These are some brilliant ways to reduce waste, select eco alternatives and move towards zero waste living. My husband and I have started our mission to refuse, reduce, reuse, repurpose and recycle and while we believe that refusing to buy new items is a good step and we have started with this, there are some tools we need to help set up our zero waste (or low waste) lifestyle. First of all we wanted to find products to help us stop using single-use items, particularly single-use plastic products, and start using eco-alternatives that allow us to reuse them or products that easily compost or at least recycle. What we found, were some amazing products, and some amazing Australian home-grown businesses.
We scoured the country and found these Aussie products leading the way in our war on waste. Many of the businesses have started from a drive and a passion to contribute to Australia’s environment, and they are not only providing eco friendly products but are operating as environmentally-friendly as possible – in home offices rather than offices, selling online rather than in stores, and minimising their packaging and use of plastic wherever practical and often donating profits back to organisations in our communities. Many of these are one or two man businesses, often mums and dads, sisters or friends, who want to contribute to our beautiful Australia in the best way possible with their zero waste products and eco products.
These are some of the best products we found in our effort to reduce waste. One of the great benefits of buying them is the money savings they will bring us over time. It turns out that while there is an initial investment, after that, it’s all savings with some of these cool reusable products. They have also come to be our preference when giving great eco friendly gifts. We will keep searching for brilliant products that help us live our lives better, and as we find them this eco friendly product list will grow.
These pegs are awesome due to their larger size and thicker wire (some of the stainless steel pegs are too little and fiddly) and they have the highest quality of stainless steel.
Thousands of pegs break every day and are either made of plastic, which is beyond recycling, or wood that becomes a wasted resource and rusty wire that cannot be reused or recycled. Peg Star pegs are good for windy and salty conditions, and can be left on the line permanently. They will not rust or break and this makes them one of our favourite reusable products. They’re an easy switch from plastic pegs.
$28 for 20 pegs makes them good value for the quality and their lifespan, and they’re provided in an eco hemp bag. The pegs are made by Star Eco Products an Australian company committed to zero plastic, lifetime reusable products.
These will be the last pegs you need to buy, and the only reason you’ll buy more is to have a larger quantity for yourself or to give to your friends.
Now you can stop using plastic food wrap. Not only is it bad for the environment (it all ends up as litter or landfill), but the PVC content makes plastic food wrap potentially dangerous for your health. Beeswax covers to seal your food, using just beeswax and bio-degradable cloth. You can make your own, or you can buy them from these wonderful Aussie companies.
For use in wrapping, sealing and baking food. They are BPA and PVC free and are designed to last forever. These are a great alternative to beeswax food wraps for vegan zero-waste living, and they can be also used as baking sheets, withstanding oven temperatures up to 210 degrees celcius. Agreena is an Australian company, which donates some of its profits to not-for-profits caring for our environment. Loving this product and company ethos.
Available from Agreena
4. Body wash bars, shampoo bars and conditioner bars
Do away with all the plastic bottle waste created by liquid washes and conditioners, and use bars instead. Old school never felt so good, and here are some of our favourites.
Ethique is a NZ business, doing all the right things to reduce plastic waste. Besides their body and hair bars, they also have laundry bars.
Available from ethique
And a Tasmanian company also getting some rave reviews for their awesome bars is Beauty and the Bees.
Available from beauty and the bees
Fully reusable stainless steel capsules for Nespresso machines, Aldi machines and Caffitaly machines save millions of coffee capsules a day from going to landfill, or from the environmentally costly process of recyling. Using these capsules means nothing goes to landfill or recycling. Used coffee grinds can be used on your garden as a pest repellent or in your home to absorb unwanted odors, or to use as body scrubs (click here to see 7 other uses for used coffee grounds). Doing it for Aus, this is our Pod Star.
You get to choose your favourite coffee to go in the pods too – and for the first time ever you can go all the way and choose Fairtrade, Organic and Rainforest Alliance coffee, also sold by Pod Star, or you can source your own.
Available from Pod Star
Here’s an Australian organisation leading the way. Not only are they eliminating plastic, but they are also bringing communities together to make beautiful bags from recycled fabric, reducing landfill, and putting their profits towards reaching more communities around the world. An organisation that is making beautiful within communities near you. You can be part of the crew or just buy them here.
Available from Boomerang Bags
7. Produce bags
No single-use plastic bags on checkout is a good start, but how about all the plastic bags used for selecting our fruit and veg? This drives us a little crazy, and before getting our reusable produce bags, our shopping trolley was laden with loose apples, broccoli and lemons. Impossible to do the same for loose-leaf lettuce, or beans, so we’re thrilled to use these gems. Onya reusable produce bags are made from recycled plastic bottles, they’re incredibly lightweight, strong and durable and they come in a little carry pouch to pop into a pocket or bag on the way to the market.
Available from Onyalife
Or…if you want natural fibre produce bags, you could give these ones by The Swag a go. Lightweight, machine-washable, cotton bags. Also, check out their bread bags and reusable tea leaf bags.
Available from The Swag
8. Kitchen composter
Up to 40% of your general waste could be composted – so we can reduce landfill considerably by composting. There are a number of benefits to using a bokashi bin - one of them is that it eliminates the need for plastic bin liners, as all food scraps and liquid food waste can go in the bokashi bin. This composting system speeds up the composting time from 3-12 months to around 4 weeks by fermenting the scraps first. All food waste can go in the bokashi, including meat and dairy, which are normally not accepted in composters, and the bucket can be kept indoors due to the lack of odour. Juice from the process is extracted and fed to your plants, and the compost adds to the soil’s nutrients. Give back to your garden and reduce landfill waste with this very cool system.
Luke Gregory designed his own bokashi composter, called Urban Composter, while studying industrial design at UTS. It’s smaller and uses a liquid accelerator instead of bran. It’s 100% Australian designed and made.
Available from Urban Composter
Never buy another plastic water bottle again with your own reusable drinking bottle. Made to last with double insulated stainless steel, it will keep water cold for up to 24 hours and drinks hot up to 12 hours. We particularly like the design on this one by Torres-Strait Island artist Zachary Bennett-Brook aka Saltwater Dreamtime.
Available from Earth Bottles
Ditch the disposable plastic (and expense!) of safety razors for a beautiful reusable metal one that you can call your own for a very long time. There is a number out there, but we are liking this one from Parker, which is sold at an Australian store providing everything for managing unwanted hair. You may want to check if they will deliver in plastic-free packaging.
Available from Beard and Blade
This can take some readjustment but is definitely a fantastic solution to reducing waste. Read a personal review about one woman who tested a menstrual cup here.
And a wonderful resource for choosing the brand that’s right for you can be found here.
NB: We recommend menstrual cups in general, and brand and style is something that’s so subjective that we don’t recommend one over the other, but fully endorse them as a product overall. Please note they do not suit everyone, and period underwear and reusable pads are another option - again not for everyone.
We love these for the lack of plastic waste, and the ease of transport – you can even take as many as you like with you onboard a plane. Excellent for travellers. Here’s one made by Lush – it’s in a recycled plastic bottle which can be recycled after use, or used at home – unlike an empty toothpaste tube.
Available from lush
Not only does this little beauty save you money from the day you buy it, but it’s also super effective and based on natural ingredients. We love the size of the container too – fewer resources required to make, less space needed to store...and no plastic in sight.
Available from No Pong
Single use plastic straws are on the out, and thank goodness for that! The plastic waste caused by a few sips is horrendous.
We are so happy to produce a personal stainless steel straw that can be taken anywhere. Easy to remember when it's clipped to a bag or keyring.
Although we try not to use our clothes dryer, there are times when relentless rain makes it hard not to, and drying balls, we found, will reduce your drying time by 20-40%, also reducing your electricity use and bill. They soften and fluff your clothes, so ditch the fabric softener in your wash, and they reduce or eliminate wrinkles – and perhaps the need for an iron. The balls last for years and are made from sheep’s wool. Add a few drops of essential oil for beautifully smelling laundry.
Check out this Aussie company – their packaging is eco-friendly too.
Available from Wooly mates
Disposable cloths are mostly made of materials that take years to break down and are damaging to our environment. We found an Australian company that is selling reusable cloths made from bamboo – a natural and sustainable resource, and they’re only $3 each! Well done Koala Eco.
Available from koala
Another brilliant coconut fibre product that naturally biodegrades and saves you money is the Safix Scrub Pad. Use it to clean your pots or scrub your veggies. This handy environmentally friendly product starts at $3.95, which we think is brilliant – who said doing the right thing is unaffordable?
Available from going green solutions
We love Glasslock containers, which of course, are made mostly of glass. They have a huge range of sizes and multiple uses. Take straight from your fridge to your office for lunch, for example. They can also be used in the oven and microwave, and we think they’re perfect for picking up our takeaway food. Ask your fav takeaway food place if they’ll provide in your container or check this website to see who in your location is allowing you to pick up using your own container.
Available from Glass Lock
The Dirt Company is our winning choice for laundry liquid. We love to support an Australian company that gives back to the Australian environment. Not only is The Dirt Company's liquid au naturale, but it also reduces packaging waste - if you choose to send your pouches back for a refill. A whopping 50% of all their profits go to The Ocean Cleanup.
Feel free to try them out, and if you like them you can go on a subscription to save some hard earned money.
Available from The Dirt Company
Sinchies reusable food pouches are an excellent alternative to single-use yoghurt pouches and can be used for carrying home-made baby food, with no need for a spoon or a bowl on the run. Pretty cool that they’re also freezer safe – we think these are wonderful for parents with bubs and little ones.
Available from Sinchies
Storing food in the freezer, fridge and pantry, and ‘wrapping’ a sandwich is done easily with silicone pouches. They are oven safe too, and we think they could also be perfect for using when we pick up our Thai or Indian takeaway food. Reusable for a very long time or recyclable via your home recycling bin. We are giving these pouches a big tick.
Available from Little Mashies
30 million plastic toothbrushes are disposed of in landfill each year in Australia. Bamboo toothbrushes are an excellent way to say no to plastic. The handles are 100% bamboo (we’re loving bamboo as a sustainable/renewable product). The bristles are plastic but can be removed to go to your plastics recycling bin. Grants of Australia make toothbrushes for adults and children. Thanks guys for a great product, and for not using plastic packaging as most plastic toothbrushes do. A double win.
Available from Grants of Australia
For those with babies, we found these environmentally friendly nappies, and our friends say they’re awesome! They have a (you guessed it) bamboo absorber, and adjustable leg elastic. Do away with plastic nappies filling our land forever. Reusable cloth nappies are a gentler choice for your baby too. Check out their wipes also, we think you'll like them.
Available from Pea Pods
We love Australian eco companies, and when they don’t involve animals for their production, from an ethical and environmental perspective, we love them even more. So when we were searching for fashionable, eco-friendly handbags, we came across Smateria. Made from repurposed materials (like mosquito nets), we think these look beautiful and are saving rubbish from landfill waste.
Available from Smateria
You have probably heard of the famous Who Gives a Crap toilet paper, made from recycled paper, delivered to your door, and giving back to communities….well they do bamboo paper towels too! Read all about the benefits of using bamboo here. Then check their paper towel and toilet paper. This company is the bomb.
Available from Who Gives a Crap
For all the wave riders in your life, here’s a cool way for them to get their wetsuit on and off that doesn’t involve single-use plastic bags. Surf Sock was created by a couple of Aussie mums who didn’t want to see single-use plastic bags floating around in the ocean, endangering the sea life. The Surf Sock is made from discarded offcuts from local sail makers, and it’s the fastest way to get into a wetsuit.
Available from Surf Sock
Coming with a lifetime guarantee – we’re giving Rolla Bottle a big thumbs up. It’s a hassle to carry a bulky water bottle when not filled, and Rolla Bottle has created a bottle that rolls up when not in use. Put it in your backpack or handbag, and you’re ready to fill it at any tap along your travels. Be part of ridding Australia of single-use plastic bottles with one of these colourful beauties. They’re made from food grade silicone and designed to last, a lifetime in fact.
Available from Rollabottle
Single-use coffee cups are used for such a short time and all of them hit the bin headed for landfill. We can reduce waste tremendously by having a reusable coffee cup, and one of the best products and systems we've seen is the amazing Huskee Cup.
Not only can you reuse your Huskee Cup over and over, but it's made from coffee husks that would otherwise have been discarded, AND at many cafes around Sydney you can take in your used Huskee Cup and swap it for a clean one when you buy your next coffee. Check them out!
About the author
This list has been written independently as a result of my own search for help to live in a conscious way, and to make a concerted effort to reduce waste in my family life. I looked for Australian products where possible and added some products available in Australia from overseas manufacturers where they were the best solution to my war on waste journey. The wonderful War On Waste Au community have been and continue to be a valuable resource for me, with so many people sharing their ideas, tips, and products. Thanks to the many people who helped me find some of these products and gave their own tick of approval.
I have not been asked to write about, or approached in any way by any of these businesses. I am a co-creator of the Pod Star reusable coffee capsules, with a passion for doing all I can to reduce waste and help others to do the same. It takes many of us to make a difference, and every contribution helps.
And thank you to all the people out there that have taken the risk to follow their passion, and produce products that are truly valuable – may your businesses thrive. We know you are working towards a better future and we appreciate that every step helps. Together we turn the tide on thinking, and eventually we will win the war on waste.