Quick Zero-Waste Living Solutions

Author: Zero Waste Volunteers

If you want to opt for a Zero Waste Lifestyle, then the first, foremost and ultimate thing to remember is that it doesn't happen overnight. It is a long process. One cannot go from a regular lifestyle to someone living a zero-waste lifestyle in a single day.

We need to be patient, highly determined and should slowly and steadily adopt the zero waste lifestyle. Do not rush yourself.

So here are a few basic and easily doable alternatives through which you can start your waste free journey and reduce the amount of wastes produced by your personal products.

Oral Hygiene:

Organic toothbrush
We start using toothbrush from the time our teeth appears till the time we lose our teeth, and that's throughout out life. By using a plastic toothbrush, one contributes to the 4.7 billion of them that land in the landfill every year, which then take over 200-700 years to decompose. Every toothbrush you and I have ever used is sitting on our planet somewhere. So instead of a regular plastic toothbrush, opt for a bamboo toothbrush. That's a low waste alternative.

Organic Floss
Instead of regular plastic tear - free dental floss, go for reusable bamboo/silk floss that comes in plastic - free cardboard boxes or refillable metal/glass containers. These are compostable and waste free.

DIY toothpaste
Always go for toothpaste that comes in cardboard packaging instead of the disposable plastic tubes. And if interested, you can make your own toothpaste at home. You just need half a teaspoon of mustard oil, a pinch of turmeric and less then half a teaspoon of sea salt. Mix it and take it on on fingers and rub your teeth. Do it for as long as you brush your teeth. Rinse with water abd you're good to go.

Oil pulling is considered much better to the practice of mouth washing. Purchase your preferred oil in glass containers.Traditionally, sesame oil is chosen for practicing oil pulling. Oil pulling using olive oil, milk, extracts of gooseberry and mangoes is also preferred. Sesame oil and sunflower oil has been found to reduce plaque induced gingivitis.

Reusable tongue cleaner
Instead of the regular disposable plastic tongue cleaner, go for the metal tongue cleaner. They are waste free and can last a lifetime.

Reusable Straws
If you're a fan of sipping your meals through straws, then you always opt for stainless steel, bamboo, acrylic or glass straws instead of the plastic ones. They come in different shapes and sizes, i.e. straight, bent, thin, thick. And do remember to carry your straws with you while visiting someone or going to a restaurant.

Shower and Skincare essentials:

Use bucket
If you're someone who wastes a lot of water while bathing, it's preferable to use a bucket. Go for metallic buckets instead of the plastic ones.

Organic soap
Instead of body washes that come in plastic bottles, go for organic bar soap that are packaged free or come in cardboard packaging. These are SLS, paraben and cruelty free. And you can always re-use old scraps. Re-melt the old soap scraps in a double boiler and create a new soap piece.

Shampoo bars
Instead of going for the very expensive, chemical loaded, plastic packaged liquid shampoo, try using shampoo bars that are waste free and vegan. You can always make your own diy shampoo. And if you're not a fan of diy or bar shampoo, opt of liquid shampoo that comes in glass bottles and are chemical and cruelty free.

Say no to conditioners
After shampooing your hair, rinse your hair with apple cider vinegar or green tea water. It will give you healthy and lustrous locks.

Plastic free loofah
Instead of the bright and colourful plastic loofah that never decomposes, opt for plastic free natural loofah or natural bath sponge

Natural face cleanser
Rosewater is an excellent facial cleanser. You can also make your very own easy diy cleanser using gram flour, rice flour and water. Mix a teaspoonful of gram flour, half a teaspoon of rice flour and required amount of water. Mix it and make a paste. Gently rub it on your face and neck and keep it for 10 min. After that rinse your face with normal water. The rice flour here works as a scrubbing agent. If you don't need a scrub on regular basis just skip the rice flour. You can add Rosewater/honey instead of water. Add a pinch of organic turmeric powder for antibacterial properties.

Nail File, Ear Pick and Comb
Instead of the conventional nail file, go for a piece of sandstone. It'll give the exact effect of a nail file, but will last for more than 5 years.Instead of the regular q-tips, go for bamboo q-tips with organic cotton or use a slim bamboo stick with bent head. Instead of regular plastic combs and hairbrushes, opt for wooden combs and bamboo hairbrushes.

Laundry detergent
Instead of liquid detergent that comes in plastic packaging, opt for washing powder that comes in cardboard packaging or detergent bar. Alternatively you can use distilled white vinegar or Castile soap. You can also prepare your own detergent using soap nut. The Sapindus mukorossi nuts produce important amounts of a saponifying agent that can be used as laundry detergent, dish and hand soap, shampoo and body wash, pet cleaning wash and mosquito repellent among others.

Say no to toilet paper
Using toilet paper is bad for the environment because it is a single-use paper product. There's the old-growth forests that are cut down, the water wasted to clean and prepare the pulp, and the energy costs of manufacture and transportation. Instead you can use recycled toilet paper or can go for a bidet attachment. Bidet attachments install between your existing toilet seat and toilet. Besides it has following benefits -

  • Better Cleaning Than Paper.
  • Eco-Friendly.
  • Cost-Efficient.
  • Comfortable and Gentle on Your Skin
  • Hygienic for Women and Expecting Mothers.
  • Easy to Use for Those With Mobility Issues.
  • Less Expensive Plumbing Issues and Clogged Toilets.

Stainless Stell Safety Razor
Instead of paying huge bucks every 2-3 months for disposable plastic razors, opt for a reusable safety razor. It's plastic free, will last longer and give a clean shave.

Instead of using disposable wipes, go for reusable wipes made of cotton. You can wash if after using it once and then use it again.

Make-up removal
For double cleansing, use coconut oil/jojoba oil. It'll perfectly remove all the dirt and grime. For make-up removal pads, use organic cotton or use cut outs of old t-shirts, which you can wash abd is reusable.

DIY Deodrant
Instead of using the stick deodorant or roll- on deodorants that come in plastic packaging, opt for deodorants in cardboard packaging. To make your own deodorant, you need coconut oil, baking soda, Shea butter, cornstarch . Melt these in a double boiler and add a few drops of essential oi. Combine these together a d store it in a mason jar.

Body Scrub and Body Butter
Instead of wasting hundreds of money for body scrub and body butter, just make them yourself. For a body scrub, mix equal quantities of coffee powder, sugar and coconut oil and store them in a mason jar. This scrub will exfoliate your skin, provide moisture and help lighten dark patches. You can also try your own recipe. For a body butter, melt equal quantities of Shea butter, cocoa butter and coconut oil in a double boiler, and add a few drops of essential oil. Store it in an airtight container.

Facial oil and lip balm/tint
For your own facial oil, go with organic avocado, olive or sweet almond oil, whichever suits you, instead of buying expensive oils in expensive plastic packaging. You can create your own lip balm by melting equal quantities of shea butter, bees wax and coconut oil in a double boiler. If you want tint, add some beetroot juice, or strawberry pulp, or some coffee grind, according to the hue you want. Store it ins glass container and cool it off. Instead of buying different make-up products in disposable packaging, opt for organic make in cardboard boxes or make your own with activated charcoal, beetroot, strawberry, carrot, etc. that have natural pigments.

Face Masks
2020 has added one more thing to our list of essentials, i.e. the face mask. Polystyrene, polypropylene, polycarbonate, polyethylene or polyester are some of the commonly-used materials in surgical masks. While they keep out bacteria effectively (although not necessarily that of the virus), the masks are plastic-based, liquid-resistant products that have a long afterlife after they are discarded, ending up in landfill or oceans. Therefore, go for organic cotton face masks, or cloth masks. These can be washed, are reusable and do not pose a threat to the environment.

Do remember that "Coming together is a beginning". We all need to do our bit. Don't fret yourself. Take one step at a time and we'll be able to live a Zero Waste Lifestyle!