Some Zero Waste Swaps that Aren't in the SpotlightApril 28, 2021 · Aaron Burr
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, reducing our waste is an essential element to a sustainable world. And while zero waste is certainly not the only aspect of sustainability, it tends to attract the ✨spotlight as if it is. But just as not all sustainable changes attract the spotlight, not all zero waste changes are in the spotlight either.
Living a sustainable life is about making changes that are right for us as individuals, not what’s popular in the moment. And zero waste is no different: we may find that many of the “zero waste swaps” that are popular aren’t relevant to our lives, or they may not even have much of an impact compared to others.
So, let’s look at some zero waste swaps or changes that we can make which are more off the beaten track and a little less in the spotlight.🎬
Tissues aren’t really in the spotlight a whole lot, but why not? Many of us who read this blog know about the impacts of 🤧tissues and tissue waste. Maybe it’s because when we use tissues, it isn’t for reasons that are thought of as “glamorous.” However, the things we use tissues for are incredibly human: blowing our nose, wiping something off our face or clothes, etc.
We’re hoping we can help bring tissue waste and other paper products more into the spotlight by creating products that serve as zero waste alternatives like LastTissue. Also, we have a LastTissue box coming out that you can check out here!
🚬Cigarette butts (which may fall apart but their ingredients won’t biodegrade) are regarded as one of the most, if not the most, common form of waste found in the environment. So, why the heck are they not talked about more? And why is it a more accepted form of litter, when compared to other forms? Who knows the answer, but one thing is for sure: we can’t ignore this problem.
However, the solution isn’t to simply say “quit smoking”, that would be the same as saying “stop drinking coffee” in order to stop coffee cup waste.👎 Not very helpful. We all know the terrible health effects that smoking can cause. Still, some people are going to smoke, and pretending that people don’t will only add to the waste problem. That being said, if someone was wanting to quit, this could be another good reason to do so.
Additionally, the majority of tobacco for traditional modern cigarettes is grown in a very harmful way towards the environment and to our health.
But there are ways around these impacts: the best thing to do for the environment is to roll your own with more sustainably sourced tobacco and with either a biodegradable filter like cotton or even go filterless. Since filters don’t necessarily make cigarettes healthier, maybe it’s time to look at alternatives. And if rolling cigarettes doesn't feel hipster enough, using a pipe could be another zero waste option: the next step would be a beard and a very tall hat to accompany it.🧙♂️
*Of course with anything that affects your health, it’s important to do the research and become informed before making a decision. This blog is meant to help reduce waste, not to pretend to give expert health advice.
This is an item that has been generating a lot of waste which, for the most part, has not made it into the spotlight because of how recent it has become an issue. Masks in the context of 🥼hospital waste are a completely different issue. In a hospital environment, it’s much more difficult to turn down the sanitary benefits of single use items. But for the general public it is different. We’ve already discussed the environmental 👣footprint of masks which you can find here. The best solution to this single use item is like many others: go reusable!
Now that we are over a year into the pandemic at the time of writing this post, single use masks are a common occurrence along sidewalks, streets, and therefore oceans and streams. And speaking of masks, or even sanitizer bottles, our LastMask x Spray is now available for purchase on our site!
Ahh yes, yet another “less-than-glamorous” product that hasn’t been in the spotlight as an important zero waste switch. Maybe it hasn’t been in the spotlight because not many people want to talk about using the bathroom. Or, maybe it doesn’t seem like there is a zero waste alternative. 🍑Butt (get it?) there is! Many countries all around the world have traditionally opted for the low waste alternative: bidets!
And for countries that are more skeptical of bidets, there are companies (like TUSHY) that are trying to change this by making it fun to talk about using the bathroom, as well as educating about the environmental side of things.
We humans are consumers of many various liquids. How funny. So, it’s no surprise that the next three things on this list are all drink related. But they aren’t the zero waste drink changes that we’d expect: such as reusable coffee cups or water bottles. Although, those changes are very beneficial to the environment.
🍵Many tea bags contain some form of plastic in them either in the material or to seal the bag itself. Which probably isn’t great for our health, and this also prevents us from composting said bag. However, several tea companies use tea bags that are 100% compostable or at least without plastic. So, a more eco friendly option could be switching to one of those companies and composting the bags along with the tea.
But as we know, we should try and reduce as much waste as possible, which could mean taking things a step further. Or, in another way...taking a step back: to steeping tea how humans have been doing for a couple thousand years, loose leaf style!🫖 This way we can control the amount of tea we use, have more varieties of teas available to us, and of higher quality too! Plus, the only waste is the tea, which can be composted!
“What’s on tap?”
🚰Our next liquid of choice is really whenever you’re out and about and ordering some kind of drink. Instead of getting a can or bottle of something, whether that something be alcohol, kombucha, water, etc. opt for what's on tap instead and get it in a reusable glass. It’s oftentimes that simple. Just don’t forget the “no straw please!” line, if you don’t want a straw.
☕️The drink that fuels the day for many. Coffee, like tea, is consumed so much and so often that its waste can add up rather quickly. There’s of course the more popular reusable coffee cup swap that is definitely worthwhile. But what else that isn’t mentioned as much?
For those who brew their own coffee at home or at work have a lot of opportunities to reduce even more waste. Some options could be switching to a reusable coffee filter for pour-overs or for the coffee machine; switching to reusable K-cups or...other brands of...small cups used in coffee machines. Other opportunities could be to buy bulk beans instead of packaged, and then compost the grounds after use!
We hope you enjoyed some of these ✨out-of-the-spotlight zero waste swaps that you may be able to make today. Of course, zero waste and sustainability is not one size fits all, so it may be true that some, many, or none of these changes apply to your life, and that’s okay.
We’ll continue to offer ideas and products for creating a more sustainable and zero waste lifestyle. Until next time!✌🏽