Reusable Options to Get Closer to Zero Waste
At times, the journey to zero waste can feel like it’s two steps forward and three plastic doodads back.
For example, have you ever been out to eat, or running errands, only to come home with some bit of plastic or other packaging you really didn’t need? Sadly, we have all been there. It happens more than you think.
Begrudgingly using some takeout container (even paper-based) or a plastic produce bag can make one feel like a zero waste failure.
Fear not weary, plastic-free travelers. There is hope and there are solutions that work and won’t break the bank.
Let’s take a look at some reusable options you can use to bring you closer to zero waste and save you from those anguishing plastic predicaments at the same time.
Reusable Produce Bags
One trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe. That’s 1,000,000,000,000!
Fortunately, many of us are doing better with using reusable shopping bags, or bringing a backpack or any old bag we have at home, to scoop up our groceries. We, of course, can always do better.
For example, what about when you pick out that lovely, fresh vegetable only to place it in a suffocating plastic produce bag? More often than not, this is the type of bag you will only use once.
A simple swap would be to go with reusable cotton produce bags. With this zero waste starter kit, you can get a great set of organic cotton produce bags, as well as some cool beeswax wraps (more on those later) and a reusable cutlery set.
Reusable Lunch Boxes (Food Containers)
Reusable lunch boxes are a no brainer if you bring your lunch to work, which is something you should consider. Taking your lunch not only saves you money, but it stops you from having to use disposable cutlery and plates in most instances.
I’d like to dream of a world where every incredible innovation like edible plates and cutlery are wildly successful. However, we aren’t there yet.
It seems people love a good lunchbox and one with retro style. So, let’s marry those and pick up some stainless steel lunch boxes and use those instead. If you’d rather not opt for stainless steel, here are 8 reusable sandwich bags with near-perfect ratings from thousands of customers.
All of these can be used, not just for taking your lunch to work, but for storing leftovers too. This is true even when you choose to eat out.
Why? Well, if you’re like me, your eyes are sometimes bigger than your stomach. I have often ordered a bit too much and, rather than stuff myself, I simply take out my sweet stainless steel bento or reusable bag and pack up my leftovers. Yum!
Have you ever tried beeswax wraps? Honestly, when I heard of these I thought there is no way these can be as good as plastic wrap (or cling wrap/film if you prefer).
However, these ingenious and natural solutions work incredibly well. Just warm them up in your hands and the beeswax becomes a bit tacky and really secures your leftovers.
It also works well when you just need to take a sandwich or other snack on the go.
These are ideal to help you say no to saran wrap, which is a time-trusted product, yet incredibly destructive to the environment, and is notoriously difficult to recycle.
You can get a similar vegan-friendly product too. These vegan food wraps are 100% plant-based, biodegradable and reusable. So, whether you go with beeswax or plant-based for your food wrapping needs, both will benefit the environment.
Natural Dishwashing Tools
Since you’re swapping out your food containers with better, zero waste options, you’ll probably want to do the same with your dishwashing brushes and sponges.
These plastic-free brushes are plant-based and biodegradable. Then, when you pair it with some zero waste dish soap, this is sustainability at its finest.
Getting Closer to Zero Waste
There are many more products we can use to help us address those plastic moments where we seem forced to compromise on our zero waste ideals.
However, these are only going to be sustainable if we all use them. This is a joint effort between all of us.
It is going to take businesses, large and small, bringing them to market. It is also going to take all of us buying these products when we go out, put on our shopping hats and vote with our dollars spent.
Happy sustainable shopping to you all and a big thanks to every one of you who does make an effort to bring reusable options with you on our shared journey to zero waste.
This post was written in collaboration with our friends from Gaia Guy. We’d like to thank Ian for his article contribution and for providing us with images/information on some of the zero waste options they have available.