70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Looking for some easy zero waste swaps? I’ve got you covered. This huge list boasts a wide array of zero waste goodies for plastic-free living. However, that being said, please don’t throw away your items just to buy sustainable alternatives. That’s kind of counterproductive to the zero waste lifestyle, right? I know it’s quite tempting to ditch all your plastic in the beginning stages, but resist that urge my friend. As long as the item is still functioning, use it until it wears down. Then, make the switch to something better – perhaps even something on this list. So go down the list and see which products you’d like to try after your own need replacing. Also, for those of us on a tighter budget, I’ve also included some thrifty options for these swaps as well. There are also several DIYs I link to – most of which you probably already have the ingredients for in your home. I know zero waste living can be perceived as expensive (and for some, it truly is!), but I assure you – if you look at it as an investment, it pays off in the end. Without further ado, here’s 70 zero waste swaps for plastic-free living.

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70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living
These zero waste swaps are designed to help you live a more plastic-free life. You don’t necessarily have to make all of them – especially not at once! I recommend looking for some items at thrift stores first – you’ll generally find a better bargain there. However, if you cannot find what you’re looking for, purchasing one of these items new is a great idea. I’ve broken it all down into 7 sections: On the go, food shopping, bathroom, kitchen, laundry, bedroom and cleaning. You can jump from section to section or read top to bottom if you so choose. All the items I list are things I’ve used, or would use myself. You can’t go wrong with any of them! I also try to link to eco-friendly small businesses when possible, though some products could only be found through Amazon.
70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

On the go

1. Cloth napkins

Reduce your reliance on disposable napkins with one of these bad boys.

Free fix: DIY your own by cutting up an old shirt.

2. Bamboo utensils 

Carrying a stash of reusable utensils on you helps you refuse the plastic ones.

Free fix: Regular utensils wrapped in DIY cloth napkin.

3. Reusable bag

In case you go shopping unexpectedly, you can refuse single use bags.

Free fix: Make your own reusable bag out of a shirt, or grab any reusable tote you have lying around.

4. Travel mug

Grab drinks – both hot and cold – on the go without the waste.

Free fix: Glass jar – just wrap rubber bands around the center of it to prevent burning your hands.

5. Reusable water bottle

Sip your water on the go without buying a plastic water bottle.

Free fix: An empty glass jar or cup.

6. Reusable straws

Sip your drink without killing a sea turtle.

Free fix: Skip the straw entirely and drink from the cup.

7. Tiffin

Lunches, leftovers from a restaurant, or snacks go perfectly in here.

Free fix: Use an empty glass jar.

8. Compostable phone case

Plastic phone cases create a lot of waste, honestly.

Free fix: Don’t get a phone case – I don’t have one. I use a little carrying case instead.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Food shopping

9. Reusable totes

I know I mentioned this already, but you can never have enough while grocery shopping.

Free fix: Make all of your own or ask around and see if your friends have any totes lying around.

10. Cloth produce bags

Cloth produce bags can be added to your compost at the end of their life.

Free fix: DIY your own produce bag out of an old shirt.

11. Synthetic produce bags

Generally cheaper, but these last a long time and you can see through them.

Free fix: Re-purpose lingerie wash bags.

12. Cotton net produce bag

Perfect for big leafy produce.

Free fix: If you’re good at knitting you could DIY your own cotton net produce bag.

13. Beeswax wrap

Perfect for wrapping loose bread or cheese for storage. For vegans, try this out.

Free fix: Make your own DIY beeswax wraps using cotton and beeswax.

14. Glass jars

For bulk food store visits, you’ll need some mason jars.

Free fix: Keep and use empty glass jars from tomato sauce, salsa, etc.

15. Wine bag

Perfect for safely storing your glass jars when heading to and from the bulk food store.

Free fix: Cut up pieces of cardboard to act like dividers between your glass jars in a tote bag.

16. Wax crayon

For writing tare/PLU codes on glass jar lids.

Free fix: Take pictures of the PLU codes, or use a sharpie to write tare weight on your jars.

17. Glassware

For when you go to your local butcher or fisherman – ask them to put the meat in your container.

Free fix: Reuse takeout containers, like the Chinese food containers with snappable lids.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Bathroom

18. Shampoo bar + conditioner bar

Cannot recommend these enough – they last a while, smell amazing, and cut back on waste.

Free fix: Make your own DIY shampoo and conditioner.

19. Plaine Products

If you prefer liquid shampoo + conditioner, this brand lets you send your bottles back to be reused.

Use code GREENIFYME for 20% off at checkout!

20. Safety razor

Reusable safety razors last forever and the blades can easily be recycled.

21. Body soap bar

Replace bottled body wash with this package free vegan soap bar.

Free fix: Make your own soap bars.

22. Dental Lace

Zero waste floss made from compostable silk, packaged in a small glass bottle.

Free fix: Use a compostable thread from an organic cotton or silk shirt.

23. Bamboo toothbrush

You can compost the handle at the end of its life, unlike a plastic toothbrush.

24. Reel Toilet Paper

Plastic-free and tree-free, delivered straight to your door.

25. Tushy bidet 

Reduces the amount of toilet paper you need, plus it’s extra hygienic.

26. Wooden toilet brush

Plastic free, compostable, and it comes with it’s own stand.

27. Linen bath towels

These 100% linen bath towels are surprisingly absorbent and will dry quicker than regular towels.

28. Hemp shower curtain

Much better than polyester curtains, this can be composted (just be sure to cut it up first).

29. Period panties

These reusable period panties almost work like magic – plus they’re insanely cute and comfy.

30. Wooden hair brush

Promotes hair growth, extra durable, and compostable at the end of its life.

Related: The Best Zero Waste Hair Brush

31. Homemade air freshener 

Give up Febreeze and use something less harmful to your lungs and the planet.

32. DIY toothpaste

Baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil – that’s all you need to clean your teeth.

33. Mouthwash

Another recipe I like is water, peppermint essential oil, and baking soda.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Kitchen

34. Activated charcoal stick

For water purification – here’s how to filter water without plastic.

35. Compost pail

Leave this on your counter, add food scraps to it all week, dump it off at the market on Saturday.

Free fix: Store food scraps in an empty glass jar or plastic container. Or make a DIY compost bin.

36. Cloth bowl covers

They have an elasticized edge that allows them to grip onto the bowl – great for covering leftovers!

Free fix: Put a dish over your bowl to act like an impromptu cover.

37. Wooden dish brush

This long handle brush can be composted – the metal parts can be recycled easily.

38. Cast iron pans

Cooking with cast iron is the best – there’s no toxic Teflon – plus the pans last you forever.

Related: How to Care For + Clean Cast Iron

39. Wooden cooking utensils

Wooden cooking utensils are easy to compost at the end of their life, all while being super durable.

40. Dutch oven

Made from cast iron with a porcelain enamel coating – super versatile and plastic-free.

41. Stasher bag

These are great for storing leftovers, freezing food, and stashing snacks in.

42. Wooden scrubber

Great for scrubbing dishes, pots and pans using some elbow grease!

43. Dish Washing Block

This block of dish soap is vegan, cruelty-free, and package-free.

Free fix: DIY your own dish soap.

44. Bamboo cutting board

Chop your veggies on sustainably harvested bamboo instead of plastic.

45. Crock pot

You can cook so much in a crock pot and if you keep it well, it will last you for years to come.

46. Blender

Getting a high quality blender will ensure you don’t have to keep purchasing cheap ones that break.

47. Glass mixing bowls with lids

You can use this to mix food or ingredients – you can also use them to store leftovers using the lids.

48. Juice jar

Perfect for when you want to store homemade juice, nut milk, or any other liquid you want to serve.

49. Glass food storage canisters

The best for storing dry goods you get from the bulk food store – frees up mason jars and produce bags.

50. Glass measuring cup

Plastic measuring cups begone – this glass one is surprisingly durable.

51. Stainless steel tea pot

Perfect for brewing some nice loose leaf tea.

Related: Zero Waste Tea: How to Avoid Plastic Tea Bags



52. Plates + dishes

Best if bought second hand – thrift stores have fantastic deals!


53. Cloth Sponge

Reusable and compostable, you can use this to replace paper towels and sponges.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Laundry

54. Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Plastic-free packaging, and the pods are biodegradable – only one pod is needed for each load.


55. Wool dryer balls

Speeds up drying, reduces static, acts as a fabric softener – and is compostable.

56. Stain remover stick

Plastic-free, vegan, and all-natural – plus it actually works!

57. DIY laundry detergent

DIY powder detergent is so easy to whip up.

Related: Zero Waste Laundry

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Bedroom

58. Natural mattress

Made with organic latex, cotton and wool – no polyester or toxic fire retardants what so ever.

For vegan mattresses: Avocado Vegan Mattress


59. Green pillow

Non toxic pillow made from GOLS organic certified latex, kapox fill and cotton covering.

60. Organic cotton sheets

Sustainably made, comfy, and 100% organic.

61. Lots of houseplants

Great for air purifying properties – plus they look lovely and boost happiness.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

Cleaning

62. Fair trade natural rubber cleaning gloves

When you don’t want to get your hands dirty – plastic-free packaging, plus they’re biodegradable!

63. Bottle brush

Perfect for hard-to-reach cleaning – like reusable water bottles or mason jars.

64. Wooden broom

Perfect for sweeping up dust, plus compostable at the end of its life.

65. DIY tub + sink scrub

Great for cleaning grime off sinks and tubs, without the waste or toxic chemicals.

66. Orange peel vinegar cleaner

Great use for leftover orange (or any citrus) peels.

67. Lavender vinegar cleaner

Smells very nice and is perfect for those who grow lavender or have access to dried lavender.

68. Produce wash

Wash away impurities on produce using this easy peasy DIY solution.

69. Dishwasher detergent

Create this natural DIY and your dishes will be spotless in no time.

70. Toilet cleaner

Easy DIY to whip up – plus fun to use, since it’s a citrus toilet fizzy.

70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living

What did you think of these zero waste swaps? 

For more zero waste tips, be sure to check out these 10 zero waste shops or my zero waste beginners guide.

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By Ariana Palmieri

Ariana Palmieri is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.

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