had purchased in bulk. It would have been a waste of money and resources for me to simply throw away those toothbrushes just because they weren’t zero waste.
Instead, it was better for me to use them through their useful lifespan, and then make the switch to a bamboo toothbrush once I was through with them.
Take an inventory of the items you already have in your home that are still working just fine.
This list can include:
- Storage containers
- Cleaning supplies
Continue to use these items until they’re empty or wear out, and then switch over to a zero waste or low waste equivalent.
Best Zero Waste Products
While those are the zero waste products you don’t need right away, there are several zero waste products you can switch to immediately. The products you want to replace as soon as possible are single-use plastics.
Single-use plastic products are ones designed for you to use once and then throw away. They clog up our landfills because it takes plastic up to 1,000 years to decompose. Plastic also takes a lot of natural resources just to create. We use approximately 1.6 million barrels of oil every year just to produce plastic water bottles.
Replacing single-use plastics with zero waste alternatives has two important advantages. First, you’re eliminating unnecessary waste from ending up in the landfill. Second, you’re buying one product and then using it again and again, which helps you save money.
When you’re making the switch to a zero waste lifestyle, these are the best zero waste products to start with.
1. Beeswax Food Wrap
Going from plastic food wrap to reusable beeswax food wrap was one of the best switches I ever made. I’ve never been shy about voicing my displeasure about plastic food wrap. It would never stick where I wanted it and always stick where I didn’t want it.
Now I have reusable beeswax food wrap that lasts up to a year, and I never have to waste money buying plastic food wrap again! If you’re not familiar with this zero waste product, this post answers all of your questions about reusable food wrap.
If you like to DIY, you can even make your own homemade beeswax food wrap.
2. Reusable Shopping Bags
Many cities have started banning plastic shopping bags because of the harm they cause the environment. If you live in one of those cities, you might have already made the switch to reusable shopping bags.
If not, now is the perfect time to do it. These reusable shopping bags come in lovely prints, fold up into the attached pouch for easy storage, and you can wash them, which is ideal if you have some food spill or leak on the way home from the grocery store.
I’m always afraid I’ll forget my shopping bags, so I leave them out on a chair at our dining table so I always see them. At this point, it has become a habit for me to grab them before I go to the store. You can also leave them in your car in case you have to make an unexpected trip to the store when you’re out.
Also, don’t forget to get some reusable produce bags so you don’t have to use the flimsy plastic bags at the store to hold your loose produce. These are the reusable produce bags I use because they’re washable, come in multiple sizes, and have a tare weight tag to deduct the bag’s weight at checkout.
3. Reusable Straws
Along with plastic shopping bags, many cities are starting to ban plastic straws for the harm they cause. Not only are they clogging up our landfills, but they’re also getting in our waterways and hurting wildlife.
For the most part, restaurants that no longer hand out plastic straws will give you a paper straw if you ask for one. We tried the paper straws one day to see how they work.
Well, let’s just say they work exactly how you expect paper to react when it hits water. In other words, they didn’t really work at all. That’s when we made the switch to reusable straws.
This is our favorite reusable straw. If you’re interested in discovering even more great options, this post covers the best reusable straws and includes everything from stainless steel straws and silicone straws to glass straws and bamboo straws.
4. Reusable Snack Bags
If you’re looking for ways to pack a waste-free lunch, reusable snack bags are an excellent option. These zero waste products are good for holding snacks and leftovers, and they eliminate the need to constantly have to buy plastic snack bags.
I like this organic cotton reusable snack bag because it’s handmade in the United States, machine washable, and completely biodegradable when it reaches the end of its lifespan.
Even better, this snack bag comes from a shop dedicated to plastic free and zero waste shipping, so you know you’re making a truly sustainable choice.
5. Glass Food Storage Containers
Not only is making the switch from plastic food containers to glass food containers good for going zero waste, but it’s also better for your health. The chemicals in plastic can leach into your food, especially when you warm it in the microwave.
These chemicals can then mess with your hormones, which can cause reproductive problems and possibly even cancer.
We like these glass containers because they can go in the freezer, oven, and dishwasher, which makes them incredibly convenient.
It’s important to note that these storage containers do come with plastic lids. While the lids are BPA-free, I still recommend making sure you don’t fill the containers so high that the food touches the lid. Also, if you put the container in the microwave, don’t leave the lid on.
If you want to completely eliminate plastic from your life, it’s safe to put beeswax food wrap in the refrigerator. You can simply swap out the plastic lids and cover your glass containers with reusable food wrap.
6. Reusable Water Bottle
Plastic water bottles have pretty much the same issues as every other plastic item on this list. They use a ton of natural resources to create, they sit in landfills and take thousands of years to decompose, and they can leach harmful chemicals into the water you drink.
Since we’ve already talked about how bad it is to have plastic come in contact with what you eat and drink, it’s easy to understand why I recommend getting a glass water bottle.
I’m clumsy, and I drop things all. the. time. I use this particular glass water bottle because it has a protective silicone sleeve on the outside. Plus, it’s dishwasher safe, even with the sleeve on.
If you have young kids in your house who are transitioning to cups, be sure to check out this post on the best non-toxic and plastic free sippy cups so you can make sure they avoid the harmful side effects of plastic as well.
7. Cloth Napkins
Cloth napkins are one of the best zero waste products for beginners that you might not have considered. Think about how many times during the day you use and then throw away a napkin or paper towel.
Then think about the fact that it takes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water to make one ton of paper towels. Now it’s pretty easy to understand why you want to reduce your paper towel use.
I use these cloth napkins in our home because the color matches our decor, but you can get napkins in just about any color and design you can imagine.
I keep two baskets on the kitchen counter. One basket holds the clean napkins that people can grab as they need one, and the other basket is where they put dirty napkins. Then I just toss the dirty napkins in the wash once a week.
Shopping for Zero Waste Products
If you have a local zero waste store, you’ll likely find all these best zero waste products when you shop there. If not, don’t worry. You can get these top products and enjoy all the benefits of zero waste shopping when you check out these best zero waste online shops.
Top Zero Waste Products for Beginners
Making the transition to a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be hard. Now that you know the best zero waste products for beginners and which zero waste products to avoid, you’ll have a much easier time adopting this eco-friendly way of living.
More Eco-Friendly Living Tips
Now that you see how it easy it is to reduce your waste with these zero waste products, are you ready for even more eco-friendly living tips? Then check out some of our other popular posts:
- How to Create an Eco-Friendly Cleaning Routine
- Easy Ways to Reduce Plastic Use
- How to Care for Reusable Food Wrap
- Natural Cleaning Ingredients You Should Never Mix