15 Things I Don’t Buy Any More
Since going zero-waste it’s been the little changes that have made the most difference to my way of life. Today I want to share some of the items that I no longer buy, or have swapped for zero-waste alternatives.
Now I have period pants and a ziggy cup I no longer need to buy sanitary pads or tampons monthly. This is great not only for my amount of waste but also for my bank balance! In the long-run sanitary products really add up.
Clingfilm and Tinfoil
I was lucky enough to receive a set of wraps from NaturalWrapsUK to use in place on clingfilm and tin foil. This zero-waste alternative is washable and can be reused countless times. Perfect! Also, now I don’t have to wrestle with a clingfilm roll in the future.
Vegetables in packaging
What is the point of plastic packaging on vegetables? Surely they add more chemicals than necessary, and they have nothing to do with keeping them fresh. We waste so much produce as it is. Since going zero-waste I only buy fruit and vegetables that are package-free, which also means I get exactly the amount I want and not the amount the store wants to sell me.
I don’t know how back I managed to get through a ten-pack of sponges in 6 months since I’ve swapped them for a wooden pot brush I haven’t had to waste anything in two months! Fab!
I can feel everyone’s recoil at this one – you don’t buy cleaning products?! No. I make my own out of vinegar, water, and essential oils. Yes, I’ve gone full hippie. Peace out.
As someone who used to spend every weekend down at the shops, it’s been an interesting learning curve to move away from unsustainable clothing brands for ethical or second-hand shops. Recently I’ve bought a top for £1 in a London Air Ambulance charity shop and a jumpsuit – which I wore to my sister’s engagement party – for £2 in a Marie Cure shop. Sustainable, cheaper, and helping charities. Much better than Primark, don’t you think?
Bottles of Water
I love my reusable water bottle and will not be going back to plastic versions. Not only is it cheaper in the long run but it is amazing what it has done for my hydration levels. My skin is better, I’m healthier and I’m helping the environment.
Do we even need them? Uh, no. So stop getting them at drinks out, buying them for picnics or your home. And do you really need fast food, let alone the wasteful packaging that comes with it – no. No more straws!
I always try and have a tote bag with me, just in case. If you get caught out get one of the bags for life over a plastic carrier bag, sure it’s a few pennies more but they’re much more versatile in the long run and a good training technique to remembering your tote bags in future. Think of it as a fine if you forget one.
I no longer buy make-up wipes but I still manage to take my make-up off every night using cotton pads – I need to find a reusable alternative – and micellar water. As soon as my current micellar water runs out I want to DIY my own version, and as I said above I’m searching for some reusable cotton pad alternatives. But at least I’m not using non-biodegradable wipes anymore. A win for the planet!
This was an easy swap. When I went to Starbucks I picked up one of their £1 reusable cups and from now on I get a discount whenever I use it, plus I don’t have to throw a cup away at the end of it. I just ask one of the cashiers to rinse it and I’m going to go. Perfect. I can also use it at other stores, although they’re not always happy to put a Costa or Cafe Nero coffee in a Starbucks cup. Suck it up brands, I’m doing it for the planet.
I still buy skincare products but only ones that are biodegradable or come with no waste. My favourites are LUSH products but also handmade facial beauty bars that you can pick up at stores like Re:Store in Hackney or online via Conchus. These come with no waste whatsoever and are great for your skin.
I have a reusable set of batteries now which I can recharge so I don’t need to buy single-use batteries anymore. Perfect for fairy lights and brief use items.
Shampoo & Conditioner bottles
I have made the swap from bottles of shampoo and conditioner for bars instead. I pick mine up at LUSH although I may look for other alternatives in the future as well. But these naked products are perfect for me, with short hair. Longer-haired people may struggle with this one? But I’m not sure.
Branded Dry Goods
Ever since going zero-waste one of the best, and most enjoyable things, I have done is start shopping in zero-waste bulk buy stores. I now pick up all of my dry-goods unbranded from these stores. That includes pasta, teas, spices, rice, granola, cereal, oils (not technically dry-goods but I get it at these stores), couscous, sugar, flour, chickpeas, seeds etc
Going zero-waste is easier than you think, it’s just a gradual process. Try out some of these swaps and see what you think. It may work for you, it may not. But have a go.