A large part of the zero waste experience is DIY. Whether you love it or immediately stop DIYing, it’s an important first step into exploring alternatives to conventional products.
In an ideal world, we’d all be able to walk to a perfectly-curated, low-price unpackaged store with all the zero waste DIY ingredients we’d ever need. It may be (not at all) shocking to find out, but that’s not reality for most.
To help you intrepid DIYers out, I figured I’d compile a big list of where to source zero waste DIY ingredients online.
NB: these will not all be without plastic packaging. And here’s the truth: if you’re buying a glass jar of zero waste product from someone calling it “zero waste”, they’re hiding packaging in the background. And that’s OK – for now. It’s how our system is set up. I’ve tried to put in small Etsy sellers when possible, since you’re able to send them a “please no plastic packaging” message.
And if you’re worried about the impact of sourcing zero waste DIY ingredients online, I have a whole post dedicated to the environmental impacts of shopping online. Basically, if you can’t walk to a locally-owned store, buying online is probably the lower-impact option. (But no two-day shipping!)
Some of these links are affiliate links, which means Green Indy earns a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase through them!
liquids and butters
Liquids | Oils are an essential base to most DIY recipes, and other liquids like witch hazel or rose water are useful additions. All of these options – except the last one – come with a glass jar option.
- Large selection of cold-pressed oils (MO)
- Natural oils and infused herbal oils (CA)
- Witch hazel (MO)
- Wild-foraged witch hazel hydrosol (WA)
- Lower-cost carrier oil options (CA)
- Rosewater from a historic recipe (MA)
- Wild-harvested, small batch essential oils (WA)
- Large range of organic essential oils (CA)
Body butters | Butters are great for adding extra moisture to products, as well as making them less liquid and more creamy. Cocoa, mango, and shea butters are packaged in large plastic bags, or resealable plastic-lined pouches.
- 5 pound options for butters (MO)
- Various-sized butter options (CA)
- Huge selection of many different butters (NJ)
Herbs & powders
Herbs | Herbs can be added to zero waste DIY products for function, smell, or just because they’re beautiful! Most herbs mentioned here come in glass jars (large amounts) or resealable plastic pouches (small amounts).
- A huge array of organic bulk dried herbs (CA)
- Another resource for wildharvested, organic herbs (OR)
- Small batch dried herbs, great for experimenting (NY)
- Not an herb, but flaxseed for hair gel (FL)
Powders | Each powder has different properties, but most go into products like face masks. Most of these will be sold in resealable plastic pouches.
- Bentonite clay for face masks or toothpaste (OR)
- Large variety of different clays (OH)
- Activated charcoal in plastic bottle (CA)
- XL container of epsom salt (UT)
- Smaller amounts of epsom salt (CA)
- Zinc oxide for mineral sunscreen
- Arrowroot powder (CA)
Wax | Waxes are used to firm up products. While beeswax is not vegan, I highly encourage everyone to use (local) beeswax in their recipes. You can read about my issue with vegan waxes and the benefits of beeswax in this post.
Containers | it’s best to repurpose what you already have, but it can be helpful to have a stash of product-ready containers in your closet.
- Amber bottles for light-sensitive oils
- Glass containers for lotions or balms
- Search the cosmetically damaged items in the Amazon warehouse
- Different sized metal tins
DIY book recommendations
You’ve got the ingredients – now what? Here’s a non-comprehensive list of some of my favorite low-waste DIY books:
- Making It: Radical Home Ec for a Post-Consumer World (cosmetics, cleaning, food)
- Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash (general zero waste goodness)
- 101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home (basic list of simple DIYs)
- Anything by Rosemary Gladstar (cosmetics and toiletries)