When you first dip your toe into the online world of zero waste living, it can feel like you’ll need to remortgage a house you don’t even have to be able to buy all of its so called “essentials”. It’s all stainless steel straws, basket bags and a tonne of matching mason jars pictured against white backgrounds. It’s enough to make anyone scrubbing the sticky label off a jam jar frustrated. However, the reality is that living in a more plastic-free way doesn’t require a strong “aesthetic”, a tonne of money or lighting equipment. In fact, there aren’t many things that I would consider an absolute “essential” in reducing your waste, but instead just nice, photogenic additions.
Yes, those coordinated mason jars look good on your shelves, but the jam jar does the same job.
That’s not to say that I haven’t fallen into the trap myself. I certainly could’ve found cheaper, if slightly less pretty, alternatives to a lot of the plastic-free lifestyle purchases I’ve made over the past year. Plastic Free July really has illuminated the fact that there are only a few items that I reach for on a daily basis. So, I thought I would share 4 items that I’ve used enough throughout this month to make them worth the money.
1. Tote bags
Ah, a classic. I feel like the humble tote bag often gets overlooked these days because it seems too obvious to talk about. But, let me tell you, these are one of those things that I couldn’t be plastic-free without. I keep a couple in my backpack, some in my car and more than I care to think about scattered throughout my house. The best part? Most of them were freebies.
2. Bar cosmetics
Cosmetics was probably the area where I had to make the biggest changes when I decided to cut down on my plastic. What can I say? I love pampering myself. However, on this journey I’ve discovered the power of bar products. Lush’s naked range is incredible and I especially love their shampoo bars and solid shower gels. However, a lot of their face washes come in plastic pots (they’re is recycled, which is obviously amazing), so I instead opt for bar cleansers. My favourites are African black soaps or the Korres Chamomile face and body soap, both of which can be found in cardboard packaging.
3. Reusable produce bags
Since I live an hour away from a completely zero-waste bulk food shop, my only option is to use regular Joe supermarkets. Obviously that’s meant making adjustments to my usual routine. Mainly, I try to get my hands on loose produce and bring my own produce bags. It’s a game changer. I use this set from Amazon (affiliate link) that come in a variety of sizes so that I can take away everything from a single bulb of garlic to a whole bunch of leeks.
4. Skin brush
Dry brushing is something that I’ve done for years now, but I’d never really considered its environmental benefits. Mine isn’t made from plastic and, with a few minutes of brushing, gets rid of all of my dry skin without the need for pots of body scrub. It also makes me feel super boujee, which is a massive bonus.