With all this conversation around straw bans, I am constantly being asked where I get my reusables. But the answer is not that simple. I am not completely satisfied with a lot of the reusable products I use today. This is due to the fact that I could have purchased better, more sustainable products but I just didn’t know any better at the time.
In the beginning, I had NO IDEA where to buy reusables. So I started where everyone starts, Amazon. The problem with Amazon is that they don’t use sustainable packaging most of the time.
Now, I know the items to replace if I could start over. I would trade in my polyester produce bags for some made of natural materials. I would prioritize organic cotton over non-organic. I would try different types of reusable straws before settling with stainless steel ones. I didn’t do the research before buying and that was my downfall.
The Zero Waste Challenge
Starting out is the hardest part about zero waste. The whole movement can be intimidating, so much so that many people have chosen to drop the term for “low impact” instead. But I don’t see the name as a challenge. I’ve known many people who say they want to start to reduce their plastic waste but don’t know how.
My advice is always the same… Start with one thing, one reusable, one area in your life. Get comfortable with those changes then move on to the next.
No one should tell you that you need to eliminate all your plastic waste overnight. Going plastic free is very much an uphill climb. It takes time, patience, focus, and research.
Where to buy Zero Waste Products
It’s been 1.5 years since I started zero waste and by now I have my goto places to shop for what I need. Health Food Stores like Whole Foods or your local market are great for little things like eco-friendly cleaning gloves and plant-based sponges, but won’t carry a large selection.
The best curation of zero waste products is from dedicated online stores. Life Without Plastic and Ever Eco are great and have a large selection of items to give you fair choice. The Package Free Shop is great because there are 2 brick and mortar locations in NYC along with an online store. If you’re able to, pop in and feel out some items before buying.
When it comes down to it, my best suggestion is to try and repurpose before purchasing. I dont agree with replacing all the plastic in your home. All functional items you already own, plastic or not aren’t worth tossing. Single-use items can take a hike though!
Change doesn’t have to be Overwhelming
What I really needed at the beginning of my journey was a service to help me take the guesswork out of what to buy. I’ve spent nearly $200 dollars on products I have either replaced or would if it weren’t wasteful to.
The GreenUp Box is a great service for someone just starting out, or anyone going zero waste that wants to try a different variety of high-quality products. I am all about this subscription box! I wish this service existed when I first started Zero Waste. I really needed the help at the time because I wasn’t connected to the zero waste community yet, which is so helpful with knowledge sharing. I didn’t even know how big the community was!
Focusing on one part of your life each month, the first being the market, this subscription box delivers the tools to go zero waste to your door.
Each box is designed with customer experience in mind. In your GreenUp box, you will only get useful items. Even if you end up getting something you already have, that is a great opportunity to gift to someone who is thinking about making a change.
To answer the title question, it is so hard to find zero waste products because everything you need is not easily access-able in one place for a fair price. It can be expensive and take a lot time to find and research the right products for you. If you’re having a hard time starting out, give Green Up box a try!