‘Plastic free July’ has just finished but your eco-friendly sustainable habits don't have to. Although, plastic is a major issue it is important to know that it is not just plastic that wreaks havoc on our planet. Essentially, anything you use can become waste and therefore you should look for long-term alternatives that can be reused or is biodegradable. The effects that waste and plastic have on the world is devastating, it ruins the environment and leads to many innocent animals death. If you have decided you want to prevent this and start your zero waste journey, I applaud you and want to help you achieve this. Here, I decided to make a list on my opinion of the first items you should pick up to achieve this goal. All the prices are from Amazon at the time of writing this article but prices can vary and there can be other cheaper options. Here are 10 of the top first zero waste items that I recommend:
These have been designed to replace cling film, which is the thin sheet of plastic that is used to wrap up fresh food. Instead, you can use beeswax wraps, which is made from organic cotton and beeswax that can be compostable at the end of its life. They last for about a year and can be used to cover and wrap your rolls, sandwiches, cut fruit and more to keep your food fresh for longer.
Pack of 3: £18
These are great, especially now that many counties have included a bag tax for each one you take. Bags are toxic for the environment and lead to the suffocation of many animals and therefore should be avoided at all costs. Pick up a number of bags from a general tote bag to a thermal one to keep your frozen food cold until you get home. Additionally, you can avoid being caught out by getting a pocket bag that can fold up to a small size, whilst not in use.
Pocket bag (Pack of 3): £7
Reusable bottle & Cups:
Plastic bottles, plastic lined single use coffee cups and straws all use plastic that takes hundreds of years to biodegrade (essentially, they are not biodegradable) and harm the wildlife. Look for eco-friendly, sustainable alternatives that can be used repeatedly. Get one that is made from recycled material and one that can also be recycled at the end of its life. Bonus: Additionally, look for some reusable straws to further reduce your beverage waste.
Reusable Bottle: £8
Reusable Coffee Cup: £11
Reusable Straws (Pack of 4): £3
Razor can be incredibly wasteful without people realizing it. The heads that are often quickly replaced have plastic, which leads to the plastic issue we have today. A great alternative is going back in time a little bit to use a safety razor. The only waste is the single blades, which can be recycled (However, check with your local authority first). Additionally, make sure to get a package free shaving soap and shaving brush to apply it to further prevent needless waste.
Safety Razor Kit: £23
Usually, a washing up sponge, cloth or scourer is made from plastic mesh that again is not good. However, there are organic alternatives that clean your dishes just as well, can be machine washed and are biodegradable at the end of their life. Two key items to pick up are an organic loofah sponge and coconut fibre brushes / scrubs. Both are organic, biodegradable and get the job done.
Loofa sponge (Pack of 6): £9
Coconut fibre Brush: £2.50
Another daily plastic item that often ends up floating in our ocean is our toothbrushes. A great alternative that can be sustainably sourced and is completely biodegradable, which is a bamboo toothbrush. Bonus: Also look at getting eco-friendly biodegradable dental floss and a glass container to hold it in.
Pack of 5: £8
Single dental floss: £5.90
To go along with your bees wax wraps get a reusable lunchbox. I have seen a variety of reusable lunch holding utensils. They can be made from reusable paper bag, steel tins to a simple fabric bag. All do the job great but try to avoid plastic to be even greener.
Stainless Steel tin: £20
Bars of Soap / Shampoo:
Bottled shampoo, conditioners and shower gels all lead to plastic waste at the end of their life. However, there is a variety of bar soaps, shampoo and conditioners that can come in eco-friendly packaging.
Solid Bar of Soap (multi-pack): £12
Solid Shampoo Bar (2 packs): £8
Solid Bar of Conditioner: £6
Reusable Kitchen Towels
Paper towels are a must have in the kitchen for whenever you spill a drink or just want to wipe a dirty surface. Yet these lead to additional waste. Instead look for reusable cloths that can be washed. Make sure to get a few to ensure you don’t run out.
Pack of cloths: £10
Whatever you already have:
This can be anything and everything. Essentially, the best way not to create any more waste is to use whatever you have now. Whether it is an old lunch box, some old cloths at the back of your wardrobe or something you can uplift yourself. The goal is to not create any more waste in any way.
Here is just a small list of items that you can begin to integrate into your life in a bid to rid our world of waste. These are all just suggestions that are some of the items I think you should pick up first to help you achieve zero waste. However, you should aim to get reusable items that can have the biggest impact to your lifestyle. Additionally, there is so much more you can do to help combat waste and importantly plastic, through proper recycling, litter picking and refusing to use certain items can all help to reduce the waste littering many areas and make a change. These are all generic suggestions of what I believe are everyday items that can stop their wasteful counterparts. However, there are many variations of these that may be better suited you but aim to make sure that they are eco-friendly, ethical and prevent additional waste harming our planet.