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30 Zero Waste Tips for Your Home

Looking to create a more sustainable home for you and your family? Check out these zero waste tips that are simple and so effective.

Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links.

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Bagsvia amazon.com

Use Reusable Grocery Bags

A great starting point for achieving zero waste in your home is to stop bringing home paper and plastic bags. They take up space and negatively impact the environment. Always take reusable cloth bags to the store instead. Make transporting your groceries easier with this simple hack.

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Buy Food Without Packaging


Buy food without packaging, or as little packaging as possible. Sure, you can buy red bell peppers packed in styrofoam and plastic wrap, but why? Choose loose fruit and vegetables whenever you can. And take advantage of bulk sections, where grains, seeds, nuts and more are free of excessive packaging.

Do you struggle with opening hard plastic clamshell packaging? Here’s a hack that makes it easy.

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Strawsvia amazon.com

Switch to Stainless Steel Straws


There’s no need to stock up on plastic straws, which take up space and aren’t sustainable. Save money and the environment by purchasing reusable stainless steel straws. Check out these 10 products that will help you live more waste-free.

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bulbvia amazon.com

Change Your Light Bulbs to LEDs


Switching from incandescent to LED light bulbs saves a significant amount of energy. LEDs consume an average of 80 percent less energy than incandescent light bulbs, helping you to achieve your zero waste goals. We’ve got 15 tips for choosing LED bulbs for your home.

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Reuse Old Sheets and Towels


Before you throw away sheets, towels and other fabric items, consider transforming them into rags for cleaning, applying wood stain in the workshop and wiping up outdoor messes. Keep that fabric out of a landfill as long as possible! Here are 10 cleaning mistakes that are actually making your home dirtier.

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woolvia amazon

Layer with Wool Before Turning Up the Heat


Whether on sheep or a human, wool regulates body temperature. You may be surprised how much warmer you feel after putting on a pair of wool socks and wrapping yourself in a wool blanket. Check out these 10 clever ways to repurpose an old wool blanket.

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Turn the Water Off While Brushing Your Teeth


Of course you should wet your brush and rinse it off when you’re done brushing. But what’s the point of running the water while the brush is in your mouth? Turn off the tap to save water and add to your zero waste efforts. While toothbrushes and floss are essential for dental hygiene, these brilliant uses for them have nothing to do with your teeth.

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cookvia amazon.com

Start a Backyard Compost


There are so many benefits to composting. It diverts organic material from landfills, saves money, improves soil and plant health, conserves water and reduces the use of garden chemicals. Here are complete instructions for a DIY backyard compost bin and a DIY backyard compost barrel tumbler.

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UnplugBacho/Shutterstock

Unplug Electronics When Not in Use


While you won’t dramatically slash your energy bill by unplugging appliances that use little electricity, in some cases you’ll waste less electricity by turning things off or unplugging them.

“For example, you should probably keep your computer equipment on a power and surge protector bar, and turn the bar off when the computer is not in use,” explains Green Energy Efficient Homes. “Even with the PC itself turned off, the combined power draw of a cable or DSL modem, a wireless router, and a computer printer sitting idle and waiting for work to do, can exceed 50 watts (about the same draw as one moderately bright incandescent bulb or four compact fluorescent bulbs).” Take a look at these 10 tips on saving electricity and lowering your electricity bill.

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toolsvia amazon.com

Choose Quality Items Meant to Last a Lifetime


Quality over quantity can hurt your wallet at first. But if you find yourself replacing the same item over and over because you went the cheap route, you’re throwing money away and creating waste. Be sure to choose products meant to last a lifetime, especially tools. Check out these five fantastic tools every DIYer should have on hand.

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water via amazon.com

Switch from Plastic Water Bottles to a Filtration System


Plastic water bottles are a big no-no for your zero waste goals. Opt for a filtered pitcher, an attachment for your faucet, charcoal sticks, etc. Here’s how to install a refrigerator water filter to purify the water supply to your ice maker and water dispenser.

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chargevia amazon.com

Choose Rechargeable Batteries


Avoid going through packs of batteries when you can reuse the same ones! Rechargeable batteries will save your wallet and the environment. Here’s what you need to know about safe battery disposal.

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cleanArturs Budkevics/Shutterstock

Make an All-Purpose Cleaning Spray


From the ingredients used to the packaging it comes in, generic store-bought cleaning supplies are wasteful. Opt instead for a reusable spray bottle and make an all-purpose cleaning spray. Here’s how to make homemade cleaner with simple ingredients.

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mailFlash-ka/Shutterstock

Avoid Junk Mail


Is your mailbox loaded with coupons, pamphlets and more every single day? Enhance your zero waste goals by saying no to such wasteful tactics by businesses. Go to dmachoice.org to make the switch to a junk mail-free life. Need a new mailbox? Here’s one that’s easy to build and durable.

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shopSpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Go Thrifting


From clothing to furniture, you can find so many beautiful items for little money. Some have never been used! Donate and sell unwanted items from your home and closet, then scan thrift stores for items you actually need.

There are deals to be found in thrift stores. But while some items may seem like a bargain, they may pose more risk than reward. Here are 10 things you should never buy at the thrift store.

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workGaudiLab/Shutterstock

Switch to Digital Downloads


Keep plastic and paper at bay by swapping to digital downloads of your favorite DVDs, CDs, books and more. You’ll lessen the clutter in your home while contributing to a more sustainable future. Here are 15 brilliant ways to repurpose a pile of old books.

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bakevia amazon.com

Switch to Silicone Baking Mats


Forget the aluminum foil that can only be used once. Say no to the parchment paper. It’s time to choose a more environmentally friendly option, like silicone baking mats. They protect your baking sheets from stains and your food from sticking while saving you a trip to the store. If you have old beat-up cookie sheets that aren’t good for baking anymore, recycle them for use in your shop.

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Shop Farmer’s Markets


Farmer’s Markets are great for finding the freshest and most local food. They also offer little to no packaging, which is ideal if you’re trying to move toward a zero waste lifestyle. Just be sure to bring your reusable grocery bags! Check out these secrets to getting deals at a farmer’s market.

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Clothsvia amazon.com

Use Microfiber Cloths


Paper towels and disposable dusting cloths are wasteful. For your cleaning needs, opt for microfiber cloths instead. They’re ideal since they’re made of tiny strands that reach into crevices, and provide millions of little pockets within the fabric to hold dirt particles. New technology makes cleaning a breeze with microfiber cloth.

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Turn Down Freebies


Look around your home and take note of all the “freebies.” From company logo pens to real estate notepads, these marketing tactics have worked on you! The more you say no, the less you add to the demand to make more. Here are 12 unique uses for free stuff from The Home Depot.

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giftRido/Shutterstock

Reuse Gift Boxes and Accessories


A lot of waste goes into wrapping a gift. There’s the box, the wrapping paper, the tissue, the ribbon and so much more. The next time you receive a beautifully wrapped gift, save these accessories and reuse them to wrap someone else’s! Take a look at these 12 brilliant ways to reuse cardboard boxes.

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Go Paperless for All Your Bills


Bills are another contributor to a stacked mailbox of wasteful paper. Opt for paperless billing for everything from your credit card to your cell phone bill. Here are 10 more tips for going paperless at home.

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brushvia amazon.com

Ditch Sponges


A sponge only lasts so long before it’s time to open up a fresh one. Avoid the waste by ditching it altogether and opting for compostable scrubs or brushes instead. Does your kitchen sponge smell? Here’s how to clean it.

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Pressvia amazon.com

Swap Tea Bags for Loose Leaf Tea, and Try a French Press


Avoid purchasing tea bags; use loose-leaf tea in a reusable strainer instead. For coffee, you can eliminate need for filters by using a French press. Check out this DIY pour-over coffee maker, too!

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toiletvia amazon.com

Try a Bidet Attachment


The thought of giving up toilet paper to achieve a zero waste lifestyle may sound scary, but it’s actually practical when you think of its replacement! Consider cutting way back on your toilet paper usage by installing a bidet attachment. What is a bidet anyway? Americans haven’t caught on yet, but it’s time we do.

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seatSante77777/Shutterstock

Use Purifying Plants as Décor


Going green is so in! Plants never go out of style. Plus, they purify the air and add a touch of style and warmth to your home without spending dollars on disposable décor.

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salad via amazon.com

Give Up Plastic Wrap


Plastic wrap may be a staple in your household for covering foods, but it’s totally wasteful! Make the switch to reusables, such as beeswax wraps. They use the heat of your hand to mold and stick in place to protect your food. Take a look at these 25 handy hints for the home cook.

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Use Mason Jars


Say no to plastic storage containers to organize your pantry and opt instead for glass jars to keep your spices and dry goods fresh. They’ll also create a beautiful display! Check out this soap-dispensing dish scrubber made with a Mason jar.

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dry Nils Z/Shutterstock

Use the Power of the Sun


When the sun’s shining bright, give your dryer a break and hang-dry your clothes. Your electric bill will thank you. Increase laundry room efficiency with these simple storage and organization projects.

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soapSummer Photographer/Shutterstock

Switch from Plastic Bottles to Bar Soaps


Plastic bottles of soap are wasteful. Make the switch to bar soap to cut back on unnecessary packaging in your home and increase your zero waste efforts.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com