Starting our Journey to Zero-Waste Living
There was a moment last month that my husband and I stood in shock staring at the trash in our kitchen, stunned that our family of three could produce so much waste in just a week. It was an eye-opening moment for both of us, and without even having to discuss it, we knew something had to change.
Lucky for us, Earth Day was right around the corner, and I was able to access a ton of resources and sales to help us get started on our mission to produce less waste and do better for the environment. When I shared on Instagram last week what our family was doing, I got such a positive response and many of you requested for a blog post with more information and links to all the products I shared about.
Before I share more, I just wanted to quickly note that I am NOT an expert on zero-waste living. In fact, I’m a complete newbie who’s just wanting to share our journey with you.
With that said, here are the changes that we are trying to implement and some resources that you might find helpful. All photos are linked and clickable.
Reusable tote bags
Using reusable totes is probably one of the simplest changes you can make, especially if you live in a state like New York where single-use plastic bags are still being used in most retail stores. I have a few nylon reusable totes from different brands (Baggu, Uniqlo, and Ikea) that I keep in the car and we use them whenever we go shopping. I’ve since learned that natural fiber or biodegradable bags are more ideal if you’re really striving for zero-waste, so I’m also linking some zero-waste cotton grocery bags that I found on Amazon as well.
Instead of going out and buying new bags though, I would recommend that you use what you already have in the house. Regardless of what the bags are made of, the more you use them, the more eco-friendly they become.
Reusable silicone bags
Replacing ziplock bags with reusable silicone bags is a great way to reduce plastic waste. I ordered this multi-pack from Stasher, and I have a feeling we’ll be finding more and more uses for them, especially for packing on-the-go snacks for Ethan. They are known to keep produce fresher longer, and they’re also dishwasher and microwave safe. If you want to take advantage of your prime shipping, you can also find single Stasher bags on Amazon.
P.S. Silicone is not biodegradable, but it is non-toxic and 100% recyclable, which makes it non-hazardous waste.
Reusable beeswax food wraps
Reusable food wraps are another great way to reduce the plastic waste of single-use saran wrap and other plastic storage bags. They’re made of organic cotton, beeswax, and other natural oils, and with proper care, they can be reused for up to a year. I actually received a bunch of comments from people who told me they’ve been using their wraps for over a year, which was great to hear.
I like to use these to seal open bowls of leftovers, but they can be wrapped directly around fruit, cheese, bread, etc. One thing I noticed was that these wraps have a sweet, waxy smell to them, but it’s not too bad and it doesn’t seem to transfer to food. I purchased these multi-packs from abeego and Bee’s Wrap and I’m happy with them so far.
I shared on Instagram that we are trying to reuse microfiber towels instead of using paper towels, but somebody had messaged me and told me that microfiber towels are actually not great for the environment because they aren’t recyclable and the fibers are actually made of plastic. After doing some more research on my own, I’m learning that microfiber might not be the most eco-friendly choice.
Since we already bought the microfiber towels, we will probably continue using them until they’re ready to be thrown out. I wanted to link some 100% cotton towels for you though, in case you were hoping to make a switch to reusable towels.
And something to keep note of: cotton is completely biodegradable, which makes it a safe and eco-friendly option.
Stainless steel or glass water bottles
Both stainless steel and glass are sustainable and recyclable materials, making them a better choice than using plastic water bottles. I have a few that I use and I thought I’d share them all with you.
The first bottle is from S’well, the second bottle is from klean kanteen (both are stainless steel), and the third one is a recent purchase from bkr, and it’s a glass bottle. The bkr bottle is my favorite right now just because I’m a sucker for pretty things!
Books to read
There are still so many changes we’d like to make, but we’re trying to ease into them so that we don’t feel so overwhelmed. Taking our time, doing our research, and slowly implementing changes seem to be the best way to ensure that these changes last.
Let me know if you have any questions! And please let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more blog posts about our journey to zero-waste living. Thanks for reading!