The Ultimate List of Zero-Waste Swaps

“The Earth is what we all have in common.”

Wendell Berry

Zero-waste is “living with the aim to send nothing to a landfill,” as stated by Going Zero Waste.

According to the EPA, plastic waste accounted for 33.3 million tons of trash produced in 2014 in America. Of that, just 3.17 million tons were recovered by recycling.

Did you know that 91 percent of plastic types are not recyclable? Plastic also never biodegrades and we are using more and more of it every year.

After reading all of these facts- you may be wondering what you can do. Below are a few ideas of zero-waste swaps that you can use! By switching to these reusable options, you will be saving money overtime as well.

This list is meant to be a resource and something that you can come back to. It’s likely not feasible to purchase all of these items at one time or dramatically change your lifestyle. But I hope this list gets you thinking about how you can make a difference!

This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you click a link and make a purchase, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. 

The Ultimate List Of Zero-Waste Swaps

1. Save the turtles and the environment with silicone straws.

You may have already switched over to silicone straws after seeing the video of the turtle with a plastic straw stuck in his nose. Switching to silicone straws is a great way to get started. Personally, I keep a couple at home and a few in my purse for when I’m out and about. For a little while, it’s an instinct to continue to grab straws. But once you become conscious of this habit, it is a super easy switch to make!

2. Remove your makeup and save money with these cloth makeup remover pads.

No more disposable makeup remover pads! These are simple and easy to use and come with a little mesh bag so you don’t lose them in the washer and dryer!

3. Ditch the disposable makeup wipes for makeup remover cloths.

Another zero-waste makeup swap! No more disposable makeup wipes! A little oil or makeup remove of your choice on this cloth and your entire face of makeup will come off in a few seconds!

4. Shop away with your own reusable shopping bags.

Shoppers in the United States use almost one plastic bag per resident per day. Shoppers in Denmark use an average of four plastic bags a year. (Source: Travis Wagner, University of Southern Maine) Imagine the difference we could make by switching to reusable shopping bags!

5. Skip the plastic for your produce and use reusable produce bags.

Skip the plastic for your produce and use these bags instead!
Pack these mesh produce bags with your reusable shopping bags! Use these for your fruits and veggies when shopping instead of grabbing that tiny plastic bags at the store.

6. A healthier alternative to zip lock bags- silicone ziplock bags!

I cringe thinking how many ziplock bags I have used in my lifetime… These silicone ziplock baggies save the planet and your hard-earned money! They are also sturdier than normal ziplock bags.

7. Toss the plastic tupperware and snag glass tupperware instead.

Glass tupperware lasts longer than plastic, is easier to keep clean and looks way cuter on the ‘gram! These containers are made from borosilicate glass- making them the strongest glass available! These containers are microwave, oven, dishwasher and freezer-safe.

8. Switch to bamboo or stainless steel utensils!

Ditch those plastic utensils! Store a set of bamboo or stainless steel utensils in your backpack or purse for convenience.

9. Swap tampons for a period cup.

My life was changed for the better when I switched to a Blossom cup. I am saving money not having to buy a box of tampons each month and I never have to worry about running out of tampons, inconvenient times/locations to change tampons, etc. I would HIGHLY recommend a Blossom cup or another period cup!

10. Another option for a more eco-friendly period with period-proof underwear.

Skip the pads and panty liners and opt for period panties instead! There are great option for both light and heavy days.

11. Pick up coffee from your favorite coffee shop and skip the plastic! Use this stainless steel tumbler instead.

Coffee and tea fanatics- have no fear! You can still enjoy your favorite drinks using a stainless steel tumbler. Bonus: your drinks will stay warm or cold longer than a regular coffee cup or styrofoam cup! Use a stainless steel tumbler at gas stations, coffee shops, Starbucks, work or anywhere you typically would grab a disposable coffee cup.

12. Never use a plastic water bottle again! Try this stainless steel water bottle.

Ditch the plastic water bottles! Grab a cute stainless steel water bottle and fill it up a few times a day. It doesn’t take long to fill it up and it will stay cold for hours. If you are not a fan of tap water, invest in a water filter for your faucet. There are SO many options instead of picking up a case of plastic water bottles.

13. Switch to plastic-free and eco-friendly reusable food wrap.

Use reusable beeswax wraps for a sustainable, natural alternative to plastic wrap. Wrap up cheese, fruit, vegetables, and bread. Cover a bowl or pack a snack for your next adventure. Also makes an amazing zero-waste kitchen gift idea! These wraps last about a year when used several times per week. Typical plastic food wrap are used typically for a matter of minutes and can linger in our environment for 2,000 years or more and won’t biodegrade.

14. Try these machine-washable, reusable kitchen sponges.

Let’s be real, sponges get gross pretty quickly. Rather than tossing each gross sponge, throw them in the washer! These sponges are fume and chemical-free, easy and reusable.

15. Skip the paper towels and use these paperless towels.

Swap out regular paper towels for paperless towels. These paperless towels are washable and reusable and can last for years. They are also extra-absorbent and designed to be worked hard!

16. Go paperless and switch to reusable napkins.

Similar to paperless towels, pick up some reusable napkins! These napkins are made of long-lasting material, are quick-drying and absorbent. They are easy to throw in the washing machine as well!

17. Toss the parchment paper and use silicone baking mats.

No need for aluminum foil or parchment paper! Silicone baking mats are oven-safe and super convenient.

18. Reusable cupcake liners make for a great alternative to paper liners.

Reusable cupcake liners making cooking a breeze! Say bye-bye to the fear of running out of cupcake liners! These reusable, food-grade silicone liners are cost-saving and effortless! They are also freezer, microwave, oven and dishwasher safe!

19. Dryer balls are a great chemical-free alternative to dryer sheets!

Dryer balls are a chemical-free alternative to using dryer sheets and one-time use products. The wool balls will last over a thousand loads! You are also likely to save electricity as your clothes will dry up to 25 percent faster.

20. Kick the k-cups to the curb and use a reusable k-cup.

40 percent of plastic produced is packaging- used just once and then discarded. One example is K-Cups used in Keurigs. Save money AND make a difference by switching to reusable k-cups. Simply use your favorite ground coffee and fill the reusable filter, then pop it into your Keurig or another similar coffee maker. Wash and rinse when finished!

Bottom Line

You can save money and help the environment by making a few simple swaps. You can start with one swap and slowly work up to having a zero-waste home!