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low-waste living swaps

At PAYARU, it is incredibly important to us that we support and encourage low-waste living. We all have heard about reusable grocery bags, water bottles, and straws. But what about the rest? 

If you already use reusable items, then you are doing so well! If you want to learn more about low-waste living, here is a list (in no particular order and is non-exhaustive) of SOME things you might not have thought about but are worth swapping in! 


Bamboo toothbrushes

These toothbrushes are entirely compostable. The bristles are sometimes made of nylon, in which case, those need to be pulled out and disposed of in the trash. 

Safety-razor 

This is a great plastic-free shaving alternative for both men and women. Plus, the replacement razor blades are recyclable and are very affordable

Reusable menstrual products (silicone menstrual cups, period underwear, period pads)

These are all washable and reusable and last for years and years. I personally opt for a reusable period pad. Here is my simple, effective washing routine:

  • Place in a wet bag after use. 
  • At the end of your cycle, soak the pads overnight in a bucket of cold water. Throw away the water the next day.
  • The next day, use a laundry stain removing bar to get any stains off. Scrub each pad with the stain removing stick and an old toothbrush.
  • Place all the pads in the washing machine, wash in cold water, and hang to dry.

A reusable container for lunch and to-go food

Some restaurants will pack your leftovers or food in the container you bring from home. They save on using their own containers and you have one less thing to recycle when you get back home. It’s a win-win. 

Reusable utensils (fork, knife, spoon)

Instead of purchasing new utensils for this, you can take some of the utensils you already have at home and carry it around town. Instead of using the disposable utensils at ice cream shops and at restaurants, you can use your own. 

Give low-waste gifts

  • Consumables (such as candles, skincare items, chocolate and snacks, loose-leaf teas)
  • Experiences (pottery lessons, concerts, skydiving, plays, massages, photography classes)
  • Things that can promote learning (building blocks for kids, gardening kits, a musical instrument)
  • Donations to a favorite charity/cause 

Thrift your clothing 

There are so many thrift stores (online and brick and mortar stores) that offer so many different types of clothing. Buying second hand clothing can be fun and can save you money. 

Compost your organic waste

Composting your food waste diverts it going into the landfill. We used to live in a small apartment in NYC and backyard composting was simply not an option for us. Instead, we kept a bin lined with an old paper bag in our freezer and chucked all of our food waste in there. This meant that we didn't have slimy compost stinking up our home. At the end of the week, we took our frozen compost to the farmers market and dropped it off at the composting bin there. Ask your local city about the composting options that are available to you. 

Reusable produce bags

You don’t have to use the thin plastic produce bags at the grocery store. You can instead use a reusable produce bag to hold your produce and other items like nuts, seeds, lentils, and grains that are sold in bulk. 

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