Simplifying your life can take a lot of forms. Minimalism, decluttering and zero-waste living are three of the most popular places to start. If you aren’t familiar with the concept of zero-waste living, you definitely should be, because fewer lifestyle choices have the potential to positively impact the environment as much as going zero-waste.

Living this kind of lifestyle means shunning disposable plastics, packaging, wrapping… Pretty much anything that you can’t reuse. Here are six items that are great options for making the initial switch.


Ecoplanet Bamboo reveals that more than 50 million pounds of waste in the US alone are the result of plastic toothbrushes. Think about it: These little gadgets are almost universally used, and almost always disposable. Make the switch to a more eco-friendly bamboo toothbrush. Most bamboo toothbrushes are compostable, though you’ll have to trim the bristles off of some brands before composting. But a few shreds of of bristles are minimally wasteful compared to the alternative.


Razor heads and disposable razors are also a huge problem for the environment. While it may not be convenient to go back to the days of large razors you need to sharpen manually, there is a practically zero-waste option that’s very similar to the experience of using a modern plastic razor: safety razors. These razors operate much like the razors you’ll find in Target or your local grocery store, except that you buy tiny metal blades (rather than bulky plastic razor heads) that you switch out when they get dull. Keep the razors in a jar and when it gets full, take them to a recycling center.


This one may sound like common sense, but Americans just don’t seem to be able to kick their water bottle habit! Make the resolution to stop purchasing disposable water bottles, and instead, bring a refillable, lightweight bottle with you wherever you go. The environment will thank you.


If you’re a person who gets a period, you know just how many tampons and pads it’s possible to use over the course of a week, let alone a lifetime. Opt for a completely zero-waste menstrual cup, like the Diva Cup or the Lily Cup.


Instead of using paper towels (which not only cause deforestation, but also often end up in landfills), do as your grandparents did and opt for reusable dish rags. They’re simple yet brilliant, and will cut down on waste big time.


Finally, the environmental impact of straws has drawn lots of attention in recent weeks, and now even giant corporations like Starbucks are planning to eliminate straws from their offerings. Minimize your own personal impact by using reusable straws in your own home, and keep one in your bag, purse or car in case you want a straw when you’re out and about. These handy straws come in a variety of materials, most notably stainless steel and glass.


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