Style & Beauty
Style June 22, 2018
We can't all survive on DIY and bulk stores.
The little things that we do every day add up to a lot. As a nation, we generate millions of tons of waste each year. To reduce that and start living a more sustainable lifestyle, it might be time to start thinking about going completely plastic-free. In other words, we want to start a zero-waste lifestyle.
However, just doing some basic research makes zero-waste living seems like a hassle. Many times it involves using DIY alternatives and shopping in bulk. Is there a way to have a guilt-free lifestyle without going overboard?
Luckily, there is. Many brands are now surfacing with zero-waste philosophies, providing plastic-free products and packaging. Here are 50 products you can buy to live a plastic-free life.
Plaine Products has a system involving aluminum bottles that you return to the facility for reuse. The brand makes it easy by paying for return shipping (it includes a label with the order), and they don’t include any plastic in their packaging. If your vision of a zero-waste lifestyle must include liquid shampoo and conditioner, Plaine Products is a great option.
Lush created a whole line of solid shampoo bars, each with different colors and uses. They have physical stores across the country that you can shop at, so there’s no need to worry about plastic packaging.
Ethique sells solid bars for all of your hygiene needs, including hair, body and face. There aren’t any flashy colors and they’re pricier than those at Lush, but they’re made with simple ingredients so you can live guilt-free. It also ships the bars right to your door in plastic-free packaging.
Coghlan Cottage is an actual farm that works to promote the zero-waste lifestyle. Besides selling livestock, they also make and sell their own bar soaps and shampoos. If you live in British Columbia, you’re welcome to stop by their farmstead but they also are committed to using less packaging, so you don’t have to worry about plastic in the packaging. Reviews for its products are great and it’s all organic.
Sometimes a zero-waste lifestyle is easy. In this case, all you have to do to get rid of plastic is buy bar soap! Dove Beauty Bars, in the individual packages, come in cardboard boxes, which are easily recyclable. The Beauty Bar contains 1/4 moisturizing cream and is gentler on the skin than ordinary soap, according to Dove. Buy it in-store individually (the 6-pack is packaged in plastic) to go plastic-free.
Dr. Bronner’s products are wrapped in paper, so that’s another way to go plastic-free. The bar soap is organic and comes in several scents, as well as an unscented option which is generally better for more sensitive areas of the body, such as the vagina. You can find it in drug stores as well as supermarkets.
This soap is 100 percent vegetable based with shea butter for moisturizing. Palmer’s is pretty famous for its cocoa butter formulas, but the shea butter soap is just as good. As a bonus, reviewers say it smells really good!
A zero waste lifestyle means simplifying our routines. You don’t need that five-blade disposable razor and plastic disposable razors are hard on the environment. Replacing it with a safety razor means that whenever it is time to dispose of it, you can recycle. The blades are also recyclable, but you must take them to a special center for safety reasons.
You can just use a moisturizing soap or coconut oil for shaving, but if you want something that’s specifically designed for hair removal, take a look at Chagrin Valley’s shave soaps and balms. Like its other soaps and lotions, they’re packaged in jars or cardboard that can be recycled.
Zero-waste living has never been cuter. Just look at those precious lotion-y bees! There are exfoliates in some of these, but the King of Skin body butter is a straight-up, in-shower moisturizer. It melts on your skin to make it smoother and softer. Buy it in store to make sure it isn’t in any plastic.
These lotion bars are packaged in metal tins, so they’ll be safe from the elements and be easy to carry while also being plastic-free. Body creams are packaged in clear jars if you want a more traditional lotion. Chagrin Valley prides themselves on their environmental commitments and the reviews on these products are great. Its products are sold in Ohio stores, but can be ordered online as well.
This lotion smells good enough to eat, according to one reviewer. You don’t have to worry about plastic here since the products are packaged in glass jars with metal lids. The price isn’t too bad either, and part of the proceeds are donated towards women’s health in various communities.
Keep your zero-waste lifestyle – and your fresh scent – with this deodorant. Taylor’s sells deodorant in stick and jar forms and both are plastic-free. They come in several scents and are available through Amazon as well as its website (though Amazon shipping might include plastic). Make sure to choose plastic-free shipping if ordering from Taylor’s site directly, otherwise it will arrive in recycled plastic.
Lush is making it on the list for several items, which isn’t surprising. Many of their solid bars are part of their “naked” packaging rules in an attempt to limit plastic use, perfect for a zero-waste lifestyle. The Aromaco bar has witch hazel in it to keep your underarms clean and fresh.
With the option for either a push-up form or a cream in a glass jar, Chagrin Valley has plenty of scents and formulas to meet your needs. They usually come in two forms: coconut creams or clay. Just like the shampoo bars, they can be found in stores in Ohio or shipped.
This brand has plenty of different products besides deodorant, including makeup and skincare products. The deodorant cream comes in a glass jar with a metal lid, so no plastic here!
A lot of zero waste DIY toothpastes are powders. If you aren’t willing to compromise on the paste part of toothpaste, there are a few options. David’s packages its toothpaste in a metal, recyclable tube and makes nearly all of it in the U.S. It’s a little pricey because metal is more expensive, but it’s the cheapest of the paste options listed here. You’ll also get the best deal with its large tubes and the packs of three. This may not be a completely plastic-free option as it appears that the cap is plastic, but it does reduce the plastic overall.
Weleda’s toothpaste also comes in a metal tube and can be found in stores like Whole Foods. Weleda also carries varieties, including different flavors as well as children’s and sensitive toothpaste. Like David’s, it appears to have a plastic cap.
Goodwell’s toothpaste tube is 100 percent aluminum, so if you recycle soda cans, then add this to the pile. Easy!
All of Uncle Harry’s dental care items are in glass jars (with what appears to be a plastic lid). The brand also gives you a choice between paste, powder and suds. The suds are less abrasive but made with soap, so the taste might be weird at first, according to the site. The powder is better for enamel polishing, while the paste remineralizes and “pulls toxins from the mouth.” If this interests you, try one of each to find which one you like best.
You don’t have to give up fresh breath when you start your zero-waste lifestyle. At $10.91 for a jar of toothpaste, Georganics can get a bit pricey, but it’s also the only option on the list so far that is completely plastic free.
With a glass jar and metal lid, you don’t need to worry about a tiny plastic cap ruining your plastic-free dreams. Georganics has several formulas, including whitening, charcoal, and many others. There are also mouthwash tablets that are highly portable and dissolve in water.
Brush With Bamboo packages the brush itself with biodegradable materials, so when it’s time to get a new brush, you can compost this one and recycle the packaging. It’s $20 for a pack of four brushes. They are sold in some health stores across the U.S. and subscription services are available.
Living a zero waste lifestyle is no excuse not to floss. To get dental floss that is compostable, go to packagefreeshop.com. They have a glass dispenser, as well as refills. The refills come in a bag, but the site claims that it’s certifiably compostable, like the floss.
Make your zero-waste lifestyle look good with a fresh lipstick. Axiology is all about pretty lip colors. It has several pretty and unique shades, and the lipstick tubes are made from recyclable aluminum. Additionally, the tubes are packaged with paper collected from Bali to reduce trash there. Lipsticks and lip crayons range from $26-$30. Some Sephora stores in the U.S. and Canada sell the products.
The products listed above are packaged in bamboo, but be careful, as some of the other products contain plastic. Right now Antonym has three different eyeshadow palettes with four shades each, perfect for daily wear.
When it comes to eyeshadows, Elate has a lot more options than some of the others on this list, but it can be overwhelming for those not too experienced with makeup. Makeup aficionados will love this though, since you can build your own palette. Palettes and brushes are made with bamboo, then you order individual shadows, loose or pressed, that are in metal tins and sit in the palette.
Not into picking out your own shadows? They have coordinated trios in its collections section. If you are ordering it, put in the notes that you are living a plastic-free lifestyle so it’ll avoid any plastic in the shipping.
At Kjaer Weis, you can’t go wrong. Kjaer Weis packages its products in stainless steel, and it sends paper, which you can compost.
The brand doesn’t sell a ton of foundation shades, but if you want a completely plastic-free foundation, this might be your best bet. The same goes for mascara. You can make up every part of your face with this brand, no problem. It’s expensive, particularly the first time, but the refills are comparable to the other brands listed here.
Not all products at RMS are plastic free, but there are some products in glass jars with steel lids, such as the concealers. The prices are comparable with the other brands on this list.
This Etsy shop advertises itself as having zero-waste products. It has cake mascara, which you can also use as an eyeliner but you’ll have to get your own mascara wand. Lip colors, mineral foundations and eyeshadows are also available at a much cheaper price than the other brands on this list.
While not completely plastic -free, Lush sells many makeup products, including the mascara and skin tint, in containers with glass bottoms that you can recycle. Being able to go in store to check it out is also a plus, whereas many of these other brands will have to ship them.
Another Etsy shop on the list! This vegan cosmetics brand has plenty of options when it comes to beautifying your face, including foundations, lip tints, mascara and more.
Several are zero-waste, but not all so pay attention to what you are buying.
Fig +Yarrow is mostly an artisan shop with home and personal care items, but it does have a lip tint in a tin. It might not be your go-to makeup brand, but with a lip tint at $12, it is pretty reasonably-priced compared to the others on this list. It only comes in one shade – Rose + Vanilla.
There are plenty of makeup products on here in tins or glass jars with steel lids. It’s also a smaller brand, so the products tend to be reasonably priced compared to others on this list.
Meliora’s powder and stain stick are not packaged in plastic and are formulated for HE and standard wash machines. You can find it in some health food stores or get free shipping when you spend more than $40. It also has different scents to keep your laundry smelling fresh.
There are plenty of other household brands that have laundry powders in cardboard boxes, but Seventh Generation is all about safe, plant-based products. If that’s important to you, then check out its powdered laundry detergent. You can find it in stores like Walgreens and Walmart so you can avoid any plastic packaging.
Living a zero-waste lifestyle is simpler than you think. You don’t have to give up your favorite laundry brands. If you’re looking for a laundry powder whose price is comparable to your favorite laundry liquids, then go for any of the laundry powders in the supermarket, but in cardboard. There are some sold in plastic bags, so avoid those if you are committed to going plastic free.
If you use a dryer rather than using a clothing line or hanger, then reducing the static cling will be important. Rather than dryer sheets, use these wool dryer balls that you can use more than once and reduce static in your clothes. Order from packagefreeshop.com to get them without any plastic packaging.
You can find spice jars at Sears or at packagefreeshop.com. The Sears jars do have a rubber seal, and packaging may have plastic in it. Packagefreeshop.com is the slightly more expensive option and the lids are magnetic, but it’s plastic-free, so choosing between them depends on your level of commitment to going plastic-free as well as your budget.
A zero-waste lifestyle means making some serious changes to your grocery routine. Produce bags might be the easiest to find. There are several options at Sears, some that are mesh and see-through so you don’t run into any issues at the checkout counter and others that are cotton sacks. Walmart and Amazon also have several options. If you want to order online, packagefreeshop.com is probably your best bet for ensuring no plastic comes with it.
You’ll have to make a lot of your own food if you live a zero -waste lifestyle. To store your food, you’re going to have to bypass the Tupperware if you want to go plastic free. There are glass and stainless steel canisters at Bed Bath & Beyond, as well as Target. Mason Jars are also a popular choice for zero waste food storage and can be found in many stores and online. For family-sized leftovers, glass and ceramic casserole dishes with lids are a good bet. These can be found at Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Kohl’s, as well as other stores.
Steel wool is a good alternative to using a plastic sponge, since it’s heavy duty and scrubs better than a normal sponge anyway. It may be too abrasive for some dishes, and you definitely shouldn’t use it on a nonstick pan. Cellulose sponges are also a good way to clean your dishes. You can find all of these at Target, though packaged in plastic. Check out packagefreeshop.com to find cleaning brushes without plastic.
In this case, your zero waste lifestyle is more functional than its plastic alternative. You can find liquid measuring cups in glass from brands like Pyrex. Stainless steel measuring cups for dry ingredients are better for the environment and more durable than plastic ones. They can be found at Target. Cuisinart also has a line of green utensils in bamboo and beechwood.
There are plenty of options when it comes to cutting boards. Pick up a couple and mark one for meat and one for everything else so you don’t contaminate your food. Bed Bath & Beyond has hundreds of wooden options, but you can also find them at places like Target and Kohls.
Many zero waste lifestyle blogs talk about using bar soap for dishes. One blog did a demonstration with Dr. Bronner’s soap, claiming that it worked just as well as liquid dish soap. Going Zero Waste advocated for Fillaree, a company that will send refill bottles that can then be sent back to be used again. You buy your own glass or ceramic dispenser to refill. If you really want to stick to liquid dish soap, this is a good option. The soap is vegan and organic as well.
Paper towels are just wasteful. Find some absorbent and durable towels for dishes and other cleaning responsibilities. You may want different colors to figure out which ones are for cleaning and which are for dishes, but as long as you are cleaning them, the color shouldn’t matter. Target has cheap towels with good reviews, but you can find dish towels at other stores as well.
A zero waste lifestyle doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to get everything on that school supplies list. Try to go to a store that has loose pens for sale. It is pretty much impossible to find pens without some amount of plastic, so use pencils if you can and pens that you can refill if you must use pens. Pilot has refillable pens and sells refills. You can also find more options at Staples.
Fiskars had stainless steel scissors which can be recycled. Fiskars sells them in plastic, but at least you have a product that will last a lifetime and you can recycle it at the end of its life. You can find them in stores like Walmart or online at Amazon.
So your zero-waste lifestyle might mean giving up those plastic tampons. But there might be even better options. THINX claims that its period panties hold up to two tampons worth of period blood. They have several different styles – even thongs for light days. THINX says to rinse them immediately after you wear them and then wash them in cold water in the machine whenever you do your laundry.
You can find reusable pads at Target and other stores, as well as online. Going Zero Waste recommended Luna Pads, which are available at Target. Rinse them in cold water after use and then you can machine wash and dry them.
You’ve probably heard of the Diva Cup, but there are also options like Lunette and Blossom. You can find menstrual cups in stores so you don’t have to worry about plastic in shipping. You can also find Lunette’s menstrual up at packagefreeshop.com.
Your zero waste lifestyle is made easy with this site! Every product on this site is transparent – you know exactly what materials are in it and how it is shipped. Package free – it’s in the name. So if you ever aren’t sure how to get something without plastic, check this site first. They don’t have everything you need, but it doesn’t hurt to try it, especially if you can’t find something at the store without plastic.
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