Earth Day is coming up fast and, although it’s not your typical “let’s have a party” holiday, it’s one of my favorites! Mostly because of the cool nature movie releases, I’ll admit, but also because of the message it sends. This Earth Day, I wanted to try out some “easy” transitions into Zero Waste living.
If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, you’re probably wondering what this has to do with travel or outdoor lifestyle. My answer: What doesn’t it have to do with it!? Just kidding. But it’s important for those of us who enjoy being out in the world to also do our part in protecting it. Even while we’re at home!
The past few years, I’ve been trying to be more eco-conscious and I’ve been researching a lot about the Zero Waste lifestyle. I see photos of people whose monthly waste can fit in a mason jar and, well, it makes me feel pretty crappy about myself. But slowly I’ve been making lifestyle changes that are bringing me closer to achieving my tiny-mason-jar goal, so I can at least feel good about that!
Anyway, this Earth Day I’ve been researching the best Zero Waste products on the market currently. Some I already own and some I’ve just heard and read raving reviews about and am ordering ASAP. But they’re all affordable alternatives to current products on the market.
Remember: Always use up the products that you have before switching to any new products. And also, if you just buy 1 or 2 things to start, that’s fine. I’m the last person to berate you or make you feel bad about yourself! Small changes matter. And obviously we can’t all afford to go on a crazy shopping spree for Earth Day!
AFFILIATE LINK DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links. Anything you purchase using one of my links earns me a small monetary kickback at NO extra cost to you. Of course I only link to products that I believe to be useful and good quality. If you want more information on affiliate links, click here.
I got these as a gift this year and I have to admit, I feel a small sense of pride every time I pull them out in the grocery store. Like, look at me! I care about stuff! It’s sad, I know. But these bags seriously are amazing. They come in 3 different sizes (the large size is VERY large and super handy to have) and they have a drawstring on top. The mesh is also very tight, so they work for bulk grains, too!
NOTE: Some veggies keep great inside these bags! Others (like my carrots) I transfer to a reusable container when I get home.
If you haven’t heard of these by now, you’ve been living under a rock. But there’s a reason for that! We go through so many grocery bags each shopping trip and if you’re like me you have to make multiple trips per week. Reusable grocery bags are a great and easy way to kick start your Zero Waste lifestyle this Earth Day.
Now I know what you’re thinking, “I tried that, and I kept leaving my bags in the car”. Same. What I did to fix this problem? I started making myself walk back out to the car when I forgot my bags (the punishment fits the crime) and after about 3 times of doing that, I remembered them every time. So stick with it! It’s well worth the adjustment period.
NOTE: You can also get insulated bags specifically for hot or cold items!
3. Beeswax Wrap
This wrap is a great, Zero Waste alternative to classic Saran wrap and, if used multiple times per week, they last for a full year. Typical cling wrap is not biodegradable and lingers in the environment for thousands of years. These wraps are made from recycled paper and biodegradable cellulose! A perfect Earth Day addition for your kitchen. PLUS, they come in adorable-y cute patterns!
I promise I’m not going to waste Earth Day by going on an anti-straw rant. However, reusable straws are a brilliant idea and these ones are super easy to pack in your purse or car! It’s can be difficult to remember to ask for no straw but once you’ve done it a few times it becomes a habit, I promise!
NOTE: I bought a pack of 6 and put a couple straws in my purse and a couple straws in my car – the other two I leave at home. That way I always have at least one handy if the other is being washed!
I love getting coffee at the Human Bean, but going through so much plastic for a single drink was kind of killing me. It wasn’t until recently that I discovered most coffee joints will allow you to use your own cup! In fact, Starbucks gives you a $.10 savings on your drink just for bringing your own container. Check with your favorite coffee place, and you might be surprised how easy this Zero Waste life hack is to implement.
Plastic utensils pose a pretty big problem, conservation-wise. But while we can’t always avoid eating out, we can bring our own flatware – and if you purchase these bamboo utensils, you’ll actually want to! The set comes equipped with a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks and comes in an adorable travel case (in a color of your choice – avacodo/green is my fave). It’s super handy and small enough to fit in most purses. It can also clip onto a bag! This is an easy, inexpensive addition for Earth Day that has the potential to make a huge impact!
This may seem like an expensive Earth Day recommendation, but over time it ends up being much cheaper than buying plastic razors. The initial cost of the stainless steel razors are a little pricey, but the blades are only $1 to replace and they last a month or more! Not to mention, they are far more effective than your typical razor. You really can’t go wrong with this one!
8. Shampoo Bars
Shampoo bars are a relatively new fad that’s on the rise. At first, the idea of rubbing a bar of soap on your head may seem kind of weird, but once you get past the mechanics of it, it’s actually nice! Not to mention, they’re super handy for traveling.
This alternative to tube-toothpaste is a little weird, I’ll admit. The oil can be difficult to get used to. But the pros definitely outweigh that 1 con. The toothpaste comes in a glass jar (recyclable – or even better, reusable) so no more discarding a new plastic tube every month. Not to mention, the formula is completely natural, so you’re not putting nasty chemicals into your mouth. This is a must have for any Zero Waste home!
If you’re a mouthwash fiend, here’s an Earth Day Approved alternative for you! Mouthwash tablets. Like the tooth powder, they come in a glass jar and have no plastic wrapping or packaging. You just pop one in a glass, allow it to dissolve, and then swish it around in your mouth for 30 seconds. They’re super travel-friendly (since there’s no liquid involved) and 1 jar lasts you an entire year!
11. Menstrual Cup
Ladies only. Unless you’re a dude who collects menstrual cups, in which case, yikes!
But on a more serious note, Earth Day is the perfect time to make the switch to sustainable feminine care. It’s estimated that 45 billion tampons and pads are thrown away per year. One person alone uses about 240 tampons per year! Those are crazy high numbers!
Luckily, there are other options and they’re becoming more and more widely accepted. The cup is my personal choice, but there are other options out there like Thinx underwear and reusable pads.
I almost wrote “Recycled Toilet Paper” as the heading for this one, but then I realized that sounds like you’re getting used toilet paper. Oops! That’s not the case.
“Who Gives a Crap” Toilet Paper is made from other recycled paper products and comes packaged in totally recyclable materials (paper and cardboard). No more useless plastic wrap to pull off! And as if that wasn’t enough reason to add this to your Zero Waste (or approaching Zero Waste) home, they also partner with charities to build sanitation systems in low income areas.
Oh. And the packaging is decoration-level cute!