The MEGA List of Zero (Low) Waste Alternatives

These are the list of items we use in our home. Alternatives are what I am aspiring to work towards doing more of.  We need to be more self-conscious about what we are doing to our beautiful Earth. Also, this is a brilliant way to be creative and save more money.

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No packaging/Biodegradable/Reusable

Item
Bath: Bar for body, hair, and handwashing; the moisturizing bar for body
Bath: Cotton fabric rounds
Bath: DIY mouthwash
Bath: Recycled/biodegradable toilet paper wrapped in paper (Tushy) + bidet
Bath: Shhhowercap
Bath (ladies): Thinx period panties and menstrual cup
Cleaning: All-purpose cleaner (make at home in a reusable container)
Cleaning: Compostable bamboo brush heads for dishes
Cleaning: Bar soap for dish soap
Cleaning: Rag towels for cleaning
Clothing: Thrifting clothes
Dog: Flush dog poop down the toilet
Eating: Beeswax wraps instead of cling/aluminum/ziplock
Eating: Cloth napkins
Eating: Pyrex and stainless steel containers for food storage
Eating: Reusable Cinemark popcorn and drink container
Eating: Reusable straws
Food: Bulk hummus, pesto in a mason jar
Food: Flour/sugar/salt from bulk
Food: Compost egg containers
Food: Compost pizza box
Food: Condiments: Make pickled jalapenos
Food: Distilled water made at home
Food: Make juice at home
Food: Make kefir at home
Food: Make own bread/buy a fresh loaf in own bag
Food: Make own ice cream
Food: meat packaging (the butcher paper) in compost (bokashi)
Food: Nuts/dried fruits/spices/chocolate/candy/popcorn from bulk
Food: Oils: Vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, honey in bulk
Food: Package free produce
Food: Scraps composting (bokashi!)
Laundry: Wool dryer balls
Paper: Books (library + kindle)
Paper: Credit card mailings opt-out
Paper: Digital newspaper
Travel: Boarding passes + tickets in-app
Travel: Hotel toiletries when traveling: bring all from home in reusable containers (shampoo bars, body soap bar, face soap bar, face lotion de-potted, body lotion de-potted)
Travel: Que bottle for water

Aluminum

Item Alternative
Bath: Hair + styling spray* Best option atm
Bath: Shaving cream can Bar shave soap
Bath: Sunscreen spray Best option atm
Dog: Canned food Best option atm
Dog: Toothpaste in a metal tube Best option atm
Food: Baking powder Best option atm
Food: Canned sparkle water Best option atm
Food: Canned veggies, sauces, pantry items Best option atm
Food: Cider* Fill reusable growler
Food: Cooking spray Make at home using a refillable can or don’t buy anymore

Paper

Item Alternative
Dog: Treats Make at home; buy bulk
Food: Baking soda The best option at the moment
Food: Butter; compost paper The best option at the moment
Food: Cereal inbox (plastic liner inside can be recycled) The best option at the moment
Food: Cookies, crackers in a box (but also with plastic at times-not recyclable) Buy in bulk with own bag; make own
Food: Cream cheese wrapper in paper box The best option at the moment
Food: Garlic bread (but also with plastic-not recyclable) Make at home
Food: Milk and cream in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Pasta in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Tea Buy tea in bulk with own bag
Food: Vegetable/chicken broth Make at home using veggie/chicken scraps
Home: Candles Make at home using old jars; buy beeswax candle kits from Etsy; buy soy wax/wicks from Refill Revolution (packaged in the paper)
Laundry: Biodegradable laundry detergent in cardboard The best option at the moment
Paper: Amazon boxes Buy self without packaging; save boxes to re-ship
Paper: Junk mail Contacted to remove self from catalogs and mailings
Paper: Magazines* Digital edition; only get ones you love
Paper: Receipts Email whenever possible

Glass

Item Alternative
Bath: Antiperspirant – European Nivea (husband) The best option at the moment
Bath: Face + body oil Buy bulk from Refill Revolution
Bath: Face wash Bar soap
Bath: Nail polish (8-free)* The best option at the moment
Bath: Natural deodorant – Meow Meow Tweet (me) The best option at the moment
Food: Condiments (siracha, pastes. ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, bread yeast, jam) Make at home (too much work); reuse glass containers for storage
Food: Pasta sauce Make at home using canned tomato
Food: Peanut butter Buy bulk
Food: Salad dressing Make at home
Food: Vanilla extract Best option atm
Food: Yogurt Reuse glass container for storage
Home: Essential oils Buy from Refill Revolution and mail back bottle
Home: A room spray Make at home

Recyclable Plastics

Item Alternative
Bath: Face sunscreen, moisturizer, masks Find in glass; no pump; Return to Origins
Bath: Haircare products Use aluminum or glass container; Return to Origins
Bath: Medications No other option
Bath: Nail polish remover Switch to a non-toxic formula in a glass bottle
Bath: Toothpaste TerraCycle; metal tube
Cleaning: Dishwasher Packets Biodegradeable dishwasher detergent in cardboard
Cleaning: Shower + toilet cleaner Make at home
Dog: Teeth spray TerraCycle
Food: Baking sprinkles* Find in a glass jar or packaged in paper
Food: Berries Buy from farmers market; bulk pick at berry farm once/year
Food: Plastic container lids Lids are generally small and fall off the recycling conveyor belts. Always make sure that a plastic lid is attached to a plastic container so that it gets through the system.
Food: Granola Buy in bulk; TerraCycle current bags
Food: Salad box Buy in bulk? (difficult to find)
Home: Ant killer/household chemicals Get from city’s chemical reuse facility for free/reusing
Laundry: Dry cleaning bags Don’t dry clean?
Paper: Amazon boxes interior packaging Buy at the store without packaging; buy bulk orders; save packaging for re-use

Landfill

Item Alternative
Bath: Beauty product pumps Stop getting things with pumps; Return to Origins, TerraCycle
Bath: Brush heads/toothbrushes TerraCycle; Switch to bamboo brushes
Bath: Floss container TerraCycle; water flosser + dental lace
Bath: Floss picks (Meera) and floss (AJ) Biodegradeable floss
Bath: Hair elastics Eco-friendly version
Bath: Makeup products* Buy products that containers can be returned to the maker or recycled; Return to Origins
Bath: Razor blades Safety razor
Bath: Tissues Hand kerchief
Cleaning: Trash bags Find biodegradable
Dog: Dog food bag (split with canned) Best option atm
Eating: Wax paper Stop using it!
Food: Cheese wrap Buy in bulk and ask to put in beeswax wrap
Food: Chips/snack bag On TerraCycle waitlist
Food: Frozen fruits/veggies Buy fresh and freeze at home
Food: Take out containers/styrofoam Bring your own takeout container;  stop using this (it can’t REALLY be recycled!)
Home: Air filter Reusable air filter
Home: Pens Refillable pens using ink in glass jars (use up existing first); donate old to Pen Guy Art
Home: Water filter Ship back to recycle (for a fee)
Laundry: Lint roller Ever lint
Paper: Gift cards Online only cards
Paper: Label stickers No avoiding this
Paper: Tape Use washi tape when possible; get a boxed tape with refillable dispenser

Did you know that 65% of Americans are saving little to no money?

I read an article on CNBC found here that says that Bankrate recently did a study and found 65% of Americans are saving little to no money.  Most Americans aged 55-65 retire with a mere $120,000 in savings.  That’s not going to last very long without a paycheck.

Why? Most of us have a few reasons for not saving money, or not being “able” to save money.

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Here are some top reasons for not saving money

  • I’m not sure how to save money
  • I can’t save money
  • I don’t make enough money to save
  • Prices have gone up and now I can’t save

In reality people are spending more than they are making.  This is happening everywhere and I hear this all the time.  So how can we save money if we have so little?  Cutting costs, anywhere we can. That’s how.

Saving money doesn’t have to be a huge ordeal.  Let’s go with 5 ways to help you save YOUR money.

  • Establish your budget – This is a perfect way to begin. On the first day of a new month, get a receipt for everything you purchase. Stack the receipts into categories like restaurants, groceries, and personal care. At the end of the month you will be able to clearly see where your money is going.
  • Budget with cash and envelopes – Have you heard of this one?  Here’s how it works, If you have trouble with overspending, Put your cash into an envelope for spending, then spend only the money you set aside in the envelope and once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
  • Go for short-term saving goals – Short-term? Yes! Make a goal such as setting aside $20 a week or month, rather than a longer term savings goal. People save more successfully when they keep short-term goals in sight.
  • Save your loose change. Really! Putting aside just $1 a day for over a year will get you over 75% closer to a $500 emergency fund.  It will bring you over $350 in a year.
  • Commit to eating out one fewer time each month. Save money without sacrificing your lifestyle by taking small steps to reduce your dining budget. Start off with reducing the amount you eat out by just once per month I wrote a post regarding this a little while back found here go check it out.

These 5 ways to save money should help, and we all need help with saving money, especially in this economy.

Do you save money?  What are some tips you have?