Zero waste, low waste, plastic free, minimalist. Whatever you want to call it, wastefulness is the place where many of us begin a journey into learning creating a more sustainable and mindful existence. In the past few years plastic has increasingly moved into mainstream conversation; we’re slowly waking up to the waves and waves of rubbish we’re producing, and we’re looking for alternatives. So if you’re a person seeking other options, or someone looking to take their low waste game to the next level, this list is for you.

Now, let me start with a disclaimer. Not everyone can choose these alternatives and that is fine. It’s ok to adopt less wasteful habits whilst also acknowledging that the zero/low waste movement often lends itself to prejudice and privilege. There are many barriers to access in the zero waste movement and the wider sustainable living world, and individual choices alone will not fix the waste problem (more on that here).

But, all that being said, if you are someone who has the ability and means to make more sustainable choices, why not give it a try? Below is an updated list of all the swaps, tips and tricks I could think of to help you get going.

Sustainable swaps

Before you are tempted to start blindly getting rid of things to replace them with more sustainable alternatives/meet a certain aesthetic standard, please read my post on this here. It was initially written about a movement in fashion, but applies to just about any type of sustainable lifestyle choice. Instead of immediately throwing things away, try using what you already have until it truly reaches the end of its life, and then finding a more sustainable replacement.

At the same time, there are also single-use items that we buy regularly and often; these are usually the easiest place to begin when it comes to finding an eco-friendly alternative. Ultimately everything we utilise is going to have a different life span, but below are some options for what you could switch to when the time comes.

Don’t feel like you need to switch everything at once either. Choose one thing, give yourself a little time to adopt that habit, and then move onto the next. It’s going to be more achievable, more affordable, and a more sustainable long-term approach to change.





I’m not going to write an extensive list, because that will take a very long time and I still wouldn’t find them all, but I did want to highlight a few of my favourites in the zero waste fashion world. If you aren’t buying secondhand, or from companies using recycled materials, then opt for organically grown natural materials (cotton, linen etc) that are dyed with non-toxic dyes, as these won’t shed plastics or release harmful chemicals into the environment.

Some particular zero waste favourites of mine, however, include:


  • Conventional glitter is usually made with PET plastic, however biodegradable glitter is pretty common these days, read more on that here.
  • Plastic balloons, aside from ending up in landfill, can accidentally float away when filled with helium and can end up killing marine life, mammals and birds due to accidentally being eaten or entangling them. Skipping them altogether is your best option, but you can buy biodegradable ones, as well as compostable ribbon, if you really need. Fill them with air instead of helium, don’t release them into the air/outside spaces and make sure to dispose of them responsibly. They do biodegrade but it can take over four years, so cutting them into small pieces that can’t be choked on and keeping them in a personal compost bin (which animals can’t access) for a long period of time is the best disposal option. For less hassle so you can go for sustainable alternatives such as material/paper bunting, tissue pom poms or crepe paper streamers, to name a few.
  • Wrap gifts in reusable cloth wrapping, Japanese style (more eco wrapping ideas can be found here and here)


  • For all things baby: Acala has a baby and child section.
  • For anyone who loves writing notes, Greenbook has a reusable notebook and refillable pen.
  • Look into medical recyling: is there something you could give back that’s currently being wasted or sitting unused?
  • Try buying your technology secondhand. I bought a secondhand phone and later discovered that iSmash (UK) are wonders for repairing phones when Apple might tell you there’s no hope. They replaced my battery for £40, which is much cheaper than a new phone.
  • If they really can’t be used any more try and send soiled clothes and broken electronics to textile and electronic recycling, rather than putting them in the bin

Zero Waste and Systemic Change

And if you’re looking for some extra help on getting started, I’m currently running a giveaway on Instagram where you can win a zero waste starter kit. You can enter here until Midnight Friday February 8th. Good luck!