Letting go of old habits to embrace eco-conscious ones is essential to living a zero-waste lifestyle. With concerns around waste management and the environmental problems they pose, people around the world are seeking ways to reduce their impact on the planet. To help you along the way, we have rounded up the best zero-waste products in various categories.
Our selections highlight essentials and some options you may not have thought of to support your zero-waste journey and help you choose products that minimize your environmental impact.
Globally, the world’s population generates about 2.01 billion tonnes of municipal solid waste1. On average, each person generates 0.74 kilograms of waste every day. As the waste we throw out accumulates in landfills, it intensifies the release of methane gas which contributes to global warming.
Apart from this, improper waste management also poses health risks to communities living close to landfill sites. A study revealed that 78% of participants living close to these sites faced environmental and health challenges. These numbers, and their effects, fuelled the rise of the zero-waste movement.
More than disposal, zero-waste also examines the entire lifecycle of products and champions the 4rs - refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle.
In this light, zero-waste products have an overall lower carbon footprint compared to conventional items. As a result, they serve as great sustainable alternatives to traditional items.
Keep reading if you’re ready to let go of your old buying habits to embrace zero-waste swaps. We’ve compiled some of the best zero-waste products that appeal to various aspects of your lifestyle. First, let’s examine some of the things to look out for when shopping from a zero-waste store or for zero-waste products.
One of the most important things to look out for when shopping for zero-waste products is the materials used to produce them. The type of material a company or manufacturer uses to make a product can determine if it has a low or high environmental impact.
It’s always best to go for high-quality, durable materials that you can use for a long time. Aluminum tin, for instance, is a material that we can recycle without it losing its value. For materials, you want to choose those with a minimal impact on the environment. This translates to no toxic chemicals and plastic-free components common in zero-waste products.
Product lifecycle is another aspect to pay attention to. The holistic view of zero-waste encompasses the conservation of resources and responsible processes. It entails examining products' production, packaging, consumption, use, disposal, and recovery.
If a product’s end-of-life cycle poses environmental challenges, then it’s not zero-waste. In this light, zero-waste products ensure you’re reducing waste at all levels. It includes responsible production, plastic-free eco-friendly packaging, mindful use, reusable qualities, and recovery systems.
Companies, governments, and consumers have roles to play in the zero-waste movement. Governments need to create laws championing zero-waste practices, and companies should supply zero-waste products. By replacing everyday items that often include single-use plastics with zero-waste alternatives, consumers can contribute to broader positive change.
It is worth noting that if you have products that already do the job well, the best eco-friendly choice is to use them to the end of their life before replacing them.
Furthermore, whereas everything from reusable coffee cups and dryer sheets that help make clothes last longer to reusable snack bags helps us reduce waste, the best thing for the environment is to avoid buying new ones. Online thrift stores and other second-hand retailers provide useful places to avoid drawing on the resources required to produce new products.
Many of the zero-waste products we’ve compiled here will help you save money in the long run because they are designed to last. With their durable and reuse features, you’re sure to get value for your money.
Quick links to our picks of the best zero-waste products:
Switching your liquid soap for bars is a great zero-waste move. This reduces your use of plastic bottles and prevents streams of these products from ending up in landfills. Apart from the environmental benefits, bars of soap also tend to last a while.
Natural Amor offers a range of soap bar options. All their products are handmade with natural ingredients like coconut oil, olive oil, organic shea butter, and castor oil. For scents, the business uses essential oils. If you’re looking for a specific blend or scent, you’ll most likely find it.
Natural Amor provides over 20 soap choice options and also the ability to select your desired weight. What sets these products apart is that they are palm oil-free, sulfate-free, cruelty-free, and free from artificial colorants.
Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is a sustainable way to say goodbye to your plastic toothbrush. Since plastic toothbrushes won’t break down for years in the environment, a simple switch to a low-impact toothbrush product all helps.
This toothbrush set from Greenzela is a good start for small families. Coming in a pack of 4, each family member can pick one to use. Unlike many other zero-waste toothbrushes, this set comes with charcoal-infused dental floss. The eco-friendly floss comes from bamboo fiber and is enclosed in a mini glass jar.
To accompany your biodegradable toothbrush, you need plastic-free and effective toothpaste. Some of the best zero-waste toothpaste products come as tablets. They make a great sustainable swap and require less water during production. Bite Toothpaste Bits ship enclosed in sustainable packaging.
Bite is a well-known name in the zero-waste toothpaste category. The zero-waste company provides a clean way to maintain oral hygiene without all the adverse environmental effects.
The toothpaste tablets contain vegan-friendly ingredients. They also come in glass bottles. A unique feature the company provides is its subscription package. This gives customers the option to subscribe to new products every four months at a given fee. You can shop from the fresh mint, mint charcoal, and berry twist flavors.
More Options: 14 Best Zero Waste Toothpaste
Regular mouthwash products pose various environmental and safety challenges. On one end, many of them contain harmful chemicals and high alcohol content. These can affect people with sensitive teeth and gums. You’ll also find that your regular mouthwash comes in a plastic bottle.
Georganics mouthwash tablets provide clean teeth, fresh breath, and minimal environmental impact. Each recyclable bottle comes with 180 tablets that polish away stains and neutralize mouth odors. The tablets are free from SLS and fluoride.
More Options: 7 Best Zero Waste Mouthwash Picks
Razors are staples in almost everyone’s bathroom. However, conventional plastic razors won’t do in searching for zero-waste products to support your journey. Coupled with this, many of them are cheaply made, resulting in constant disposal. Try safety razors with replaceable heads if you’re looking for high-quality, zero-waste razors. Instead of a disposable razor, you can use these for longer and only switch out the heads when blunt.
This safety razor from EcoRoots stands out even amongst other zero-waste razor products. It comes in a stylish rose gold or black design. The company uses zinc alloy and stainless steel to craft the product. This blend of materials gives you a durable and reusable product that’s less expensive in the long run. With each purchase, you get five complimentary blades.
More Options: 19 Zero Waste Shaving Must-Haves
When thinking of how to reduce waste, toilet paper may not immediately come to mind. Many people believe that these products are instantly sustainable because they come from trees. However, many of these products come from unsustainably managed forests. Furthermore, a lot of them contain chemicals, bleach, and dyes.
This premium toilet paper from TUSHY is a super soft 3 PLY product from bamboo. As a result, it’s completely tree-free. The papers come from unbleached bamboo fibers and BPA-free material. The company then uses paper packaging and a cardboard tube for wrapping. These toilet papers are flushable and compostable with recyclable packaging. You can get your eco-friendly rolls from the Package Free Shop, which houses various waste-free companies.
More Options: 7 Best Eco-Friendly Toilet Paper Options
Many of the personal care items we consume come in single-use plastic bottles. Thankfully a bunch of zero-waste producers now make pretty much everything you might need, from zero-waste beauty products to shampoo and conditioner bars. Read on for some of our favorites and links to our longer selections of the best zero-waste products in each category.
The typical zero-waste shampoo or conditioner comes in bar form. However, Plaine Products has a line of hair care items for people who prefer the liquid option. Each 16oz bottle contains sulfate-free, palm oil-free, and paraben-free contents.
Plaine Products’ blend of natural ingredients also caters to kids’ scalps and people with sensitive skin. Each aluminum bottle comes with a pump that you can use with your refillable bottles as well. The option to send your bottles for refill makes this brand stand out in its sector. This move ensures that customers reduce their waste by returning empty bottles for the company to reuse.
More Options: 12 Best Zero Waste Shampoo Bars
Deodorants are essential products in anyone’s personal care drawer. They help to keep the odor away as you sweat throughout the day. However, many of them contain harmful chemicals to human and nature’s health. If you use spray bottles, these products contain gas propellants that contribute to air pollution.
One of the challenges people have with picking a zero-waste deodorant is its effectiveness. Some of the products in the market may not be as effective in curbing odors as people would like.
Meow Meow Tweet’s deodorant sticks tackle this challenge while staying plastic-free. The stick deodorants are compostable. They consist of a synergy of potent plant and mineral powders. They also contain essential oils to keep you fresh and clean all day. Best of all, the paper tube packaging of this baking soda-free natural deodorant is biodegradable.
More Options: 10 Best Zero Waste Deodorants
When doing their skincare or zero-waste makeup routine, many people use cotton pads or single-use wipes as part of the process. These items are used once and end up being wasteful. As a result, brands create reusable pads to cut down on waste.
When you think of cotton pads, you most likely picture those white round products when you think of cotton pads. This business incorporated a stylish twist to reusable pads by offering a cute moon and star design.
The company also takes it a step further by providing various materials that suit different skincare needs. Some materials are organic bamboo, cotton, quilted gauze, and quilted flannel.
Each zero-waste product is chlorine- and chemical-free, perfect for your zero-waste makeup routine.
One of the first steps to creating a zero-waste kitchen is starting with the trash. In this case, your trash or bin bags. Conventional plastic trash bags cause an environmental nuisance throughout their lifecycle. You can replace these plastic bags with sustainable ones. Best of all, why not go for a compostable option?
These compostable trash bags from UNNI help you replace plastic bin bags. Unlike conventional ones, these bags are made from corn, making them born from the earth. They also pose several environmental benefits. They are certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) as home compostable. As a result, they fall under the category of zero-waste products. The bin bags contain no polyethylene or toxic materials. The brand also provides them in different sizes to suit your kitchen and bin needs.
More options: 8 Best Compostable and Biodegradable Garbage Bags
Kitchen towels or clothes are a great alternative rather than using disposable paper napkins or paper towels. They are durable, eco-friendly, and, best of all, reusable. This protects the environment and saves you from constantly spending on single-use paper towels.
This reusable paper towel from The Zero-Waste Maker comes from GOTS-certified cotton. It’s also handmade, which adds to its value. You get five kitchen rolls with each pack you purchase that you can always keep at hand.
Unlike regular kitchen rolls, you can always wash and use these rolls repeatedly. You won’t have to worry about their impact when they've lived out their lifespan. These rolls are biodegradable. Alternatively, you can find new uses for them. The brand also steers clear of plastic packaging and uses recyclable materials instead to suit your low-waste lifestyle.
Switching to zero-waste products in the cleaning category is best for your zero-waste spring cleaning needs. Many cleaning products may get the job done, but many leave toxic residues. Going for zero-waste cleaning ensures you keep your surfaces and floors clean without the dangers of harmful chemicals.
Conventional cleaning solutions typically contribute to water waste and chemical leaks. These Zero-Waste cleaners from the Zero-Waste Store provide a new approach to cleaning. They come in tablet forms.
However, this zero-waste swap ensures you get rid of messes while being responsible. The tablets contain biodegradable and plant-based ingredients. They’re also simple to use. All you need to do is dissolve them in warm water and use the solution to get rid of dirt, grease, and other stains.
More Options: Complete Guide to Zero Waste Cleaning and Products and our picks for laundry sheets and refillable zero waste laundry detergent.
Food wraps help you keep your food fresh. This means using cling film or food plastic wrap for storage in many homes. Given the harmful effects of plastic production and disposal on the environment, you may be looking for an alternative. In comes beeswax food wraps.
This food wrap from The Little Foxy Workshop is all you need to make that switch. Unlike regular plastic wrap, this one is reusable and sustainable. The business uses raw beeswax, pine resin, and cotton to craft these zero-waste products. Best of all, they are handmade, thereby eliminating the effects of mass production.
Unlike many beeswax wrap options, this store provides you with variety. You can choose from various sizes and patterns to suit your kitchen’s needs and style. Use these plastic-free packaging wraps for storing food leftovers like bread loaves, slices, and fruits.
Or you can use them for the perfect zero-waste sandwich in your eco-friendly lunchbox. These keep your products fresh and prevent food waste due to staleness.
The problem with conventional dish sponges comes from plastic or synthetic materials. Due to producers' cheap materials, they are also highly disposable. As a result, many of them shed microplastics as you use them to wash your dishes. These microplastics go through drains and can end up in oceans - affecting marine life.
Ecojiko created an entire set to support zero-waste living as an alternative to synthetic sponges. The set includes a coconut bottle brush, a bamboo dish brush with sisal bristles, bamboo scrubbers with sisal bristles, bamboo cloth, biodegradable sisal, and a cellulose sponge. This small business provides dish brush variants to support a plastic-free kitchen.
Using bamboo, the business taps into the fast-growing and clean harvesting nature. No pesticides or herbicides are needed. Also, these products will biodegrade at the end of life. This pick is ideal for anyone looking to make a sustainable switch. Rather than looking for separate products, you can get all you need to clean your dishes and glasses. Grab some zero-waste dish soap and get sudsy!
More Options: 5 Best Zero Waste Dish Brushes
One of the best ways to reduce food packaging waste is to buy in bulk. If your local grocery store or supermarket has bulk bins, you should check them out. An area of concern might be where to store these bulk items. In this light, glass jars or canisters can save the day.
This set of glass jars is what you need to get started with kitchen organization. They offer practical organizing solutions for both your kitchen counters and pantries. These reusable food containers have bamboo lids with silicone seals for an airtight feature. They are also dishwasher safe; just grab some zero-waste dishwasher detergent for a plastic-free clean.
Apart from their practical features, these glass containers also add to the aesthetic value of your kitchen or pantry. Rather than buying one at a time, this set provides a set of 6 food containers, which makes a good start.
Composting is one of the best ways to prevent food waste and utilize your food scraps. By turning organic kitchen waste into compost, you generate useful nutrient-rich materials. If you have a garden, you can then use this soil-like material to support the growth of your plants. For anyone on their zero-waste path, composting is an essential practice to pick up. You can get a compost bin to prevent tossing food scraps in the trash.
This stainless steel compost bin from Epica is the perfect size for kitchen countertops. It comes in a 1-gallon compact size that can hold several days’ worth of organic waste.
Unlike many other compost bins, this one is molded in one piece to resist leaks and rust. It also features a replaceable activated charcoal filter with an airtight lid to prevent odors. This zero-waste product comes in a durable and high-quality material.
Produce bags are a staple when going to the farmer's market or shopping at bulk stores. Rather than relying on single-use plastic bags, it’s a great idea to go for reusable bags. These last longer, have a lower impact on the planet, and come in stylish designs.
This set covers everything you need for the open market or supermarket errands. It comes with an extra-large jute tote, a string bag for produce, and muslin and mesh bags. The business uses organic cotton and natural jute to craft these offerings.
With many studies and research papers on the topic, it’s no secret that plastic water bottles are an environmental hazard. They take years to break down and often come in cheap materials. Instead of using a single-use plastic bottle, you can enjoy the benefits of a reusable water bottle.
This wide-mouth dishwasher-safe bottle from Hydro Flask is the perfect all-day companion. You can enjoy all-day hydration with this stainless steel bottle with unique double-wall vacuum insulation, in which your hot and cold drinks are cold.
You can also take it to your favorite coffee shop and use it for water. The product can also replace disposable coffee cups for zero-waste coffee lovers. Either way, carrying a reusable water bottle that allows you to ditch those single-use plastic water bottles is an essential zero-waste product
For more options from popular brands like Klean Kanteen, LARQ, and S'well, check out our guide to the best reusable water bottles.
Plastic straws can become old news if everyone embraces reusable straws. They may be small; however, plastic straws add up to contribute to pollution. Instead of constantly using and disposing of them, why not switch to reusable straws?
What’s better than a reusable stainless steel straw? A collapsible one. These versatile reusable straws come from rust-resistant stainless steel. The collapsible feature makes storing the straw in its case easy and taking it along when on the go. You can choose from stylish colors like rainbow, silver, and black when shopping with the brand.
Whether you need a durable straw for your favorite bubble tea, coffee, tea, or other beverages, this serves its purpose. You get a collapsible straw, a portable case, and a cleaning brush with each purchase.
You'll find a great many other options out there to help you reduce waste.
If you're looking to inspire other people to start out with zero waste, check out our guide to zero-waste gifts, eco-friendly wrapping paper, reusable water balloons, and balloon alternatives to celebrate in style without all those discarded balloons at the end of the party.
You can also do a lot to read up and increase your knowledge of sustainable living. Check out our list of sustainable living books and courses. For a quicker diversion, you might also like our compilation of zero-waste talks and climate change documentaries.
Making the switch to zero-waste products should be easier with this compilation. You can always make zero-waste swaps from the kitchen to the bathroom and while out and about. These items are not only better for the environment but championing sustainability and the environment; they will also serve you for a long time.
|Kaza, Silpa; Yao, Lisa C.; Bhada-Tata, Perinaz; Van Woerden, Frank. 2018. What a Waste 2.0 : A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. Urban Development;. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/30317 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO|
Jen’s a passionate environmentalist and sustainability expert. With a science degree from Babcock University Jen loves applying her research skills to craft editorial that connects with our global changemaker and readership audiences centered around topics including zero waste, sustainability, climate change, and biodiversity.
Elsewhere Jen’s interests include the role that future technology and data have in helping us solve some of the planet’s biggest challenges.