This is my list of resources. I will update this as I go along. If you think of anything, let me know.
Appliances – See Best Buy.
Baking Soda – There are hundreds of uses for baking soda. Use it as a cleaning agent, exfoliator, odor remover and so much more.
Batteries – See Whole Foods.
Bentonite Clay – Mix it with water for a face mask to extract dirt from your pores or mix it with your tooth powder to remineralize your enamel. The golden rule is to avoid stainless steel when handling bentonite clay.
Best Buy – They accept electronics and appliances for recycling. They also sell refurbished and open box electronics and appliances.
Bubble Wrap, Air Bubbles and Styrofoam Peanuts – You will probably receive this when you buy online. Call your local UPS Store. They will probably accept bubble wraps, air bubbles and packing peanuts to be reused.
Bulk – The trick to zero waste is to buy in bulk. It is much cheaper because you are not paying for packaging or advertising. Also, you can buy exactly what you need. It is a great opportunity to buy a small portion of something you have not bought before and try it out. You might discover something new. Currently, I shop in the bulk aisle at Sprouts and Smart and Final.
Castile Soap – One soap to rule it all. You can use it to clean the house, wash the dishes, do laundry, wash your face and even your hair. Who would have thought that you do not need different cleaning products for different jobs. 1 gallon will last you a long time.
Cleaning Materials – Replace cleaning materials with dish soap, vinegar, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Get the recipes from Clean My Space.
Coffee – Bring your own coffee mug when you buy coffee, buy coffee beans from the bulk aisle and replace with your Keurig with a french press.
Compost – Composting is important if you are serious about zero waste. You can sign up for curbside composting services or get your own compost bin (especially if you have plants). You can either buy it but why not make your own compost bin. Check out Crazy About Compost for ideas. Worst case scenario, bury your food waste.
Containers – Use existing plastic containers to store non-food items and store food in glass or stainless steel containers.
Corks – See Whole Foods.
Cotton Balls – Replace cotton balls with reusable cotton rounds. It is great for removing makeup and works as a menstrual cup spot. Just remember not to use it remove nail polish remover because that would ruin the cotton rounds and deem it unusable after that. Check out SW Basics of Brooklyn or Etsy.
Cutting Board – Replace plastic cutting boards with wooden or bamboo cutting boards. Both wooden and bamboo cutting boards can be composted when their shelf life ends.
Dental Floss – Try refillable silk floss from Dental Lace.
Diapers – Try cloth diapers. It may not be as convenient as disposables but it is suppose to be cheaper in the long run.
Donate – If you are on a mission to become a minimalist or go zero waste, donate anything you do not need. When I transitioned to cloth pads, I donated my supply of disposable pads and tampons to women’s shelter.
Dryer Sheets – Replace dryer sheets with dryer balls.
Electronics – See Best Buy.
Farmer’s Market – Great place to buy groceries without packaging and a great way to support local farmers. Find your local farmer’s market or food co-op here.
Fix It – If something is broken, fix it. Either learn to fix it yourself or support a local business and pay someone to fix it for you.
Food Waste – Learn to cook with what you have. Transform your leftovers into a new dish before it goes into the compost. Learn to preserve excess fruits and vegetables.
Freebies – Avoid freebies. You do not need another free pen.
Gifts – Zero waste gifts include consumables and experiences. Also consider plantable cards and introduce your friends to the world of zero waste.
Goodwill – Always a good place to donate or buy stuff. If you itemize deductions in your tax returns, get a receipt.
Google – If you don’t know it, google it. You will be surprised with what you find.
Hair – Donate your hair to Locks of Love. They need at least ten inches long and they accept colored and permed hair. Check out further details on their website.
Ice-Trays – They sell ice-trays made from stainless steel. I am rarely in need of ice since I usually drink hot tea or water at room temperature.
Junk Mail – Unsubscribe to junk mail and get all your bills sent to you electronically.
Khiel’s – Recycle and you may be rewarded. Return ten full sized items for complimentary products. Check their rules.
Laundry Detergent – I use Tide sold in cardboard box. You can also try Eco Nuts (it’s way too complicated for me).
Library – Libraries are a great resource to not just borrow books but magazines, DVDs and some libraries also have a tool lending section. Think of all the books you can ready, movies you can watch and knowledge you can learn without creating clutter at home.
Lunch – Bring your own lunch to work or school. I have saved a lot of money since bringing my own lunch to work. There is no need to think really hard about where to go for lunch. Also, think of all the waste that I have avoided when I bring my own lunch. I make extra portions of food over the weekend or the night before and portion it accordingly. I also freeze extra portions for when I am lazy to cook.
M.A.C Cosmetics – Back to MAC Program. Return six primary packaging containers to M.A.C counter or M.A.C Cosmetics online store and you will get a free lipstick.
Mason Jars – Mason jars are great for buying food from the bulk aisle, organizing stuff and storing products and homemade concoctions. It can also be made into light fixtures and planters. The uses for mason jars are endless.
Menstrual Cups – Replace tampons with menstrual cups. There are so many benefits to making the change so do it now and you will not regret it. There are so many brands out there. Check out The Diva Cup, Lunette, MeLuna, Ruby Cup and find one that suits you. I am using Lunette Model 2 and I love it. You will not find ourself in a pickle and have to rush to the pharmacy to get supplies. You only need one and it will last for two to three years.
Minimalism – It comes hand in hand with zero waste. Check out The More of Less by Joshua Becker and the Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things by The Minimalists. I emailed my library to buy Joshua’s book and borrowed it. I watched the documentary on Netflix.
Oils – There are a variety of oils for different purposes. From cooking to moisturizing and even removing make up. Please check the comedogenic list in determining what oil to use. The last thing you want is to get a major breakout.
Pantagonia – Some of their products are made from recycled materials and if your Pantagonia items is beyond repair, send it back to them and they will dispose of it responsibly.
Perfume – Try solid perfumes or DIY perfumes using essential oils.
Plants – Learn to grow your own plants from seeds or cuttings. Return the plastic pots to the nursery to be reused.
Plastic Bottle – Avoid plastic bottles and bring your own water bottle. Tap water is cheaper and regulated compared to bottled water which is more expensive and not regulated. Filter tap water if you don’t like the taste of tap water or if there are too many contaminants.
Produce Bag – Try reusable produce bags or pillow cases. Currently, I’m loving flip & tumble because it is lightweight.
Razors – Replace disposable razors with safety razors or laser hair removal.
Salvation Army – Another good place to donate stuff or buy things. If you itemize deductions in your tax returns, get a receipt.
Sanitary Pads – Replace single use disposable pads with cloth pads or menstrual cup (See M). Buying cloth pads is a great way to support work at home mothers. Recommended brands are Yurtcraft, Novel Red, Mimi’s Dreams and Creations By Five. I try to shop local when I can. Shipping is cheaper, you can avoid customs and less carbon emissions in delivering the product. Note that custom orders usually will take several weeks to process and ship. Don’t be deceived, cloth pads can be exceptionally thin. Check out Novel Red’s NINJA Pads. For those who want to test it out, buy one pantyliner, one regular pad and one overnight pad. Use it interchangeably with disposables. If you are serious about cloth pads and you plan to wash all the pads at the end of each cycle, you will need to get between 15 to 20 pads. Buy dark pads if you don’t like stains and buy from several sellers to get an idea of what you like. The trick is to stop buying cloth pads when you have enough even if the prints are cute. Remember the first rule of zero waste – REFUSE WHAT YOU DO NOT NEED.
Scanner – The only way to move to a paperless office is to have a scanner and convert everything into digital files. Buy a good scanner and you will be rewarded. Less paper results in more space, less mess, less to clean and less stress.
Shampoo – Replace plastic bottles with shampoo bars wrapped in paper or ideally, naked bars. Currently, I’m loving The Country Escape. For those who are constantly flying, it is easy to clear TSA with shampoo bars.
Straw – Say NO to plastic straw. Plastic straw ends up in the ocean and affects animals. Replace plastic straws with glass or stainless steel straws. Check out Glass Dharma.
Syringe – Some waste cannot be avoided. Find a safe needle disposal location near you.
Target – You can recycle cans, glass, plastic bottles, plastic bags, MP3 players, ink cartridges and cell phones at Target. You also get a 5 cent discount for using reusable bags.
Taylor’s Meat & Produce Market 14 E Sierra Madre Blvd, Sierra Madre CA 91024 – I bought meat with my own container and they have fresh produce minus packaging.
Terracycle – Free recycling program. From baby pouch food, pens, personal products to e-waste and much more. They will send you shipping label for free. All you have to do is collect and mail it to them.
Thred Up – You can earn some money and clean out your closet at the same time. Please check their website since they are very specific about what they accept. Clothes which cannot be sold on their website will be disposed of responsibly or the proceeds donated to charity. Also a great place to buy second hand.
Tissue Paper – Replace tissue paper with handkerchiefs. It is softer on your nose and it can also be used as a napkin or a wrap when you need it.
Toilet Paper – It is usually wrapped in plastic but they have toilet paper wrapped in paper. Currently, I’m loving the Smart and Final brand.
Toothbrush – Replace plastic toothbrush with bamboo toothbrush. The bristle may not be recycled but at least you can reuse the bamboo handle to label your plants or compost it. Check out Brush with Bamboo.
Toothpaste – Avoid plastic packaging and make your own toothpaste. There are so many recipes online but you can try this one. Currently, I mix equal portions of baking soda with bentonite clay and several drops of peppermint oil.
Water Filter – Recycle your Brita filters or try Kishu Charcoal.
Whole Foods – Where do I begin. They have bulk aisle, milk sold in glass jars, package free produce etc. They also recycle batteries, corks, #5 plastic and plastic bags.
Wing Hop Fung Santa Anita Mall – I bought loose tea leaves with my mason jars. You can also buy loose ginseng, sea cucumber, dried mushrooms and other things that you will find in a Chinese medicine hall.