Updated: Aug 17, 2020
The Zero-Waste journey is a long one. It’s ingrained so much in our habits, that for the most part we don’t even realize unless we actually take a moment to analyze our routines and the items we use. We’re really just trading ethical behaviour towards our environment for convenience when you think about it.
My biggest concern when starting my zero-waste journey, convenience aside, was the cost. A lot of websites that are selling these tools seemed very pricey. After a little research, I’ve discovered that if you look around a little bit, there are plenty of affordable options that are also a lot more long lasting than the green sponge that’s been sitting moist by your sink this whole time.
I still have a LONG way to go, but I found that starting in the kitchen was the most impactful.
Here are some ideas to get you started & I would love to hear your feedback as well!
1) THE SPONGE
I hated sponges. I hated them because food would get caught in the little holes, they NEVER dried properly, the edges would start to peel after a while & if you wash a lot of your dishes by hand like me - they wear out rather quickly. I made the swap to using bamboo brushes back in November 2019, and I just RECENTLY changed to a new one. If you’re worried about bacteria growth, you can boil the bristles of these babies. One trick with these though if you’ve got tough stains on your pans is to boil some water in the pan to lift the gunk before you gently brush them off.
I never used a whole lot of saran-wrap to start with. The one mega pack we bought from Costco lasted us almost 3 years. That being said though, this one was much more about being a conscious consumer than reducing my own consumption. The silicone lids pictured to the left, have been great for ROUND items - terrible for plates and bowls of other shapes. So although it takes care of the majority of my plate-covering needs, it’s definitely not all encompassing, and doesn’t work as well on ceramics that get humid. I’m continuing my exploration in either investing in better tupperware or look into beeswax wraps.
3) Cotton Pads
source: Stock image
Ah, the infamous cotton pads. I’ve never really used these too much in the bathroom as I’ve always opted to just rub gently with my fingers and use a face towel. What I HAVE been using these for though is in the kitchen! They’re super useful to get into tight corners when cleaning the kitchen, or doing the dishes - Super versatile! When you’re done, just gather them up in a mesh bag & toss in the washer/dryer.
For those that are into DIY, I actually made my own with a slightly larger gauge so they’re faster to make.
4) Dish Soap
I started making my own soap (find here on Etsy!) about a year ago, and found it not only was better for my health (no harmful ingredients), but it was also more environmentally conscious as there was no packaging involved whatsoever!
We do still keep a bottle of dish soap around for those really tough greasy pans (bacon!!), but we’ve been able to replenish the same bottle over and over either at the local grocery store that sells in bulk, or on amazon.
5) Zip-Lock Bags
I have a love-hate relationship with Ziplock bags. They’re the most convenient things to have in a kitchen for leftovers, packing lunches, prepping frozen meals...the list goes on. But EVERY time, I throw one out I feel guilty because technically they can be reused, but for the most part (especially with meat!) I have to throw them out.
Enter - reusable, dishwasher-safe reusable versions. I LOVE these. I thought they were a bit pricey at first, but between this and the silicone lids - I haven’t really had to use zip-lock bags anymore.
Like I said, I'm just scraping the surface of going zero-waste, but I believe every little bit counts. What have you swapped out?