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.

  1. To go coffee cup – reusable coffee cup (Keep Cup, Joco, Stojo, Klean Kanteen)
  2. Plastic (single use) water bottles – Reusable water bottle (preferably stainless steel or glass)
  3. Plastic cutlery – Reusable bamboo cutlery
  4. Plastic take away box – Stainless steel lunch box
  5. Paper tissue – Cloth handkerchiefs
  6. Paper napkins – Cloth napkins

  7. Plastic straw – Stainless steel/glass straw
  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
  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