My Top 10 Zero-Waste Essentials

These are all items that I use at least once a week. I did find that a lot of theses are good if you’re on a decent budget which is just a bonus.

  1. Reusable Cloth/Tote Bags
    1. This one is unsurprising to everyone. Yet it is still something we seem to struggle with. Just make sure you have enough so that if they get moved around, you aren’t left having to resort to plastic bags. One thing that took some getting used to, was having to bring them to any shopping trip. It made sense to bring them to the grocery store, however, I’ve also brought them on shopping trips and have had to make random pit stops when I couldn’t carry everything in hand. My cloth bags are used at least once a week and are a staple for any one trying to reduce their waste.
  2. Reusable Produce Bags
    1. These were one of the first things I put on our wedding registry. They are a very fine netting so they are light weight and don’t add much to the scale. It’s definitely a huge plastic saver considering how much produce we eat. While I don’t always eat whole foods, this is one item that we use every week on our weekly grocery trip.
  3. Cloth Napkins/Handkerchiefs
    1. My own collection is a bit of a hodge podge. I had made a few out of some extra material I’d received as a present. I also found a set while helping my mom down-size and she gave them to me. They really do come in handy. It took a bit of getting used to, to carry one around with me and also to get rid of the instinct to use a paper napkin, but it does get easier the more you use it.
  4. Reusable Utensil Set
    1. Everyone is all about their bamboo collection of utensils. However, I like mine because they’re metal and all go together quite nicely. I’ll use my previously mentioned cloth napkin and wrap it around the utensils if they’re dirty after being used. But they don’t take up much space and come in handy.
  5. Reusable Cups & Thermos
    1. Anything liquid and I’m covered. If I’m craving soda, coffee, tea and happen to be out with friends or family, I’ll do a quick scan if the place has reusable cups. If not, I’ve got my own. The great thing too is that I’ve never had to buy one. I’ve gotten them for free or as a second hand gift. And thrift stores have plenty of these available as well if you need one.
  6. Glass Jars & Containers
    1. While I was able to obtain a few of these from my mother-in-law, I also have saved some glass jars from previous food items. Sometimes, I’ve used for bathroom essentials like moisturizers or toothpaste. Other times, I’ll bring to my local bulk store. I’ve even use them as more secure food transportation when it’s more liquid. It’s great at dry food storage. Basically, you’ll find a million uses for them since they’re so versatile.
  7. Backpack
    1. While a lot of times, I’ll just use a tote bag for quick trips to the store, my backpack is great for weekend trips or a trip to the grocery store. I can put way more in there while keeping my hands free. So it makes it’s own special place on this list.
  8. Reusable Washclothes
    1. We used to have a plastic wand with the disposable heads. While they were effective, they were also extremely wasteful. Once it got to the point, where it was falling apart, I ordered a couple of cleaning dishcloths. There’s one that is more of a roughness to get tough stains off dishes. The other dishcloths are more of a soft sponge. Both of these can be put either in the dishwasher or clothes washer once they get grimy eough.
  9. Woolies Wool Balls
    1. While I’m vegan now, I was not vegan when I asked for these. These were another item that was put on our wedding registry. And it’s been a huge waste saver. They came in just a cardboard box, so the package waste was minimal. It also is better at getting the static out of your clothes from the dryer. You can use whatever essential oil on them, which will also add a nice smell to your clothes and smells more natural than most of the ‘dryer sheet fragrances.
  10. Bike
    1. while this is not something that is zero waste in itself, it does provide for a lot more zero waste choices. I’ve able to use my bike to go grocery shopping and lots of other places without having to get into my car. My rule that I try to bike there if it’s within a 3 mile radius which can save a lot of gas, especially when your city driving.