ZW 101: Alternatives

In order to start living with less waste we have to replace disposables with reusable alternatives in our life. Here is a list of 20 items, that can be changed to a zero waste alternative. It is always good to look for plastic free alternatives, because plastic recycling has its own challenges. However if you already own something there is no need to throw it out just so that you can buy a shinier replacement. Use what you got first.

  1. To go coffee cup – reusable coffee cup (Keep Cup, Joco, Stojo, Klean Kanteen) or glass jar
  2. Plastic (single use) water bottles – Reusable water bottle (preferably stainless steel or glass)
  3. Plastic cutlery – Reusable travel cutlery or  plain ordinary cutlery from your house
  4. Plastic single use take away box – Stainless steel/glass/ reusable plastic lunch box that you already own
  5. Paper tissue – Cloth handkerchiefs
  6. Paper napkins – Cloth napkins

  7. Plastic straw – Stainless steel/glass straw or no straw at all
  8. Plastic bag – Canvas/cotton bags (bags for life)
  9. Plastic, single use produce bags – Washable mesh produce bags or cotton bags
  10. Disposable razors – Safety Razors ( stainless steel)
  11. Disposable Sanitary products – Washable cloth pads, menstrual cups
  12. Disposable nappies – Cloth nappies
  13. Baby wipes – Washable cloth wipes
  14. Disposable cotton pads – Washable cotton rounds
  15. Cotton buds – Use none or made of paper
  16. Plastic toothbrush – Bamboo toothbrush, toothbrush with replaceable head
  17. Facial wipes – Washable flannel cloth
  18. Sponge – Wooden brush/ cloth
  19. Kitchen paper towel – Cloth squares
  20. Cling film – use a plate, dish with a lid or beeswax wrap

Another huge source of waste is packaging. To avoid/reduce packaging there are a few things we can do

  • Buy second hand (cloth, furniture, books etc)
  • Buy food items without packaging:

Loose fruit and veg: bring your own produce bag

Meat, fish, cheese: bring your own container

Dry foods (rice, lentils, nuts etc): buy loose and bring your own jar/container/cloth bag

  • Buy toiletries without packaging (bar of soap, solid shampoo) or make your own
  • Buy cleaning products in bulk quantities, refills or make your own
  • If something has to be in packaging always opt for recyclable packaging (glass, paper, cardboard, tin) and try to avoid plastic