5 Zero Waste Swaps for Earth Day

Celebrate with a Trash-Free Earth Day!

From bringing your own tumbler to save money at coffee shops to using a safety razor instead of disposable ones, these Zero Waste Swaps will help you celebrate Earth Day on a trash free note.

Five zero-waste items are displayed in an angled grid pattern on top of a white marble surface and include a cloth tote bag, glass drinking bottle, cloth napkin, blue glass mason jar, and a safety razor.

Earth Day is on April 22, and to help you celebrate, I've got five Zero Waste Swaps to help reduce your trash output, inspired by the current Zero Waste Trend made popular by Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer. According to the Plastic Pollution Organization, in 2013 alone we produced a staggering 299 million pounds of plastic, most of which ends up in oceans where it disrupts oceanic life. Did you know that a plastic bag floating in the water greatly resembles a jellyfish? It’s one of a sea turtle’s favorite things to eat, and unfortunately, they can’t tell the difference and it ends up being ingested where it causes multiple problems for marine animals. By making simple substitutions for common plastic items, you’ll be reducing the amount of waste you produce while also allowing marine life to flourish. Read on for my favorite Zero Waste Swaps.

1. Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle

A glass water bottle encased in teal cover that's rubberized for grip and to prevent breaks rests next to Korst's The Zero-Waste Lifestyle book on top of a white marble surface.

Plastic water bottles are so 2013, and reusable water bottles are in. By using them you’ll save hundreds of water bottles that would end up in landfills where it takes countless years for it to biodegrade, if any. Plus it’ll save you money by not having to constantly buy pricey water bottles all the time. I like the glass reusable water bottles best since it tastes cleaner with no metallic or plastic aftertaste you might find in other reusable water bottles. I’ve got this tip from The Zero Waste Lifestyle: Live Well by Throwing Away Less by Amy Korst.

2. Bring Your Own Reusable Bag

A super stylish SJPL #RightToLibrary Tote bag rests on top of a white marble surface

In San Jose, some stores are charging $.10/bag if you don’t bring your own. Why waste your hard earned money on plastic or paper bag when you can just bring your own? They’re usually stronger and larger, and you don’t have to deal with a bag accidentally ripping on you again a la Home Alone with the added bonus of saving money. If this tote looks familiar, you may be one of the lucky few people who received this tote bag at the launch of our #RightToLibrary campaign with the debut of our new library cards.

3. Use a Safety Razor

A safety razor with a pink handle rests next to a Johnson's Zero Waste Home book on top of a white marble surface.

If you’ve read Zero Waste Lifestyle by Bea Johnson, the queen of the Zero Waste Movement, you know that this is a tip that she swears by. Instead of using disposable plastic razors that clog up landfills that you only use a handful of times, invest in a safety razor. This is a throwback to your grandparents’ generation where the stainless steel razor delivers a closer shave. The weight of it takes a little getting use to, since you have to take your time to avoid nicks, but it’s definitely worth it. All you have to do is recycle the tiny metal razor and replacements cost pennies, yet another example of how being zero waste saves you money.

4. Carry a Cloth Napkin

A folded pink napkin rests on a white marble surface.

If you’re seeing a theme here, it’s that disposables are out and reusables are in. Another favorite tip of mine is to use a cloth napkin when I’m out. Gone are the days where you reach for a napkin, only to discover that the dispenser is out. I’ve used my cloth napkins for everything, from it being a placemat to wrapping my fruit in it. Plus, it’s washable and it’ll eliminate the need for paper towels in your home, saving you even more money.

5. Bring Your Own Mug or Tumbler to a Coffee Shop

A blue Mason jar is artfully displayed next to Somerville's All You Need Is Less book on top of a white marble surface.

We live in a caffeinated world, and as a result huge amounts of coffee cups and lids end up in overfilling landfills. To decrease the amount of trash I generate, I make sure to always have a reusable drink container with me, a tip I've picked up from All You Need is Less. My favorites are mason jars that you can find for $1 or less at thrift shops. Whether I’m starting my day off at a convention or heading to Martin Luther King Jr. Library to brainstorm, coffee and tea are a definite must. Did you also know that numerous coffee shops will give you a certain amount of money off when you bring your own reusable tumbler? For example, Starbucks gives $.10 off, Tully Coffee at MLK Library will give you $.50 off and Philz will only charge you for a small drink, even if you ask for a large size! Plus, I get a little bit confused at Philz whenever I order my drinks, and it’s a great way of knowing which order is mine, based on my own cup.

I hoped that you picked up a few tips on my Zero Waste swaps. How do you celebrate Earth Day? Whether it’s taking public transportation or buying from your local farmer’s market, comment below how you do your part in saving the Earth. Until next time, happy readings!

Fun Fact

Traveling to a new state and have no idea what to expect? Fear not, for there’s an awesome treasure chest of ideas on what every single state in the U.S. has to offer, from the local cuisine to features attractions. From the home page of sjpl.org, select the Learn, and then select eLearning and Articles. Select the fourth resource: AtoZ the USA. Then type in your name, San José Public Library card number and pin, and you’re ready to explore. My camera guy recently moved to Oregon. After exploring that state on AtoZ The USA, we learned that almost all of hazelnuts in the US are grown there? Who knew! I’m definitely planning a trip there over the summer.

Alyssa dressed as R2D2 standing smiling next to a real R2D2

Who am I?

I am one-half of the Fangirls Unleashed duo, where we explore everything that is young adult, geeky and trending. Our mission is to show people that working at the library is pretty awesome, and we do everything in the name of San José Public Library. Follow us on social media to see What's New at the Library and our latest convention adventure.

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Thank you for even more ideas to contribute to my Less is More goals!

You're very welcome! I love your comment because I'm on a minimalistic journey right now.

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