Eight Plastic Free Products You Need To Incorporate Into Your Daily Routine
We understand that learning how to live a plastic-free life can feel like it has a steep learning curve. Pursuing a more sustainable way of life can also feel overwhelming and drastic. In reality, many of the necessary terms and important concepts are self-explanatory. There is also an increasing amount of sustainable options that won’t make you feel like you are sacrificing your wants and needs.
What Does It Mean to Zero-Waste Shop, Anyway?
For a product or company to be considered “zero-waste” they must fulfill some specific criteria. The most basic definition of zero-waste is that no extra resources are discharged into the environment, where they can do harm. We can be zero-waste in so many aspects of life, including: how we produce, how we consume, how we package, and how we dispose. A huge part of embracing the zero-waste lifestyle is only to patronize products and companies that function with a similar ethic.
Shopping for zero-waste products is a necessary part of improving the planet. After all, even if you use and reuse your items, eventually recycling or composting them, that does not eliminate the potential harm done.
There are so many elements of production that typically require the use of plastic, fossil fuels, or other harmful materials that hurt the environment. Production not only includes the manufacturing of the product itself, but transporting it via plane or truck and the packaging that it comes in as well.
Shopping zero-waste means understanding a company’s relationship to the environment and how it prioritizes both your and the planet’s wellbeing. A natural extension of not using wasteful materials is avoiding the use of plastic.
Plastic is easily the most pervasive and harmful material that we use in massive quantities. This is a result of it being cheap, durable and extremely versatile. Since plastic use is so common, it can be easy to think that it is our only option for many different products. Thankfully, this is not actually the case.
How Do We Live Without Plastic?
Living a plastic free life may seem impossible due to its prevalence, but we did it before and we can do it again! This shift can seem a bit overwhelming, but instead of viewing it from that lense, we choose to look at it as making more intentional shifts that result in positive change everyday.
We do not have to fully give up plastic immediately, but instead start small and move up from there. Even if you cannot immediately implement each of our plastic-free suggestions, just one change or a few changes have the power to make a real impact happen.
The first and biggest goal is eliminating single-use plastics. This (unfortunately large) category, of course, includes any kind of plastic that is meant to be used only once and then disposed of. This consists of plastic bags, plastic bottles, plastic packaging, and more.
Much of living a life free of plastic revolves around reducing, reusing, and recycling. If we reduce the number of products we need, we then reduce the packaging it comes in. Not only have we used and disposed of less plastic, but the demand on the supply chain will also go down, creating an even bigger positive impact. . This allows for more reasonable conditions and shipping times, greatly lowering greenhouse gas emissions.
Once you have scoped out the items you need, assure that they can be reused time and time again. This will get rid of the need to keep consuming and throwing out hazardous materials. We will get into just a few of our favorite plastic-free reusable items in a bit.
Lastly, there will inevitably come a time when an item has reached the end of its natural lifecycle, meaning it's time for its disposal. Ideally you will be able to get rid of it by either recycling or composting it.
Now that we know how to make every stage of use more eco-friendly, let’s finally get into some of the very best plastic-free alternatives out there.
Plastic-Free Alternatives to Products We Use Everyday
As time goes on, more fantastic products come about that are made with the environment in mind. Not only do many of these items combat plastic waste, many of them make efforts to clean up the immense amounts of plastic pollution already in our oceans and landfills.
There are so many ways to consume ethically that will keep the planet clean for future generations. We have gathered just a few of the endless possibilities laid out here for you, but there are so many more at your disposal. (😉)
Chances are if there is an item you use frequently, there is a way for it to be made more eco-conscious. Simply research more environmentally responsible versions of that item or practice, and you are sure to find something that suits you. That being said, here are a few of our absolute favorite and most convenient ways to clean up the environment with the products you use.
Reusable Water Bottles
The first item on our list is perhaps one of the easiest and most convenient alternatives available. Not only that, but it is also healthy for both you and the planet! Carrying around a reusable water bottle is a fantastic option that allows you to stay hydrated while not contributing any plastic waste to the environment.
While it is true that there are water bottles that are both reusable and made of plastic, take it a step further and find one made of stainless steel or another sustainable material instead. Eventually, the reusable plastic bottles will still have to be disposed of in the same non-environmentally friendly way, but stainless steel provides an infinitely better alternative. Modern stainless steel is made of over 60 percent recycled materials and can also be melted down and reused for a new purpose.
That is not to say that you will often be recycling your stainless steel, though. In fact, it is one of the most durable materials out there. It is significantly more long-lasting than plastic, making it a much better option. We are simply saying that eventually, it can be recycled, but you will likely not need to pursue that option for quite a long time to come.
Mesh Produce Bags and Reusable Grocery Bags
This next one provides a plethora of benefits for both you and the environment. Instead of the many plastic bags that are likely a near-constant at your local grocery store or supermarket, bringing reusable grocery bags or reusable produce bags can make a huge difference.
Going grocery shopping with fabric reusable bags or baskets makes your goods easier to carry and their limited space will serve as a helpful reminder to only buy what you need. In doing this, it can discourage food waste while also preventing plastic pollution. What’s not to love? Using mesh bags for produce and other groceries is also a much better option.
Reusable bags are beneficial if you visit your local farmers’ market as they act as a friendly alternative to plastic products, including grocery bags.
Some grocery stores charge small amounts of money for their plastic bags. While these fees may not seem like much at the time, the truth is that they can certainly add up, and who wants to spend money on single use plastics? Reusable and mesh bags are a one-time purchase with long-lasting appeal.
Metal or Silicone Straws
It is no secret at all that plastic straws wreak havoc on our delicate ecosystems, especially when it comes to marine life. Plastic in general is immensely damaging to those that inhabit our oceans, lakes, and rivers, but straws can pose an especially insidious threat. There are countless videos of straws stuck in turtles’ noses and otherwise impeding an animal’s ability to survive.
To avoid this fate, we can instead pursue reusable straws. To make this option even better, you also have several materials to choose from. Metal is easy to clean and very portable, but it might not be ideal for everyone. Silicone straws are great for those who want a softer option than metal.
Many toothbrushes that retailers today carry are both made of plastic and come in plastic packaging. Some even have batteries in them that are unsafe for the environment if improperly disposed of (oftentimes the case). If only there were a better way…Well, thanks to Bite, there is!
We offer bamboo toothbrushes that are not only plastic-free but are also completely compostable.They are made of natural, cruelty-free, and vegan ingredients, just like all of our other products. These toothbrushes are just one of many high-quality, eco-friendly products you can include in your day-to-day routine.
If you need something sustainable to brush onto your pearly whites, our renowned Toothpaste Bits come in glass jars, with refills being sent to you just when you need them.
Plastic-Free Laundry Detergent
Laundry detergent often comes in packaging that pays no mind to the needs of the environment. Huge, clunky plastic packaging first takes up space in our homes and then landfills or the ocean. Plastic-free laundry detergents that come in pods, tablets, or bars are a much friendlier option.
Package-Free Shampoo and Conditioner Bars
We often do not even realize just how much plastic waste comes from our personal care products. Shampoo and conditioner are generally packaged entirely in plastic. Shampoo bars and conditioners are a worthwhile alternative. These will offer you all the same cleaning and lathering power, but a bottle will never need to be thrown out at the end. On top of this, they are often made with much cleaner ingredients which gives you healthier hair and a healthier planet.
You know those annoying bits of product you can never get out of the bottom of the bottle, no matter how hard you try? Say goodbye to those with shampoo bars!
Beeswax Food Storage Wraps
Instead of reaching for a typical sandwich bag or plastic wrap to keep your food fresh and contained, try beeswax wraps. These are recyclable and compostable alternatives that perfectly contour around your items, taking up less space in your bag or refrigerator. After you are done, beeswax wraps can easily be reused multiple times.
Glass Food Storage Containers
Other unsustainable food storage methods are all too common. Even plastic reusable Tupperware, while better than single-use plastic, does eventually need to be disposed of. Since plastic can never be fully broken down, it simply becomes harmful microplastics.
This issue can be solved by instead utilizing reusable containers made of glass. This way, you can still easily see what is inside, and your food is always kept fresh. Glass tupperware is often durable and long lasting, but once it’s at its end it can be safely recycled.
Whether you are looking to make many sustainable changes in your life at once or just to start small, there is so much you can do to help the environment. Shopping from a zero-waste store or plastic-free shop can be a strong start towards going plastic-free. Remember that even small changes can have a big impact, especially regarding sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint.