With the recent plastic straw debate on social media, lots of people are wondering how they can do more to reduce the amount of plastic and waste they produce. From reusable water bottles to wool dryer balls, it can seem confusing and overwhelming at first. Here's the low-down on how to start your zero-waste lifestyle.

1. Kitchenware


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We don't realize how many single-use products we use when it comes to cooking. Composting is a great first step to take in making sure that your food scraps are put back into the earth and don't go to waste. In landfills, food waste takes longer to break down and contributes to carbon emissions. In the ground, food waste helps to fertilize plants and feed animal life!

Paper towels, napkins, tin foil, and saran wrap are only a few of the many products we use once when cooking then throw away. I used to hate using saran wrap when making pie dough or covering a bowl of leftovers. Products like Boho & Hobo's Beeswax Wrap changed the way I store leftovers because it lets you keep your food fresh with a reusable and eye-catching wrap made from wax-covered fabric.

2. Clothing

I think second-hand shopping is one of the least appreciated money and earth-saving habits out there. I have gotten most of my favourite clothing items from Value Village. Not only do you save yourself some money, but you are helping to continue the lifespan of a clothing item.

Fast fashion is one of the most wasteful things about our modern consumerist society. The amount of perfectly good clothing that gets thrown out every year it really astonishing. To live a more zero-waste life, donate your old clothing and try to shop at used-clothing stores whenever you can. Your wallet, and the planet, will thank you!

3. Cleaning


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When I started doing research for this article, I looked at the cleaning products I had in my bathroom and was pretty taken aback by the ingredients that were listed. Lots of cleaning supplies are toxic to consume, so why do we spray and pour them on our living space? Since then, I made my own cleaning solution with vinegar, water, soap, and essential oils. 

The same goes for cleaning our clothes. When you use laundry detergent and dryer sheets, you're making needless plastic and product waste every week. For washing, try making your own laundry detergent at home.

When it comes to keeping your dry clothes lint-free and smelling fresh, wool dryer balls are key. The owner of Boho & Hobo, where I got my set of dryer balls, gave me a tip: work some essential oils into a dryer ball and let it absorb before using it, and your clothes will come out smelling like your favourite scent.

4. Beauty

Whether you want to pamper yourself with a foamy bath or slather on some lint tint before a night out, you don't have to make any waste. The containers and ingredients of makeup and beauty products can contribute a lot to landfills without you even thinking about it.

I may be basic, but Lush is my go-to source of all things beauty and zero-waste. Their containers can be returned to the store for recycling, and they also offer tons of packaging-free products. Plus, most of their products are vegan, so you can scratch animal cruelty off the list too.

My fave products are the Sleepy night-time moisturizer, Cup 'o Coffee face mask, and Feeling Younger highlighter, but there are hundreds more waste-free products for you to choose from.

5. Hygiene

Sarah Clark

Everyone has to brush their teeth, wash their hair, and soap up their 'bod. So how can you do it zero-waste?

First of all, bamboo toothbrushes like the ones sold at Boho & Hobo are an easy, compostable solution to avoiding plastic toothbrushes. DIY toothpaste is also easier to make than you would think.

For other hygiene products, you could try out some more Lush products I mentioned earlier, explore DIY options, or find a local eco-friendly store near you (Terra20 has a great body care selection) to make sure you're taking care of yourself without contributing to waste.

6. On-the-go


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How often have you been away from home, grabbed a to-go salad from your favourite food place, and realized that they only have plastic forks for customers? That struggle haunted me for ages until I started carrying around Boho & Hobo's Travel Bamboo Cutlery set with me on my university campus. It's safely tucked away in my backpack for whenever I need it.

Another great thing to carry with you or to pack your lunch in is this sustainable Bento Box made out of wheat straw, which is more eco-friendly to make than plastic. 

Other products, like eco-friendly water bottles, straws, and napkins, will make sure that you're never forced to shamefully eat with a plastic utensil again.

7. Sippin'

Sarah Clark

If you aren't sick of reading about reusable straws yet, listen up. My arsenal of glass and metal straws not only helps me to avoid single-use plastic in my day-to-day life, but I honestly feel incredibly cool sipping from them. Nothing tastes more satisfying like drinking ice-cold water out of a straw.

Because of their popularity, it's insanely easy to buy reusable straws these days, and stores like Boho & Hobo stock them alongside straw cleaning and carriers to make you the hippest straw-sipping hippy around.

8. Living

When you start to look at your life and think about all the things you could do to reduce your waste, you might feel overwhelmed and guilty. However, being zero-waste doesn't have to mean cutting out all of your waste and avoiding garbage at all costs.

The zero-waste movement asks you to reduce your waste wherever you can. Use reusable cloth produce bags instead of plastic at the grocery store. Sip out of a metal straw. Buy locally instead of ordering online. But ultimately, just be mindful and try your best—even doing that is an incredible effort.