10 plastic reducing essentials for zero waste living

Glass jar of water and ice

The war on plastic may finally be gaining traction after the EU announced an official plastics strategy earlier this month. Their target is to make all plastics reusable or recyclable by 2030.

Buying your food from bulk bins using your own containers is far from mainstream, but it looks like this could be set to change, with Theresa May now calling for plastic free aisles in supermarkets. In London, there is already a sense that the use of reusable water bottles, shopping bags and coffee cups is becoming more widespread and with the success of initiatives like the Bulk Market in Dalston (soon set to expand), perhaps the concept of eliminating plastic is slowly seeping into the zeitgeist.

Fruit and veg stall

If you’re already familiar with the zero waste living movement, started by Bea Johnson, you’ll be aware of the lengths you can go to, in order to eliminate plastic from your life completely. Making your own deodorant may not be on your to do list just yet, but once you delve into the zero waste philosophy, it certainly opens your eyes to just how much plastic we’re all getting through, day to day – shampoo bottles, food packaging, dental floss, takeaway cups – much of which cannot be recycled.

Below are some of the items that will get your started on reducing your plastic consumption and may even save you money.


Reusable shopping bag

Jute macrame reusable shopping bag

Never leave the house without it. Hand Woven Jute Macrame Market Bag £29 from The Future Kept


Reusable coffee cup

Cork and glass reusable coffee cup with black lid

More eco friendly products for on the go. Made from tempered soda lime glass and recycled cork sourced from wine manufacturers. Reusable coffee cup small 227ml by Keepcup £22 from Selfridges.*


Glass spray bottle

Amber glass spray bottle

Perfect for homemade cleaning products. Refillable spray bottle from £7 by Etsy seller Kuishi Home*


Washable face pads

washable make up remover pads

Swap the cotton wool and face wipes for washable pads. Organic cotton cleansing pads 5,45 € from Kulmine


Safety razor

Safety razor by Edwin Jagger for zero waste shaving

Plastic free de-fuzzing for life. Edwin Jagger DE89L Lined Detail Chrome Plated Double Edge Safety Razor £24 from Amazon*


Cloth food bags

Reusable produce bag for zero waste living

Washable produce bags for loose fruit and veg. Purifyou Reusable Mesh Produce Bags (set of 9) £12.99 from Amazon*


Reusable water bottle

Reusable water bottle by Klean Kanteen

Refillable water bottles save you heaps of money (and plastic) in the long run. Kleen Kanteen Unisex Outdoor Reflect Water Bottle from £26.95 at Amazon*


Reusable food wrap

Abeego reusable food wrap

An ideal alternative to cling film made from beeswax. Abeego Giant Pack Food Wrap £13 from Ethical Superstore*


Bamboo spork

Reusable bamboo spork

Because single use plastic cutlery will soon be a thing of the past. Reusable bamboo spork from £2.15 at Not on the High Street*


Storage jars

Glass food storage canister by Alessi

The stylish way to store your bulk food buys. Alessi Dressed Storage Jar from £28 at Amara.


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Photo credits

Photo 1 by Ethan Sykes on Unsplash
Photos 2 by Jakub Kapusnak on Unsplash

Author: Antonia Edwards

Antonia is the founding editor of Upcyclist. Based in the UK, she is the author of two books: 'Upcyclist: Reclaimed and Remade Furniture, Lighting and Interiors' (Prestel 2015) and 'Renovate Innovate: Reclaimed and Upcycled Homes' (Prestel 2017).