4 Easy Ways to Get Started on a Zero Waste Lifestyle at Home

Most of us are staying close to home these days. Why not pick up some habits that are good for this beautiful earth of ours!?

By: Natalie F + Save to a List

If you are already someone that pays attention to your waste you may be quite frustrated about feeling forced to produce more waste during these Covid times.  You can’t bring a reusable mug to your favorite coffee shop anymore, some stores won’t let you bring reusable bags, and forget bulk food fill up stations in a time like this.  If you are not someone who thinks about the waste that they produce, try to!  It all ends up going somewhere, whether that be a landfill, the stomach of an animal, the ocean, etc...  But, here are four easy ways to help decrease your impact on the planet. 

  1. Paper towels: get rid of them (well first, use them up, but then don’t buy anymore!). Seriously, you don’t need paper towels.  You know the socks with holes in them, or the t-shirt that is filled with stains...instead of just throwing them in the trash, throw them in the washing machine and start a throw away rag bucket. We have one in our laundry room with our cleaning supplies so we always know where to go when we need a rag.  You could wash them and reuse them too, but I know in our household that would make my husband want to go back to paper towels.  Better to use something for a second time before it gets thrown away than create something new to be thrown away after only one use.  Wondering how to clean your glass or mirrors without paper towels...use a microfiber cloth.  All you need is the cloth and water, no harsh chemicals needed!  

  2. Napkins: speaking of paper products, the simplest switch to make at home in terms of decreasing your waste production is switching to cloth napkins.  They are inexpensive too!  Get a colorful set and I am sure your dinner guests will comment on them.  When they do, tell them about what an easy change it  was and how you are helping the planet!

  3. Reuse things you already have.  To be zero waste you should not go out and buy more things.  That is definitely not the point of this lifestyle.  That just produces more waste. Try not to get conned into buying new glass dishes because now you know plastic is bad for you and the planet.  Instead reuse things you have (or at least buy second hand).  For example, we wash out any glass food containers to reuse.  Think salsa and pasta sauce jars... You know that Starbucks plastic cup, well I use those to hold my toothbrush and a separate one to hold my hair brush and other bathroom products.    

  4. Challenge yourself (and your friends and family) to not buy any clothes for a year.  In April my husband and I agreed to not buy any clothing for 1 year.  In the past I had done an “only buy 5 new items in a year, get the rest secondhand” challenge, but since Covid has impacted our finances why not do a bigger challenge! It has made us much more conscious of how much consumerism affects us and we are saving money! Plus, who really needs more stuff these days.   

Bonus tip for you women out there...buy a menstrual cup.  This makes a huge impact on your wallet and on the waste you produce. Plus, it’s so convenient.  I got mine from MeLuna and would 100% recommend it.  Watch a few youtube videos if you are curious. Your wallet and the landfills will thank you.

Storing some fresh grated cheese for upcoming homemade pesto in a reused jar 

Regrowing herbs and green onion in reused jars on my windowsill 

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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