Living sustainably often goes hand-in-hand with living minimally. Not only is there an overabundance of stuff in the world nowadays, a lot of it can easily be replaced with a reusable that's a lot better for the Earth.
When we first started our zero-waste lifestyle all those years ago, we discovered how many things we didn't actually need anymore. We are considered with the things we do buy in a number of different ways. Some of the big questions we find ourselves asking before a purchase have now grown to include things like :
- Do I need this?
- Will I use this?
- Do I LOVE this?
- Is it harmful to the planet?
- Is it ethically / sustainably sourced?
Asking these questions have helped eliminate a LOT of unnecessary things in our lives, and we wanted to share with you something of things we no longer need to buy!
1. Cling Wrap
Cling wrap/ film has lived in our lives as the ultimate "convenient" item in the kitchen, but it really does cause more harm than it's worth... It's disposability creates not only a huge problem for our environment, but is terrible for our health as well as it's often made from synthetically made PVC. Did you know that it was actually created by accident?! Cling wrap clogs rubbish sorting machines and can't be recycled.
Instead, why not swap to Reusable Stretch Silicone Lids or covers instead? We are obsessed with ours because they're also leak-proof and airtight which is a huge help in keeping your leftovers fresh and your fridge clean! As vegans, we're not into using beeswax wraps, but they are another alternative.
2. Disposable Razors
We promise we're not including this one to toot our own horn. BUT swapping out your flimsy, disposable shaving razor for a quality Reusable Safety Razor is an incredibly easy way to reduce your plastic waste. Around 2 BILLION plastic disposable razors are thrown away each year and end up in landfill... Not to mention, you're basically flushing money down the toilet with every one you throw away.
As someone who's experienced the swap first hand, let me tell you just how easy it was... Not only are our razors *gorgeous*, you actually get a MUCH better shave using them too. After a couple of days using it, you will be a bonafide expert!
Good for you + the environment!
3. Pads and Tampons
I stopped buying disposable sanitary products like pads and tampons a few years ago, and I've seriously never looked back. SERIOUSLY. They make your monthly cycle so much more manageable and so much better for the planet.
A woman will throw away between 10,000 to 15,000 pads and tampons in her lifetime. Period products are non-recyclable since they’ve been in contact with human waste, meaning they are directly deposited to landfills. Because a majority of items contain plastic, products take at least 400 years to decompose. If incinerated, products release toxins fumes such as carbon dioxide. Yuck!!
Want to know more? Head over here to read our blog on Sustainable Periods.
4. Sandwich Bags / Ziplocks / Plastic Bags
This really shouldn't be an achievement, but we haven't bought plastic bags in years. Non-biodegradable plastic bags are everywhere, and they truly are a menace to the environment. While governments around the world are slowly implementing plastic bag bans, plastic bags are still ending up in waterways, beaches and our wildlife's stomachs.
Investing in reusable alternatives really is the way to go. Pick a few that are perfect for your lifestyle and stick with them! We recommend picking quality bags like our Silicone Ziplocks and Cotton Grocery bags, because we designed them to last a lifetime!
5. Paper Towels
For us, this one is already a no-brainer as we grew up in tea-towel households, BUT we do know that there are those out there who live and die by their Paper Towels for cleaning... We're here to say that it's time to make a change. Invest in some quality reusable rags and tea towels, or make your own by repurposing any fabric you might have. It's also a super simple way to spruce up the kitchen!
6. Body wash / Bottled Shampoo
This year we've made a conscious effort to swap to bars for every kind of product we can! That means that we now have soap bars, body wash bars, shampoo bars, conditioner bars - you get the idea! This saves an insane amount of plastic and packaging with so little effort. There are so many wonderful package free soap bars out there waiting to be tried...
7. Wrapping Paper
Who needs it! Our tip is to collect all those brown paper bags with the cute handles, and reuse them for any gift-giving! Just tie the handle with a little bow and you're set!
8. Cleaning Products + Sponges
We've been making our own cleaning products for years now as we prefer to stay away from harsh chemicals. As vegans, we're so picky about what we put in our body, so it seemed crazy to be surrounding ourselves with such nasty chemicals. Water, vinegar, lemon, bicarb and garden herbs are some of our staple ingredients for a homemade cleaning solution. Have a google to find the right combination for you - there are so many options out there and they are SO easy to make! We've also swapped to a coconut scrubby pad that is biodegradable - they last for ages and ages and ages too.
9. Plastic Drink Bottles
Did you know that the process of producing bottled water requires around 6 times as much water per bottle as there is in the container? How nuts is that!! That's not even mentioning the plastic waste from single-use drink bottles... Swapping to a reusable drink bottle was something we did in our very early days - before we even went zero waste! Growing up in Queensland meant that you could not in any circumstances, leave your water bottle in the car - no matter the season! So I swapped to a stainless steel, double walled drink bottle that keeps my liquids cool all day long, or even hot if I want to!
6. New Clothes
Australians discard 23 kilograms of clothing per person every year. This results in 6 tonnes of textiles and clothing contributed to landfill in Australia every 10 minutes. We made a vow at the beginning of this year to not buy any new clothes! We've stuck to it so far and are pretty darn impressed without ourselves if I'm being honest. It sure has been a challenge during COVID. The trick was making sure we had enough staples to keep us going, but setting up a capsule wardrobe of sorts. It's worked a treat and we're stoked to be able to slightly reduce the crazy amount of over-consumption in the fashion industry!
Image by Annie Spratt