1. Toothpaste

Toothpaste tubes are not recyclable.

Alternative: Inspired by Lauren Singer, another zero waster, I have been making my own toothpaste. Here is her little film on how to make it. It’s so simple. All you need is:

  • coconut oil
  • bicarbonate of soda
  • peppermint oil

Tip: Don’t leave out the peppermint oil, bicarb is salty. Don’t leave it in direct sunlight, the coconut oil will melt.

Bonus: Way cheaper than toothpaste and your housemates won’t steal any!

2. Toothbrush

Most toothbrushes are made of plastic and are non-recyclable. Just think, every toothbrush you have ever used will remain on this earth for generations after you have gone.

Alternative: A bamboo toothbrush; these are biodegradable and come in cardboard packaging:

Tip: Order a few at a time to save on P&P.

Bonus: You can write your name on the handle if others in your house have the same brush as you.

3. Tissues

I suffer from hay fever, so all summer my bin is usually full of tissues. We are also now getting to the standard time for autumn/winter colds to begin.

Alternative: I now have handkerchiefs.

Tip: Go for dark colours. I was mocked mercilessly by my housemates for asking for hankies for my birthday. Don’t give in to the mockers, it’s character building.

Bonus: I no longer have to spend money on tissues and my bin is far emptier.

4. Make-up wipes

Not only do the wipes fill your bin, but the plastic they come in is not recyclable either

Alternative: Soap!

Tip: Buy soap that comes in a box, or unwrapped, otherwise you have to send more plastic to landfill. At least you can recycle a box.

Bonus: You run out a lot less often and it’s way cheaper.

5. Cling film

Cling film is a type of plastic you cannot recycle.

Alternative: We mostly use cling film to store food, here are some alternatives, you’ll probably have more I haven’t listed.

  • Containers or glass jars with lids, i.e. old ice cream tubs, old jam jars
  • A bowl with a plate over the top
  • Bee’s Wrap make a lovely, natural alternative to cling film made from cloth and bees wax.
  • If none of the above are an option, foil is a better alternative as you can recycle tin foil.

Tip: If you are responsible for the shopping in your house, do not buy cling film. If you don’t have it, you can’t use it.

Bonus: If you have a cheeky piece of cheesecake left in the fridge and it’s hidden in a bowl with a plate over the top, no-one else will know and it is less likely to be eaten before you have a chance!


Follow @myzerowaste and @joherb for more top tips on getting rid of the rubbish in your life.