As 2018 is coming to a close, I wanted to document how far I’ve progressed in my zero-waste journey. After spending countless hours researching products and reading blog posts, putting plans together and acting on them, how far did I really get to lowering my waste?
To begin, let’s go back eight months.
Back in April 2018, I decided to put forth a serious effort to reducing plastic in my life. No giving up, no letting myself slide. I wanted to be dedicated and structured, so I used what helps me with any sort of planning – Excel.
And so the spreadsheet nerd inside of me went to work. First, I built a list of plastic items in my bathroom that I could update to their zero waste counterparts. Even though I had a list and was researching options, I didn’t do a complete zero waste makeover overnight. Until my shampoo, soap, etc. ran out or was on the brink of the recycling bin’s lid, only then did I purchase a new plastic free item.
And by no means am I done on this journey. I’m only eight months in and have a lifetime to go.
So where do I stand today?
I put a list (in a non-spreadsheet format 😊) below to show you what changes I’ve already made and how much it cost to get there.
Shampoo – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Sample Pack of 4 Shampoo Bars ($12)
Face Wash – Nubian Heritage African Black Soap Bar ($4)
Body Wash – Reviva Labs Seaweed Soap ($6.50)
Shaving Soap – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Beer Shave Soap ($6.50)
Safety Razor – WEISHI Safety Razor ($17)
Shaving Brush – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Boar Bristle Brush ($15)
Floss – Dental Lace ($9)
Hand Soap – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Dragon Fruit Green Tea Soap Bar ($6.50)
Lotion – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Prickly Pear Lotion Bar ($8)
Toothpaste – Native Essence Botanicals ($9)
Toothbrush – White Smile’s Boar Bristle Toothbrush Pack of 4 ($18)
Menstrual Products – Lunette Cup ($40) and Reusable Pads*
Toilet Cleaner – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s Toilet Cleaner ($12)
Bulk Food Storage – Upcycled Spaghetti, Yogurt, and Other Jars; and 2 Purchased Mason Jars ($4)
Other Food Storage – 2 IKEA Glass and Bamboo Containers ($15.50)
Paper Towels – Who Gives a Crap 6 rolls ($16) and Cloth Napkins*
To-go Cups – Tumbler*, Water Bottle* and Collapsible Cups ($15)
To-go Soup Tumbler – Black+Blum Thermo Pot ($40)
To-go Snack Box – Ecozoi Bento Box ($25)
Beeswax Wraps – Trader Joe’s Waxed Cotton Food Wraps (~$8)
Produce Bags – Organic Cotton Mart ($23.50)
Grocery Bags – Cloth Grocery Bags*
Straws – Regular Metal ($15) and Metal Boba*
Dishwasher Detergent – Seventh Generation Free & Clear Dishwasher Detergent Powder ($6.50)
Tissues – Tiny Yellow Bungalow’s HankyBook ($9.75)
My To-Go Containers – Old To-Go Boxes from Restaurants*
* Indicates items I purchased / was gifted in previous years
Items highlighted in red are ones that I ended up not using and/or were a must have for my husband
Within the past year I spent $391.75 on low to zero waste products. For some, spending nearly $400 on new items for the kitchen and bathroom may seem like a lot. But when you break it down, I spent an average of $50/month to be more environmentally conscious. It’s the same amount you would spend on lunch out once a week every month or the price of a monthly low-cost phone plan.
This investment now will save me money as it would you. Just look at what a handful of the products will save you in the end:
- Double Edge (Safety) Razor vs Cartridge Razors: $100 vs $620 over 11 years
- Menstrual Cups vs Cheap Tampons: $360 vs $1,035 over 37.5 years
- Hankybook vs Facial Tissues (assuming 8 boxes/year at $1.50/box): $9.75 vs $60 over 5 years
When you start breaking it down, that initial upfront investment doesn’t seem like much.
And that’s just your money for those few products.
I haven’t even touched on the environmental and health benefits (and the cost savings as a result there, too).
As my journey continues and I begin replacing more items in my house, I’ll keep you guys updated on what I found works, how much it costs (and will save you) and where to buy the items.
If you are also on a zero-waste journey (or want to start one), let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!