I’ve been living zero waste for a little over a year now. Living zero waste has helped me grow and be more conscious in my living. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I learn from every single one and make sure that I don’t make them a habit.
I wanted to talk about the things I’ve stopped buying since I’ve gone zero waste. There’s actually a lot of stuff that I no longer buy, but I wanted to keep the big picture for people interested in living more sustainably. So I’ll separate them into categories. This is a result of living zero waste, practicing minimalism, and using the KonMari method around my household.
- Fast fashion: I was such a lazy kid growing up, so I had my mom buy the majority of my clothes until I was in college. But once I got control over my wardrobe, I became sucked into the world of fast fashion. Looking back to my college photos, I noticed a trend. Freshmen year, I was really into bright, pastel colors. Sophomore year, I wore lots of graphic tees. Junior year, I started hoarding lots of skirts and dresses. You get the gist. The problem with fast fashion is that they usually aren’t in great quality, and they go out of style so fast.
- Repeated Styles: If I have something in my closet, I no longer see the need to buy a duplicate style. I’ve trimmed my closet down so that I have one or two of each thing, and they are all of high quality. For example, I used to have 5 different blue sweaters. Granted they are different shades of blue, but at the end of the day, I had 5 blue sweaters. That is no longer an issue I have. I’ve also dwindled down my shoes to under 10 pairs at all times.
Health and Beauty
- Feminine Products: I use a menstrual cup and I love it. I’ve written a blog post about it.
- Makeup: As I’ve grown older, I no longer feel the need to cover up all my imperfections. Don’t get me wrong, I still love to get dolled up every day, but I’ve minimized what I wear and streamlined it all to 5 items. I only wear mineral foundation, mascara, blush, brow liner, and eye shadow. I’m also looking into making my own version of these 5 items.
- Hair Products: I wrote a post on sustainable hair care a while back on the products that I make instead.
- Face Wash & Moisturizer: I use castile soap as a face wash and oils (rosehip, argan, or almond) as a moisturizer.
- Cleaning Products: It is amazing how much cleaning power vinegar, baking soda, and castile soap have. I use these three in different capacities as cleaning products around the house.
- Paper Products: I don’t buy paper towels, tissues, or napkins. I use rags, handkerchiefs, and cloth napkins instead. The one exception is toilet paper, which I still buy regularly. We are looking into installing a bidet to decrease our toilet paper use.
- Aluminum Foil, Saran Wrap, Wax Paper, Parchment Paper: These are all staples in the kitchen. I don’t buy any of them anymore. For aluminum foil and plastic wrap, I used to use them to store leftovers. I now use my homemade beeswax food wrap instead. If I need to cover a baked dish that calls for aluminum foil, I cover it with a cookie sheet. I use a Silpat for all my baking needs or I just grease the pan with oil.
- Ziploc Bags: We use stainless steel tiffins or glass Tupperware.
- Trash Bags: No trash, no trash bag.
- Bottled Water: Growing up, we always had a water filtered installed. But we would always buy bottled water when we traveled because it was convenient. Now, I use a charcoal water filter at home and bring my water bottle with me when I travel. (I will buy a few gallons of emergency water to put in storage if necessary.)
- Packaged Food: The only packaged foods I buy now are ingredients that are packaged in paper or glass. I buy flour and sugar packaged in paper. I also buy condiments (mostly Asian condiments since I can’t find them in bulk) in glass, like soy sauce. I don’t buy any canned foods or processed foods beyond what I’ve just listed.
This list is just a sampling of things I no longer buy. There are more specific things, but that list is much, much longer. I think the most important thing I’ve learned is that when you make a commitment to reduce your waste, it will snowball into minimizing in all aspects of your life. Your life will be much simpler and happier!