Must-Haves for Starting a Zero Waste Lifestyle

The term “zero waste” was initially used in the 1970s by Paul Palmer in association with the usage of industrial chemicals. In 2008, Bea Johnson, an author from Zero Waste Home, came up with the zero-waste lifestyle, popularizing the Zero Waste movement. 

Living a zero-waste lifestyle isn’t a luxury only some can afford; it’s for everyone and doesn’t have to take time and cost extra money. To love a zero-waste lifestyle, one should simply live by the principles of waste prevention, separate collection, and residual waste reduction. It might take a great deal of effort at first, but it will get easier as days go by. 

Here are several must-have essentials for beginning your zero waste journey:

Product
Visual
Where to Buy
KeepCup Thermal, Reusable Stainless Steel Cup, Large 16oz | 454mls, Nitro
Hiware 12-Pack Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws with Case - Long Drinking Straws for 30 oz and 20 oz Tumblers Yeti Dishwasher Safe - 2 Cleaning Brushes Included
Wooden Utensils for Eating Reusable Wooden Bamboo Cutlery Set with Case 9 Pcs Travel Utensils Wooden Bamboo Fork and Spoon Set Wood Flatware Set for Eating with Knife Fork Spoon Chopsticks Straw
Stasher Platinum Silicone Food Grade Reusable Storage Bag, Aqua (Snack) | Reduce Single-Use Plastic | Cook, Store, Sous Vide, or Freeze | Leakproof, Dishwasher-Safe, Eco-friendly, Non-Toxic | 9.9 Oz

1. Reusable Bottles

Reusable bottles are unquestionably the most affordable and easiest zero-waste switch you can do. You can start by simply refusing disposable cups and plastic bottles. Investing in a personal reusable drinking container or flask for any drink reduces your purchase costs and cuts down the amount of waste produced.  The KeepCup Thermal, Reusable Stainless Steel Cup is perfect for on-the-go coffee lovers as it can keep your beverage hot (or cold) for much longer. They also fit snuggly inside handbags, meaning you can bring them everywhere.

2. Reusable Stainless Steel Straw with a Cleaning Brush

People throw-away around 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws every year. These plastic straws can’t be recycled and will never be completely biodegradable. In turn, stainless steel straws were made and had a massive environmental impact. The set of Hiware Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws is BPA and lead-free, making them perfect for saving the environment from single-use plastic straws. They even come with a brush for easy cleaning!

3. Plastic-Free Kitchen

The kitchen produces the majority of our household wastes. So, start by making new meals out of food scraps, only shopping for what you need, and freezing leftovers. Additionally, you can begin a healthy practice of composting your food waste to reduce carbon emissions.

4. Bamboo Utensil Set

bamboo chopsticks, chopsticks holder

Buy your travel utensil set to prevent the accumulation of additional waste from individually packaged, single-use plastic utensils. Get yourself a Bamboo Utensil Set containing a spoon, a fork, chopsticks, a straw, a cleaning brush, and a knife. The set comes in a carrying pouch, making it the perfect on-the-go utensil set. This way, you can cut down on the plastic wastes that go to landfills.

5. Silicone Stasher Bag

Aside from being plastic-free and zero-waste, Stasher bags are also great for anything and everything, particularly for anyone who’s striving to reduce their bathroom, kitchen, and on-the-go waste. These bags made from food-safe silicone are a more sustainable option to plastic, which you can use in the freezer, dishwasher, microwave, oven (on medium heat), and sous vide machine. 

Unlike plastic bags, silicone Stasher bags don’t contain lead, latex, or additives and can be reused for years. Thus, Stasher bags are the best alternative to freezer wraps and wasteful plastic bags used for cooking, storing leftovers, pr even as toiletry bags.

6. Compostable Snack Bags

Almost 500 billion single-use plastic bags are used every year, and nearly none of these get recycled. Instead, they pile up in our landfills and clog our waterways for hundreds of years. As a result, BioBag offered a sustainable alternative to single-use Ziploc bags, which are made from compostable and biodegradable corn film, not oil. These resealable bags compost by the end of their lives. You can use compostable snack bags for storing sandwiches, snack bags, and leftovers every day. 

7. Reusable Shopping Bags

Experience zero-waste shopping by using paper bags or cloth instead of single-use plastic. You can get yourself an organic cotton bag, or if you’re feeling creative, you can make your own from second-hand fabric or old clothes.

8. Eco-Friendly Sanitary Products

Commercial sanitary products are not only harmful to women’s health but are also detrimental to the environment. Replacing them with eco-friendly sanitary products can change the game and save a life. There are two varieties of eco-friendly pads you can choose from: disposable and reusable. Furthermore, you can buy organic menstrual cups as an alternative. These cups are money-saving, long-lasting, and have minimal impact on our environment.

9. Eco-Friendly Toiletries

Build a plastic-free bathroom by purchasing items such as soap bars, bamboo toothbrushes, recycled toilet paper rolls, eco-friendly shower puffs, bamboo combs, stainless steel razors, and DIY beauty products.

10. Silicone Compost Bin

Living a zero-waste lifestyle also includes composting. The organic materials we dispose of in landfills can’t get the sufficient amount of oxygen they need, and as a result, decomposes anaerobically–releasing methane into the Earth’s atmosphere. This becomes a significant issue since methane is 20x more harmful than carbon dioxide. So, keeping your organic waste will make an immense impact on saving the environment. Invest in an easy-to-wash silicone compost bin that you can quickly put into the freezer, minimizing compost smells. Get one with a hook you can attach to your kitchen counter for scraping food scraps while you’re cooking.