Bee’s Wrap ($16 on Amazon) is the alternative to annoying and wasteful plastic wrap that you’ve always needed. This reusable food wrap is covered in all-natural beeswax and keeps its hold for a year if you use it often. On average, most families use around 24 containers of plastic wrap in a single year. That adds up to an estimated $90 spent per year on plastic wrap. That adds up to as much as 38.14 pounds of plastic wrap and plastic bags per person, per year in our landfills.
Reusable storage bags
While Bee’s Wrap is a great way to store food at home, for easily transportable food storage options we recommend these reusable sandwich bags. Each bag is made from food grade PEVA material and is BPA-free. You can grab a pack of 10 bags in various sizes for just $15.99 on Amazon.
A bamboo toothbrush
Studies have shown that plastic toothbrushes add as much as 50 million pounds of waste to landfills each year. To combat that, these toothbrushes made from bamboo and charcoal are biodegradable and each pack of 4 toothbrushes will last you an entire year and costs only $6.99 on Amazon. Toothbrushes cost most people less than $20 per year, but even that will make a difference long-term.
Approximately 1.5 billion toothpaste tubes end up in landfills each year, and because the plastic used in tubes can take up to 700 years to fully dissolve, it means that every tube of toothpaste you throw away is going to outlive you tenfold. To combat that, you could switch to toothpaste tabs. This bottle from Amazon is $9.95 and comes with 60 tabs. Refills of the same product are $22.95 on Amazon and the box comes with 180 toothpaste tablets. This option might be a little bit more expensive than using regular toothpaste, but it helps cut back on a lot of waste.
Reusable Cotton Swabs
While they may be biodegradable, cotton swabs represent a massive industry that has a carbon footprint of its own through production. An estimated 1.5 billion cotton swabs get used each day, meaning that the products represent a ton of resources burned away each year in farming and production alone. This reusable cotton swab is the answer to that, and for just $11.99 on Amazon this pack of 6 reusable swabs can replace disposable swabs in your home for years. They’re easy to clean with soap and water, and are dishwasher safe meaning that you never have to worry about whether or not they’re sanitary. Simply use them like you would a fork and wash them after each use!
Reusable cotton pads
On that same note, single use cotton pads and makeup remover wipes make up 20 million pounds of waste created each day in the United States. Not only are makeup wipes wasteful, but they often contain harsh chemicals that can be irritating on your skin—particularly around the eye area. We recommend switching to a zero waste makeup remover option such as these reusable cotton pads ($12.99 on Amazon for 16 pads including a laundry bag) that can cut back on the amount of waste you produce, and are a one-time cost of $12.99 instead of a monthly (or bi-weekly) cost of anywhere between $5-$9.
Reusable produce bags
Like we said before, many grocery stores around the country have temporarily banned the use of reusable grocery and produce bags for safety reasons during the COVID-19 pandemic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make smart, sustainable decisions for your future self. Things will go back to normal in due time, and when they do these reusable produce bags will cut back on the estimated 1 million plastic bags per minute that get used around the world every day. Personally, reusable produce bags cut back on around 5 plastic bags per week from my personal life—so you could probably do the math on yours. This pack of 7 reusable produce bags is $15.99 on Amazon and can carry any produce you might need.
Plant based cleaning brushes
In the same way that plastic toothbrushes make up a major source of garbage generated in landfills each year, plastic dish cleaning brushes and sponges also pile up quickly. These plant-based alternatives are $18.99 on Amazon for a set of 6 cleaning brushes that you can use anywhere around your house, and can clean anything from a dirty pan to your toilet (though we don’t recommend using the same brush for those two tasks).
An estimated 552 million plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles end up in landfills each year. That number can be drastically reduced by switching to shampoo and conditioner bars instead. We recommend this bar from Love and Beauty and Planet ($4.99 on Amazon for the shampoo bar) which smells incredible and can last months depending on how frequently you wash your hair.
Glass storage containers
Again, with the bulk section closed it might not be the best time to dive into a zero waste lifestyle completely. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the swap now (especially while you have all of this extra time on your hands to get some organizing done). These glass bottles from Amazon are $29.99 for three bottles and you can store anything from baking supplies to pasta, as well as things you would find in the bulk section of your grocery store.
While this may not be the time to dive head first into a zero waste lifestyle (nor could you, considering most grocery stores have roped off their bulk sections and don’t allow re-usable bags anyway), there are some easy swaps you can make to start down a new, sustainable path. These ten zero waste necessities will help you cut back on trash, and are affordable enough that they would eventually help you save a ton of money in the long run. Don’t believe us? We calculated the numbers for you.
We hope you enjoy these zero waste necessities! But keep in mind, Grit Daily might take small cut of the profit on the items recommended here—but that doesn’t mean we don’t believe in them. We only recommend products that we would buy or use ourselves, so don’t be wary of our suggestions.