If you’re like us, you’ve probably wondered what famous people add to their carts. Not the JAR brooch and Louis XV chair, but the hand sanitizer and the electric toothbrush. We asked Haley Boyd — founder of the cult shoe brand Marais USA, who makes a zero-waste lifestyle look really good on Instagram — about the water bottle, cloth napkins, and reusable bowls she can’t live (sustainably) without.
If you Google me, one of the first search terms that comes up is “Haley Boyd salad spinner.” It’s so ridiculous, but such a foolproof, incredible system. I’ve seen chefs post about how this is the way they keep greens fresh. After you rinse and spin your greens, you can just put the top on and stick the whole thing in the refrigerator. I use it for parsley, romaine, spinach — any leafy green that I buy. And if I use half a cucumber in a smoothie, I’ll just stick the other half in the salad spinner with whatever greens are in there and it stays so much fresher. This one’s pretty big, so it can store quite a bit. It will stay fresh for a week. I like that the bottom of this spinner is metal, not plastic; it’s really well-made. I’ve had mine for at least three years and it’s still going strong. It’s pretty easy to clean, and the top comes apart if you really want to do a deep clean. This spinner is more or less middle-of-the-road in terms of price (Goop had a luxury one for like a hundred bucks that sold out). But in terms of something that’s good quality, I think this one is worth investing in.
My friend Christina recently sent this to me because I’m always looking for beautiful, simple water bottles. I love this one. It has a wide mouth, so you don’t need a special brush to wash it, and you can see the inside to know if it’s actually clean. In fact, I think it’s dishwasher safe. It’s also just really nice-looking. I’m very aesthetically minded — I don’t want to carry something that looks like camping gear around with me — so I like water bottles that I use in a nonathletic setting to look like the dishes in my kitchen. A lot of people are opposed to using glass water bottles because they think they’re heavy and will break, but this one comes with a one-year replacement guarantee in case you break it. I don’t find it heavy, but I do live in L.A., so I’m not walking everywhere (it fits in a cup holder).
These are super-classic, functional, not expensive, and they come in almost every size. I love them. When I started shopping the bulk bins, I transferred my pantry over from lots of packaging to pretty much zero packaging. I bought like 30 of these jars and now my pantry is locked and loaded. They’re logo-free and well-made: Things stay fresh longer, and my pantry always looks pretty and organized. They’re such an upgrade from a bunch of ingredients in plastic packaging.
If you cook on a regular basis and are going to the bulk bins to get things like rice and lentils and nuts, I would get a set of ten reusable bags like these. I like linen because it requires much less water than cotton to produce, and it lasts longer. If you have enough of these bags, you can leave a few in your grocery tote and won’t have to remember to bring them with you. These, in particular, are great quality. You can use them for years, and wash them frequently, and they still last.
I use Stasher bags at home in place of Ziplocs, but they are another thing that’s great to keep in your grocery tote (I keep a Stasher bag, along with three or four of the linen bags, in mine at any given time). The Stasher bags are great when you go to your grocery store’s olive bar, say, or buy something that would otherwise need to go in a plastic container. I don’t use glass jars because they’re just heavier and bigger and not collapsible. In order to be zero-waste, I think it really helps if the stuff you use is convenient and effortless, so you don’t need to plan ahead. Ideally, you just have a Stasher in your tote, so it’s there if you need it and you don’t have to put anything into a single-use plastic container.
For the most part, I make coffee at home or go to cafés that offer ceramic to-stay cups. But when I can’t avoid being on the go, this cup is my favorite, mostly because of how it looks. It’s an attractive, simple shape in a solid color without a huge logo, which is surprisingly hard to find.
What I love about these is that they’re ceramic and feel like something that you would want to eat out of at home. I have the dark-gray one. The containers are beautifully designed, functional, and the right size to take your lunch to go. If you’re worried about this weighing down your work bag because it’s ceramic, you can also just keep it at work, bring it to your favorite lunch spot as the bowl you take food away in, rinse it out, and never bring it home.
I really like things that have multiple uses, so you don’t have to buy as much stuff. These covers are great because they’re not so size-specific. If the lid is a little bit bigger than the bowl, it doesn’t matter. They’re super easy to use, you just plop it on top of your bowl before sticking it in the fridge. You can also cook on the stove top with one instead of using a regular lid, and they can even go in the oven.
When I say I don’t really use paper towels, people always ask if I’m worried about staining my dish towels. A black dishtowel solves that problem. I really avoid anything single-use, and this is an easy one to let go of. I think once you start making the transition you’re just like, Wow! People used to not throw away all these paper towels, and we don’t really need to either. By the way, used paper towels are not recyclable. You can compost them, though.
Heather Taylor is a friend of mine, and I love her napkins. I grew up with cloth napkins, so it doesn’t even occur to me to use something disposable. I’m a big gingham fan; these go with everything and they’re so chic. It’s so much nicer to eat with a real napkin than with a paper one. I think everything should look good, be functional, and last. You probably end up saving money in the long term with these, and they make great gifts.
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