1. Bamboo toothbrush
It requires no additional effort to switch from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one, and it is almost like a decor item in your bathroom as well. It looks beautiful!
2. Toothpaste tabs
I also switched to using chewable toothpaste tabs instead of classical toothpaste. I get them from a German website called monomeer.de and it arrives in a paper bag containing 250g which lasts me for months.
3. Gift wrapping with old newspaper
If you don’t have old newspaper laying around, consider using other stuff that you get in your mailbox or use used printer paper (people are always making mistakes when they print and leave the unwanted copies next to the printer, so try libraries, schools, your workplace etc.). If you have the opportunity to get the wrapping back, you could use cloth bags or a piece of fabric and reuse them.
4. Buy food in bulk stores
Løs Market in Copenhagen is my go to for bulk products. They sell most dry goods but also fruit and vegetables, olive oil and even wine in reusable bottles that they wash and reuse. Bring your own jar and they subtract the weight of your container at the check out, or bring your own reusable bags.
5. Bucket for the cold shower water
You know how the water that comes out of your shower is cold in the beginning? Instead of letting it go to waste I collect it in a bucket and use it to flush down the toilet and to water my plants.
6. Bar soap for hands
This zero waste swap was not easy for me. I had trouble with it not draining properly even with a soap dish, so I DIY’ed a hanging soap holder from a broken corkscrew, and it works perfectly.
7. Second hand clothes
I was a bit of a shopaholic so cutting down on my deal finding addiction was not easy. I decided to go cold turkey. No more fashion hauls! Instead I bought a membership at Veras Copenhagen, a second hand clothes swap service, and I cleaned out my closet using the Kon Mari method so that I knew exactly what I already owned. I had no experience buying second hand clothes, so I thought it would be difficult to look semi fashionable, but boy was I wrong! People cull the most beautiful items and often quality pieces as well. My closet is much nicer now and I try to find pieces made out of natural fibers in order to limit microplastic shedding.
8. Buy second hand everything!
The success of my second hand clothing swap made me look into second hand options for other stuff as well, and now there aren’t many things I would even consider buying brand new. The result of this consumerist society is that so many perfectly good things are stored away in peoples homes, often never used or even opened. I use the Danish site DBA.dk for my shopping now, but your country definitely has a similar platform.
There are also platforms where you can swap or give away stuff. I have used Ta’ det!, Sharepeeps, and various facebook groups for this. I actually got a SodaStream machine for free on one of these apps and my roommates use it extensively so it has made an enormous impact on cutting down the sparkeling water consumption in our household.
9. Stop food waste
Restaurants, bakeries and everything in between offer their leftovers and close-to-due-date food on apps like Too Good To Go and YourLocal, and there is even a physical store called Wefood which collects unwanted food from the big supermarkets and sells them with a 30-50% discount.
I have also started to buy the ugly fruit and single banana. We have this weird belief that the single banana is somehow less of a banana than the bundles, so the supermarkets have to throw out single bananas every day even though they are fine.. What!? Let’s change that.
10. Bring your own tote bag, take away coffee/tea cup and water bottle.
Utensils could be added to this list. It is astonishing how many single use coffee cups are being thrown out every day at my university. It is actually not that hard to bring your own, and there have been days where they have run out of the single use cups, and I have walked over to the machine with a grin on my face, reusable cup in hand and made sure everyone knew that I got my tea that day 😛
The tote bag vs. plastic bag is the easiest swap I have made. I never forget to take it with me because it is just always in my bag. So I am a firm believer that anyone can do this.