10+ Zero Waste Essentials I Regret Buying
Updated: Nov 28, 2022
When you want to switch to a more sustainable lifestyle, it is very tempting to purchase lots of eco-friendly alternatives to your plastic ones. I did the exact same thing as I was enthusiastic and wanted to make some big changes. However, my plastic ones often still worked fine or sometimes even better making it a purchase that was completely redundant and wasteful. That is the topic of today, 10 zero waste products I regret buying.
I have eczema-prone skin which is at its worst on my scalp. This means I have to thoroughly clean my hairbrush weekly from all the dead skin cells that ended up in my brush. I quickly found out that the bamboo hair brush that I purchased does not like to get wet. After cleaning the brush it remained wet for a very long time and after a couple of days, mold started to form on the soft part of the hairbrush. As I was unable to properly clean my hair brush, I had to switch back to my old plastic one. I have been using this brush for close to a decade, and it is falling apart in some places but at least I can put it in the dishwasher to properly clean it every once in a while.
Tooth-tablets without fluoride
You have probably heard it already, fluoride can affect your brain. So I thought switching to fluoride-free toothpaste was a smart choice. 3 months later when I was at the dentist, she asked me if I switched to a new toothpaste. I said yes and she strongly recommended switching back as I had lots of cavities and even had to have a root canal treatment. I now know my teeth are not very strong and I really need fluoride in my toothpaste. I just make sure to not swallow it as it is not healthy to consume a high amount of fluoride.
Store-bought conditioner bar
When I first tried a conditioner bar I was not pleased. It did not work at all. I loved my shampoo bar but was not a fan of a conditioner bar. By now I DIY lots of skin and hair care products and I have an amazing recipe for a conditioner bar that works even better compared to store-bought liquid ones.
Reusable silicon Q-tip
Cleaning your ears with a q-tip is not recommended and I prefer to use a washcloth nowadays. However, I still have mine and it is used often. By my daughter when we take a shower as apparently it is an excellent spoon to make soup. A very expensive spoon but at least it is still being used.
Any DIYs with baking soda
Baking Soda is in a lot of easy beginner-friendly DIYs like deodorant. It is also used in the ‘no-poo’ method for washing your hair without shampoo. However, baking soda has a pH of around 9 which means it is slightly alkaline. Our skin has a pH of about 5 which means it is slightly acidic. This big difference in pH can affect your skin if it is sensitive. As my skin is very sensitive, any products with baking soda I used on my skin gave me severe eczema.
I am not a fan of essential oils for 2 reasons;
The first one is that the production of essential oils is extremely wasteful. For example, 242,000 rose petals are needed to produce approximately 5 mL of rose essential oil, and 30 kg of Melissa is needed per 5 mL bottle.
While more sustainable alternatives have been discovered for the production of citrus essential oil where they use fruit waste for the essential oil production. Most essential oil production is extremely wasteful.
The second reason I don’t like it is the fact that the plant matter has different active compounds depending on the season, the climate and even farming practices. And there is also the degradation process depending on the age of the essential oil. This could result in different properties of the essential oil with each new batch your purchase. Therefore it is even possible to have a skin reaction to one batch while the previous batch was fine.
Bamboo bowls are a great alternative to plastic bowls as they are made with a much more sustainable resource. Just like the hairbrush, bamboo doesn’t like to get wet and 1 accident where they ended up in my dishwasher was enough to destroy them. I am not a fan of bamboo products except for my toothbrush and bamboo fabric.
Stainless steel bottle with a narrow opening
This is not my regret but my boyfriend really regretted purchasing a stainless steel bottle with a narrow opening. He continued to use it but was annoyed by it. He also didn’t like that he couldn’t open the bottle with one hand (he uses his reusable bottles when he drives to and from work). So after about 2 years of being annoyed with this bottle, he finally decided to invest in a new one with a wide opening.
Glass travel mug
I don’t know about you but I am not careful with my bag unless my laptop is in there which is not often. When I go out my bag is thrown around in my cargo bike, on floors, and counters. Usually what is in my bag can handle this treatment. At one point I had a glass travel mug in my bag which I forgot about… It did not survive the trip. I need something a little more idiot-proof.
Metal lunch box
A metal lunch box may seem like a good idea but it was leaking all over the place and wasn’t microwave-proof making it not a good choice for my lunches. I ended up giving it away and switched back to the plastic containers I still had.
All-in-one cloth diapers
I have been cloth diapering for 4 years now. In the beginning, I really struggled with what worked and what didn’t. All-in-one cloth diapers did not work for me. They sound amazing as they work similarly to disposable diapers but their absorbance is minimal which means changing diapers often or if you forget, you need to change your baby and if you are really lucky, their beds as well. I quickly learned that fitted cloth diapers with a cover work so much better for us and to this day I am still using this type of cloth diaper.
These are 10 zero waste products I regret buying and I hope it prevents you from purchasing something you may regret in the end.