19 Simple Zero Waste Swaps Ideas For This Summer

A zero-waste lifestyle can sound pretty scary for some – but luckily, it’s actually not as daunting as it sounds!

The best thing to do is to replace one thing at a time; for example, try opting for a reusable cotton or mesh shopping bag rather than a plastic one. Or swap to using bamboo toothbrushes instead of the commercial plastic ones that end up in our landfills for many years to come.

Just switching some of your everyday items for more sustainable alternatives can positively impact our environment. Plus, a lot of the time, you even end up saving money in the long run!

So, let’s get to it!

#1 Reusable Canvas Tote vs. Disposable Plastic Bags

#1 Reusable Canvas Tote vs. Disposable Plastic Bags

Reusable shopping bags, in my opinion, are one of the easiest and most effective zero-waste swaps you can make!

Like these cotton grocery tote bags, where you’ll get three bags sporting three unique designs in the set. The cotton material is also pretty durable and easy to clean. However, be mindful that the fabric may shrink in the washing machine.

If you want more reusable bag options, check out our other piece on the best reusable bags in 2021!

#2 Stainless Steel Straw vs. Plastic Straws

Plastic straws are another thing that we struggle with. Not only does it harm our marine life and fill up our landfills, but it’s also pretty pointless – since there are many great zero-waste alternatives out there.

Like this Hiware 12-pack of stainless steel straws; the reusable steel straws come with a cute travel pouch, so you can bring them with you anymore. On top of that, in the kit, you’ll also get a straw cleaner, too.

#3 Reusable Water Bottle vs. Bottled Water

#3 Reusable Water Bottle vs. Bottled Water

Plastic bottles are everywhere.No only do plastic bottles take thousands of years to disintegrate, most of the commercial brands use simple local tap water!
Reusable glass bottles not only look better, but most of them can handle both hot or cold liquids – meaning you can have your morning brew on the go!

Additionally, drinking from glass or steel containers is overall better for your health since the material doesn’t contain any harmful additives or toxins.

Take a look at our top reusable water bottles for more options!

#4 French Press Coffee vs. Disposable Coffee Pods

My morning coffee is probably the most vital thing I need to begin my day. I especially like making French-Press coffee – it’s faster, simpler and the coffee tastes fantastic!

Additionally, disposable coffee pods are super wasteful, and they really add up if you’re an avid coffee drinker like me. Brewing your own cup of joe works out much cheaper in the long run; plus, you can make enough for more than one person at one time.

This Bodum Chambord French Press is a great option. It looks very chic and can hold up to a single litre of coffee.

For more options, check out the top eco-friendly coffee makers.

#5 Stainless Steel Cutlery vs. Plastic Utensils

#5 Stainless Steel Cutlery vs. Plastic Utensils

Having your own cutlery while on the go isn’t just convenient; it’s environmentally conscious as well!

Plastic utensils are very wasteful and often very flimsy, too. This is why we love the To-Go Ware Bamboo Set that’s travel-friendly and heat resistant!

#6 Bamboo Dish Brush vs. Throwaway Sponges

The everyday commercial sponges are not only harmful to our environment, but they also usually hold a ton of bacteria. Plus, we end up going through them pretty fast – whereas a bamboo dish brush would last you for ages!

#7 Glass Containers vs. Plastic Tupperware

#7 Glass Containers vs. Plastic Tupperware

I’m not a massive fan of plastic Tupperware containers. They get stained easily, and plastic often holds toxins and other additives that may leak into your food. Additionally, Tupperware containers are usually quite flimsy and end up a little rough looking after a couple of months. 

Glass containers, on the other hand, are a much more eco-friendly alternative for storing your food. They all look a lot better, too and end up lasting much longer.

#8 Bamboo Utensils vs. Plastic Cooking Utensils

For any environmentally conscious chefs out there, reusable cooking utensils are a must!

Often, plastic utensils aren’t the best of quality and not very heat resistant either. This Wooden Kitchen Utensil set is very effective for all your cooking needs. On top of that, the rustic, wooden appearance will fit in nicely with most kitchen’s decor.

#9 Washable Cloth Rags vs. Paper Towels

#9 Washable Cloth Rags vs. Paper Towels

Paper towels are also on top of our list as the most wasteful kitchen addition. Commercial paper towels don’t even work that well either, not to mention the number of chemicals that go into their production.

This is why I really like this set of six Dish Cloths. They will last you for a much longer time, and you can simply pop them in the wash at any time!

#10 Safety Razor vs. Disposable Razors 

Constantly buying new plastic razors can leave a dent in your long term savings, plus they are non-recyclable. 

Whereas a safety razor will end up costing you less in the long run since they last for ages! 

I really like this Rose Gold Safety Razor. You can choose from three colour tones: Rose, Silver or Black, and they are extremely durable.

#11 Coconut Oil vs. Traditional Makeup Remover

#11 Coconut Oil vs. Traditional Makeup Remover

Did you know that coconut oil also works as an effective makeup remover? That’s right! This natural alternative will remove your makeup just as well as any commercial brand, and it’s more natural too.

The Parachute Naturalz 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oill also doubles as cooking oil, is suitable for oil pulling, and you can even use it as a hair treatment.

#12 Bamboo Toothbrush vs. Plastic Toothbrush

Regular plastic toothbrushes are also very wasteful since they don’t decompose naturally and end up in our landfills for countless years. 

By switching to a zero-waste alternative like these Bamboo Charcoal Toothbrushes, you’re putting a stop to this unnecessary waste. Once you’re done with this bamboo toothbrush, you can pop it into your kitchen compost bin since it’s biodegradable.

#13 Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap in Plastic Packaging

#13 Bar Soap vs. Liquid Soap in Plastic Packaging

Often, commercial liquid soaps come packed in plastic bottles, which are totally unnecessary and very wasteful. 

This is why we recommend you try out natural soap bars like the ones from Ethique. These sustainable body bars are 100% vegan, eco-friendly and come in a glorious variety of scents like Lavender, Lime, Ginger and much more!

#14 Shampoo Bars vs. Shampoo in Plastic Packaging

Similarly to body soap, why not try out some shampoo bars while you’re at it?

This way, you eliminate both types of plastic packaging, and you get to try out some more gentle and less toxic products. 

For example, these Ethique shampoo Bars – which are great for both dry or oily hair and come in fun scents like Kiwi and Mint. Plus, the shampoo bars are also vegan, cruelty-free and made out of plant-based ingredients.

#15 Menstrual Cup vs. Plastic Tampon Applicators

#15 Menstrual Cup vs. Plastic Tampon Applicators

It’s scary to think about how much waste is created through the use of female hygiene products. Therefore, switching to a reusable, eco-friendly alternative like this Duchess silicone menstrual cup can eliminate so much unnecessary waste!

Plus, one of these bad boys ends up being cheaper in the long run, too.

Take a look at this article for more zero-waste pad and cup options.

#16 Bamboo HairBrush vs. Plastic Hairbrush

Let’s not forget our hairbrush too!

A plastic hairbrush often ends up breaking easily, especially if you have particularly thick or voluminous hair. 

However, a bamboo hairbrush is a lot more durable, eco-friendly and designed for all types of hair. And this particular hairbrush also massages your scalp during brushing – which is pretty amazing.

#17 Plastic-Free Toothpaste vs. Toothpaste Tube

#17 Plastic-Free Toothpaste vs. Toothpaste Tube

Toothpaste tubes are also something we are battling with. Almost 1 billion toothpaste tubes are thrown away into landfills each year in the U.S – plus a whole lot more if you combine that on a global scale.

By switching to a natural brand like Moringa’s mineral-rich fluoride-free toothpaste, you’re really helping to bring that number down. Plus, natural toothpaste is much better for your teeth and gums, and it’s cruelty-free!

#18 Recycled/Bamboo Toilet Paper vs. Toilet Paper

Did you know that in order to create a single roll of toilet paper, almost 37 gallons of water are used? That’s a pretty high number!

A bamboo toilet roll requires much less, and bamboo trees are a much more sustainable resource than other types of trees.

Check out the 3 ply Betterway bamboo toilet paper. It’s ultra-soft and very eco-friendly.

#19 Hemp/Cotton Shower Curtain vs. Synthetic Shower Curtain

#19 Hemp/Cotton Shower Curtain vs. Synthetic Shower Curtain

Last but not least, we have the shower curtain.

Plastic shower curtains tend to get a little dingy and even mouldy after a while. Plus, they are often difficult to clean and awkward. 

And not to mention – incredibly wasteful.

I really like this Cotton Shower Curtain by Bean Products. It doesn’t stick to you while you shower, and it helps to resist mildew and mould. You can also easily throw it into the washing machine when it gets a little dirty.

What did you think of our zero-waste swaps? Do you have any additional ideas? Let us know in the comments below, and thanks for reading!

Last update on 2021-08-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API