Zero Waste Swaps
As the levels of trash being buried at Seroe Teish rises, so does the cost of living in Aruba. Sometimes we want a more eco-friendly lifestyle, but worry about the added costs. But did you know you can actually SAVE money while saving the planet? We’re doing a 6 part blog to help you figure out a few ways that might work for you. First up?
Embrace Zero Waste Swaps
In our quest to live more sustainably, we often overlook the simple changes that can make a big difference. One such change is embracing zero waste swaps. Transitioning from single-use items to reusable ones not only reduces waste but can also save money in the long run. Here are some zero waste swaps you might consider:
- Change to a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. I think everyone is well aware how expensive buying a bottle of water is in Aruba, and if you invest in a quality water bottle, it will help keep your water nice and cold. Some coffee places like Island Grind will even give you a discount on coffee when you bring your own cup for coffee!
- Reusable Wraps. Instead of constantly buying plastic wrap or aluminum foil, use reusable food wraps like beeswax (available at Eco Living Aruba) and pine resin wraps, silicone covers (available at Zero Waste Spot), reusable bags (available at Zero Waste Spot) or reusable jars and containers (available at at most supermarkets and home centers on the island). They are washable, durable, and can keep your food fresh for longer. You can also make your own using cotton cloths and melting beeswax. https://youtube.com/shorts/-_X1En1OB_o?si=N5y57_NTjnq-Uwjx
- Use cloth Napkins and washcloths. Cloth napkins aren’t just for fancy events! They can be used everyday at the table. A quick rinse under water makes a washcloth like new after small messes, and you can throw them all into the washer with your towels and other laundry. You can buy these as most home centers (island Asia, wing Tung) or make your own using old linens and clothes!
- Switch chemical cleaners for natural ones. Some cleaners you might already have on hand would be vinegar and baking soda. They are cheaper (if you buy in bulk from PriceSmart or Save-More), safer, and oftentimes, are just as effective as commercial products.
- Buy local produce from farmers’ markets. We have 4 different farmer’s markets in Aruba! At 297 Farms, HappyPonics, Ostrich Farm, and STR Agriculture. You will support local businesses, reduce emissions from importation, and enjoy fresher and healthier food. You can check out our page for food to see times and addresses, or look them up on Facebook. Buy-Food | Zero Waste Aruba (arubazerowaste.com)
- Buy in bulk! Or get together with friends and family to buy bulk products (like cheese wheels and rice bags from Pricesmart or cleaning supplies at Arupro) and split it between you. You’ll pay less for packaging and get more for your money. You can also go straight to distributors like Deli Caribbean, Caribbean Overseas, Ber-Sah, Caribbean Bakery Supplies, Compra, Frasa, Martijn Trading or DK group.
- Shop second hand. I can’t express how much of a money saver this is while reusing what’s already made. Did you know that Aruba has over 6 thrift stores? Anything from ballgowns and suits, to pajamas and flip flops. Super Thrift in the Certified mall is the largest, but there’s also Re-Love in Ponton, Exclusive vintage in Santa Cruz, Zero Waste Aruba in Playa, Red Cross in Dakota and 2 small ones downtown with Stitching Rancho and ETuza. We also have a lot of used furniture at places like Hotels To Go and some upholstery shops. And you can buy used electronics at Casi Nobo. You can find the full list here: Buy- Household items | Zero Waste Aruba (arubazerowaste.com)
- Repair what you have. This is a forgotten occupation, but thankfully Aruba still has a lot of businesses that do repairs like tailors for clothes, leather workers for shoes, belts and purses, upholstery for furniture and even mattresses! There’s also handyman and repair shops for all your appliances and devices. You will extend the life of your belongings, reduce waste, and save money on shopping. Be sure to check out our repair page for different items and the businesses that can be repair in Aruba.) Repair | Zero Waste Aruba (arubazerowaste.com).
- Try using Ecosia as your web browser. You will not only get the same search results as other browsers, but it will help plant trees around the world for free. Ecosia – the search engine that plants trees.
- Reusable menstrual products. For all the ladies out there, let me introduce you to a whole new world. Instead of buying one time tampons and pads, you can buy menstrual cups (I see them at most Boticas for less than a box of tampons, as well as Da and House of Cosmetics), menstrual disks, period underwear and reusable pads (You can buy these at our Zero Waste Store or online Feminine Care Products | The Zero Waste Spot and Period.Shop: Trusted Menstrual Cup and Disc Brands). These are some of my favorite zero waste swaps that I wish I had known about years ago! A single silicone menstrual disc or cup can last up to 10 years! 10 years not having to buy tampons ladies! Be sure to look them up, and if you have any questions about it, you can always reach out to us (ZeroWasteAruba) in e-mail or through Facebook.
- Reusable Razors. In your grandpa’s day, this is probably what he was using, and they’re so cheap and simple, I honestly don’t know why we were convinced to buy the disposables. Besides being WAY cheaper, it also takes less room to own a reusable razor and a tiny box of replacement blades than 5 different disposable razors. You can buy them at our Zero Waste store, or at home stores like Island Asia and Win Tung.
- Bamboo Toothbrushes. Bamboo is a type of grass, so as far as sustainable materials, you’ll be seeing a lot more of it in items that are meant to be used for a limited time. They can also break down easily in the environment, so they’re a better choice then plastic tooth brushes which never decompose, they only break down into smaller pieces called microplastic that harm marine life. They have the added bonus of being BPA free (linked to various health concerns). We’re getting more and more variety in Aruba, so at some places, like Ling and Sons, they’re even cheaper then a lot of other toothbrush options. You can find them at almost any botica and Da.
By making these simple swaps, you can save money and contribute to a healthier planet. Remember, every little bit helps!
Stay tuned for our next blog on Saving energy in Aruba!