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.
70 Zero Waste Swaps for Plastic-Free Living
On the go
Reduce your reliance on disposable napkins with one of these bad boys.
Free fix: DIY your own by cutting up an old shirt.
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.
Sip your water on the go without buying a plastic water bottle.
Free fix: An empty glass jar or cup.
Sip your drink without killing a sea turtle.
Free fix: Skip the straw entirely and drink from the cup.
Lunches, leftovers from a restaurant, or snacks go perfectly in here.
Free fix: Use an empty glass jar.
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.
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.
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.
Generally cheaper, but these last a long time and you can see through them.
Free fix: Re-purpose lingerie wash bags.
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.
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.
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.
You can compost the handle at the end of its life, unlike a plastic toothbrush.
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.
Plastic free, compostable, and it comes with it’s own stand.
These 100% linen bath towels are surprisingly absorbent and will dry quicker than regular towels.
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.
Promotes hair growth, extra durable, and compostable at the end of its life.
Related: The Best Zero Waste Hair Brush
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.
Another recipe I like is water, peppermint essential oil, and baking soda.
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.
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.
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
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!
This block of dish soap is vegan, cruelty-free, and package-free.
Free fix: DIY your own dish soap.
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.
Getting a high quality blender will ensure you don’t have to keep purchasing cheap ones that break.
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.
The best for storing dry goods you get from the bulk food store – frees up mason jars and produce bags.
Plastic measuring cups begone – this glass one is surprisingly durable.
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.
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.
Plastic-free, vegan, and all-natural – plus it actually works!
DIY powder detergent is so easy to whip up.
Related: Zero Waste Laundry
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.
Sustainably made, comfy, and 100% organic.
61. Lots of houseplants
Great for air purifying properties – plus they look lovely and boost happiness.
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.
Great for cleaning grime off sinks and tubs, without the waste or toxic chemicals.
Great use for leftover orange (or any citrus) peels.
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.
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.
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