A Zero Waste / Reusable Life: 4 Disposable Items You Can Ditch Today


For Zero Waste week we wanted to give you a few easy swaps you may not have thought of to help our planet in the future.

We live in the time of a climate emergency. Our papers and newsfeeds are covered with pictures of plastic floating in the ocean and all sorts of waste being washed up on our beaches. It is a problem that we can no longer ignore. However, looking at the sheer scale of it can be very overwhelming and might leave you feeling completely hopeless and like nothing you can do will ever make a difference.

In those moments it is important to shift your focus back to the smaller picture.

Have a look at your own waste creation and disposal methods and try to make little changes to your daily routine. Swapping disposable items for reusable ones will have more of an impact than you can imagine. You will notice less in your bin which means less being sent to landfill - thanks to YOU and YOUR little swaps – that is something to be proud of!

If you don’t quite know where to start, here are four disposable items you can ditch today without much hassle or a big investment:

1. Reusable Produce Bags


This is a really small swap with a massive impact! Even when your local supermarket offers lots of loose fruit and vegetables, they usually expect you to bundle them up in flimsy plastic bags to make weighing them at check out easier. In most cases, these non recyclable plastic bags are only used for half an hour to pay for the goods it holds and transport them back home, where it is usually thrown out to hang around in landfill or the ocean for several hundred years.

The reusable bags from Elephant box are drawstring bags made from organic cotton, they come in three different sizes to suit all your shopping needs. They're ideal for fruit & veg, while the cotton bags are fab to pack up bread, pastries and other dry wholefoods. All you have to do is remember to take them with you when you are heading to the shop. They fold up super small so you can always keep them in your handbag or your car boot or glove compartment. I keep some inside my reusable shopping bags so they will always make it into the shop too.

Nice Side-Effect: Using reusable produce bags in a busy supermarket will create awareness. Other shoppers might not necessarily be aware of reusable options, so using these in public will help spread the word and might even inspire others to make changes!


2. Reusable Face Wipes / Make-Up Remover Pads

Cotton wool wipes are a staple in most bathrooms. They are just handy to remove make-up or even to apply cosmetics. However, once you are done using them they are dumped, and while cotton is not plastic, it’s usually wrapped in plastic and still needs an enormous amount of resources to be created.

The solution: Reusable Pads! The Organic Cotton Pads from Popolini also use energy when they are being produced. However, since they are used for a much longer time, they save a lot of resources which would be spent on single-use pads over the course of their lifespan. Reusable pads are also bigger and can absorb a good bit more than their disposable counterparts, so you would need to use just one pad compared to two or three conventional ones.

For ease of use you can keep a little wetbag or a mesh washbag in your bathroom to collect any used wipes until laundry day. Check out our selection here.


3. Cling Film Alternative - Reusable Beeswax Wraps


Unfortunately, cling film can sometimes be so handy. However, it is one of the worst plastics there is. Due to its complex formulation cling film is not recyclable and once used it will sit in landfill or somewhere in nature and pollute its surroundings by leaching chemicals for a very long time!

Good news! There are many reusable products that can be used instead of cling film. Stasher bags which are reusable ziploc bags or cotton reusable snack bags have proven themselves very popular in the last while. However, if you like the convenience of cling film just being wrapped around its contents and simply sticking to itself, then Beeswax Wraps are definitely the way to go! They work pretty much like cling film, but instead of throwing them out, you can simply clean them with cold soapy water and reuse them many times.

You have the choice of Sandwich & Lunch Wraps which come with a handy little button closure and a pack of three Kitchen Wraps in different sizes. There is also a vegan option, which uses a blend of soy and candelilla plant waxes instead of beeswax.

Good to know: Once the wraps come to the end of their lifespan, you can rewax them  (we sell rewax sticks too) or just add them to your compost bin. No landfill at all!


4. Reusable Water Bottle

Have you ever heard of Plastic’s Big 4? These are the four products that make up the main chunk of the world’s plastic waste problem. The big 4 include: plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, plastic bags and plastic straws. By ditching just one of these four items you are making an enormous difference to your carbon footprint.

According to Water UK the average person in the UK uses 150 plastic water bottles every year. That makes a total of 7.7 billion plastic bottles used each year in just the UK. Basednon population, we estimate that the Irish figure is about 10% of that which is 0.7 billion bottle a year – uuuuugh – and the worldwide figure is just totally unimaginable.

Today is as good a day as any to form a new habit by bringing a reusable water bottle with you. Klean Kanteen were the first brand to make stainless steel reusable water and are now a world leader offering the widest range of electropolished stainless steel bottles (so there is no aftertaste) in different sizes, styles, and colours. If you prefer cold drinks, the insulated bottles will keep your drink super cool for hours. The lids are made out of long-lasting and durable plastic and even once your lid breaks, you can just buy a replacement instead of having to get an entirely new bottle.

Bringing your own bottles is made even easier by Refill Ireland, who are installing refill taps all across Ireland. Whenever you find yourself out and about just check their map (or save it on your phone, to access offline) for the next refill tap to fill your bottle with fresh water!

Small Swaps with a Big Impact!

Reducing your impact on the environment doesn’t have to be complicated. It doesn’t mean you have to do tons of research and spend tons of money on products you don’t even know will work for you. It’s about starting to make a few swaps by replacing disposable items like plastic bags, bottles and so on with reusable options. Often the reusable alternatives are far superior to the disposable product and will not just serve the environment but also you!

Are you curious about reducing the amount of waste you create? What swaps have you made or are you looking to make?