Whenever I talk about zero waste and zero waste swaps, I always try to stress the importance of either doing without, finding other alternatives with things that you already have, or even trying to make it yourself instead of buying that swap outright. But what about for products that you can’t really do that for or can’t find a good alternative? Then that is when I put that swap on my wishlist. Since starting my journey, there are a few things that I’ve put onto my wishlist that I am just waiting for the right time to get because I either don’t need them right now, or I am trying to use up as much of the disposable version that I already have.
Since making my first list (read that here), I have actually purchased a few of the things on that list, which has given way for a few new things that I am really looking forward to purchasing and implementing into my routines. There are still some things from that original list however that I have not been able to purchase, so they will make another appearance on this list.
Buffy Sheets, Comforter, and Pillows
Buffy makes bedding out of eucalyptus and dyes their fabrics naturally with natural ingredients. Although they have a sparse color palette, I can’t wait until I move out on my own and can buy myself Buffy bedding. All the reviews that I’ve seen about them just make them see like the softest and most comfortable sheets in the world. Them being a sustainable alternative is just another added plus at this point.
Glass Food Storage
Another item that I can’t wait to get once I’m out on my own is glass food storage containers. The number one thing that I like about this swap is that it is pretty affordable in terms of sustainability. I’ve priced a few sets from Pyrex and Anchor & Hocking that you can pretty much find at any big box store and they are all under $30. I’ve even found some sets that double as baking pans for cakes and casseroles.
My roommate and I actually purchased a small 3 pack of Anchor & Hocking bowls for our apartment this year, and I really enjoy the quality of them. I know that Anchor & Hocking is easily available in stores, so they just might be the brand that I go for when I decide to grab a more complete set.
Along the same lines as the glass food storage, I really want to get some Stasher Bags once I’m out in the world. I just think that Stasher had such a cool idea creating their reusable bags, because the plastic disposable alternative is just so wasteful. Stasher Bags also just became available at Target, so they are becoming more accessible!
I think that I’ve gotten my laundry routine to be pretty sustainable at this point, but the one thing left I have yet to tackle are microplastics. Any clothes made with synthetic fibers shed micro plastics whenever they are washed and those little particles of plastic end up in our rivers, oceans, and even our drinking water. Guppyfriend is a way to help catch microplastics and make your laundry routine even cleaner for the planet.
Another alternative to the Guppyfriend is actually a whole filter that you attach to your washing machine by Girlfriend Collective, but since I am a college student right now and I’m going to be renting my first apartment and probably still using just a laundry facility, the Guppyfriend is the best alternative for me right now.
Eco-Friendly Lint Remover
This is another product that keeps popping up on my Pinterest feed whenever I start browsing for new content ideas and new swaps. From the videos that I’ve seen of this thing in action, it looks like it works like a dream. The lint remover itself is completely made out of metal, so there is no waste bade from peeling off the sticky parts of a traditional lint roller. I really want one considering that at home with my parents, I am surrounded by our three indoor cats and my own hair is also a problem for me wherever I wear black. My boyfriend and I also want to get a dog sometime down the road and I just know that it will be a shedder. The only reason that I haven’t gotten one of these yet is because the price is a little higher than I’d like it to be. I’ve seen it on sites for anywhere from $30-$50. However, since my first time researching this product, there are now more affordable versions that are under $20.
A Cuban mop is a mop that is used widely in Cuba and other parts of the Caribbean. It’s basically the bare bones version of a mop that just consists of a wooden “T” that you then place a towel over to create the mop. They are relatively cheap and something that you can use over and over again. They also look super cute.
I have now found a cuban mop thats available on Amazon for under $15, which makes it super affordable. O-Cedar even has a cleaning cloth that fits perfectly on a cuban mop!
Silicone Baking Mats and Cupcake Liners
For the baker in all of us, silicone baking mats and cupcake liners are almost infinitely reusable and make it so that none of your delicious sweets stick to the pan. The products above are made by a brand called The Silicone Kitchen, which sells all reusable silicone products for your kitchen.
This do-it-all wonder is designed to replace 8 traditional pieces of cookware. Plus, it looks pretty good too. The Always Pan is able to be a fry pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. It can braise, sear, steam, strain, saute, fry, boil, serve, store – you get the picture. It’s a bit pricy at $145, but the reviews don’t lie about how amazingly versatile the pan is.
As of right now, I only wear mascara for my makeup, and I only really put it on maybe once or twice a week, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to find better. Currently, I’m still using up a plastic tube of mascara, but once I do run out, I will be making a switch to Bésame’s cake mascara. All you need to do is wet the cake with water and then you have the formula to apply to your eyelashes. This water-activated product doesn’t harbor or grow bacteria once it dries back down to a solid “cake”. Made from a natural wax that bends with your skin and lashes so it doesn’t flake, peel, or clump. Once you’ve bought the mascara cake and tin for $25, you can just buy refill cakes for less when you run out. Not only is it a more sustainable form of mascara, but the formula is actually based on a formula from the 1920’s/
I’ve been wanting to get a cork yoga mat ever since I’ve known of their existence. Their natural look just looks so great, but cork also has some benefits. Cork provides a superior non-slip surface for a better stretch. Cork contains a natural waxy substance that doesn’t absorb water but actually improves grip when wet. Cork is also a pretty sustainable material since it is harvested every 8-9 years from the regenerative bark of cork oak trees. That means they are never cut down and can live up to 200+ years!
A big goal of mine this new year is to be able to sew my own clothes and just create more of my own things in general. I’m trying my best to find a gently used sewing machine secondhand that I could use long term, but I’m finding that really hard to do with COVID-19 still going strong. Since this is a long term investment for me, I don’t quite see the harm in purchasing new, but I’m trying my best to look around whenever I can. For now, I’m just going to be using my grandmother’s old machine that my dad uses in our basement.
Bamboo Hairbrush and Comb
I have this lower on my list simply because I am not really in the market yet for a new hairbrush. I’m trying my best to use my plastic one that I have until it is basically no longer usable, then I’m going to be sending it to TerraCycle. But besides a more eco-friendly bamboo hairbrush, I really want to look into getting a bamboo wide tooth comb.
In one of my previous articles, I talked about the importance of knowing your hair type. I thought I was a very straight haired person, but I’ve actually come to find that I have a very loose wave in my hair (2a/2b hair). Brushing out my hair can cause me to lose those waves, so it has been recommended to me that I get a wide tooth comb to be able to keep that wave pattern while detangling my hair.