The war on plastic and pollutant products is more omnipresent than ever. In supermarkets up and down the country, plastic-free packaging and paper shopping bags are becoming commonplace, with two-thirds of us actively hunting out recyclable packaging.

How to Shop Zero Waste & Plastic Free Gifts

Even retailers such as McDonald’s have pledged to remove plastic toys from their happy meals beginning 2021 after a successful petition by two young British activists.

However, despite many of us wanting to shop sustainably, a Genomatica survey in 2019 revealed that around 56% of us don’t know how. Some shoppers attested to not knowing what exactly the goods contained, and others felt they were unsure as to how to find more information.

One of our key values at the Goodness Project is our dedication to being conscious shoppers, whether that’s in food, beauty, or home products and so we’re going to give you a quick run down (with examples!) as to how to make planet friendly purchases.

View our range of plastic free and eco-friendly gifts

What are waste free products?

Before we begin it’s important to establish exactly what we mean. Waste free products, or zero waste products, are items that are designed to be reusable, therefore preventing any waste being sent to landfills.

Often, waste free products are made from recyclable materials. This means if a product reaches its maximum lifecycle, it can just be recycled - restarting it’s journey all over again without ever adding to landfill! Neat, right?

What products are reusable?

There are heaps of recyclable products available, some of which we’ll list below. However some quick examples are:

  1. Bamboo, glass or stainless steel straws
  2. Stainless steel, reusable water bottles
  3. Organic cotton, cloth or recycled mesh bags
  4. Mason jars or other glass food or drink storage containers
  5. Plastic free eco lunchboxes


Ways to Shop Sustainably

This is the part most of us get stuck on. We believe there is a rigid set of life-altering guidelines that we must follow, and things we must look out for. Instead, shopping sustainably couldn’t be easier.

We’ll list how to identify sustainability in products in our next section, but to start with here’s how to shop sustainably, including on a budget.

  • If you’re a coffee lover on the go, say no to the disposable coffee cups your favourite beverage comes in. Instead, help save the planet by bringing your own reusable coffee cup. You could even save up to 50p by doing so

  • Stop buying bottles of water, even if the plastic attests to being recyclable. Bring your own stainless steel water bottle. Lots of cafes, restaurants and even service stations now refill reusable water bottles for free. Plus more refill stations and drinkable water fountains are being added to our high streets every day.

  • Get creative and make your own. Dishcloths and cleaning cloths made from old towels or bedding can be rewashed, and then reused, over and over again. Plus, cleaning products made up of a mixture of vinegar, lemon and water work as well as shop bought products stuffed full of chemicals.

  • Just like water bottles, bring eco-friendly food containers made from stainless steel or renewable sugarcane pulp to shops if the service is offered. A secret trick to these is that they’re also saving you money as sometimes the price of the container is included in the price of the product. Plus you’re preventing food waste by being in control of filling it with as much as you need.

As well as these containers, reuse glass food jars and existing glass or plastic containers as opposed to buying new ones. Even if they’re plastic, keeping old containers in a hygienic state to get as much life as possible from them still keeps them out of landfill.

  • Even baby wipes and sanitary products can be reusable, so look for brands offering this. There are more eco-friendly menstrual products than ever that can be washed, cleaned and then reused instead of their plastic alternatives which often make up significant landfill.

For laundry, try organic soapnut shells. They’re a natural detergent, will still make your laundry fresh and clean and soapnuts mildness ensure colours are kept bright, which maintains the fabric structure of your clothes for longer periods!

  • Avoid plastic packaging by filling your freezer. Instead of buying foods wrapped in plastic each week - make them! Bake batches of pancakes, breads and muffins to avoid the additives and look for local greengrocers who offer fresh produce instead of unnecessary supermarket wrapping.

What are some examples of sustainable products?

We promised examples, so here are some products that clearly display their sustainability and eco-friendly attributes from the get go.

When you’re shopping for zero waste and plastic free gifts, look out for the wording and ingredients the products below contain.

1.   Doves Stainless Steel Eco Bottle

The Doves Stainless Steel Eco Bottle is the perfect reusable alternative to copious plastic drinking bottles.

Made from recycled card and stainless steel and adorned in a Scandinavian print, the bottle looks as good as it feels.

It’s perfect for both hot and cold drinks and incredibly can keep hot drinks warm for around 12 hours, whilst chilling cold ones for 24! Great for the winter mornings or the summer evenings.

When it comes to looking for alternatives to plastic bottles, look out for products made from stainless steel or glass. Check their packaging too - Doves Stainless Steel Bottle is eco-friendly from head to toe because it comes in card.

2.   Navy Linen Wheat Bag

As the winter nights draw in, there’s more allure than ever to drag our hot water bottles from the cupboard and get comfy with them.

However, most hot water bottles are made of a type of rubber that cannot be recycled, and therefore the majority end up in landfill.

Enter: The Wheat Bag. Made from 100% natural soft linen material, the wheat bag is actually more versatile than the hot water bottle because it is specifically designed to wrap all the way around the neck, waist or other parts of the body.

Just like its traditional alternative, it still soothes tense or pulled muscles, pains or cramping and it can be heated in both microwaves or ovens, as well as cooled in the freezer for a perfect summer refresher.

Inside the bag, the inner section is divided into 6 sections which prevents the wheat from falling to one side and helps retain heat, whilst the outer cover can be taken off for washing.

When shopping for hot water bottle alternatives this winter season, look out for wheat bags or other bags made from natural linen.


3.   Vintage Ivy Bamboo Tableware Plate

Tis the season for entertaining and also realising that we’ve run out of plates and trays. Sometimes when this happens it can be very tempting to pop to our favourite shop and just replace with whatever’s cheapest and easiest.

However, these cheap replacements are often full of non-degradable plastics, or only good for a few uses - after which, we throw them out.

Thankfully, bamboo isn’t just for straws!

This gorgeous looking Vintage Ivy Bamboo Plate is made entirely from organic, natural and eco-friendly bamboo, as well as corn starch and other completely natural fibres.

Great for meal times, slobbing on the sofa with a tray or picnics, this is one reusable eco-friendly option to feel good about. It’s longlasting and completely biodegradable whenever it does reach the end of its life cycle.

Instead of reaching for the plastic cups, plates and serving trays this party season - look instead to bamboo items. They’re just as sturdy, just as versatile and best of all: They’re dishwasher proof.


4.   Seema Gold Star Bracelet

Being reusable, recyclable and good for the planet isn’t just limited to household items: Jewellery is getting increasingly involved too.

If you’re looking for a gift that’s going to bring as much happiness to the planet as it will its receiver, look no further than sustainable jewellery options like this Seema Gold Bracelet.

The bracelets come in a recyclable jewellery box, and their sustainability comes from being ethically sourced from women-led artisans, with each piece being named after the woman that made it.

Each piece is handmade from recycled Sterling Silver and then plated with 18k gold. Both the silver and gold are sourced from reputable fairtrade suppliers.

If jewelry’s on your list this year check that it complies with fair trade regulations and supports the sustainability act. Plus, check out the materials. Anything that’s made from recycled components means it can be recycled again at the end of its lifespan, so it’s a good sustainable investment.


5.   Reusable Butterfly Shopping Bag

Most supermarkets are now implementing charges for plastic bags, or if not, they’re completely eradicating them from the store.

Whilst this is a fantastic step forward, you can also help their cause and support the planet by equipping yourself with a reusable shopping bag.

This gorgeous butterfly bag is just one example of a shopping bag that helps both you and our environment!

Made entirely from recycled plastic bottles it can perform as a daily essential or even a beach bag. It’s foldable, reusable, and best of all: Completely recyclable.

When looking for eco-friendly shopping bag options, look for bags that are made up of existing recyclable materials like plastic, or that are made from linen or bamboo. They’re just as strong and durable, and much better than being sent to landfill.

To sum up, shopping sustainably naturally makes us aware of the waste we produce, which in turn saves us money by changing our thinking to the long term lifecycle of products. We find ourselves buying far fewer unnecessary items because so much is available to us to reuse.

Not only is this great for our ecosystem, it’s also great for our daily lives. Shopping sustainably makes shopping a necessity rather than an occurrence, which in the long run helps save us both time and money.

Want more inspiration? Check out these plastic free, zero waste gift ideas.


Hello & Welcome 👋

My name is Anna and I'm the co-founder of The Goodness Project. This is a little place where we will be sharing some of the things that inspire us at The Goodness Project - the food, the brands, the people and the lifestyle. We hope you enjoy your stay! :)

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