The EPA estimates that approximately 30% of the trash we create is recycled. I can’t be the only one thinking that is mind-boggling, especially when other countries like Germany, South Korea, and Taiwan have recycling rates of over 50%.
For years, the U.S. has depended on China to buy our recycling, and because of that, an infrastructure was never created. Today, it is the responsibility of over 20,000 communities to figure it out themselves. All of this has left consumers in a difficult situation. We see the photos of the garbage patches in the ocean or the turtle with a straw stuck in its nose and feel responsible.
At the end of the day, it is unfair to put the entire blame on consumers. It is the responsibility of companies to create more sustainable products and be transparent about what is being recycled. And we also need the government to enact better laws to protect Mother Nature.
Until that time, we can use our dollars to support companies who are making better choices. So, if you’re looking for ways to be more environmentally friendly for the future of our planet, here are 15 zero-waste & eco-friendly products you should check out!
Zero-Waste Kitchen & Home Products
#1 Reusable Food Bags
Say adios to Ziplock bags and hello to reusable, zero-waste sandwich and snack bags. These can be used for years, are safe for food storage, and excellent to replace single-use plastic. My favorite is Stasher. I tried out a handful of brands, and these were the easiest to wash, and they seal great. They are a little more expensive, but I have used mine for a few years, so I know at this point they are saving me money!Check Out Stasher Bags
#2 Compostable Trash Bags
The commercials are enticing for bags that don’t rip, can hold a hundred pounds, and so on, but if they are really that strong, will they ever break down in a landfill? That made us look for options that will break down. For over a year we have been using compostable garbage bags and they work well! I will note, you do need to be careful with liquids in the bags or letting it sit for a while with moisture — they do really break down (which is what you want in the end)! Check out these two awesome companies:
#3 Stainless Steel or Bamboo Straws
Straws have been a popular item to hate. Since they are so lightweight, they are one of the top 10 things found during beach cleanups. And, once you see a turtle with a straw caught in its nose you will never forget it! So, either skip the straw or grab a reusable one!Check Out Reusable Straws
#4 Bamboo Toilet Paper
Traditional toilet paper is usually wrapped in plastic and 27,000 trees are cut down every day to make it! So, we switched to plastic-free bamboo toilet paper. Bamboo can grow 3 ft. in just 24 hours — it is the fast-growing plant on the planet, and it uses less water to produce. There are a few brands on the market, but we have been using:
Reel Toilet Paper. They also sell paper towels and you can save 20% with a subscription order.
#5 Cloth Napkins
Instead of paper towels use cloth napkins — the trees will thank you! Cloth napkins can be used for years, they are easy to wash and come in fun patterns that can liven up your dinner party. You can find options at the eco-friendly shop, Earth Hero.Buy Cloth Napkins
#6 Compostable Dog Poop Bags
Along the same lines as the trash bags, if you’re a dog owner you know you go through a lot of little plastic poop bags. Swap traditional bags for compostable poop bags! Beco Pets has great bags and even a little bamboo dispenser to but them in.Buy Compostable Poop Bags
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This online shop has everything from dog poop bags to sustainably made clothing and jewelry. What’s even better is you can save 10% on your order with the code: VEGGIESABROAD
#7 Reusable Grocery Bags
At this point, we all must have at least one large reusable bag that can tote around groceries, and other goods, right? Make sure you bring them with you on every shopping trip — the key to these is to remember to bring them and use them. If you forget, skip plastic bags and choose paper. Just don’t throw that paper bag away, you can use it a few more times. The idea is to get as much use as possible out of what you have.Buy Reusable Shopping Bags
#8 Reusable Produce Bags
I hate grabbing those plastic bags to just bring home a head of broccoli, it is such a waste! These fabric produce bags are easy to wash and can hold a wide range of produce. If you do have to grab a plastic produce bag just remember to reuse them for scraps, dog poop, whatever you can find!Buy Produce Bags
#9 Household Cleaning Products
Cleancult is working hard to cut down on single-use plastics, to date they’ve kept over 7 million pounds of plastic out of landfills and oceans! Their products are also not just packaged better but they’re created with ingredients that are also better for Mother Earth and you. I tested out all of Cleancult’s products and give them two thumbs up! Another good company to check out for eco-friendly laundry detergent is Dropps.Check Out Cleancult Products
Zero-Waste Beauty Products
Our beauty routines are riddled with plastic! Check out these zero-waste beauty products that are not only better for Mother Nature but, also you! Some of these would make a great vegan gift, too!
#10 Zero Waste Deodorant
Typical deodorant tubes are difficult to recycle. If they are taken apart, in some areas they can be recycled but not in all areas. I’ve tested out a ton of zero-waste deodorants and I think these two do a good job keeping me stink-free.
Zero-Waste Deodorant Options:
These zero-waste and cruelty-free deodorants offer all day protection. I’ve tested them out in some of the hottest places on the planet like Las Vegas and Morocco and they didn’t let me down. The packaging is also pretty easy to use and didn’t fall apart mid-use. I really like the bergamot and cedar scent the best.Check Out HiBAR Products
I tried their lavender and vanilla scent which of the three options I’ve listed so far was the lightest scent, but still nice. The deodorant held up well all day and during a workout, I thought because it was such a light scent it would wear out, but it kept working!Check Out Ethique Products
#11 Zero-Waste Shampoo & Conditioner Bars
I was skeptical about shampoo and conditioner in bars, I figured the shampoo would probably be ok, but the conditioner would probably leave my hair like blonde straw. I am happy to report, I was wrong! I rubbed them right into my hair and washed and styled as normal. After blow-drying, my hair was soft and manageable, using bars from these two companies:
If you buy Viori, use code VEGGIES at check out to save 10%!
Need to know more about these before you commit? Check out my favorite vegan shampoo bars!
#12 Zero-Waste Toothpaste Tabs & Dental Care
Toothpaste tubes are difficult to recycle because they combine different materials, most of the time they just end up in the landfill. Many brands also use a myriad of unnecessary chemicals and additives that aren’t great for you or the environment. Before trying these, I did ask my dentist for his feedback. He wasn’t familiar with the products but said it sounded interesting and that since I have good dental hygiene, I could even forgo toothpaste all together! I was dumbfounded — What?! Why?! He said, toothpaste is a nice thing to have but not a necessity, the most important thing is to brush and floss well. So, we tested out a brunch of brands and settled on UNPASTE. While you’re looking at dental care products, don’t forget to swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one!Check Out UNPASTE Products
#13 Eco-Friendly Disposable Razor Options
Some disposable razors can be recycled through TerraCycle. In order to participate, you must request a receptacle from TerraCycle that you mail back to them and then they recycle it. Which sounds simple but it’s not free. In-home recycling boxes range in size and materials collected, on average they are around $100. You can request a pouch, which is the size of a mailing envelope and is around $45. I think if you lack recycling options or have specific things like batteries or earplugs that you want to recycle, this is a good idea. Otherwise consider a safety razor from Hanni.Check Out Hanni Razors
Ditch bottled body washes and soap bottles for a plain bar of soap. Just make sure they don’t wrap it in plastic — what is up with that anyway? You know that shampoo bar company that I mentioned earlier, BRIXY? They also sell bodywash bars! The more you buy, the more you save, too!Buy Bodywash Bars
#15 Washable Cotton Beauty Rounds & Ear Swabs
Producing traditional cotton isn’t environmentally-friendly. It takes almost 5,300 gallons of water to produce enough for a t-shirt and tons of chemicals! Can you imagine the amount of chemicals needed to makes all of the single use beauty rounds and ear swabs?! You don’t have to worry any more, companies like The Last Object, have come to the rescue.Check Out Reusable Beauty Products
Don’t Forget to Save!
Earth Hero is the place to go for eco-friendly and sustainable products for your home, personal care, and even your furry friends! Use code VEGGIESABROAD to save 10% on your order.