Disposable Items You Should Stop Buying to Live Zero-waste Lifestyle | Eco Friend

Here’s a scary fact: the average American creates 4.5 pounds of trash daily. That’s a lot of waste! And while it may seem daunting, there are plenty of ways to reduce waste production – starting with cutting out disposable items from your life. 

Here are some disposable items you should stop buying to help you live with zero waste.

1. Paper Towels

Paper Towel
Source timesofindiaindiatimescom

Paper towels are one of the most commonly used disposable products, but they are also one of the biggest offenders when it comes to waste. Each year, billions of pounds of paper towel waste end up in landfills, where they decompose and release methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas. 

Even if you recycle your paper towels, they have a significant environmental impact. 

The trees cut down to make paper towels require large amounts of water and energy to process, and the manufacturing process releases harmful chemicals into the air.

2. Toothpicks

If you’re trying to live a zero-waste life, one of the disposable products you should avoid is toothpicks. Toothpicks are made from wood, which means they come from trees. 

Trees are essential to the environment and help combat climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. But unfortunately, when you use a toothpick, you’re contributing to the destruction of trees. 

In addition, toothpicks are usually wrapped in plastic, which means they’ll end up in a landfill where they’ll take hundreds of years to decompose.

3. Wrapping Paper

wrapping Paper

If you’re looking to live a more eco-friendly and zero-waste life, wrapping paper is one disposable product you should start avoiding. Though it may seem like a small change, the reality is that wrapping paper creates a lot of waste. 

Not only is it often used for just a single occasion before being thrown away, but it’s also made from non-recyclable or low-quality materials. As a result, it ends up in landfills where it will take years to decompose. 

If you need to wrap a gift, use reusable materials like cloth or bags. Not only will this help reduce waste, but it can also be much more stylish and unique.

4. Napkins and Facial Tissues

Chances are, you use napkins and facial tissues daily. But have you ever considered where they come from? Most disposable napkins and facial tissues are made from virgin tree pulp, meaning they come from trees cut down precisely for the paper industry. 

Not only is this bad for the environment, but it also requires a lot of energy and water to produce. What’s more, these products are often packaged in plastic, which means they end up in landfills where they take centuries to decompose. 

If you’re looking to live a zero-waste life, one simple change you can make is to ditch disposable napkins and facial tissues in favor of reusable alternatives. Cloth napkins can be washed and reused, and bamboo or cotton towels can be used instead of paper towels. 

Not only is this better for the environment, but it can also save you money in the long run.

5. Tooth Paste

Toothpaste is one of those things we all use every day, but have you ever stopped thinking about how eco-friendly it is? Unfortunately, most toothpastes come in plastic tubes that can’t be recycled, and they often contain harmful chemicals that can end up in our waterways

Not to mention, manufacturing toothpaste requires a lot of energy and water. So if you’re looking to live a zero-waste life, one disposable product you should start avoiding is toothpaste. 

Plenty of eco-friendly alternatives out there will do just as good of a job at keeping your teeth clean. 

So next time you’re at the store, ditch the toothpaste and opt for a more sustainable option.

6. Newspapers


While most people don’t think twice about grabbing a paper on their way to work, the truth is that the newspaper industry is incredibly damaging to the environment. For one thing, paper production uses a lot of water and energy, generating a lot of pollution. 

In addition, most newspapers are printed on non-recycled paper, meaning they end up in landfills where they release harmful chemicals into the ground. 

Finally, the delivery of newspapers creates significant traffic, which contributes to air pollution. Considering all these factors, it’s easy to see why buying a newspaper is not ecofriendly. 

If you want to live a zero-waste life, ditch the paper and opt for digital news instead.

7. Single Body Wash

These little bottles end up in landfills, where they take centuries to decompose. Plus, the packaging is usually made from plastic, which is a major contributor to environmental pollution. 

If you want to live a zero-waste life, say goodbye to single-use body wash and switch to bar soap instead. Bar soaps are just as effective as their liquid counterparts but are much more sustainable. 

They’re usually made from all-natural ingredients and come without any packaging. Plus, they last a lot longer than single-use body wash, so you’ll save money in the long run. 

So ditch the disposables and switch to bar soap for a more sustainable lifestyle.

8. Plastic Wraps

There’s no doubt that plastic wrap is incredibly convenient. It’s great for keeping food fresh, thin, and lightweight, so it doesn’t take up a lot of space in the fridge or cupboard. 

However, plastic wrap is also one of the most problematic disposable products. It’s made from petroleum-based materials, which are not only non-renewable but also release harmful greenhouse gases when produced. 

Furthermore, plastic wrap is rarely recycled, meaning most of it is in a landfill. So ditching plastic wrap is an excellent place to start if you’re trying to live a zero-waste life.

9. Aluminum Foil

Foil Paper

If you’re looking to reduce your disposable plastic consumption, aluminum foil is one product you should consider giving up. Not only is it difficult to recycle, but it’s also a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. 

In fact, aluminum foil production generates about 2 percent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. So, if you’re serious about living a zero-waste life, it’s time to ditch the aluminum foil and find eco-friendly alternatives

There are plenty of reusable options on the market, from silicone food wraps to beeswax cloths. So not only will you be doing your part to reduce your environmental impact, but you’ll also be saving money in the long run.

10. Kitchen Sponge

If you’re committed to living a zero-waste life, there are some disposable products that you need to stop buying. One of these is the kitchen sponge. Unfortunately, most kitchen sponges are made from plastic, which means they’ll sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. 

Plus, they’re often treated with chemicals like Triclosan, which can harm humans and the environment. If you want to make your kitchen more eco-friendly, ditch the sponge and opt for a more sustainable option like a dish brush or washcloth. 

With a bit of care, these products can last for years, saving you money and helping the environment.

11. Plastic Bags

Have you ever thought about how many plastic bags you go through in a year? Or how long does it takes for them to decompose? If you’re like the majority of people, you’ll probably say no. After all, plastic bags are so convenient – they’re lightweight, strong, and easy to carry. 

Plus, they’re cheap, so we often use them without a second thought. But the truth is that plastic bags are incredibly harmful to the environment. They are made from fossil fuels that contribute to climate change and take centuries to decompose.

Even worse, they frequently end up in our oceans, killing marine life.

12. Cotton Ear Buds


If you’re trying to live a zero-waste life, one of the disposable products you should stop buying is cotton earbuds. Unlike other recyclable materials, cotton earbuds can’t be recycled and end up in landfills where they’ll take years to decompose. 

In addition, producing cotton earbuds requires using pesticides and other chemicals that can harm the environment. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, consider using reusable earbuds made from sustainable materials such as bamboo. 

Not only are they better for the environment, but they’re also just as effective at cleaning your ears as cotton earbuds.

13. Plastic Toothbrush

There are a lot of disposable products out there that can be replaced with more sustainable alternatives. One example is plastic toothbrushes. Every year, billions of plastic toothbrushes end up in landfills, which take hundreds of years to decompose. 

Not only that, but the production of plastic toothbrushes requires fossil fuels and emits harmful greenhouse gases. Luckily, plenty of sustainable alternatives, including toothbrushes made from bamboo or recycled plastics. 

Making the switch to a sustainable toothbrush is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment and live a more zero-waste lifestyle.

author avatar
Jared McMillen
Jared spent most of his working life in financial markets. He observed corporations making decisions for profit regardless of the impact on the environment. In many cases this was in full knowledge of the implications to the environment so it was a conscious decision of profit over our planet even though there were options that would deliver both albeit at a lower profit margin. As these decisions were outside of Jared's control he decided to make changes in his own life to help our planet. He found it difficult to find products that would have an impact as well as to find the correct information. It was from this frustration The Eco Friend was born.

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