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.
Use Reusable Grocery Bags
A great starting point for achieving zero waste in your home is to avoid coming home with paper and plastic bags. They take up space in your home and have negative impacts on the environment. Always bring your own reusable cloth bags instead.
Buy Food Without Packaging
Buy food without packaging, or as little packaging as possible, whenever you cab. Sure, you can buy your red bell peppers packaged in styrofoam and covered in plastic wrap, but why? Choose fruit and vegetables without packaging whenever you can. Also, be sure to take advantage of bulk sections, where grains, seeds, nuts and more are free of excessive packaging.
Do you struggle with opening hard plastic clam-shell packaging? Here’s a hack that makes it easy.
Switch to Stainless Steel Straws
There’s no need to stock up on plastic straws. They take up space and are not sustainable. Save money and the environment by purchasing reusable stainless steel straws.
Change Your Light Bulbs to LEDs
By making the switch from incandescent to LED light bulbs, you save a significant amount of energy. LEDs consume an average of 80 percent less energy when compared to incandescent light bulbs, helping you to achieve your zero waste goals.
Reuse Old Sheets and Towels
Before you throw away sheets, towels and other fabric items, consider transforming them into rags to use 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.
Layer with Wool Before Turning Up the Heat
Just like it does on a sheep, wool is capable of regulating body temperature. You may be surprised at how much warmer you feel after putting on a pair of wool socks and wrapping yourself in a wool blanket.
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 keeping the water running from the faucet 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.
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.
Unplug Electronics When Not in Use
While you won’t slash your energy bill by unplugging appliances that aren’t using any (or very little) electricity, there are some situations where you’ll definitely 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 4 compact fluorescent bulbs).”
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 again because you went the cheap route, you’ll be throwing unnecessary money away and creating waste. Be sure to choose products meant to last a lifetime, especially when it comes to tools. Check out these five fantastic tools every DIYer should have on hand.
Switch from Plastic Water Bottles to a Filtration System
Plain and simple, 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.
Choose Rechargeable Batteries
Avoid going through packs of batteries when you can reuse the same ones over and over again! Rechargeable batteries will save your wallet and the environment.
Make an All-Purpose Cleaning Spray
From the ingredients used to the packaging it’s in, generic, store-bought cleaning supplies are very wasteful. Opt instead for a reusable spray bottle and make your own all-purpose cleaning spray. Here’s how to make homemade cleaner with simple ingredients.
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.
From clothing to furniture, you can find so many beautiful items for very 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. However, 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.
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.
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 getting dirty, your food from sticking and save you a trip to the store. If you have old beat-up cookie sheets that aren’t good for baking anymore, recycle them by using them in your shop.
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.
Use Microfiber Cloths
Paper towels and disposable dusting cloths are wasteful. For your cleaning needs, opt for microfiber clothes instead. They’re ideal for cleanliness, 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.
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.
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.
Go Paperless for All Your Bills
Bills are another contributor to a stacked mail box of wasteful paper. Be sure to 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.
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.
Swap Tea Bags for Loose Leaf Tea, and Try a French Press
Avoid purchasing tea prepackaged in tea bags and use loose-leaf in a reusable strainer instead. For coffee, you can cut out the need for filters by using a French press.
Try a Bidet Attachment
The thought of giving up toilet paper altogether to achieve a zero waste lifestyle may sound scary, but it’s actually quite practical when you think of its replacement! Consider cutting way back on your use of toilet paper by installing a bidet attachment.
Give Up Plastic Wrap
Plastic wrap may be a staple in your household for covering up 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.
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.
Use the Power of the Sun
When the sun’s shining bright, use it as an opportunity to give your dryer a break and hang-dry your clothes. Your electricity bill will thank you. Increase efficiency in your laundry room with these simple storage and organization projects.
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.
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