Sustainable Swaps I Regret Buying: Zero Waste Products You Don’t Actually Need

As much as I love the zero waste and sustainable living movement, there are a few things that have become popular that just shouldn’t have. One issue with living low waste is that many, if not all products are made to last a lifetime, but they will most likely live longer than us too.

Affiliate disclaimer: Where possible I have added links to products to help you find them – they may be affiliate links and if you buy through them I might get a commision – just so you know! Thanks!

Due to influencers trying to promote new products or small businesses, many products get made that aren’t actually that useful overall, but people buy them because “TikTok told me to”.

When looking into reusable products, they’re often made to reduce the production of single use items which get thrown out in their thousands everyday. But the thing is, a lot of these reusables become popular due to influencers, people buy them, and then realise they don’t ever use them.

Conscious purchases for conscious products – why we need to think about the products we buy

You’ll probably have something that comes to mind straight away that was an “eco product” that you wish you didn’t buy – whether it be a coffee cup or a toothbrush.

We can be blind to it a lot of the time, but products like this is actually a form of Greenwashing in a way. They’re made with the intent of being better for the planet, with everyone being adamant that it’s something you cannot live without or you’re not “zero waste enough” without one, and it actually uses up tons of resources (including land, water, and/or metals) which might eventually be thrown away regardless.

Here’s my list of eco products I regret buying – hopefully they help you be more conscious about buying sustainable products and if you’d actually use them or not!

Bamboo utensils

Although I only own a bamboo spork rather than the full utensil set, it’s definitely a swap I could easily live without. While the idea of having bamboo utensils is a great idea as they’re lightweight and often come in a travel pouch, if you don’t go out much for food or bring leftovers back, do you actually need them?

I very rarely go out to eat, and if I do it’s either at a restaurant that has their own cutlery, or it’s from a place that I don’t need cutlery. I have used my bamboo spork from time to time when I’ve had long train journeys and I buy a salad, but if I had planned to eat food out prior I would just bring steel utensils from home.

Travel and reusable straws

Telescopic travel straws is definitely one trope I bought into but ended up never using it – I mean, I think I’ve used this straw once at home to try it out. Mine also has a silicone tip which to me feels a bit strange, but that might be because I’m so used to my metal ones. I do take it out with me in my bag like my bamboo spork, but I don’t often buy drinks while I’m out of any kind – bottled or in cups, that would require me to have my own straw.

I will say that I do really like my stainless steel straws, which I use almost everyday at home with juices or smoothies, but I wouldn’t tell people to go out of their way to buy one. I lived without straws at home almost my entire life but I got gifted them when I first started out my low waste journey, so although I do use them now it did take me a while to get into the habit of it.

Reusable coffee cups

If you know me at all, you’ll know I actually rarely drink coffee or really any kind of caffeinated hot drink, if anything they just make me more sleepy! On top of that, I also don’t spend days out enough where I regularly buy hot drinks either.

Reusable coffee cups can be made of loads of different materials, including metals, glass, silicone, plastic, and bamboo husks. One of the issues with bamboo husk cups or dishes is that when they break they often cannot be recycled or composted – depending on the composition for that specific brand.

I would only ever recommend getting a reusable travel cup if you regularly buy hot drinks to go – which is more likely if you work in cities or have to commute places. They’re simply not worth buying just for the hype – insulated water bottles can work too if needed!

Sandwich wrap

I’ve never bought wax wraps as I simply wouldn’t have a use for them – I don’t buy plastic cling wrap anyways so they wouldn’t be replacing anything I already throw away.

I have although bought fabric sandwich wraps before from when I used to work at a store. They’re good for packing sandwiches, baked goods, or I even used it to bring home vegan chicken nuggets from a friends house once! But I don’t actually use it enough to make the purchase worth it for me – if I lived a more social life it would probably be more helpful!

Solid toothpaste or toothpaste tabs

One zero waste swap I really don’t like is solid toothpaste – I tried a few of these out before toothpaste in metal tubes was more available in the UK.

A few years ago I tried Georganics solid tooth soap, and when I tell you it literally tasted like soap it really did. It didn’t “foam up” very well and it made my mouth and teeth feel horrible. Similar thing for toothpaste tabs too, I just didn’t like the texture in my mouth and my teeth didn’t feel clean at all.

I’m in the process of trying out different toothpastes, but hopefully I’ll be able to find one that’s eco and good for my teeth!

Low quality safety razors

I’ve had a few safety razors in my time being low waste now, and I must admit that it’s far better to get the slightly more expensive ones as they do last a lot longer.

I’ve had safety razors before and I’m not sure if I simply wasn’t looking after them properly – which I have learnt how to now! But I have learnt that buying the cheaper versions simply won’t last as long as you want them to.

I also have a post on looking after your safety razor, if you’re interested in checking that out!

These are just a few sustainable products I regret buying, but they’ve helped me make more conscious purchases since then. What are some eco friendly products you regret buying?

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