My Top 10 Favorite Zero Waste Swaps

Every Wednesday I publish a little YouTube video. I’ve decided I want to do a short (or long) blog post to accompany the video!

My top 10 Favorite zero waste swaps from #zerowasteswaps #ecofriendly

This one is going to be a short run down of my 10 favorite zero waste swaps! If I decided to become super wasteful tomorrow, (which I won’t) but for the sake of this post we’ll pretend like I’m going to…. these are the 10 swaps I would NEVER give up.

Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

They have all made my life easier in some way!

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

1. french press:

It should come as no surprise that I LOVE to make tea in my french press. I find that it works much better than using a tea ball or a reusable tea bag.

If you have a small kitchen, it’s important to have items that can perform multiple tasks. I like the french press because I can use it to make tea, coffee, or nut milk. Yes, your french press can strain your nut milk!

Get my tips for making almond milk and for making iced tea with loose leaf tea.

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2. bidet attachment:

The bidet attachment is one of both Justin and my favorite zero waste swaps. The National Resources Defense Council just released a report that Americans use almost 3 rolls of toilet paper a WEEK!

That’s so crazy to me. Justin and I don’t even go through a roll of toilet paper a week, and that’s thanks to our bidet attachment! We’ve had both a Brondell and a Tushy and both work great.

For more information on bidets check out this post Everything You Need to Know About Bidets.

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3. thinx:

Thinx are my preferred zero waste menstrual product of choice! I love them because they feel just like wearing a regular pair of undies. When you’re feeling crummy and crampy, it’s nice to feel somewhat normal without wearing a bulky pad.

I am a #ThinxLeader which means if you’re interested in purchasing any Thinx you can get $10 off your order with this link.

Of course, there are several other zero waste options, check out this blog post How to Have a Zero Waste Period for more info.

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4. fountain pen:

Now, this swap came as a total surprise to me. I’m left-handed, and if you’re left-handed, you’ll understand the ink on pinky problem. I thought using a fountain pen would be a TRAGEDY. But, you hold the pen differently when you’re using a fountain pen vs. a ballpoint pen.

I have a Dryden that I’m really happy with and use Parker Ink.

Check out this post, if you’re looking for more zero waste office and school supplies.

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5. cloth napkins:

I’m surprised that cloth napkins are one of my favorite switches seeing how much I hate doing laundry, but I do love my cloth napkins.

These ones are especially dear to my heart because I hand stitched them. When I first started going zero waste I was on a super tight budget so I bought about a yard or two of fabric from the thrift store and stitched the napkins up.

Check out these tips for Going Zero Waste on a Budget.

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6. bamboo toothbrush:

This was one of the first switches I made and it honestly made shopping for toothbrushes so much easier. I was always overwhelmed by the toothbrush options at the grocery store.

I could never remember the brand or type of toothbrush I used… so thanks to Brush with Bamboo I don’t have to worry about that anymore.

Check out this post on DIY Toothpowder.

7. glass straw:

This switch really surprised me, but I really, really love drinking water from a straw. It helps me drink a lot more water. My favorite straw is the glass straw.

Check out this blog post if you’re wondering Which Reusable Straw is Best?

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8. glass snapware:

I LOVE my glass snapware. I like that it’s so versatile. You can buy food or even get zero waste takeout the containers. You can cook in them, freeze in them, microwave them, and of course, use them store leftovers.

They work so much better for me than just shoving everything in a mason jar. Check out this post if you’re looking for ways to Store Leftovers Without Plastic .

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9. handkerchief:

The best thing about cloth handkerchiefs is that your nose doesn’t chafe like with paper. When you blow your nose with a paper tissue small pieces of paper can get up your nose causing you to sneeze.

Most of my handkerchiefs are vintage from my great-grandmother, ones that I’ve picked up from a garage sale for about .25 cents a piece, or bandanas!

10. bar of soap:

Last but not least, is a bar of soap. It’s such a simple swap to make from plastic body wash to a bar of soap. I think it looks so much nicer in the shower and it’s just really luxurious.

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What’s one of your favorite zero swaps you’ve made?

31 Day Zero Waste Challenge

Last year I created a 31-Day Zero Waste Challenge that was all in video format. You can see the YouTube playlist attached below.

This year, I thought it would be fun, to take that challenge and really flesh it out. I want to make it insanely comprehensive with blog posts, guide books, videos, even live Q&A’s. If going zero waste is a New Year’s Resolution of yours - this is your one stop shop.

As all of the blog posts come out, they will be linked here. Consider this the hub for all challenge related information.

31 Day Zero Waste Challenge from From simple swaps to activism get one challenge every day to help you live a healthier life for both yourself and the planet! #zerowaste #ecofriendly #30daychallenge

Every day over the course of the next month, I will give you one challenge. I’ll tell you the problem, give you the solution, and have an action item for you to implement.

In addition to this challenge I’ve created some sweet bonuses!

So, if you’re just starting out and have 1,000 burning questions you can ask them to me via video chat!

Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

PLUS, I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change.

Checking a blog every day not your style?

I’m also the head content creator over at and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

But, first…. I need your help.

I want 1,000s of people joining me on this challenge. I think it’s the perfect time to help get friends and family involved because… living a zero waste lifestyle checks off everyone’s major new years resolutions.

Yep, you’ll be eating healthier and saving money! Seriously, see how I’ve saved over $12,000.

Be sure to share the challenges with your friends and family! Upload an instagram story of you participating in the challenge or share this page on Facebook.

Be sure to tag me on Instagram so I can see and share too!

Alright, without further ado….

The Challenges:

5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Climate change is real, but not unsolvable. There are lots of actionable steps you can take to save the planet from an ever-changing climate. Here are five ways to reduce your carbon footprint.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint from #carbonfootprint #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainability #zerowaste

1. learn the 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, rot, recycle:

Going zero waste is a great step towards combating climate change. Practicing the 5 R’s of zero waste can help.

You’ve probably heard of the three R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. But there are two more that are equally important.

Lets break it down:

  • Refuse – Avoid single use plastics and paper products by saying no thank you, opting for reusables.

  • Reduce – Downsize what you purchase, opting to be more mindful of what you really need.

  • Reuse – Always find a way to keep an item out of the landfill by keeping it in great condition, repairing or upcycling it when it breaks.

  • Rot – Set up a compost system for your food scraps, or find a food scrap drop off center (like a farmers market, or community garden) near your house.

  • Recycle – Properly recycle any plastic, paper, glass or metal that comes into your life you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse by researching your state’s recycling laws.

Zero wasters do their best to follow these 5 R’s as closely as possible. For more tips on going zero waste, check out the beginners guide to zero waste living.

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2. bike more and drive less:

Traditional cars put out a lot of exhaust, which pollutes the air. In fact, vehicles produce one-third of all U.S. air pollution. The toxins emitted by vehicles are also very dangerous for human health, considering the tailpipes are at street level where humans can breathe the air directly into their lungs.

Challenge yourself to drive less and bike more. Riding your bike forces you to utilize your own muscle power. You’ll get a workout all while helping the environment. Plus, it requires much less energy to produce a bike than it does to manufacture a car.

If you can’t bike to work for whatever reason, take public transportation. It puts less cars on the road, which reduces the amount of exhaust filling the air at once.

And, try to save flying for truly special occasions! Check out the tips for zero waste air travel, and make sure to purchase carbon offsets.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint from #carbonfootprint #ecofriendly #gogreen #sustainability #zerowaste

3. conserve water and protect our waterways:

Reducing your water usage is essential: There’s only so much water on this earth, and we can’t make any more of it.

Did you know 96.5 percent of the water on earth is too salty for human consumption? Two thirds of the remaining fresh water are locked away in polar ice, glaciers, and permanent snow.

Melting it won’t help, seeing as most of it will just end up as sea water. That’s why it’s so important to cherish the water we have.

Here are a few ways to help conserve water and protect our waterways:

  • When you brush your teeth, be sure to shut off the water while you lather up. Don’t leave it running: Only turn it on when it’s time to rinse your mouth out.

  • Take shorter showers. A fun way to do this is by listening to a 5 to 10 minute song, then shut the shower off when it’s over.

  • Don’t flush things down the toilet to dispose of them. One flush can waste up to 5 or 7 gallons of water!

  • Avoid dish/body soaps filled with toxins. Conventional dish and body soap contain ingredients that go down the drain and only further pollute our water supply. Make the switch to all-natural, eco-friendly soap.

  • Host or join a waterway cleanup in your local community. Keep those waters plastic free!

  • Opt for reusables. Lots of disposable items take gallons of water to make. For example, one roll of toilet paper takes 37 gallons of water; A single disposable diaper takes 144 gallons of water. There are several other products, like paper plates, cups and towels, that gallons of water to make as well. That’s why switching to reusables will help you save water in the long run.

5 ways to reduce your carbon footprint from #carbonfootprint #gogreen #ecofriendly #zerowaste #goingzerowaste

4. eat seasonally, locally, and more plants:

I love eating seasonal foods! Whenever I go to the farmers market, I’m amazed by the bounty mother nature has to offer with each passing season. All the produce is at its peak, so it’s absolutely delicious.

Try to buy the majority of your food as local produce. Animal products are much more intense as they require more water and resources.

Making the majority of your plate plant-based foods, is healthier and better for the planet.

Eating seasonal also means eating local, which is great for the environment. When you support local farmers, you don’t have to worry about how far your food traveled to get to you.

It doesn’t have to sit in traffic for days, spewing exhaust fumes into the air. It gets to you quickly, without polluting the air.

Check your local farmers market to see what foods are in season near you. Get to know the farmers there and feel free to ask them about their farming practices.

Better yet, bring some reusable produce bags and totes with you to reduce waste!

Related: Ultimate Guide to Zero Waste Grocery Shopping

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5.  switch to sustainable, clean energy:

The U.S. gets 81 percent of its total energy from oil, coal and natural gas (in other words, fossil fuels). These fuels heat our homes, run our cars, and provide us with electricity.

However, fossil fuels are limited, finite resources and just the transportation of them alone can cause air pollution. When the fuels are burned, they emit toxins that speed up climate change.

There is good news though! You can help stop our reliance on fossil fuels by switching to sustainable energy today. There are so many amazing, innovative ways to source energy in this day and age.

Solar and wind power are just a few (though, by far the most common): There’s also water and geothermal power to consider.

Here’s how to cut down on fossil fuels:

  • Install solar panels on your roof: This is the most expensive option, but a good one if you feel you can make the investment. Talk to a professional and a trusted company before making the leap. Your own utility may even offer installation.

  • Join a community solar farm: This is a lot more feasible if you’re on a budget. Or don’t have a suitable roof. The solar farms are remote and don’t require you to install anything on your property. In return, you’ll see savings on your energy bill over time.

  • Sign up for energy saving programs: Many utilities are beginning to offer programs that will help you reduce your energy usage, and save a buck. See if yours offers any you can take advantage of.

  • Cut down on electricity use altogether: No matter what you decide to do, using less electricity is always the best option. Invest in more energy efficient products (I personally only buy products with the energy star logo on it), and make sure to shut off lights when you’re not in a room. Pull plus out when not in use too.

  • Buy an electric car: Instead of buying a traditional car, why not buy electric? If it’s too out of budget, consider buying a used electric car instead.

If you liked this post be sure to check out 4 Ways to Fight Climate Change as an Individual.

What are some ways you plan on reducing your carbon footprint?

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Guest Post: Ariana Palmieri is the founder of, a blog dedicated to zero waste living and sustainability. Her work has been featured on MindBodyGreen, Green Matters, The Penny Hoarder and several other publications. Get her free e-book "10 Ways to Reduce Trash" by signing up to her newsletter and learn how to reduce your waste today.