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Have you heard the term “zero waste” yet? It’s been trending like crazy lately and for good reason! People are starting to catch onto the fact that we need to stop creating so much waste!
I’ve written about ways to reduce your waste in the past and that’s a great starting place for if you want to learn about how to easily reduce your waste in general terms. This post however, is going to be digging deep into how to go zero waste.
What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste is pretty self-descriptive; it is simply about creating as little waste as possible. You may be familiar with stories of how people can fit an entire year’s worth of trash into a jar but zero waste is more than just awe-inspiring Instagram photos of tiny trash jars.
Going zero waste is a change of mindset; reprograming our lifestyles to use less, reuse more, do without, and repurpose what we already have.
Zero Waste Basics – The 5 R’s
We all learned to recycle, reduce, reuse as children but there are actually 5 R’s if you really want to practice zero waste living.
Refuse – Refuse what you don’t need. (What you don’t take, you don’t need to throw away.)
Reduce – Reduce what you need. (Do you really need that many?)
Reuse – Reuse what you use. (Buy reusable in the first place.)
Recycle – Recycle what you can’t refuse or can no longer use.
Rot – Rot (compost) whatever is left… which should be just food scraps.
How To Go Zero Waste – Over 80 Tips To Get you Living Waste Free
Zero Waste Kitchen Tips
- Choose cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.
- Break out the real dishes instead of using paper plates.
- Use a reusable coffee filter or french press instead of disposable filters.
- Use reusable tea bags or a tea infuser instead of disposable tea bags.
- Ditch plastic tupperware and use glass or stainless steel food containers.
- Switch from sponges to reusable sponges or natural scrub brush.
- Meal plan so that you don’t waste food and so that you don’t need to order in.
- Learn how to buy in bulk to limit food packaging waste.
- Make your own dairy free milk (like coconut milk or almond milk).
- Give reusable wraps a try instead of plastic wrap to keep food fresh.
- Opt for reusable sandwich bags instead of plastic bags (like Ziplock).
- Switch out your plastic water filter pitcher for a charcoal stick filter.
- Use bamboo cutting boards instead of plastic ones.
- Don’t let food go to waste! Here are 10 ways to prevent food waste.
- Regrow those food scraps like romaine lettuce!
Zero Waste Tips for Out and About
- Choose glass, stainless steel, or bamboo straws instead of plastic straws.
- Say no to disposable straws, napkins, and utensils. (Bring your own or do without)
- Switch to a reusable water bottle instead of disposable or plastic water bottles.
- Bring reusable grocery bags to the store.
- Bring your own reusable produce bags to the store so you don’t have to use the plastic ones.
- Try reusable travel utensils instead of using plastic ones.
- Pack a meal instead of ordering on while you are out.
- Bring your own mug when ordering coffee.
- Turn down receipts when shopping (ideally by asking if they can not print them at all)
- For transportation, walk when you can, use public transportation or carpool if you can’t walk.
- Say no to any free handouts or paper flyers when out and about.
Zero Waste Home Tips
- Find other ways to keep warm instead of turning up the thermostat.
- Did you know they make reusable trash bags? Try those instead of plastic trash bags.
- Opt for real towels (or reusable paper towels) instead of paper towels.
- Switch to natural cleaning products. If you make your own cleaners you’ll skip chemicals and waste!
- House plants can help purify your air. (not necessarily a zero waste thing but still a good tip.)
- Repair items instead of just instantly tossing them away.
- Donate, sell, or consign items that you now longer need instead of throwing them away.
- Use rechargable batteries instead of just buying new ones.
- Love candles? Make your own candles and reduce waste.
- Begin composting so even food scraps do not go to waste.
- Learn how to have a more natural laundry room to reduce electricity, plastic, and chemicals.
- Use dryer balls instead of dryer sheets or make your own reusable dryer sheets.
- Stop getting junk mail.
Are you an Amazon shopper? Learn how to reduce your Amazon packaging.
- Switch to online pay for bills so you stop getting all the paper bills.
- Turn down any unwanted stuff.
Zero Waste Bathroom Tips
- Try family cloth instead of toilet paper
- Use plastic free toothbrushes like a wood toothbrush.
- Ditch traditional floss and try this floss instead.
- Switch to a safety razor and ditch the plastic razors.
- Make your own toothpaste instead of buying tubes of toothpaste.
- Make your own deodorant so there’s no more tubes to throw away. (less chemicals too!)
- Switch to a zero waste shampoo and conditioner or make your own.
- Make your own liquid soap out of bar soaps! Saves money and no more plastic containers to toss.
- Start using handkerchiefs instead of facial tissue (like kleenex).
- Ditch cotton balls and cotton rounds and switch to reusable facial rounds.
- Make your own lotion, shaving cream, face wash, etc.
- Switch out your plastic shower curtain for a cloth version.
- Use a real loofa (it’s a plant!) instead of a plastic loofa.
- Did you know there are reusable q-tips?
- Try a bamboo or boar bristle brush instead of plastic hair brushes.
- Say goodbye to bandaids and hello to these bamboo adhesive strips for cuts and scrapes!
Zero Waste Nursery Tips
- Use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.
- Reusable cloth baby wipes are a great alternative to disposable wipes.
- Try eco-friendly baby bottles made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic ones.
- Instead of disposable nursing pads for mama, use reusable nursing pads.
- Go gender neutral so that it can be reused for both genders.
- Co-sleep (if you can safely do it) and you’ll skip a bed for baby.
- Buy baby equipment second hand or borrow from friends. No need to buy new.
- Donate, sell, or consign used baby clothes, toys, and equipment.
- Make your own diaper cream.
Zero Waste Kid Tips
- Make your child’s toothpaste instead of buying tubes of toothpaste.
- Pack a lunch for their school lunch and use eco-friendly lunch containers & bags.
- Skip processed snacks and give real food like fruit and veggies as snacks.
- Buy second hand or swap clothes with friends instead of buying new clothes.
- Donate, sell, or consign outgrown clothes and old toys.
- Kids do not need plastic plates and cups. Opt for the adult versions or buy stainless steel kid sets.
- Use the library for books, movies, and music.
- Ditch plastic toys and opt for eco-friendly options like wooden toys.
- Limit toys and opt for non-toy experiences instead.
- Make your own playdough, slime, and moon sand.
- Bathe kids less often. They really only need it once a week (and they’ll be healthier for it)
Zero Waste Women Tips
- Switch to mama cloth and stop using disposable feminine pads.
- Try using a menstrual cup instead of tampons.
- Not into mama cloth or menstrual cups? Here are some more eco-friendly feminine care products.
- Make your own makeup instead of buying makeup (like this homemade facial powder)
- Opt from homemade hairspray and hair gel.