12 Tools to Help You Go Zero Waste

>> Monday, March 6, 2017

Alright, I'm still learning so much about becoming less wasteful. While ZERO WASTE is definitely a good goal to have, it's very difficult. I am far from being there, but I am learning that there are many things I can do to improve on where we're at in the present moment. This involves getting some things on the front-end to set up for success later on.

Here are my favorite products* and tools to eliminate waste:

Mesh Produce Bags. Comes in a set of 9 assorted sizes. I've shared these with you before. I love them. When I was using them at the store on Monday, I got several compliments and requests to share where I got them. They work wonderfully for produce and bulk items. I used them specifically this week for garlic, sweet potatoes, ginger, broccoli, and lentils.

WeeSprout Pouches. A reader shared the idea with me to start using reusable food pouches for applesauce, yogurt, and other things I like to include in Ada's lunches. Not only is this less wasteful, but it also saves a ton of cash. I'll report back on how they work, how to clean them, etc.

MIRA Stainless Steel Food Containers. We've been through plastic containers, glass containers, etc. The thing is, we were using glass for a while . . . but it's breakable. Stephen has broken so many Ball jar salad containers. Ada took applesauce in glass to school, but I worried about her breaking them, too.

Stainless steel containers come in assorted shapes + sizes, they're also awesome, BPA-free, and won't break!

Blue Avocado (re)Zip Bags. I've come to the conclusion that I need to buy several sets of these reusable freezer bags. I love my freezer cooking. If you follow me on Instagram, you see that I cooked 11 dinners yesterday alone. Everything is in gallon zip bags. It's wasteful. But it's also something I need, so there's tons of room for improvement here.

There are other brands of reusable zip bags, too. Do you guys have a favorite?

Wegreeco Reusable Snack Bags. Here's something else we've been using for Ada's lunches - reusable fabric snack bags. You can pop these guys in your washing machine to clean them. The kind we have uses Velcro closures, but if I buy more, I will get this brand because it's zip and won't let stuff out.

ECOHip Shopping Bags. I have a lot of different kinds of reusable grocery bags. When I went to buy a few more last month, I decided to get a set of these ECOHip ones because they are so darned compact. This is good because I have started bringing them with me whenever I'm out shopping for non-food items as well. They fit conveniently into my purse and stretch to fit all sorts of stuff.

Klean Kanteen Water Bottle. I bought this specific bottle because I found it while shopping at Wegmans. I didn't give it a lot of thought, but it's a great, sturdy bottle. Much lighter than glass, better than plastic, etc. I even got Ada a kid's kanteen -- she loves the purple color and the sport cap.

And while researching this post, I discovered that they also make a kid's kanteen with a sippy top that I may get for Eloise.

Stanley Vacuum Mug. I bought Stephen this mug for Christmas and he says it's the best one he's ever used. It's definitely life-proof. I got him the 16-ounce version that keeps stuff warm or cold for 7 hours.

Bee's Wrap. If you don't want to make your own reusable wax food wrap, you can buy it online. This pack comes with three different sizes and will last you up to a year if you take care of it properly.

Silicone Wrap. I'm also intrigued by these stretchable silicone bowl covers. I think they might be useful when prepping food or making bread (as a cover during rise times). Has anyone used them? Different brands get mixed reviews. Like the bee's wrap, it comes in three different sizes.

32-Ounce Ball Jars. We use these for storing bulk foods, making pickles, drinking glasses, and food storage. I cannot go on enough about how awesome Ball jars are. Yes, you have to be careful because they are glass. But they are OK for freezing stuff and -- if you know how -- even canning.

My tip is to get the plastic lids so you can close them up really well if you plan to use them for storage.

Bar Towels. I also know I've shared this trick many times, but we have TONS of these bar towels in my house that we use as napkin and as paper towels for wiping up messes. No paper towels needed. Just get a good system going and it becomes very automatic.


You may be thinking: "But, Ashley! Buying stuff online means lots of packaging before it gets to your house." And, I get it. I don't really know what to do about that. I cannot buy some of this stuff locally, so I'm not sure what I should do. I could travel an hour away where I think the store may carry a few items, but I'd be taking gas money ($) and also spending some CO2 emissions to get there.

You see how this all becomes very difficult. While I say "zero" waste is the goal, I do not know if ZERO is totally realistic for our family. I know people do it. Instead, I'd like to work toward leaning out our recycling to just one bin per week (we have several each week) and maybe just one trash bin every week or maybe even two.



* These are affiliate links to Amazon. If you purchase these products, I will get a (very!) small kickback. But I want you to know that I am sincere in my sharing. We actually own most of these items and plan to purchase the rest as we move toward less waste. Thank you for supporting the blog!

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