Zero-Waste Lifestyle Tips, From a College Student Doing Her Best. Part 3: Kitchen and Cleaning Supplies

Hi all! This is the third and final article of the Zero-Waste Swap series, and it’s all about kitchen and cleaning supplies that I have tried, and my honest thoughts on them. 

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about how to live a less wasteful lifestyle, and that it is in fact possible for college students to accomplish as long as you invest some time and effort, and focus on taking small steps wherever you can! 


Cleaning Products– I simply adore everything about BlueLand. Not only are their products so useful and forward-thinking, but their design is just so appealing. I bought their Everyday Clean Kit, but they have so many different options and combinations of products depending on exactly what you’re looking for.

When you first buy from them, you’ll receive their reusable bottles and containers for cleaning products (everything from glass cleaner to dish soap to zero-waste laundry pods), which you’ll only need to buy once. You’ll also get color-coordinated tablets (that are shipped in compostable packaging) that dissolve in water to make each kind of cleaner. There are subscription plans available where you can receive shipments of new tablets whenever you need them, which is another major plus. I genuinely can’t recommend BlueLand products highly enough, and I love not having to buy all my cleaning products in bulky plastic bottles anymore. 

Reusable Mop Pads – I don’t mop all that often, but I am great at remembering to use these reusable pads when I do (the neon green color definitely helps with that!). I honestly should have done a bit more research before buying these, since they are designed in a way that actually covers up the spraying feature of the mop. These would work great for a Swiffer that doesn’t have the button to spray with, or if you’re mainly using it to dust your floors.  

There are similar pads that are meant specifically for the spraying mop, which is probably what I should have purchased instead, as they’re much more convenient to use with my mop. Regardless, these mop pads are a great way to reduce your waste, and since most people don’t mop more than once a week or so, a two-pack that you wash after use works perfectly. 

Unpaper Towels – Paper towels can be so wasteful. So often they are used for second to dry off hands, wipe up a spill or clean a counter top. Just used for seconds then thrown into a trash can. Unpaper Towels are the perfect swap for single use paper towels. I don’t find myself reaching for these as often as I first thought I would, partly because there’s just not a lot of them and I don’t want to run out of them all at once.

I generally wash them in my laundry, though, and I would probably use them more often if I hand-washed them and let them air-dry. Regardless, owning these and having them next to my normal roll of paper towels makes me more cognizant of the things I use and throw away. 


BeesWrap – I absolutely love my BeesWrap. It’s essentially a reusable replacement for plastic and aluminum wrap, in that you can use it to wrap up containers and foods to keep them from going bad. Made with beeswax, you just have to use the heat of your hands to mold it to fit over whatever you’re wrapping. There are three pieces of different sizes that come in the pack, which is also really handy. After you’re done using it, just rinse it off and put it away for the next time you need it. 

Zero Waste ‘Unsponge’ – Search “Unsponge” on Google, and hundreds of options immediately pop up. Each kind will be slightly different from the next, but they are basically all sponges made of cellulose and layers of fabric— some are even made from upcycled coffee sacks— rather than plastic like today’s typical sponge. They can be machine or hand-washed after use and dried so they’re good as new, which means that they last much longer than plastic sponges. Eventually, they will start breaking down, but they are compostable, meaning that you don’t have to create any waste by using this sponge! 

Fabric unsponges are generally not the best at hard scrubbing, though. Sponges made purely of cellulose don’t last as long, but are a great option for those who need something a bit stronger (while still being biodegradable). 

Silicone Sandwich/Snack Bags – I brought lunch to school as a kid, I was always upset that I had 2 or 3 plastic Ziploc bags that I would have to just throw away at the end of every cafeteria trip. I remember wondering why I couldn’t reuse them, since I needed at least a couple of them every day.  While plastic baggies are still not intended to be reused (at least for the storage of food), there are luckily lots of options today to pack food in a less wasteful way.

I bought a pack of reusable silicone bags when I first came to college, and—up until COVID struck and I didn’t have to leave my apartment to go to class all day— I used them almost daily. Depending on the food you pack, the amount of time you spend cleaning the bags between uses will obviously vary, but they’re really not too labor intensive, especially considering the amount of waste you’re keeping from ending up in a landfill!

That’s all, folks!

We’ve come to the end of the zero-waste swap series here on WholeSum. While I’ve written about all the products I have used and my experience with them, please remember that there are zero-waste versions of almost everything imaginable— please don’t feel limited to only the things I highlighted! Take note of your personal waste habits; if you notice that there’s a certain product you throw away really often, try and find a reusable replacement that you can use instead. I understand that trying to live zero-waste can be incredibly intimidating, especially to those of us who are college students and pretty new to making your own decisions. What I want your main takeaway from this series to be is that nobody is perfect at this. Living in a consumerist world makes it hard for those of us who want to live more sustainably, so please don’t get discouraged if (not if, when) you slip up. Make the changes that you are able to make. Keep trying your best to live less wastefully, and be forgiving of yourself and others for not doing it perfectly. Educate those around you when and where you can. Do those things, and you’re already well on your way to living sustainably and changing the world for the better!

We want to hear from you! What is your favorite zero waste swap?

Olivia Tussey


Most discussed