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A Zero Waste Home Created from Plastic Free Shopping

zero waste

Why Plastic Free Shopping?

To have a truly zero waste home,  we use sustainable products and habits to make plastic free shopping a breeze!

Food packaging makes up incredible amounts of waste we generate. About one-third of an average dump is made up of packaging material from our stores.

This includes plastic cups, bottles, coffee cups, bags and so on. In fact, the amount of plastic packaging that is thrown away every single year is enough to circle the globe four times over.

50% of all this waste, is single-use plastic.

In a newer post, we dive fully into the specific problem of plastic bags and tips on reducing them! You can find that post here!

Not only does this waste negatively impact our planet, but our health is impacted as well.

In tests for BPA, a plastic chemical, 93% of Americans over the age of six tested positive for traces of the chemical found in the body.

This is why adopting a zero waste lifestyle is so important. We’re all affected.

Us humans, wildlife, aquatic animals, the soil and even the air.

So you may ask, how can I start shopping more waste-free and reducing my impact?

What Zero Waste Alternatives Can I Use?

Food is needed for sustenance, but the waste that accompanies it is not – which is why we require zero waste alternatives for our planet’s sake,,,and our own.

 Yes plastic packaging is helpful in keeping foods fresh or for transportation, but is not necessary and with some planning we can greatly reduce our wasteful footprint.

When we’re prepared with the right sustainable equipment, we can get our groceries without all the trash that comes along with it.

Here in this post I want to discuss some of that “right equipment” in detail to give you the tools you need for a zero waste lifestyle.

Most of the waste taken home from grocery stores are plastic bags (checkout bags, produce bags, etc.) and plastic bottles/containers that goods come in.

That being said, it makes sense that these are the first items we should find zero waste alternatives for.

First lets discuss some reusable grocery and produce bags:

Reusable Grocery Bags

Plastic Free Shopping

When it comes to plastic free shopping, you’ll need some new bags!

These reusable bags should be made from a durable, sustainable material such as canvas.

You want to also make sure they are large enough to fit a good amount of items.

These are the bags you’ll be using to carry all your goods together when you leave the store, so it’s important they’re comfortable.

The durable, natural canvas tote bags on amazon are a great fit to this bill.

Their larger size measuring 13.5″ tall, 12.5″ wide and 8.5″ deep with 10″ handles should be large enough for most goods.

With a few of these kept in the trunk of your car, hundreds possibly thousands of plastic bags can be saved each year, helping you towards your goals.

To find these featured bags, simply click right here!

Reusable Produce Bags

Zero Waste Alternatives

Rather than reaching for that large roll of plastic in your produce department, you’ll find it much more rewarding using these natural cotton mesh reusable produce bags.

These bags are polyester-free, nylon-free, unbleached and biodegradable. Made from durable material with double-stitched seams, these can hold all your fruits and veggies worry free.

I love how even the little cord lock is made of Stainless Steel instead of plastic!

Best of all, the weight of each bag is right on the tag so employees can easily see the bags weight at checkout and adjust accordingly.

With the current 100 billion plastic bags which pass through the hands of U.S. consumers every year, this is another great way for us to massively reduce our footprint.

You can click here to grab yourself a set!

Wet and Loose Foods

We’ve covered how to carry all of your produce and dry items without plastic, but now lets dive deeper in to things like deli products, meats, fish, coffee, grains, legumes, fruits, nut butters, olive oil etc.

Things like stainless steel containers are a great option but I believe glass jars are the best to use.

Like steel, glass is free of chemicals and doesn’t hold smells or colors of food, but because it’s clear you can see exactly whats inside.

Glass jars tend to be able to hold a very large variety of food items and they come in a huge variety of sizes.

When choosing sizes of jars, it’s good to have a variety anywhere from small 2 cup mason jars up to larger half gallon to gallon jars.

Smaller jars can be used for things like spices. The larger or more bulky the food item, the larger the jar.

For things like oils or other liquids, there are special jars which we’ll show you also.

You can also save glass jars from pasta sauces and use them for some smaller grocery items as well.

All of which will help you achieve your goal of a zero waste home!

Prepping your Jars

First there are a few things you’ll do with your jars before setting off on your first zero waste trip.

You’ll need to get the tare weights of your jars – a tare weight is a jar’s weight in pounds or ounces.

The cashier will subtract the tare weight from the total weight of the filled jar so you only pay for whats inside.

You can usually do this by going to customer service and getting your jars weighed upon arrival at the store.

You can then write the weights on the jars.

You’ll also want to write the food item’s PLU (Price Look Up) number on the jar.

This is the code next to the name of each food, it tells the cashier what the food is.

Now I’ll show you some examples of great jars that you can use, although keep in mind really any glass jar can be sufficient:

Glass Jar with Clamp Lids

Zero Waste jars

Like I said you’ll want jars of various sizes to accommodate various food items. These glass jars from Bormioli Rocco are a fantastic option.

They craft their jars in Italy from a very high quality glass.

With an airtight seal and durable stainless steel latch, you can be sure no air will get into your food, thus keeping your goods super fresh!

Bormioli Rocco carries a nice selection of different sizes. You can get smaller 17.5 oz jars great for nut butters or coffee grounds up to larger 67.75 oz jars great for grains or legumes for the whole family.

They also carry a 25 oz and 33 oz size for things in between. A size for every need!

You can find these beautiful glass jars by simply clicking right here!

Glass Swing Top Bottles

plastic free bottles

These glass swing top bottles are great bottles for liquid goods normally found in plastic such as cooking oils, vinegar, syrups or anything else.

These bottles can also be used for any carbonated beverages or for fermenting beer or Kombucha due to their excellent pressure rating, quality airtight gaskets and stainless steel latches.

People who use these types of glass bottles for zero waste shopping claim that using a funnel to fill makes things way easier and less messy.

This makes sense due to the narrow bottle necks. I recommend this 6-piece set of glass swing top bottles with a silicone oil funnel included.

They provide great value for the price by including 6 – 16 oz bottles as well as free replacement bottle gaskets and even a free collapsible silicone funnel to make filling a breeze!

You can grab a set of these wonderful swing top bottles right here!

If you are someone with a larger family and the 16 oz size seems a bit too small for your needs, these 33oz swing top bottles will be a great fit for you!

You can check these larger swing top bottles out by clicking right here!

Conclusion

To wrap up this post, I just want to run back through what has been covered and how it all ties together.

We know that 1/3 of all plastic waste comes from packaging materials used in stores, the main culprit being grocery stores.

With all the plastic bags and containers you see walking down the aisles, it’s not a surprising figure.

We do not personally need to contribute to this waste however.

We’ve seen here throughout this post how we can substitute those plastics by using zero waste alternatives to dramatically reduce our footprint.

Of course, this won’t always be an easy task. Some stores are more catered to this form of shopping.

Stores like Whole Foods and others have bulk sections that make creating a zero waste home way easier.

Other supermarkets may be a little trickier and have less variety of loose food items for plastic free shopping.

Either way, you can still do plenty to reduce your waste throughout the store by opting out of plastic packaging and using your own.

Even something as simple as using canvas over plastic bags at checkout is a huge step in the right direction!

So go on, don’t be scared and dive in to the world of zero waste living and enjoy the immense satisfaction that accompanies it!

If you have any questions, please contact us any time!

Disclosure: The products mentioned in this post were researched and discovered to be some of the best in their market. I did this as a resource for you in case you wanted to further explore that particular product/ brand, without doing the tedious research. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through those links at no cost to you.

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Eco Friendly and Sustainable Products for Everyday Use

Eco Friendly Products

Plastic Pollution Every Year

With all the facts and figures around about the harms of single-use plastics and plastic pollution, you might think what little difference can I personally make? Should I even try switching to sustainable products?

YES, you should because you can actually make a lot more of a difference than you realize. Lets start with some statistics:

Plastic Bags: According to The Wall Street Journal, the U.S. goes through 100 billion plastic shopping bags annually. These single-use bags will take up to 1,000 years to degrade.

Plastic Toothbrushes: One billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away every year in the United States, creating 50 million pounds of waste annually.

Plastic Water Bottles: More than 60 million plastic bottles end up in landfills and incinerators every day – a total of about 22 billion last year.

Plastic Straws: Americans use 500 million drinking straws every day. To understand just how many straws 500 million really is, this would fill over 125 school buses with straws every day. That’s 46,400 school buses every year!

Takeaway Cups: The US alone throws away 25 billion styrofoam coffee cups each year. If you buy just one cup of coffee or tea in a disposable cup every day, you’ll end up creating about 23 pounds of waste in a year.

Now this is a big problem. These plastics linger around our ecosystem for 1000’s of years and wreak havoc on our environment and wildlife.

Because plastic takes so long to decompose, the amount in landfills continues to grow daily.

But fortunately, we have solutions!

Today, we have many different ways to cut down our plastic usage by switching to sustainable products, which are more Eco-friendly alternatives to what we normally use.

Lets go through and offer some alternatives for each of these items above:

Plastic Free Products

1. Reusable Grocery Bags

reusable grocery bags

Reusable shopping bags are are normally made from any number of sustainable fabrics. These shown are made from an organic cotton fabric.

Ideally, any reusable grocery bag should be durable enough to be used on a normal basis for years.

You should also make sure they are large enough to fit your needs.

From a simple habit of keeping several of these in the trunk of your vehicle, you can avoid adding hundreds, possibly thousands of plastic bags to landfills each year.

Here we show our favorite grocery bags, due to their style, choice of color and durable organic cotton material.

You can check them out right here!

2. Bamboo Toothbrush

best bamboo toothbrush

As we know, around a billion plastic toothbrushes are thrown away each year in the US, creating 50 million lbs of waste annually.

These then pile up year after year because the rate of decomposition is so slow, roughly 500+ years.

By using a bamboo toothbrush, you are not contributing to this timeless pile of plastic.

When you throw your brush away, it’ll naturally breakdown quickly and cleanly.

These bamboo brushes are an amazing value for a very low price, you can’t go wrong!

They are made from excellent quality bamboo, have BPA-free bristles and great reviews.

You can grab a set by clicking here!

3. Reusable Bottles

reusable bottles

There are a vast selection of reusable bottles out there. Why should you care?

Well for one, our point above about the 20+ billion that end up in landfills each year. Another VERY important reasoning is your health.

Plastics containing BPA’s and other chemicals are known to have negative effects on your brain, behavior, and prostate glands of infants and children.

Sustainable products can easily eliminate this threat.

These chemicals can leach into you or your child’s drinks without even knowing it, lets say… on a hot, sunny afternoon.

The UV rays of the sunlight will cause these chemicals enter the contents of the cup or bottle. The heat itself will as well.

That’ll make you think twice about that water bottle that’s been sitting in your car all day.

Thankfully we have some amazing alternatives. Above I show both my favorite reusable glass bottles and stainless steel bottles.

Both are great and it entirely depends on what kind of reusable bottle you’re looking for.

Lets compare:

Glass Bottle

  • Made from soda lime glass
  • BPA free, non-toxic and lead-free
  • Healthy and safe alternative to plastic that won’t absorb odor, tastes and won’t contaminate your drink
  • Thick glass makes them durable but not as durable as Stainless Steel
  • Very stylish

Stainless Steel Bottle

  • Crafted from food grade 18/8 Stainless Steel which is rust proof and corrosion resistant
  • Double walled and vacuum insulated. This technology keeps your beverage hot or cold for hours. 
  • BPA free, non-toxic, phthalates and lead-free
  • Also will not absorb odor, tastes or contaminate drinks
  • Virtually unbreakable
  • Futuristic and sharp looking

So, whats the conclusion? Well both are equally stylish and serve the same purpose.

They both are free of plastics and can be reused for years. The glass bottles are stylish, modern and make a statement that you’re serious about sustainability.

You can find the glass bottles shown above right here!

Our featured Stainless Steel bottles shown above are the more rugged option of sustainable products for those of you who don’t trust yourself with a glass bottle.

You can find these amazing bottles right here!

4. Reusable Straws

Bamboo straws are a fantastic Eco-Friendly alternative to single-use plastic straws which, by now, I think by now we all know the horrors of.

Not only are close to 500 million straws ending up in the trash daily, but our aquatic life is greatly being harmed as well.

You may recall those shocking pictures of affected sea turtles.

Many people love bamboo straws because they wont get too cold or hot like stainless steel straws can and they don’t hurt your teeth like the metal can.

The natural look and feel of them is amazing and best of all, they are biodegradable and wont leave a mark on the planet.

Pictured above are our absolute favorite. The company is on a mission to end single-use plastic and their quality is spot on.

They include a great little cloth bag and cleaning brush as well!

You can grab a set right here!

5. Stainless Steel Cups

Stainless Steel thermos

Choosing the right reusable drinking cup for your daily needs depends on what kind of beverages you like to enjoy throughout the day.

I recommend getting one that is about mid sized, or even slightly larger. Pictured here is a 20 oz cup size which I believe to be optimal for a variety of beverages and needs.

The cup should also insulate your beverage if you’re going to be drinking hot coffee or tea.

This insulation, like in this stainless steel cup, will keep the cup at a comfortable temperature in your hand while also keeping the beverage hotter or colder longer.

The most important thing here is to get one that holds up to your daily use. “Beast” by Greens Steel, pictured, is a fantastic daily reusable cup.

It is 20 oz of double walled, insulated Stainless Steel and perfect for any drink requirements while being rugged enough for continued use.

It’s dishwasher safe and also includes a leak proof lid and Stainless Steel straws as well as a straw cleaner.

You can check them out right here!

Conclusion on Sustainable Products

As we wrap up this article, I hope you have taken away some valuable information on choosing sustainable products for your daily use.

Clearly there are many options out there and it comes down to understanding what requirements you have and getting a product to meet those demands.

The products I’ve shown above are simply my favorite after researching and testing different products.

They seem to be the best fit for daily needs, however feel free to go with any option you desire!

IMPORTANT: Make sure that whatever option you decide to go with, is the path of least resistance. Meaning, if the product is annoying for you to use or clean compared to it’s plastic counterpart, chances are you’ll end up reverting back to plastic as the days get hectic. Consistency is key here with sustainable products!

Disclosure: The products mentioned in this post were researched and discovered to be some of the best in their market. I did this as a resource for you in case you wanted to further explore that particular product/ brand, without doing the tedious research. I may receive a small commission if you purchase through those links at no cost to you.

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Sustainable Food Storage

sustainable food storage

With so many great Eco-friendly options to store food out there, it can be hard to get started. We see tons of different offers all over the internet of sustainable products and it can be daunting. So why not use some options that are already available to you for sustainable food storage?

I came across this great info-graphic that explains different ways you can store your food without plastic. Best of all, it’s using many items that I’m sure you already have! From the more obvious to the less, I think we can all take away some great ideas. I’ll list some of them here:

Sustainable Food Storage Ideas

  1. Store onions and potatoes in basket and a dark space
  2. Keep glass jars from some of your grocery items, such as tomato sauce, and reuse them for loose bulk foods
  3. Use those jars for leftovers, or just put a plate over your leftovers and stick em in the fridge
  4. Stand celery in a cup of water. You can also float carrots in water, perhaps in one of those glass jars.
  5. Get loose bread from the bakery department and wrap it in cloth or a pillow case. If you have a wooden bread bin, place it in there.
  6. Wrap your beans and peas in a damp cloth
  7. If you have leafy greens, you can cut the ends of the stems off and stand them in a glass of water
  8. Wrap your lettuce in a cotton tea towel and fridge

Conclusion

So there you have it! We clearly see here that there are plenty of little things we can do for sustainable food storage. We’ve shown how to reduce use of and exposure to plastic, using simple means that are available to mostly any of us.

One day at a time, we can all do our part to reduce the wasteful footprint on our world.