A Casual Girl’s Guide to Going Low Waste
Continuing from my last post about going more sustainable, today I’m making a list of ways or products I would like to get to be more eco-friendly. If you haven’t already checked out why I started being more eco-friendly and a conscious consumer, I would recommend reading about my journey to sustainability. I also talk about items I’ve already gotten as of May 2019 to meet this goal and other lifestyle choices I’ve made!
Shelbizleee on Youtube made a good point that even though going low or zero waste is a good goal, we can never really truly go zero waste and that not all plastic or trash is bad. Some people need to be getting medication and we can’t avoid plastic for that. Also, there are a lot more ways to be helping the environment other than focusing on getting rid of our waste.
Everything we do has an impact and we can only do the best we can.
We will have successful days and other days won’t be.
And that’s alright.
We should aim to reuse what we already have and aim to get new items second-hand or borrow what we can first.
Obviously, a lot of these products are personal items, and those you should always buy new instead of reusing them from a stranger. Use up products that aren’t low waste before making a swap!
Thankfully, there is a lot of lists out there to get you started and after doing some research, the list here is a result of all the changes I would like to try. Note that none of these links are sponsored.
And I don’t buy everything from Amazon, but they have cheaper products there that you can get at once instead of paying shipping multiple times from multiple stores. All depends on your values I guess. Shop locally, shop small business, or support smaller brands through Amazon and save money??
I know there are other brands out there, but I’m going to start with Lush since they’re well known
I’ll try this if nothing else works since it’s so darn expensive
There is a brand I found recently on Etsy that also has refillable shampoo and conditioner! It starts out at $10 for each and the refills are only $16 for both. (shipping though is a little more expensive at $9.45 for me, but still $30 for both instead of $60, Also you could probably just buy the refills to be cheaper. They also have samples with free shipping if you want to try them out first!
A company sponsered by a major hair care brand called Seed Phytonutrients has recycled material compostable bottles (with a little bit of plastic inside) that also come with seed packets!! I think it’s really cool, but they’re SO expensive.
Cotton bags to make buying in bulk or storing things easier. Bags are good for bulk so your containers weight doesn’t get added to the final total.
I want a couple of fold up bags to keep in my purse for those moments when I forget a bag in my car or apartment.
I’ve heard good things about the Chino bags, since they’re small and tiny.
I also like that BagPods come with 10 bags that fit into one storage bag.
A stainless steel food container or a collapsible silicone container for leftovers when I go out to eat. I’ve been thinking a lot about this, but I don’t heat up leftovers from Styrofoam containers, so why not something else?
I wouldn’t mind getting a set of glass Tupperware specifically for meal prepping.
Buy more Stasher reusable silicone bags I love Stasher because they’re so versatile. Right now I have the smallest and it’s great.
I also like this set of reusable silicone bags although I don’t think they’re as nice as Stasher bags are.
A french press coffee maker- I currently use an old coffee maker my mom gave me. I would love to be able to make coffee without any filters at all.
If I don’t like this, I might eventually switch back to using reusable coffee filters. I’m just really bad at remembering to clean them out before they get moldy.
Better brushes- Right now we use reusable sponges, although I would love to try something else because our smells after a while even when we wash it.
I like Bite’s because they have good reviews and they ship in cardboard refills. I can get Lush locally, but they come in plastic bottles.
I wish these came with Fluoride…I’m going to have to keep to a flouride mouthwash if I try any of these options.
If I hate these options, I might try David’s aluminum tube.
I’ve also seen toothpaste powder, but sounds like something I’d mess up.
Try the Quip subscription
At least I would be only throwing out the heads.
Preserve makes recycled toothbrushes (and razors). The cool thing is that you can send back your toothbrushes for coupons and for them to be recycled into new toothbrushes.
If I was ever going to actually get essential oils, I would probably buy this set cause it has a lot of kinds for a decent price.
Reusable Organic cotton pantyliners.
I already have a set of reusable panty liners but I specifically want a set of plain organic cotton ones for every day use. The others are charcoal and I use those just for my period.
A safety razor
I really like this rose gold safety razor because it has a butterfly opening, it’s pretty, and at a good price.
This purple handle one for women has good reviews
There is also a pink version that has better texture on the handle
This rose gold one from Eco-Roots is very pretty and aimed at women specifically
This one has a bamboo handle
A pack of 100 double edge safety razor blades for a price you can’t beat
A case to depose of your blades safely. Yes, this is plastic, but the blades are really sharp and you don’t want to throw them into the waste. They have to be specially deposed of so check your local waste management if they can accept them or not.
Or a plastic razor that has a disposable head
I LOVE the way Flamingo's razor looks and the price point is very reasonable compared to similar razors. But it has mixed reviews. I can get it at my local Target though so next time I go, I might give it a shot.
Or a plastic razor made out of recycled materials
Sustainable, natural, low waste deodorant
After my failed attempt at switching to natural deodorant via Tom’s Lavender, my next bright idea is to try Lush’s Aromaco solid deodorant. I bought my square locally for only $5.43 which isn’t a bad price point. It has baking soda in it though which I’ve heard a lot of people struggle with, but I’m going to see how I react. Can’t be worse than Tom’s at this point.
I ALMOST bought their earth day sale set, but Myro has a very interesting model. You reuse the main packaging that comes in different colors, pick from five different scents, and they work as a subscription model. I’m really tempted to try it but the subscription model up front is a little off putting.
Getting into glass jars, Pit Paste seems to be a well recommended brand. You have to give it a couple minutes after putting it on the dry, but it isn’t unreasonably priced for natural deodorant at this point. I like this version that’s a magnesium formula, baking-soda free, meant for sensitive skin.
Almost every low waste blog I’ve seen out there highly recommends Meow Meow Tweet. I love the name and branding, plus they have glass jar and cardboard versions. I even saw them at my local Target which is great. The biggest draw back for me though to trying it is the price. $14 for the stick and around $20 for the jar.
Now getting into crazy natural deodorant at this point, if that doesn’t work, I’ve been looking into natural rock versions like Crystal’s rock deo. They have a version that’s the straight up rock, or you can buy packaged versions that are similar to regular deo. I’ve heard though that you have to use this after showering basically though.
Another version of that I’ve seen is Biork which comes in a cork packaging. I think it’s very interesting and would love to get my hands on it. I did find one shop that sold it in the U.S but it sold out recently.
Maybe a low waste or handmade version via Etsy.
If none of these work, I will have to switch back to plastic packaging brands and try those natural versions or resort to giving up on natural brands.
I recently discovered this brand of natural solid bar of bug repellent I would love to try. I HATE bug spray and I know some of it can be awful for you and the environment. I also love going outside. So I’m hoping this works.
Zero Waste Sunscreen
I love that the brand All Good is reef safe and comes in a tin. What I hate though is the price and how small it is.
What might actually be a better deal over all for the amount is another brand that comes in a metal tin at 3oz or 7oz instead of 1oz.
A Drying Rack since I hand wash and hang dry a lot of clothes now.
Natural, Low waste laundry detergent
This one is local to me AND zero waste! So I’m probably going to start with the trial version and then see if I like them. A little pricey for the full size, but if it works and it’s local and lasts a while, why not?
Apparently there is a natural berry that creates soap you can use to wash clothes? Who knew! I also heard the practices though to pick these aren’t great for the workers. So unsure.
Eco Eggs apparently are another eco-friendly version to clean your clothes although the reviews are mixed on how well they work.
I just heard about Dropps natural detergent pods today. So haven’t done too much research into them yet, but considering we currently use Tide Pods…its an attractive option.
Get something for catching micro-plastics from my laundry. I have a lot of clothes with synthetic fabric unfortunately.
Looking at getting the Cora Ball which you just throw in the wash machine.
Or a GuppyFriend Bag, but since I have a lot, it might not be the best solution for me.
I actually don’t do a lot of dishes at the moment, but using solid dish washing soap sounds interesting. Apparently like laundry detergent, castile soap like Dr. Bronner’s or this one from Package Free Shop can be used as dish soap.
Fountain pen- I’m thinking about starting out with the Kaweco Skyline Sport Fountain Pen because they’re pretty reasonable just under $25 and you can buy converters (here’s another pistol converter) for them or turn them into an eyedropper since they’re made with plastic.
Affordable, zero waste organic makeup- I’m going to link to some brands I’ve been looking at, but straight up, they’re all too expensive for me. I’d love to be able to shop from them, but it’s not reasonable for me. Sad days.
Ethique which I’ve seen online has some good price sets of samplers of different bar soaps in case you want to try them. Body, Hair, and Face versions- 5 each, 15 bars, $15 a box/
I need a new phone case and Pela Cases are compostable! At $40, they’re not badly priced compared to other fancy cases. Although my $8 case has protected my phone really well and I might need to switch phones soon. So best wait on this one.
For a while, I was using a lot of bandaids and now I have three boxes, but eventually, organic biodegradable band aids sound nice.
Low waste lip balm will eventually make it’s way onto this list.
Epsom salts in bulk! It is expensive I believe though at my local grocery store, but I love using Epsom salts in my baths, so I might have to look into that.
I don’t need these really but they make PLANTABLE pencils and if that’s not rad AF, I don’t know what is.
Low or zero waste face masks.
And in case you really want to get into the whole plastic free, low waste thing with me, here are some shops OTHER THAN AMAZON that you can support ant shop from. Or some more sustainable shops that I’ve found online.
Litterless (not a store, but she has a good list)
Low Waste Lifestyle Changes to Make
Some other lifestyle changes I am considering when the time comes is buying a more eco-friendly car. Granted, the best would be to carpool, use ride sharing apps, take the bus, or bike to more places. But unfortunately, my city neither is walk-able unless you’re downtown or is it great for public transportation.
So getting a car that gets better gas mileage or is a hybrid and can run on electricity, that’s my next best bet.
If I didn’t mention it in my last post, I’m not great about taking short showers. I also LOVE hot showers. And this is an area I need to work on. At my parent’s house, we couldn’t take long hot showers, but at apartments, I can. So it’s a struggle I’m working on.
Packaging and take out are two areas where I struggle to make better choices. Some things we simply cannot escape the packaging, and we do have to admit that this waste does make our lives easier.
I love going out to eat, and while I try to make most of my food at home, I am bad when I go out to eat. Especially if we eat at a fast food joint, there is so much waste. I need to get my own containers to bring and try seeing if I can switch to that. I hate Styrofoam anyways, and I think it’s honestly useless besides transporting food.
I love keeping receipts for taxes and for remembering what I spent when I do my budget. But I am trying to switch to digital receipts when I can or just don’t take them and enter in my purchase right away.
Low waste vs Zero Waste items
Other areas are deciding between things like using a toothbrush with a replaceable head or a bamboo toothbrush that can be composted. We don’t really have a good way to compost in my apartment. I could always get a composting bin, but once the bin is full, we don’t have anything to do with it. Plus there is convenience to take into account.
The same goes with razors. I would love to use a safety razor (if I could ever decide on one!), but I would have to save the blades in a special box. Then only twice a month for a couple hours on the 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month, could I depose of them. And I would have to drive all the way to the opposite side of the city to bring them to our waste management facility.
So I might opt for a razor that has a disposable head instead. Still less waste, although not the best option I could do. I might try these low waste versions first because completely switching to the better alternatives.
What if I don’t have a lot of money or time to go low waste?
Thankfully, low waste isn’t the only option that’s going to help our environment. There are lots of free things we can do to help the environment that isn’t spending money.
Look at all the things around your home that you can reuse instead of replacing and reach out to friends and family for items that you could borrow or swap instead. Swap parties are becoming all the rage, so now might be a good time to host one!
You can also call your senators and government officials to support causes and laws that help the environment. If you have the time, volunteer with a local group that supports causes you care about.
Check out your local library. They often have things other than books that you can rent for free. And you can get a group to join you for a night of fun.
If you see a lot of litter, you can also grab a trash bag and some gloves to clean it up for free.
Around your home, you can do simple things like:
turn off the lights when you’re not in the room
Take shorter showers and limit your baths
Try not to do laundry all the time. Maybe that dress can be worn one more time?
Reuse plastic shopping bags as doggie poop bags or trash can liners
Reuse any free cloth bags you get at fairs, shows, or other events
Use your appliances on energy saving settings
Update your old gadgets to more energy efficient
If you can open the windows instead of using AC, do that for an hour or longer
Make sure you are recycling correctly
Look into composting
Try to eat more whole foods and eat leftovers (i.e don’t waste food)
Cook a delicious meal and open the oven as it’s cooling to heat up your house
If you don’t already have a humidifier, you can boil a pot of water on the stove
Opt out of junk mail and switch to electric mail and bills
Reuse old t-shirts by turning them into reusable bags or cleaning cloths
Other things you can do is to bring any reusable containers you have with you when you eat out and ask if you can have your leftovers or food in those instead. Not only are you reducing single waste trash, but your food will last longer if properly contained right away.
What are some other casual ways you’ve tried going low waste or more sustainable?