Along with our older post about Top 10 Ways to Start Going Zero Waste, here are a few more alternatives to every day items in your home that you can switch to on your journey to zero waste.
1 Makeup remover wipes → coconut oil and reusable cotton rounds
Instead of using chemically-filled wipes to wipe off your makeup only to inevitably end up at the landfill, purchase some reusable cotton rounds and coconut oil. It’s a healthier alternative and you can wash the cotton rounds.
2 Wrapping paper → newspapers and biodegradable twine
Instead of buying rolls of expensive (or cheap) wrapping paper for Christmas and birthdays, use newspapers and comics that are laying around the house. For larger gifts, you’ll need multiple sheets and, unfortunately, tape. For gifts that can use one sheet, use biodegradable twine to keep the paper together instead of tape. Then your loved one can recycle the newspaper and compost the twine.
3 Plastic cutting boards → wooden cutting boards
The plastic cutting boards are going to end up at the landfill where it will take hundreds of years to break down. Every single plastic item that was ever made still exists today. If you switch to wooden cutting boards you can upcycle them at the end of their lives and create wall art or something artsy. Bamboo cutting boards would probably be best.
4 Plastic cooking utensils → bamboo cooking utensils
Same concept applies to cooking utensils as the cutting boards.
5 Plastic ice trays → stainless steel ice trays
Stainless steel ice trays are way more expensive, but they last a lot longer. They do require a lever (which if you buy from Amazon, it will come with one) to get the ice cubes out of the tray; and all the cubes come out at one time, but then you can save what you don’t use and refill the tray.
6 Conventional dish soap → bulk castile soap
Castile soap in bulk is cheaper than buying the individual (or big) bottles from stores and you avoid all the plastic when you use a glass jar to fill up on castile soap. At Island Naturals at Hilo Shopping Center, they have castile soap in bulk for under $15 a pound and they come in different scents. I haven’t found out how you get it from the pump bottle to the checkout but I will ask as soon as I get down there. I will post a blog about the many uses of castile soap soon.
7 Plastic dish rack → reusable cloth drying
Instead of using a plastic dish rack to put your dishes to dry, just hand dry them and put them away. Ask someone with you to help dry the dishes while you wash. Dish racks collect moisture and, if they look anything like my mom’s, mold as well. My mom’s dish rack is 100% plastic and there are bits on it that are supposed to hold the plates upright that are broken and she refused putting anything under the far end so water could drain out into the sink so the water just sits there and mold started growing. Not a pretty sight, but I can’t tell her what to do. Don’t be like my mom and her dishes, dry your dishes and put them away. Saves waste and money buying a new rack every few months or years.
8 Nonstick pan → cast iron pan
Nonstick pans don’t stay nonstick forever and what do people do with their no-longer-nonstick pans? Toss them. Cast iron pots and pans last a lifetime and they have a nonstick surface. A good health benefit they have: iron leaching. Might sound dangerous but you do need iron in your diet to remain healthy. However, they are fairly high-maintenance as well as very heavy.
9 Conventional cleaning supplies → white vinegar
Somehow white vinegar is supernatural. Not only is it made from natural ingredients, it is also a massive all-purpose cleaner. Straight vinegar or mixed with some water will replace just about every cleaner you have under your sink. I will post a blog about the benefits of white vinegar soon.
Making these little changes could make all the difference for the environment.