Through my zero waste journey so far, I’ve realized how wasteful some of our everyday products are. Many of the single-use items that are used on a day to day basis can easily be replaced with reusable items. Reusable zero waste items are often made out of stainless steel, glass, or bamboo. These items can continue to be reused. At the end of their lifespan, they can be melted down or recycled to create new items with the same quality.
It is important to note that if you have a reusable item in your house that may not be considered “zero waste” such as a plastic water bottle or container, you should continue to use it until it breaks, or becomes unusable. Although plastic isn’t “zero waste”, throwing out a perfectly good item to simply replace it with a stainless steel or metal option is actually contributing to the ever-growing waste problem, not helping it. If you don’t feel safe using your plastic items anymore due to your new understanding of how toxic plastic can be, you can upcycle your items, or donate them to someone who will continue to get use out of them.
For many people, a single-use plastic straw is not necessary. We get them because they come with our drinks, or we simply like to use them rather than drinking from the rim of the glass. However, I do understand that some people do require the use of straws for medical reasons, or if they have sensitive teeth. In this case, they could easily swap out the single-use plastic straw for a glass, bamboo or stainless steel one. All of the reusable options are able to be washed and used time and time again until they break, Upon breaking, they can easily be recycled and turned into a new object.
Plastic Shopping Bags
Many people have switched to reusable bags, whether they have decided to go zero waste or not. Some stores are choosing to charge for single-use plastic bags or ban them altogether. Reusable shopping bags are less likely to break with your items in them, they’re better for the environment, and you can use them for more than just shopping: it’s a win-win-win.
With so many options other than single-use plastic sandwich bags, it’s incredibly easy to make the switch. Stasher bags are made of reusable silicone. You could also opt for reusable glass or stainless steel containers instead of bags altogether.
If you ever threw away a plastic toothbrush, it can still be found in a landfill today. Plastic toothbrushes don’t break down, and they have become a major problem in our oceans as well as on land. Instead of choosing a plastic toothbrush the next time you have to replace yours, try opting for a bamboo toothbrush. They are much better for our planet! They will break down, and won’t last in our landfills as a plastic toothbrush would.
If you’re like me and choose to use an electric brush, don’t fret – there are options for you, too. I haven’t been able to find a bamboo replacement head for my Oral-B electric toothbrush. However, I have come across a close second; Live Coco replacement heads. They are made of recycled plastic with charcoal heads. Yes, they are still made of plastic. But you send them back to the company for proper recycling when you’re finished with them. On the back of each Live Coco box, there is a return address that you can use. I would recommend saving up several heads before you send them back. Shipping one at a time would be a waste of resources.