9 Zero Waste Swaps I Couldn’t Live Without.

When it comes to being zero waste, I genuinely try my best to live up to the laws of being plastic-free. As a broke college student, however, I struggle to make all of the necessary swaps. I am given a lot of stuff- from care packages to campus fairs. With that said, of the investments I have made, there are 9 swaps that I believe are the most useful and would 100% buy again.

1. A Reusable Water Bottle

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I have used this item every single day since I began my journey to being zero waste. I have gone through a couple of water bottles. However, due to them breaking from wear and tear, the steel water bottle I bought went to my lovely fiance. The particular water bottle pictured above is one that was left by a friend who allowed me to use it. 10/10 would recommend this water bottle. You can find it at Target. The brand is Mainstay and it is double-wall insulated, so it keeps ice for hours (even in 100 degree weather).

2. A Reusable Spork


As a church going girl, I am at plenty of church cookouts, potlucks, and parties. Like most of America, the go-to cutlery for the church is single-use plastic cutlery.  This little guy pictured above has been so useful when I can’t get to other metal cutlery. It folds up and fits nicely in my bag. I would most definitely recommend buying this. As a plus, it comes with a carrying pouch.

You can find it here.

3. A Bandana/Cloth


I LOVE this knot wrap that I received as a gift. With that said, I don’t use this on my hair or as an accessory. Due to the texture of my hair, this knot just falls right out. So, I decided to re-purpose it. I use this as an all-around napkin or towel and it has come in handy just about everyday. In the bathroom, instead of using the paper towels, I use this.  When I’m eating, it’s a dinner napkin. This particular wrap is from Lush. It is made out of recycled plastic bottles and I’m not quite sure if you can buy this specific one but there are other prints on their online store. Also, a bandanna or cloth will work in the same way!

You can find others like it here.

4. A Handkerchief


When going through my zero waste journey, the dreaded “cold and flu season” came upon me and wreaked havoc upon my nose. As much as I didn’t want to use a hankie for my nose,  I realized the mass amounts of tissues I would have to use while I was sick, so I bit the bullet and bought one. Now, I see this as one of my best investments because I save so much money and don’t have to cleanup tissues. I have a selection that I rotate through, so that I’m not using the same one every day. This one pictured above, however, is my favorite. I got this bad boy at the online store Life Without Plastic and I would absolutely buy it again.

You can find it here.

5. Shampoo and Soap Bars (with the tin holder)


Using a shampoo bar was scary for me, because I have really greasy hair. I have a love/hate relationship with shampoo and I dread the times that I have to use a shampoo that I have never used before, because I worry about the state of my hair after the day is over. But, I have been pleasantly surprised with these shampoo bars! Any that I have used have done great with my hair and I would say that it made my hair look better than any bottled shampoo ever has before. The body wash pictured above is the Mr. Bronners All-In-One Soap that you can get in any Sprouts or Whole Foods. I got the tin that I keep it in from Life Without Plastic and it has been so useful. Lush also sells shampoo bars and they have a tin that fits their shampoo bars as well. You can’t ever go wrong with Lush products!

You can find the soap tin here.

You can find the lush soap bars here.

6. Safety Razor


The safety razor is one that took some practice to get used to, but it has been a great bathroom routine. In the past, I have only used plastic razors, so getting the right angle was hard with a safety razor. But, after some time, I got the hang of it and actually got a pretty nice shave. The replacement blades are ridiculously cheap and you can send them to be recycled. The razor I have is actually my great grandpa’s, but you can find ones like this at Walmart, Target, Amazon, or a zero waste online store.

You can find the safety razor here.

You can find the blades here.

7. Diva Cup


Ladies, this one is for you. This product was new and very uncomfortable when I first bought it. I realize now that this is my best investment- not just for zero waste purposes, but also as a female. The Diva Cup is an alternative to one-use menstrual products and has been a reliable friend ever since I bought it. I got mine from Target, and while it was wrapped in a plastic box, I can say I have saved a lot of waste and a lot of money by using it. The Diva Cup lasts for 10 years because of its silicone material and it holds a lot more than Super Plus tampons, so you don’t have to change it very often. You can wear it for up to 12 hours, and if you are a busy girl like me, then that is a life saver during “that time of the month.” I’m not gonna say that it isn’t weird or that it doesn’t have any drawbacks, but the good definitely outweighs the bad when it come to the Diva Cup.

You can find it here.

8. A Bamboo Toothbrush


A bamboo toothbrush is really just like any other toothbrush, other than the fact that it’s made of wood. It’s an easy swap that I would highly recommend everyone use. The ones that I received were from my mom and it came with four that are all numbered and had a recommendation that you switch them every three months. I have enough for the year which is a pretty sweet buy. You can find this on any zero waste online shop or on Amazon.

You can find it here.

9. A Kindle from Amazon


As a college student (and an avid reader), I have saved a bunch of money buy buying e-books instead of paper text books and the books that I like to read for fun. I save room from not collecting books that I might not ever read again. Also, its light and compact, great for travel, and has a battery life that lasts for weeks. E-readers encourage a paperless life and keep the clutter of books at bay. I love hard copy books, but it is harder for me to keep them or have a real reason to buy them. The kindle I have is one of the more basic models, but it does the trick and was a great price with my student discount.

You can find it here.

These are the 9 zero waste swaps that I use, if not every day then at least every other day. The zero waste life is challenging, but it is well worth it in the long run when you realize how much you save and how much you can save the planet!

by Jordan Carfield

Edited by Dray Murray

1 thought on “9 Zero Waste Swaps I Couldn’t Live Without.

  1. Great post, Jordan! And interesting products. I really like the spork and am seriously considering buying one when I get paid. And the store, Life Without Plastic, is interesting, too. Glad you linked to it! Again, great job on this post!


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