Going “eco-friendly” and reducing waste can be kind of intimidating. I used to feel like I had to do it 100% of the time and that's what prevented me from doing it. When I heard the quote “we don't need a few people to do it perfectly, we need millions to do it imperfectly”, that totally changed my mindset on low waste living. I am still by no means 100% or even close, but I do make changes when I can. And, I wanted to share some of the swaps we have made to give you some ideas.
Cloth Diapers: I have made SO MANY VIDEOS about cloth diapers because it is INTIMIDATING! Here is my entire playlist of videos on cloth diapering. I promise you this is not as difficult or time-consuming as it seems! And, we don't do it 100% of the time. We were about 80/20 and still used disposable diapers on the go and at night.
Cloth wipes: These are great for wet diapers and for wiping noses!
Burp rag: I don't know what makes these the best but they are my favorite. My babies never really had a problem with spitting up but I used these rags when we were potty training and I use them as an old fashion hanky!
Makeup wipes: I have the 5×5 and seriously love them. If you use disposable wipes everyday, that's a lot of waste! You can totally still use them when you're traveling, but making this simple switch can make a big difference.
Mora ceramics: These are fantastic. I absolutely love these dishes and they're so cute.
Stasher bags: Before we started using the Stasher bags, I didn't realize how many freaking ziplock bags we used. These are great and so easy because you can just throw them in the dishwasher when you're done using them (instead of the garbage can) and you can reuse them as many times as you want.
Chalk pens: I use these for many things, but I use them a lot on the Stasher bags. I'll write my daughters names on them and it just wipes right off when they're done.
Glass storage: These are much better than using plastic and again, toss them in the dishwasher when you're done, easy peasy.
Bamboo spatulas: Replacing plastic with bamboo is another thing I am trying to do more. My husband doesn't love these as much because the top of the spatula doesn't come to quite as sharp of a point as plastic ones so it makes things a bit harder to flip, but it hasn't bothered me.
Refrigerator hooks: I have cute little hooks on the side of our refrigerator where I hang some utensils, spatulas, measuring cups, etc. It's handy and saves a little space.
Ridwell: So, recycling isn't as effective as you might think, especially if you're a “guesser recycler” like me where you're like “oh yeah I think this can be recycled” and then throw it in the bin. There is a company called Ridwell and they take soft plastics and find a way to reuse or properly recycle them. They are specific about what they take and you do have to pay for it, but a few neighbors and I all pooled in to do it together and share the service.
Un towels: We still have traditional paper towels because my husband loves to put his toast on them in the morning. And, occasionally, I have a need for them as well. But, I try to use the reusable ones as much as possible. I think they're adorable. But, I do recommend getting them in darker colors so they don't stain as easy. And you just throw them in the wash with the rest of your laundry.
Magnetic Paper Towel Holder: At first I didn't think I would roll up the reusable paper towels because it just seemed like too much work. But, it really is pretty quick, and I like have them in a neat roll to grab from. So, this is the paper towel holder we use. I have it stuck to the side of the fridge next to my fridge hooks.
Microfiber cloths: These I mostly use for cleaning, but again, SO much less waste than disposable cleaning wipes. And it really is an easy switch to make.
Compost bin (inside): We got this as a wedding gift, and is supposed to attach to a trash can. We don't have the specific trash can so I just put it under the sink.
Compost bin (outside): This is the bin we use outside, where we dump what's in the inside compost bin.
Compostable bags: for the compost. I tried the HoldOn compost trash bags for the trash and they were literally disintegrating in my trash bin, and the handles would break nearly every time. I wanted to love them but I do not.
Reusable recycling liner: I was sometimes getting water or liquid in the bottom of the small recycling bin we keep inside. Now I use this and I can dump our recycling into the big bin and then just throw this in the laundry.
Soap dispenser: How freaking cute is this?! We used to have a plastic soap dispenser. So, when it broke, I figured it was time for non-plastic and switched to this. This one is my reminder that you don't have to throw out your current stuff to make these changes. You can totally wait until things need to be replaced and then choose a low waste alternative.
Dish washer soap: The type of soap we use for the dishwasher is little pods that don't come wrapped in plastic or anything so I needed somewhere to keep them and this is what I went with.
Branch basics: Obsessed with this non-toxic cleaner. I was shocked at how well it works because it is a concentrate that you mix with water and it is an entire bottle of water with like 2 drops of the concentrate. But, it really does work super well. You can use the code HEYSHAYLA for 15% off Starter Kits (except the trial kit).
Refillable water bottle 1/2 gallon: I drink out of this every single day. It's huge so I rarely have to refill it, I'm not wasting plastic water bottles, and it honestly does remind me to drink more water
Clearly filtered: OBSESSED with this. I was seriously shocked at all the chemicals and crazy stuff in our water. My mom seriously even thinks the water tastes different with this. And it's a much better way to get filtered water than water bottles or water jugs. I have a whole blog post where I talk about this thing. You can use code HEYSHAYLA for a discount.
Waterdrop tumbler: Great reusable stuff & super cute to-go coffee mugs!
Bamboo scrubber: I've been looking at lots of bamboo utensils. Right now I'm using this scrubber for dishes and it works great.
Bamboo toothbrush head: Another plastic to bamboo swap. I haven't made this swap yet, but I'm going to because plastic toothbrush you have ever used is still sitting somewhere…
Public Good Deodorant: This deodorant packaging is made out of paper instead of plastic. Deodorant is such a personal preference thing so it might not work for everyone. My friend tried it and didn't like it but my other friend and I both think it works great!
Bar Shampoo/ conditioner: I use the volumize and love it. TareMarket is a zero waste and refill shop here in Minnesota!
Use code HEYSHAYLA for a discount!
CookUnity: Seth and I are terrible at cooking for ourselves, so we will often use meal services because it is so easy! This one has a mission of sustainability and uses recyclable packaging, bags, and boxes instead of so much plastic.
I hope these suggestions were helpful! If you want more, I just had Dana White, a decluttering expert on my podcast. Here is the decluttering episode, where she makes A TON of helpful suggestions to living a more minimal, low waste lifestyle. It really isn't hard to make small swaps, that can make a big difference! And again, you don't have to throw out your stuff to make low waste changes. Wait until things need to be replaced and then choose a low waste option.
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