By Fredrica Syren:
Since going zero waste and learning to live a simpler life, my family and I have been enjoying the many benefits. Most important among these are reducing our environmental impact on the world, having more time, and experiencing better health. An extra bonus to our zero waste life is also saving money. Living a zero waste life means buying in bulk to avoid packaged products and switching to reusable alternatives for disposable items. So a zero waste lifestyle does not cost lots of money. We also have planted a garden and grow a lot of food. All this of course means that we, in general, buy much less and therefore spend a lot less money.
Our golden rule is to buy only what we need and to stay away from anything disposable. Here is a list of items I’ve stopped buying.
Paper towels and napkins — I bought cloth “paper” towels and use only cloth napkins.
Tampons and pads — Instead, I use a diva cup and cloth panty liners.
Plastic bags — I use cloth bags for snacks and bread and I use large mason jars.
Produce bags–I use cloth bags instead and for dry bulk items I simply bring to large jars that I store them in to the store.
Paper coffee filter–I use reusable hemp cloth coffee filter and coffee grounds I put in garden or compost.
Plastic straws- I really was not feeling good about my kids sucking on a plastic straw so instead I replaced them with reusable stainless steel straws.
Foil and plastic wrap — Beeswax wraps are a much better option because not only are they reusable and contain no hormone-mimicking chemicals, but they are compostable. So, when broken or old, they simply can be tossed into the compost.
Ziplock bags–Neat-os is the best thing that every happened to use because they have replaced ziplock bags. We use them mostly for freezing fruit, berries and harvested veggies.
Tupperwear–I hate anything plastic touching our food so I’m using hard core stainless steel containers or ones made from all glass that have no plastic in them
Disposable water bottles and filters — Everyone in my family has their own reusable water bottle from Kleen Kanteen. And instead of a disposable Brita water filter made with plastic, we installed a 14 stage biocompatible water purification system under our sink.
Sunscreen-It took us forever to figure this one out but finally we started making our own.
Here is my YouTube video showing how we avoid plastic:
Deodorant — It is easy to replace commercial deodorant by making your own. Here is my YouTube video on how to make it:
Moisturizer — I use coconut oil only and add a few drops of essential oils to it.
Hair ties-Have you ever noticed how many dropped or discarded hair ties you cab find on the beach and on the ground? Unfortunately most hair ties are plastic so they will not decompose and therefore is plastic pollution. I use plastic-free hair ties instead.
Plastic toothbrush and floss-Instead we use bamboo toothbrushes that are compostable as well as compostable floss.
Toothpaste–We make our own toothpaste that even the kids use.
Cleaning supplies — With Vinegar, lemon, essential oils and baking soda, you can clean the whole house and here are my recipes. Here is another of my YouTube videos teaching how to make cleaning supplies.
I purposely have left out all the foods like prepacked snacks and processed foods we no longer buy. As well, I have not addressed how we now make jam, butter, cheese, gluten-free flour blend and much, much more because in this post I wanted to concentrate on non-food items.