The 16 Best Zero Waste Products of 2023

We've rounded up the best alternatives to disposable products

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Best Zero Waste Products

The Spruce / Lecia Landis

If you’re looking for ways to reduce your carbon footprint and make your household a little more eco-friendly, there are many “zero waste” products that you can swap into your daily routine. The term may sound a little daunting, but it’s not as intimidating as it seems.

“Zero waste does not literally mean zero waste,” explains Nancy Landrum, Professor of Sustainability Management at Loyola University Chicago. “Instead, it means sending zero waste to the landfill. It means keeping products in use as long as you can instead of discarding them.”

In fact, a lot of the best zero-waste products are ones you already have at home such as pasta or yogurt jars that can easily be washed and reused. For products you do need to purchase, Landrum recommends looking for items that meet the following requirements: “Ideally, the best zero waste products are those made without the use of toxic materials, products that have lifetime warranties or that can be returned to the company, products made with renewable energy or renewable resources instead of fossil fuels, and products that can be disassembled and recycled.”

Zero waste products we've tested and loved include the BeeGreen Basic Reusable Grocery Bags, Five Two Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths, and Blueland The Clean Essentials, but there's plenty more that we've researched and compiled for your consideration, too.

Our Top Picks

Best Sponges

Food52 Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

Five Two Compostable Sponge Cloths

Courtesy of Food52

What We Like
  • Ideal for kitchen cleaning tasks

  • Extremely absorbent

  • Easy to wash and reuse

  • Fully compostable

What We Don't Like
  • Tricky to store

  • Larger than average sponge

Food52's Five Two Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths are ideal for scrubbing dishes, wiping down counters, and other daily kitchen tasks. They’re made from a combination of plant-based cellulose and cotton, and they come in a pack of ten gray cloths, each with a grid pattern in one of five colors. When we tested these sponges at home, we loved that they were super absorbent and could wipe up most spills with ease. They can be reused hundreds of times—just pop them in the dishwasher, washing machine, or microwave to routinely clean or sanitize them. In our testing period, we preferred the dishwasher method for its convenience, but it's nice to have options. We also appreciate that the gray color of the cloths is well-equipped to disguise smaller stains that might not wash out in the wash.

The cloths are larger than your average kitchen sponge and can be somewhat tricky to store. Still, the fact that they're effective, they're easy to clean in between uses, and you can compost them when you're done makes them winners in our book.

Price at time of publish: $29 for a set of ten

Dimensions: 6.75 x 8 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Cellulose, cotton | Colors: Mixed assortment

Best Indoor Compost Bin

OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin

OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin


What We Like
  • Lightweight, perfect for countertops

  • Flip-top lid is removable

  • Handle for easy carrying

  • Dishwasher safe

  • Available in multiple sizes and colors

What We Don't Like
  • Plastic can become scratched over time

If you're curious about composting, or perhaps you've already tried it and are ready to level up your equipment, we like this OXO indoor bin for collecting food scraps. It comes in multiple colors and sizes, ranging from 0.75 gallons to 1.75 gallons, and each model has a handle for easy transport. We've tested this bin in a home environment and found the attached flip-top lid great for keeping odors in. We also appreciate that the lid detaches for easier emptying and that you can run the bin through the dishwasher to get it clean. Now, one thing to note: Since this bin is constructed from plastic, it is susceptible to scratches. To prevent damage, you'll want to limit the use of hard utensils, like cutlery, to scrape out the food waste when emptying.

Price at time of publish: $23

Dimensions: 7.5 x 6.6 x 6.4 inches | Capacity: 0.75 gallons | Weight: 1.19 pounds | Material: Plastic | Available Colors: Charcoal, white, white/gray, white/green | Number of Compartments: 1

Best Dish Scrubber

Brooklyn Made Natural Dish & Vegetable Scrub Brush

Brooklyn Made Natural Dish & Vegetable Scrub Brush

Courtesy of Brooklyn Made Natural

What We Like
  • Stiff bristles

  • All-natural materials

  • Backyard compostable

What We Don't Like
  • Must be stored in a dry area

Another alternative to plastic sponges is a dish scrubber that's made from all-natural materials like this one. Featuring a bamboo handle and hemp bristles, the little brush is stiff enough to wash pots, pans, and vegetables in your kitchen. Once the bristles wear out, you can simply compost the whole thing in your backyard. Make sure to store it in a dry space to prevent mold or mildew growth—this means you probably won't want to keep it in your sink. But as long as you have a secure spot nearby, it's sure to come in handy for post-meal cleanups.

Price at time of publish: $10

Dimensions: 3.25 inches | Weight: 0.2 pounds | Material: Bamboo, hemp, cotton rope | Color: Natural

Best Food Wrap

Bee's Wrap Assorted Set, Three Sizes

Bee’s Wrap Assorted Set of 3 Sizes

 Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Reusable for up to a year

  • Various sizes and patterns

  • Compostable materials

  • Certified B-Corp

What We Don't Like
  • Not the tightest seals

Instead of using plastic wrap to cover dishes and wrap sandwiches, try Bee’s Wraps. These food wraps are made from patterned organic cotton that’s coated with a combination of beeswax and tree resin, which creates a durable yet pliable wrap that can be reused many times. The warmth from your hands creates a seal around whatever you’re storing, and each wrap can last for up to a year with proper care.

When the wrap has reached the end of its life cycle and you're ready to dispose of it, the material can be composted. Some find that these don't seal as tightly as plastic wrap, so it may take you a little more time to create a tight seal with Bee's Wrap. (Or, consider using ties, rubber bands, or another type of reinforcement to keep the wrap in place.) Still, it's a great alternative to single-use plastic wrap.

Price at time of publish: $19 for three wraps

Dimensions: 7 x 8, 10 x 11, and 13 x 14 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: Organic cotton, beeswax | Colors: 10 patterns

Best Outdoor Compost Bin

Miracle-Gro Single Chamber Tumbling Composter 27.7 Gal

Miracle-Gro Single Chamber Tumbling Composter 27.7 Gal


What We Like
  • Great value

  • Durable construction

  • Beginner-friendly design

  • Locking door deters pests

What We Don't Like
  • Complex assembly

At-home composting with a compost bin is a great way to reduce the waste you send to the landfill and add nutrients to garden soil. The Miracle-Gro Small Composter is a beginner-friendly model to add to your yard. This model has a 27.7-gallon capacity (you can also find an 18.5-gallon version), and it features a single-chamber tumbler that you can spin to aerate your compost. The bin is made from BPA-free plastic, and it’s mounted on rust-proof stainless steel legs. There is some assembly required, which some users have noted can be tricky, so keep that in mind.

Price at time of publish: $86

Dimensions: 29.5 x 23 x 23.5 inches | Weight: 13 pounds | Material: BPA-free, food grade, UV-protected plastic | Color: Black

Best Food Container

Rubbermaid Brilliance Glass Food Storage Container Set

clear food storage containers with lockable lids


What We Like
  • Multiple sets and sizes

  • Dishwasher safe for easy cleaning

  • Glass bases are oven safe

  • You can easily see what's inside

What We Don't Like
  • Plastic lids

Imagine opening up your fridge and seeing your favorite foods displayed in tidy, organized stacks? These containers from Rubbermaid are designed for just that. With clear glass bases and locking plastic lids, you can use them for leftovers, food prep, packed lunches, or even simple snacking. Both the base and lid of each container is dishwasher-safe, and you can pop the glass base in the oven to reheat food (up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). With multiple sets and sizes to choose from, you can grab a small set to cover basics, or a larger set to help you reorganize your entire fridge.

Now, we don't love that the lids are made from plastic, even if it's BPA-free—but we do like that they're designed to give an airtight seal to prevent leaks. Given that these containers are durable and you can reuse them to your heart's content, we think they're a convenient, long-lasting option for food storage.

Price at time of publish: $56 for four containers and four lids

Dimensions: Varies | Weight: 6.67 pounds | Material: Glass | Color: Transparent

Best Dishwasher Detergent

Dropps Dishwasher Detergent

Best Natural Cleaning Products
What We Like
  • Effective formula—no pre-washing necessary

  • Compostable packaging

  • Subscription available

What We Don't Like
  • Reviewers note pods dissolve inconsistently

Dropps is a go-to destination for low-waste cleaning supplies, and the brand’s dishwasher detergent pods are a popular item. The pods contain a triple-action detergent that effectively removes baked-on food and stains without any pre-washing, and the formula is free from dyes, chlorine, phosphates, and phthalates. They're available in unscented, lemon, or fresh rain options, and unlike many other dishwasher detergent pods, they’re shipped in compostable packaging with carbon-neutral shipping.

Price at time of publish: $14 for 32 pods

Dimensions: Not listed | Weight: 9 grams | Material: Mineral-based ingredients | Scents: Unscented, lemon, fresh rain

Best Dryer Balls

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls

Smart Sheep Wool Dryer Balls


What We Like
  • A reusable alternative to dryer sheets

  • Can last up to 1,000 washes

  • Come in a set of six

  • Budget friendly

What We Don't Like
  • No storage bag

Instead of using a disposable dryer sheet in the wash, you can opt for wool dryer balls to help speed up the drying process and soften your clothes. We like that this Smart Sheep set comes in a batch of six, giving you plenty of wool balls for laundry loads of all sizes, yet are still relatively budget-friendly. Plus, since they're meant to last for up to 1,000 washes, you can count on them to get you through years (and years!) of laundry. Now, one caveat is that unlike some sets, these don't come with a storage bag, so be prepared to store them in your dryer between uses or set aside another designated spot for them in your laundry room.

Price at time of publish: $30 for six

Dimensions: 3-inch diameter | Weight: Not listed | Material: Wool | Color: Natural

Best Trash Bags

UNNI 100% Compostable Bags, 13 Gallon, 50 Count

UNNI Compostable Bags


What We Like
  • Certified compostable

  • Plastic-free

  • Available in various sizes

What We Don't Like
  • Not ideal for wet trash

  • Expire within a year

The UNNI Compostable Trash Bags are a more eco-friendly alternative to plastic trash bags. These bags are made from plant-based materials and Certified by the Biodegradable Products Institute as compostable. The bags should be used within a year of purchase. It’s also important to note that the material will start to decompose if exposed to heat or moisture, so they’re not the best long-term option for food waste or other wet trash. Available in sizes ranging from 3 to 55 gallons, you should be able to find a pack that suits your trash can.

Price at time of publish: $20 for 50 bags

Dimensions: 23.75 x 31.5 inches | Weight: 2.7 pounds | Material: Plant starch | Color: Green 

Best Hand Soap

Blueland Hand Soap Duo

Blueland Foaming Hand Soap

Courtesy of Blueland

What We Like
  • Dissolvable tablets

  • Sold with high-quality glass dispenser in a variety of colors

  • Effective formula

  • Natural-smelling scents

What We Don't Like
  • Tablets dissolve slowly

We’ve tested a variety of eco-friendly Blueland products, and one of our favorites is the brand’s hand soap, which you can buy as part of a bundle or on its own. The soap comes with two 9-ounce glass bottles, as well as dissolvable tablets that you mix with water. Even better, there are six glass colors to choose from, so you can match your kitchen and bathroom.

We loved the silky consistency of the foam soap, which was gentle without drying out our hands. The only downside is the tablets take quite a while to dissolve, so you have to wait roughly 20 minutes before using the product—so you'll want to plan ahead to ensure you're not out of soap at an inopportune time.

Price at time of publish: $15

Dimensions: 7.25 x 2.75 inches | Weight: 9 ounces | Material: Glass bottle, plastic-free refill tablets | Scents: Iris agave, perrine lemon, lavender eucalyptus

Best All-Purpose Cleaner

Grove Co. Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

Grove Co. Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate

Courtesy of Grove Co.

What We Like
  • Easy to mix

  • Effective formula

  • Plastic-free, recyclable packaging

  • Certified B-Corp

What We Don't Like
  • Not recommended for aluminum, brass, or wood

If you'd prefer to not buy a new plastic bottle of all-purpose cleaner each time you run out, you can reuse one bottle and simply refill it at home using Grove Co.'s Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate. The grease-fighting formula is made with 92 percent plant-based ingredients, and it’s free from parabens, phthalates, phosphates, formaldehyde, synthetic dyes, ammonia, and chlorine bleach. There are a variety of scents to choose from, and all you have to do is mix the concentrate with water and then start cleaning. And when they say "multi-purpose," they really mean it—it's suitable for a variety of non-porous surfaces from ceramic to chrome to stainless steel. However, it's best to avoid using it on aluminum, brass, or wood surfaces.

Price at time of publish: $8 for two bottles

Dimensions: Not listed | Weight: 1 ounce | Material: Glass bottle, plant-based ingredients | Scents: Free & clear, orange & rosemary, apple & pear blossom, lavender & thyme

Best Produce Bags

Purifyou Reusable Cotton Mesh Bags (9-Piece Set)

Purifyou Premium Organic Cotton Storage Produce Bags


What We Like
  • Various sizes available

  • Versatile design

  • Drawstring closure

  • Machine-washable

What We Don't Like
  • Unable to scan barcodes in bags

Instead of grabbing those single-use plastic bags at the grocery store, try collecting your fruits and veggies in a reusable produce bag. This set comes with nine bags in varying sizes, and they’re ideal for storing produce, bulk dry ingredients, and other groceries. The bags are made from organic cotton with drawstring closures, and they’re machine-washable, too. The material may be too opaque to see produce stickers through them at checkout, but you can easily remedy that by removing a sticker from the produce and placing it on the outside of the bag or on the tare tag for the cashier to see at a glance.

Price at time of publish: $36 for 9 bags

Dimensions: 12 x 8, 12 x 14, 12 x 17 inches | Weight: 1.32 pounds | Material: Organic cotton | Color: Natural

Best Shopping Bags

BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags

BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags


What We Like
  • Budget-friendly

  • Large capacity, can hold up to 40 pounds

  • Handle fits over shoulder

  • Available in a variety of multi-colored sets

What We Don't Like
  • Tricky to store in pouch

More stores are doing away with plastic bags, which is why it’s always a good idea to have a few reusable grocery bags in your car. We tested and reviewed the BeeGreen Bags, which are made from ripstop polyester, and we love that they’re incredibly spacious and can be carried over your shoulder, thanks to their large handles. The bags come in sets of five, and they’re machine-washable and fold down into a compact form for easy storage. And, even better—not only are they convenient but they're strong, too. Each bag can carry up to 40 pounds.

Price at time of publish: $19 for five bags

Dimensions: 16 x 15 x 6 inches | Weight: 1.6 ounces | Material: Ripstop polyester | Colors: 15 colors and pattern combinations

Best Reusable Straws

Hiware 12-Pack Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws

Hiware 12-Pack Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws


What We Like
  • Various sizes and shapes

  • Heavy-duty construction

  • Cleaning brushes included

  • Budget-friendly

What We Don't Like
  • Metal gets hot in warm beverages

If you like sipping beverages through a straw, the Hiware Stainless Steel Straws are the perfect alternative to single-use plastic straws. They come in a pack of 12 that includes six straight straws and six bent straws. The straws come in two different lengths that fit most 30- and 20-ounce reusable tumblers. They're made from food-grade stainless steel, and the set comes with two nylon cleaning brushes for easy cleaning. Your order will also include a convenient, canvas-like carrying bag, so you can pop one into a purse or backpack and have it readily available the next time you're out at your favorite coffee shop.

Price at time of publish: $12 for 12 straws

Dimensions: 8.5 and 10.5 inches | Weight: Not listed | Material: 18/8 food-grade stainless steel, nylon, fabric | Colors: Silver, black, gold, rainbow, rose gold

Best Snack Bags

Stasher Reusable Silicone Bag

Stasher Silicone Reusable Sandwich Bag


What We Like
  • Forms a leak-free seal

  • Dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe

  • Can be labeled with chalk or dry-erase markers

What We Don't Like
  • Small opening

Silicone containers like the Stasher Sandwich Bag are a great zero-waste option for your family’s daily lunches. These bags are made from food-grade, non-toxic platinum silicone, and they can be used to store a wide range of foods, thanks to their leak-proof seals. Unlike many cheaper reusable plastic bags, Stasher bags are dishwasher safe. You can even use them in the microwave and freezer, too.

Need to jot down what's in the bag or an expiration date? You can write on the exterior with chalk or non-toxic dry-erase marker. Now, if you've never used reusable baggies before, you'll want to turn them upside down to air dry, so you might want to have an extra rack or even a few cups you can drape them over at the ready.

Price at time of publish: $13

Dimensions: 7.5 x 7 x 1 inches | Weight: 2.7 ounces | Material: Food-grade silicone | Colors: Dozens of colors and patterns

Best Water Bottle

S'well Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 17-Ounce

S'well Vacuum-Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle, 17-Ounce


What We Like
  • Great for hot or cold drinks

  • Various patterns and colors

  • Condensation-free exterior

  • Certified B-Corp

What We Don't Like
  • Hand-wash only

The S’well Stainless Steel Water Bottle is a worthwhile upgrade from single-use plastic water bottles. The bottle comes in dozens of pretty patterns and colors to suit your style, proving that you don't have to sacrifice your personal aesthetic when opting for zero-waste products.

This vacuum-insulated bottle is ideal for carrying around both hot and cold drinks. Its triple-layer design keeps your beverage insulated for longer while also preventing condensation from forming on the outside. It fits in most car cup holders and has a mouth large enough for ice cubes.

Price at time of publish: $35

Dimensions: 10.4 x 2.8 x 2.8 inches | Weight: 11 ounces | Material: 18/8 food-grade stainless steel | Colors: Dozens of colors and patterns

Final Verdict

The best way to start living a zero-waste lifestyle is to reuse objects you already own, but when you need to invest in new items, there's no shortage of low-waste products. We've tested and recommend BeeGreen Basic Reusable Grocery Bags for reusable totes, as well as the forever bottle of reusable hand soap in Blueland's The Clean Essentials kit. For everyday cleaning in the kitchen and elsewhere, we suggest Five Two Compostable Sponge Cleaning Cloths.

What to Look for When Buying Zero Waste Products


The downside of the rise in eco-consciousness is that cynical companies have used it as a marketing ploy without doing much work to reduce their impact on the environment. Beware of false or misleading claims or marketing campaigns that masquerade as sustainable alternatives with greenwashing. Support independent companies that have built their eco-credentials into every aspect of the business. Look for clearly marked ingredients and transparency about where and how things are manufactured. Remember that if you have doubts, there is always an alternative.

Quality Materials

If you are buying a new product to help you to eliminate waste and excess, be mindful of choosing quality materials that are durable, natural, recyclable, and/or compostable. When buying new, look for natural materials like hardwood, bamboo, linen, cork, hemp, mycelium, and other materials that can be recycled or better yet, composted. This will help to create a truly circular economy and a future built around regenerative materials rather than man-made substances like plastic and polyester that will end up in a landfill. 


When you're shopping with sustainability in mind, note that even just one delivery with excess packaging and shipping materials can also fill your trash or recycle bin. Some brands will put recyclable or compostable packaging information front and center (like Package Free, an entire retailer devoted to the cause, or Dropps, for example, with their Dishwasher Detergent Pods), while others may not. If you do find that your packages arrive with more than you hoped for, remember that shipping materials like boxes and padding can often be reused, and even plastic bags can be repurposed and given second and third lives.

Environmental Cost Per Use

People trying to cut down on buying too many clothes are often advised to evaluate a purchase based on how often they will realistically wear it, a cost-per-wear equation that helps deter frivolous purchases and encourages spending on quality everyday items. You can use a similar strategy when considering zero-waste products. Try to determine whether or not you will really use something, and how often, before bringing it into your home. It still takes energy and resources to make a reusable shopping bag, so be sure that your closet isn’t full of canvas tote bags that never get used before you spring for a new one. 

  • How do you do zero waste at home?

    "Stop recycling. No, really!" recommends Landrum. "Recycling should be a last resort. Instead, moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle requires you to find new uses for products instead of discarding them."

    "First, repair—don't replace—items. Second, donate items to charities, thrift stores, friends and family, teachers and artists, etc. Third, when the product can no longer be used, refurbish it with new parts or components, updated software, etc. Fourth and last option is to recycle the item when it is beyond use. If you recycle at any point before this, you are wasting resources on a perfectly good item."

    Another approach would be to set individual goals, like reducing single-use plastics, and analyze each room in the house to identify the offenders. In the kitchen, you might decide to eliminate plastic wrap, plastic zip storage bags, or plastic straws and cutlery. Make a plan for replacing these items once they are used up, whether that means using what you already have or finding greener alternatives. Start with the low-hanging fruit, and over time you can slowly eliminate all of the waste in your home with a systematic approach.

  • Is living zero waste cheaper?

    It depends. The concept of zero waste is achieved by the act of buying less and seeking out essential goods that are not wrapped in useless packaging. By eliminating excess and waste, you will likely save money in the long term. However, in your quest to eliminate single-use plastics and buy quality items, you might end up spending more money initially for things like reusable glass storage containers for the kitchen. Buy quality items made with long-lasting materials, and look after them well, and your initial investment will pay off.

  • What is a zero waste swap?

    The term “zero waste swap” refers to the act of eliminating wasteful items by trading them for more eco-conscious alternatives. Examples in the kitchen might include swapping paper napkins for cloth napkins; single-use plastic bags for reusable silicone food storage bags; tea bags for loose tea and a bamboo strainer; plastic water bottles for a portable water bottle to take with you everywhere; or wooden utensils instead of plastic. In the bathroom, you might trade in a plastic bath scrubby for a compostable all-natural loofah; a plastic toothbrush for a bamboo model; liquid soap for bar soap; and an endless stream of plastic shampoo bottles for a no-waste shampoo bar. Be sure to use up what you have before replacing it with something new. 

Why Trust The Spruce?

Camryn Rabideau is a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce, and she does her part to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle by composting, patronizing sustainable brands, and upcycling as much as possible in her home. While researching products for this article, she spoke with Nancy Landrum, Professor of Sustainability Management at Loyola University Chicago, for insights on what to look for in zero waste products and how to make zero waste swaps. She also personally uses and loves several items included on this list, such as the Hiware Metal Straws and Grove Co. Multi-Purpose Cleaner Concentrate.

Dena Ogden, commerce writer at The Spruce, contributed additional research and updated this piece. She's been writing professionally since 2016, and with The Spruce since August 2022, specializing in appliances, cleaning, and organizational topics.

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