I’ve been making some changes, moving towards a more zero-waste lifestyle. Recently I placed an order at Biome and a few other shops, and got some really awesome products I wanted to share with you! Zero-waste sunnies, shampoo, cups, straws, sustainable swimwear, body hair removal, period care – I got you covered! And even more!
Over the past couple of years I’ve gathered a small collection of low-waste/eco-friendly products that I’ve used to replace single-use plastic, wasteful items I have at home that I use regularly.
I only purchase things that I truly need (although I have been guilty of ‘impulse buys’ in the past), so some items I have at home still aren’t necessarily the most eco-conscious, but I do believe it’s better to use what you have first before going out and buying something new.
Any who, enough about me. Let’s get started on the list of low-waste reusables I’ve tried-and-tested and my review of them.
As always, before purchasing any of these items, check out the second-hand market, unless of course it’s a toothbrush.
This razor from Leaf Shave is an all-metal razor; available in black, silver, mercury, chrome, gold and rose gold. It has a maneuverable head that allows you to open and change the individual blades, making it easier to clean and remove any clogged hair.
I used to use disposable razors – which I’d throw away every month or so as they became too blunt to use – but I’ve found this razor to be 100 times better! Once the razor blades become too blunt to use, I simply remove them from the razor and store them in the metal disposal tin. Once the tin is full, I take it to a local metal scrap recycling facility to be recycled. Alternatively, you can post it back to the company where they recycle it for you! So there’s no waste.
In the starter pack you receive:
- The Leaf razor
- A solid metal stand
- 50 blades // 100 edges
- Blade disposer tin
If you need a top up on any of the items, simply visit their website to restock.
Update: Since using this razor I’ve had to replace it twice as the maneuverable head became too flimsy to effectively shave the hair on my skin. I emailed the company and they kindly sent out another razor for me, but after only a few months of use, the same thing happened and it became too flimsy to use. Since, I’ve switched to this more sturdy metal razor and haven’t had any troubles (other than sometimes cutting my skin on the razor, but I’ve learnt to shave a little slower to prevent this).
Parafina is a company I discovered at the Newcastle Vegan Markets. They create polarised sunglasses made from 100% recycled materials; like rubber, tyres, cork stoppers, PET plastic, HDPE plastic, bamboo and aluminium soda cans. They have a huge variety of styles, and even come in hybrid options (i.e. bamboo and plastic). I have a pair made from plastic and another made from cork (both are absolutely fantastic!). If you’re in need of reading glasses, they do have a range of options for those too.
When you purchase a pair of these glasses, you receive not only the glasses but a case to store them in, a cloth carrier bag, and a wooden pencil – which contains seeds inside the bottom black end of it – which you can plant into the soil and a tree will grow from it! The plastic the glasses arrive in can be sent back to the company (if you do not choose to keep it) and they will continue to use it for other sunglasses.
Update: These sunglasses broke after just one year of use, so I emailed the company and they kindly repaired them and sent them back to me for free. I have since switched to another pair of sunglasses which I prefer in design and sturdiness. They’re made by Gold Coast Longboards out of recycled skateboard wood. I picked these sunnies up after visiting one of the markets along the coast selling them. They’ve lasted me about 2 years now, and are still going strong.
It’s said that around 500 billion disposable cups are produced every year, and most can’t be recycled because of the plastic lining (see here for how to recycle single-use plastic coffee cups). So, if you’re sitting in the coffee shop ask for a mug to stay. But, if you must have it ‘to-go’, a reusable coffee cup comes in handy.
You don’t even need to go out and buy one either, a glass mason jar can be the perfect alternative if you’re getting something cold to drink. But, for hot drinks, a Keep Cup or insulated water bottle is a better option (so as not to burn your hands).
I purchased mine from KeepCup, where I customised the design to how I wanted it to look! I always leave it in my bag so I’ll remember to take it out with me.
You don’t even have to use them solely for coffee either; I take snacks in them, use it as a cup when I go out for ice-cream (I also use their wooden taste-testing sticks instead of the plastic ones to eat the ice-cream), and more.
One of my favourite swimwear and activewear companies is Wolven Threads.
It was recorded that 11.2 billion pounds of plastic make their way into our oceans each year, so to help counteract this, Wolven recycles the PET plastic by breaking it down into fine yarns that can be woven into textiles and clothing.
The swimmers I bought were the Raina Front Cut-Out Top and Raina Bikini Bottom, which are made from 80% recycled plastic, and 16% spandex.
I love how this company gives a second life to plastic. They’ve partnered with NativeEnergy to support a new clean water project (which is one of their carbon-offset initiatives).
Any item purchased is wrapped with a minimal piece of hemp twine and is posted out in a reusable, 100% recycled poly mailer or Lenzing paper box. Rather than using biodegradable mailers, they chose poly because a lot of biodegradable mailers made from bioplastic end up in the garbage, and don’t have the opportunity to biodegrade. Their larger packages ship in a plastic-free, naturally biodegradable paper box.
Their modal fabrics are produced from beechwood pulp – that’s twice as soft as cotton – which is sustainably harvested. Beech trees propagate on their own, so no artificial irrigation or planting is required—making beechwood forests a completely natural and sustainable source of raw material. They also require less land per tonne and maintain a water consumption level that’s 10-20 times less than cotton.
I’ve had my swimmers for around 4 years now, and they’ve lasted extremely well. To maintain them, I rinse them under the shower after every swim in the sea – to prevent the salt water corroding the fabric – and wash them in a dechlorinating soak after swimming in chlorine pools.
This is definitely one of the easiest swaps I made, and is probably something we’ve all heard about by now, especially since the whole #savetheturtles movement.
You don’t even need to get a straw, you could simply ask for “no straw” with your drink order.
I personally prefer a straw, particularly when it comes to smoothies or thick shakes. There are a few different types of reusable straws out there:
- Bamboo straws
- Silicone topped stainless straws
- Full silicone straws
- Stainless steel straws
- Boba straws
- Glass straws
I have a couple of stainless steel ones from Green + Kind and Sand Cloud, and a bamboo straw I found online. Opting to use one of these straws instead of a plastic one benefits not only the planet, but your health too, as plastic leaches chemicals into food and beverages.
I’ve shared my experience with using a menstrual cup before, but to give a quick overview on them, I’ve found they’re one of the best reusable items to have on hand. It makes periods so much easier to manage, and they’re so easy to clean and use. I bought mine from OrganiCup, but you can find them almost anywhere now.
Reusable Tea Bags
These have been one of my most used items, I just love them!
After learning that most tea bags aren’t compostable due to the plastic lining inside them, I went out and bought myself a couple of reusable tea bags from Earth Wrapping. They work incredibly well, and are so easy to clean.
I simply pop a couple of teaspoons of tea leaves in the bag, let it steep in hot water until ready, then empty the tea leaves in my compost bin! To clean the bag, I wash it out with water and leave it to dry (I dry it inside-out). The tea bag will stain over time, but other than that it keeps really well.
Reusable Water Bottles
Carrying a reusable water bottle is one of the easiest habits to get into. Plus, switching from a plastic bottle to a stainless steel one means you help stop any plastic chemicals leaching into your water! Some good brands to consider are: Klean Kanteen, Hydro Flask, and LifeStraw (though this one is plastic).
I purchased a 32oz Wide Mouth bottle from Hydro Flask in the colour Jade. It’s insulated, so whatever’s inside it kept cold for up to 24 hours, and hot for up to 12 hours. It’s BPA-free and Phthalate-free (both chemicals found in plastic).
The second bottle I purchased was from LifeStraw. It is made from plastic, but there’s a specific reason why I wanted this one in particular. LifeStraw have a filter installed in the lid of the bottle which filters out bacteria, parasites and microplastics!
I wanted a bottle I could bring with me when I go hiking that allows me to drink from fresh streams out in the wilderness! It’s able to filter out:
- 99.999999% of bacteria (including E. coli)
- 99.999% of parasites (Giardia, Cryptosporidium, etc.)
- 99.999% of microplastics
Plus, for every product purchased, LifeStraw will provide one school child with safe drinking water for an entire school year.
I also purchased one more, but this one was a glass Bubble Tea cup from Biome. I’ve found that most stores will accept this reusable cup (I’ve only had one place reject it, and that was because it was glass), and I’ve found it’s just as good as their plastic single-use cups (without the toxic chemicals!). I’ve used it for takeaway smoothies, iced coffees, nice-cream, bubble tea and other cold drinks. It’s very multi-purposeful.
I discovered Elephant Box stainless steel lunchbox containers from Simple-ish Living on Instagram. She shared how she uses these containers for collecting takeaway food, meal prepping, etc. and I thought it was a great idea. The container I purchased was the standard Elephant Box option, and since getting it I’ve used it to take meals I’ve prepped for work in, snacks for hiking, collecting baked goods in from the bakery, takeaway food, and more! I love how it’s stainless steel, as I do have a few glass containers at home, but I’m a little nervous taking them to work with me in case they break, and the other containers I have are made from plastic, which I try to avoid.
Organic Plastic-Free Hair Ties
I bought these organic hair ties from Biome, a completely plastic-free store. They’re all-natural, plastic-free, biodegradable hair ties that don’t contribute to landfill, as they’re completely zero-waste. These ties are strong enough to hold thick hair, yet soft enough to not pull or make creases in your locks. They come in a variety of colours, and are made by the company, Kooshoo, who work with small family businesses, supporting local jobs in Los Angeles. All their products are hand-dyed in a solar-powered dye house.
These hair ties:
- Are made with organic cotton, so no chemicals or pesticides are released into the environment
- Don’t pull hair too tight and cause headaches
- Have a strong enough hold to not slip from hair
- Fit comfortably on your wrist as a bracelet when not in use
These organic hemp scrunchies were also from Biome. They come in a set of three upcycled and repurposed scrunchies and are elasticated, made from offcuts from their hemp clothing collection. They come in a variety of colours, and are made by the company, Afends.
Hemp uses 80% less water and emits 37% less carbon emissions compared to conventional cotton. When the scrunchie has reached the end of it’s life, it’s recommended to consult your local council to find your nearest textile recycling facility.
These hair scrunchies are:
- Designed in Byron Bay, Australia.
- OCS-certified organic cotton
- Helping to save waste from landfill.
Another of my finds from Biome, this card is an eco-friendly greeting card printed on 100% post consumer recycled card using vegetable inks. It has a blank inside, and is made in Australia by Earth Greetings, a small business that is leading the way for sustainable paper production. Recycled paper uses fewer trees, less water, energy, space in landfill and produces less pollutants.
- Are printed carbon neutral
- Come with a 100% recycled paper envelope.
Stainless Steel Ice Cube Tray
After searching high and low in many different op shops, I finally found a stainless steel ice cube tray at Biome. I wanted a stainless steel tray, as plastic can leach into whatever’s inside, and a steel ice tray will last the test of time compared with plastic or silicon trays, so I saw it as a worthwhile investment. It’s made by the Canadian company, Onyx, from heavy duty 18/8 stainless steel that’s fast freeze, easy to clean and lasts a lifetime.
This ice tray:
- Has an unbreakable design
- Is easy to use; operate the lever to quickly and easily release the ice cubes
- Is lead-free.
Reusable FSC-Certified Rubber Gloves
These reusable rubber gloves were from Biome. If You Care rubber gloves are made from FSC-certified ethically sourced latex. They’re perfect for dishwashing, cleaning and gardening, and are lined with 100% natural cotton.
FSC-certified rubber is harvested from responsibly managed plantations. The rubber tappers who cut the bark to extract the rubber have been paid a fair wage for their work.
These rubber gloves are:
- Are packaged in FSC-certified chlorine-free recyclable cardboard with non-toxic inks and glues.
- Are not suitable for those allergic to rubber latex.
Now, because these gloves are made with more natural materials, they do not last as long as plastic synthetic gloves. I find they last me about two months when washing up every evening before they start to wear and develop holes in them.
Reusable Tea Infuser
This stainless steel tea infuser was from Biome. It’s durable, long-lasting and easy to clean.
Love Tea donates 1% of annual net revenue to a range of environmental organisations worldwide. Their tea infusers are packaged in post-consumer recycled board printed with vegetable based inks.
This tea infuser is:
- Suitable for all loose leaf teas
- Easy to open, as it’s a spring-loaded strainer
Update: Since using this tea strainer for many different types of tea, I have found that any loose leaf tea leaves will seep out of the strainer through the holes. It appears to be a manufacturing defect and I’ve read the reviews of others who have used this product and they’ve reported the same thing. Therefore, I would recommend only using this strainer for steeping large roots or bigger leaves, nothing too small otherwise it will end up floating in your tea. I would suggest searching for another tea strainer from a different company and double checking the reviews to see how the product performs.
The ONLY true plastic-free toothbrush out there: Brush with Bamboo.
This toothbrush has become my top pick because it’s the only toothbrush (that I’ve found) made from 100% plants!!! Most toothbrushes contain nylon (plastic) bristles, but Brush with Bamboo have made a toothbrush with 100% castor bean oil bristles! Still a bio plastic, so it won’t compost in your backyard quick like the bamboo handle, but it doesn’t rely on oil extraction and won’t take hundreds of years to break down like plastics do. So I’m a huge fan.
Most band-aids are made of plastic. The adhesive sheet on a band-aid is often made from either PVC, polyethylene, or polyurethane. Polyurethane, like all plastics, is petroleum-based. So while polyethylene is considered a “safe plastic,” during its manufacture industrial chemicals such as butane, benzene, and vinyl acetate are used making the process very toxic. PVC contains dangerous chemicals like phthalates, lead, cadmium, dioxin and more, making it extremely toxic.
While we do our best to throw used band-aids away in the rubbish, sometimes they fall off (say while we’re swimming) and end up in the environment, leaching toxic chemicals into the air, water and food chain.
I’ve been looking for plastic-free, non-toxic, sustainably made, eco-friendly band-aids for some time now, and Patch is the best I’ve found so far.
A little about Patch Band-Aids…
Their band-aids are made from 100% certified organic bamboo fibre which provides skin-soothing and astringent properties, helping with wound healing.
The gauze is enriched with activated charcoal to help draw out impurities and prevent infections in minor wounds, and these plasters use nano technology (imagine tiny suction cups holding the band-aid to the skin) that allows these strips to gently stick to the skin without causing adverse reactions.
They’re free from silicone, latex, thimerosal and parabens, are biodegradable and compostable. These bandages can be thrown in the compost when finished and should break down naturally within 10 weeks (I’ll be testing that out). They can be used on sensitive skin types, are sterile, and come in a pack of 25.
I will keep you posted on how well they actually compost (they may need to be composted at a commercial composting facility – it didn’t specify), so I’ll let you know after trying them out in my home compost.
Update: Since trialling them in my compost I have found they don’t biodegrade all that well. I suggest composting them at a commercial composting facility which can achieve a higher temperature in their compost piles, helping these ‘compostable’ products degrade much more effectively and quickly.
Solar Jar Lantern
This jar harnesses the power of solar energy to provide a lovely bright, warm light that lasts for up to six hours. The lantern is made up of a beautiful 1L mason jar, with a solar panel and LED light mechanism built into the lid. The LED lights are solar powered by rechargeable batteries with an on-off switch that is 100% waterproof.
The jar is fitted with a wire handle for hanging, which is perfect for use when camping, or for outdoor entertainment, as a night-light, study-light, decor or as an emergency backup light source.
This jar is flame free, so unlike open flame candles this jar is child-friendly and safe to use where open flames are prohibited.
To charge the lantern, all you need to do is place the jar or just the lid outside or on a sunny windowsill in direct sunlight for several hours to charge. One hour of charge is equal to one hour light. Just ensure the switch it flipped up (meaning it is off) before charging. On a day where full sun is available, the lantern will take between six to eight hours to charge. On a partly cloudy day, it will take twelve or more hours, while on a cloudy or rainy day, it will not charge at all.
To change up the colour of the light, simply insert a coloured piece of cellophane or tissue paper under the lid, or decorate the jar with objects such as buttons, flowers or crystals inside. As the lights are LED, they do not generate enough heat to be a fire hazard.
I’ve been looking for alternative ways to light my room and home with other than candles, and I just loved the look of these lanterns when I saw them online. It provides a beautiful soft glow to my room, and I’m able to use it as a reading light at night, rather than using the stronger light of my room, which can impact on my sleep. I’ve even taken these lanterns with me hiking and camping, and they provide the perfect light to use when outdoors at night. As the rubber seal around the lid is airtight, it prevents any water seeping inside, so there’s no need to worry about it getting wet from the rain.
Banksia Aroma Pod
These Banksia scent pods are handmade from Australian Banksia seed pods, which have a particularly porous material so will soak up essential oils to scent a room in a similar way to an essential oil diffuser. They need to be refilled regularly as the essential oils are absorbed quite quickly, but only require 3-4 drops of any pure essential oil to fill.
These pods are filled with eucalyptus oil before they are sent to you in the post, so they arrive already fragranced. You can change the scent by adding your own favourite essential oil, or top up the Banksia pod with more eucalyptus. If you choose to change the scent, wait for the previous oil to completely dissipate before adding the next oil.
I’ve found the aroma pod to be quite effective at filling my small room with a beautiful scent of whatever essential oil I’ve used. It is, however, not as strong as an essential oil diffuser. It only provides a light aroma, nothing as fragrant as that of a diffuser. But I love the beautiful aesthetic look of it sitting on my desk, and when I’m close I can smell the lovely oils while I’m working. Please note that others who have used this product have said that the oils in the pod have absorbed to the bottom, so they’ve had to place the pod on something to prevent it staining the surface underneath. I have had no trouble with this, but I thought I would share just in case.
Guppyfriend Washing Bag (Stop Microplastic Pollution)
It’s estimated that the equivalent of around 500,000 plastic bags worth of microfibres are released into waterways by large cities through their washing machines everyday. Once these microplastic fibres make their way into rivers and oceans, they are mistaken by marine life for food and consumed. Seabirds, whales, fish and turtles are just a few of the species impacted by microplastics, mistaking plastic waste for food sources; most then die of starvation as their stomachs become filled with plastic. They also suffer from lacerations, infections, reduced ability to swim, and internal injuries.
After searching for a laundry bag for my delicates, I discovered this washing bag that not only prevents microplastic from getting into waterways, but also doubles as laundry bag for my delicates. I love it!
I’ve been using the Guppyfriend bag for about a month now, and in that time it’s held up really well – it’s basically in the same condition as when I bought it, after being used at least twice a week. It collects fibres mostly in the upper corners of the bag, which is a little hard to access due to the design. However, once I’ve collected all the fibres from the bag, I then just put them in the bin. The bag itself is a good size with a good capacity, and the clothes I’ve put in there have come out just as clean as my other washing.
The Guppyfriend bag is designed for washing clothes and fabric items that contain synthetic fibres such as polyester, acrylic and cotton. The bag helps to filter and collect the smallest microfibres released from clothing during washing. This in turn helps reduce fibre shedding and protects clothes. When collecting the fibres at the end of each wash, simply dispose of them securely wrapped in your household garbage bag. The washing bag itself does not lose any fibres, which gives me peace of mind knowing my washing is no longer shedding plastic fibres into nature.
This laundry bag can also be used to extend the life of natural fibres such as cotton, hemp, bamboo and silk. The bag comes with handy, detailed instructions for easy use. For best results, it is recommended to wash the filled washing bag together with loose clothing items and only fill the bag up to two-thirds of the way (to allow the clothes to move around inside the bag).
The washing bag is designed to be easily be recycled with identical materials at the end of its lifecycle, as the whole bag – except the zipper – is made of a single material.
To recycling a broken or used Guppyfriend washing bag, it is recommended that it be used in local recycling. Simply separate the cover with the zipper from the fabric.
The packaging the bag comes in is 100 percent recyclable, and the box itself uses eco-based inks.
Dishwashing & Kitchen Cleaning Supplies
I have a selection of items that I use on a regular basis for cleaning up dishes in the sink at home. In fact, they have become staples in my home, and work wonderfully in cleaning and removing dirt, grime and grease from plates, pots, pans and cutlery.
I switch up the scrubbers and brushes I use to clean with depending on what I’m washing. Currently, I use the Safix Coco-Fibre Scrub Pad for non-stick and delicate surfaces as it does not scratch. This scrub pad is made from natural coconut fibres bound together by a non-toxic adhesive and easily removes baked on, burnt and stubborn greasy remnants from all types of kitchenware. This scrubber never rusts, splinters or shreds, gives sparkling results after cleaning household surfaces, utensils, bathroom fixtures and more, and will stay fresh and hygienic for months. It’s durable, gentle and very effective at cleaning. It doesn’t develop an odour after long periods of use, and just slowly wears away until you’re ready to compost it.
The Biome Bamboo Dish Brush has been a recent addition to my assortment of cleaning utensils. This brush is a completely plastic-free dish brush, perfect for cleaning dishes and other surfaces. It’s made from a natural plant fibre known as sisal fibre, bamboo, and stainless steel. It’s also coated in a natural, non-toxic varnish. This brush has a replaceable head and hook for hanging up between uses. I find this brush perfect for cleaning stubborn dirty dishes, sinks and stovetops (it’s not ideal for non-stick cookware as it can scratch pots and pans), and once the fibres lose effectiveness, you can simply keep the handle and just replace the head. Both the bamboo base and sisal fibres are biodegradable. However, I have not been able to find where these items can be sent once they reach the end of their lifecycle. I am inquiring with Biome at this time, and will update you once I’ve learnt what to do with these items when they are no longer usable.
These EcoCoconut Round Scourers were one of the first swaps I made to my kitchen cleaning utensils over two years ago. These coconut husk fibre scourers come in a pack of two, and to help clean pots, pans, stovetops, sinks, kitchen surfaces and the bathroom. They’re eco-friendly, biodegradable and made from sustainably farmed coconut husks with a recyclable metal wire. They can cut through tough grease and are safe to use on non-stick fry pans. I love them because they are highly durable, last ages, are naturally antibacterial (so do not develop an odour), clean hard to reach places, and easily remove mould on tile grout in the bathroom. As of yet, I am waiting to hear back from Biome on what to do with these items when they reach the end of their lifecycle. I will keep you updated when I hear back from them.
The dishwashing liquid I originally purchased was Euclove Dish Soap, but once that finished I kept the container and refilled it at my local Source Bulk Foods store with their natural dish soap (as I could keep reusing the container rather than recycling it after each use). I found this dish soap to be really effective at cutting through grease and grime, and loved that it was made with all natural ingredients, including coconut and olive oil soap (coconut oil, olive oil, lye), tangerine essential oil, pink and white grapefruit essential oil, tulsi essential oil, coco glucoside, and purified water. Euclove’s dish soap is free of harsh chemicals like ammonia, d-Limonene, bleach, artificial fragrances, dyes and colours, sodium lauryl-laureth sulphate (SLS), parabens and propylene glycol, which are common ingredients found in standard commercial hand wash and cleaning products. Euclove dish soap is septic and grey water safe, palm oil free, vegan, ‘Choose Cruelty Free’ certified, and shares 100 percent ingredient transparency. Euclove is an Australian-run, Australian-made company manufacturing their products in Melbourne. During the day, their manufacturing facility runs on solar power. The plastic PET bottle that the dish soap comes in can be recycled at the end of its life. According to the Biome website, when these plastic bottles are recycled correctly, they can be ‘recycled into tote bags, furniture, carpet, panelling, fibre, and polar fleece.’
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you tried any of these reusables before? What did you think? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,