Where to start with creating a zero-waste home? It’s something to approach bit by bit – or reusable by reusable rather.
We’re not aiming for perfection over here. A low-waste home is a more realistic and manageable goal than eliminating every bit of plastic or excess packaging in your everyday life.
Maybe you start in one room of the house or test out one new zero-waste essential a month. Whatever changes you make, every individual zero-waste swap is like voting with your buying power. It shows brands a desire for plastic-free, less wasteful packaging.
To help you refuse, reduce, reuse and recycle more at home, we’ve pulled together top waste-saving brands and reusable alternatives to everything from razors to sponges. Some might be familiar sustainable swaps, but there are others we bet you didn’t know you needed…
Zero-waste cleaning essentials
One fairly easy place to start reducing waste at home is in the cupboard under the sink – or wherever else you stash your cleaning supplies. There’s usually a lot of single-use plastic in the mix here, thanks to washing up sponges, cleaning sprays and the like.
The Ultimate bide Eco Cleaning Box is a great starting point for eco-friendly switches, bringing together a month’s worth of zero-waste cleaning products in one package. There are also five cleaning concentrates to help you mix up cleaning sprays at home – perfect if you like the idea of toxin-free products without the faff of buying ingredients separately and making your own.
Another kit that will set you up for zero-waste cleaning is the Mega Sustainable Bundle from Seep, makers of plastic-free cleaning products who are also climate positive. In the bundle you’ll find sets of natural loofah cloths, sponges and bin bags, all made from renewable material sources.
Or you could start with one simple swap – a Coconut Dish Brush instead of a plastic brush. This one is by Panda Packaging, who have a whole range of sustainable homewares handmade from materials like coconut and bamboo.
Zero-waste bathroom essentials
A peek in the bathroom cabinet usually reveals plastic bottles full of soaps and shampoos, as well as disposable razors and makeup wipes. There are all kinds of zero-waste alternatives to these bathroom essentials.
In place of your usual shampoo, you could try Scintilla’s Green Clean Shampoo Melts. There are 30 melts in every box, with each individual one powerful enough for a good hair wash. On top of the eco-friendliness, these give back to charity – 10% of profits go to SEED Madagascar and MIND.
Give up shower gels for soap bars from UpCircle Beauty. Both the Cinnamon and Ginger and Fennel and Cardamom Chai editions smell incredible, arrive in cardboard recyclable packaging and are even fighting food waste, made using leftover chai spices from Henny & Joe’s syrups.
As well as what you buy and where you buy it from, creating a zero-waste home is about making the absolute most of what you’ve got. UpCircle Beauty’s Scrub Tube Squeezer is a handy little tool for that – use it to eke out every drop of their scrubs as well as toothpastes, lotions and creams.
You can also top up on bathroom reusables with UpCircle Beauty’s Safety Razor, Organic Muslin Cloths and Hemp and Cotton Makeup Pads. Likewise, Scintilla’s Reusable Face Wipes made from 100% organic plant-fibre fabric are a great replacement for normal face wipes, which contain non-biodegradable plastic.
Like face wipes, hundreds of millions of plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year. A bamboo alternative is a great way to stop adding to that pile – you can pick up a pack of four from Madeeco, a brand that’s all about making sustainable switches easy for people.
Even your four-legged friend’s beauty regime can go a little greener thanks to the Good Wash Company. Their Dog Soap contains only natural ingredients and essential oils and is free from chemicals – perfect for pooches with sensitive skin.
You’re So Kind’s 5L Rose and Honeysuckle Refill or Good Wash’s 1L Eco Refill Range is also ideal if you already have empty bottles knocking about that you want to make the most of. Plus, both brand”s profits from their products go to good causes, improving the lives of people and animals.
Zero-waste kitchen essentials
In the kitchen, zero-waste living becomes about cutting down on unnecessary packaging, storing and transporting food sustainably and reducing food waste.
Invest in a Mintie lunch box for a step up from cheap plastic containers that never last as long as you hope. Their trusty stainless steel set contains a durable lunch box with a divider, snack pot, cotton drawstring bag and green silicone Mintie band for securing your cutlery.
For a plastic-free lunch box that’s also safe to pop in the microwave, check out Bambox’s Bamboo Lunch Box. The base is made from 50% bamboo fibre and 50% corn flour, so it’s safe to heat as well as biodegradable. 25p from the sale of each lunch box also goes to Friends of the Earth, supporting them on their mission to fight plastic pollution.
Have you heard about beeswax wraps? They’re an environmentally friendly alternative to cling film that you can reuse endlessly – Stib estimates each of their wraps saves over 200 pieces of single-use packaging. This pack of theirs comes with one large, one medium and two small wraps as well as a pack of native wildflower seeds and a bee-friendly information pack.
Bare Kind’s Rainbow Metal Straws are another zero-waste addition to your kitchen that can save a heap of single-use plastic waste. Take them out and about with you too, ready to refuse plastic straws in restaurants and bars.
Zero-waste food and drink
Moving on to zero-waste food and drink, you can even make cracking open a beer a waste-saving act. Toast Ale’s whole range is brewed using surplus fresh bread, like the limited edition Rise Up Mango IPA. That’s one of a series of beers they’ve created in collaboration with other B Corps, to celebrate ways to fix our broken food system.
Lots of the food waste-fighting social enterprises we stock are tackling the mountain of surplus fruit and veg in the UK too – so-called “wonky” fruit and veg. There’s Flawsome’s lightly sparkling juice drinks, which make a great change to juices in plastic bottles, and Güsto Snacks’ Wonky Apple Crisps with a Mango Twist for healthy, planet-friendly snacking.
Get friends and family at summer get-togethers talking about zero-waste food and drink with our epic Food Waste Warrior Gift Box. As well as products by Toast Ale, Flawsome and Güsto Snacks, it will introduce you to others like healthy hard seltzers by Served, a vegan mayo and spicy tomato relish by Rubies in the Rubble and award-winning cordial by Urban Cordial.
Like these waste-saving ideas? Discover even more in our zero-waste home essentials edit.