Going for a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t necessarily need to be inconvenient. It could be an enjoyable and rewarding family activity.
And if you’re new to the idea of a “zero waste lifestyle,” you should know that it’s not about forcing anyone to live with virtually zero trash.
It is more about making conscious life decisions to reduce waste in landfills, pollution, and the unnecessary consumption of Earth’s resources.
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After reading this article, you’ll learn 25 of the easiest ways to go zero waste without causing inconvenience to you or your family.
And the best part?
These zero waste home ideas can even save you a lot of money!
Let’s get started.
1. Get the “Zero Waste Home Starter Kit”
As you already know, single-use plastic and disposable products are the top contributors to our landfills.
So one of the best ways to start a zero waste lifestyle is to make some zero waste swaps in your household.
Here’s some of the zero waste home essentials.
An average person uses up to 300 toothbrushes in a lifetime.
For a family of 5, that’s 1,500 plastic toothbrushes that will end up staying for thousands of years in landfills or the ocean.
A bamboo toothbrush can greatly reduce plastic waste while keeping your teeth white, sparkly, and clean.
Reusable Cleaning Cloth
Using washable and reusable cloth (or rags) when cleaning your table, cooking wares, and utensils produce much lower waste than using paper napkins.
You’ll also be saving trees!
Reusable Water Bottles
Most reusable water bottles today are triple insulated and come with two different lids designed for carrying hot and cold beverages.
So basically, getting a plastic free reusable water bottle will not only minimize plastic trash but can also help you save money.
Eco-Friendly Food Containers and Wraps
Saving leftover foods shouldn’t come at the expense of our planet.
So from now on, stop using food containers made of plastic and switch to the ones made of stainless steel, silicone, or glass.
These food containers are made with recyclable and biodegradable materials and free from harmful chemicals (such as BPA) you can find in plastic containers.
And instead of using plastic food wraps (aka cling wraps or Saran wraps), how would you feel using beeswax food wraps instead?
Many beeswax food wraps are made with food-grade beeswax, resin, cotton, and jojoba oil, so it is not very sticky to the hands yet seals food properly.
Reusable Grocery Bag
Did you know that plastic grocery bags are among the most common trash in the landfills?
While they are a great help in carrying groceries, most of the time, they immediately go to the trash when you get home.
By having your own reusable grocery bag, you will minimize waste every time you go shopping and still carry your groceries with ease.
Now that you know these basic zero waste products, let’s learn more zero waste ideas for your home.
2. Practice “Smart” Water Usage
Now, this is relatively obvious, and we bet you already know that saving water is important.
But in most cases, when we are busy and occupied, it’s easy to take things for granted.
Believe it or not, it takes energy to deliver water to your home, so the more water you use, the more pollution it creates.
So as a reminder, here’s how your family can use water wisely at home and avoid creating unnecessary waste and pollution:
- Turn off the water faucet when no one is using (duh).
- Only use the dishwasher or washing machine with a full load.
- Water plants using leftover bathwater or laundry water.
- Turn off the water when brushing teeth.
- Don’t let the water run while washing dishes.
3. Practice Eco-Friendly Laundry Techniques
Doing your family laundry doesn’t have to be a wasteful and expensive chore.
Some eco-friendly laundry tips you might find useful:
- Get an eco-friendly laundry basket and hamper
- Wash with cold water to save electric consumption.
- Use wool dryer balls to soften clothes and quicken drying.
- Use a clothesline or hanger to dry your clothes.
- Minimize ironing your clothes.
- Unless they are filthy, don’t wash your clothes after every use.
More eco-friendly laundry tips here.
4. Buy Zero Waste Bathroom Products
Instead of stocking your bathroom with the usual hygiene products that come in plastic containers, start making some basic zero waste bathroom swaps.
Here’s list of over 150 zero waste bathroom products to help you get started.
Better yet, you can make your own hygiene products for your zero waste bathroom!
For example, this DIY deodorant by Going Zero Waste only needs water, Himalayan salt, baking soda, and essential oils (optional).
Another DIY Zero Waste Toothpaste by Trash is for Tossers only needs coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oils.
Need more? Here’s another DIY toothpaste recipe by Fairyland Cottage using coconut oil, arrowroot powder, peppermint oil, and eucalyptus oil.
5. Practice Zero Waste Home Medication Storage
Here are some zero waste ideas for storing home medications:
- Wash and clean cuts and scrapes with soap and water, then air dry it.
- Don’t use band-aids (unless necessary).
- Buy tablets in glass or metal jars instead of the ones individually wrapped in plastic.
- Don’t buy medication in large size jars; they might expire before you can finish them.
6. Use Zero Waste Dishwashing Products
Instead of buying liquid or powdered dish soap in small plastic containers, buy bulk or larger sizes.
This will reduce plastic waste and carbon footprint.
Alternatively, you can buy a big bottle of castile soap as it can be diluted with water and used as dish soap.
Then you can use the same castile soap for laundry.
Finish it off with plant-based dishwashing sponges that are entirely biodegradable.
7. Buy Zero Waste Period Products
Women’s menstrual period is a natural thing.
Unfortunately, the commonly used period products like sanitary pads are creating tons of waste.
For your home, consider using zero waste period products like menstrual cups and washable cloth sanitary pads.
You’ll be surprised how much waste you reduce and the money you can save using them.
8. Make Your Own Makeup
Cosmetics and personal products create so much waste from their containers.
So why not create your own zero waste makeup using natural and chemical-free ingredients?
This video will teach you how to create more than 5 zero waste makeup from natural, non-toxic ingredients.
9. Consider Using Cloth Diapers for Babies
Isn’t it a shame that you’re paying a lot of money for something your baby or little kid only uses once?
A great zero waste idea for your home is to use cloth diapers.
Cloth diapers can be washed, dried, and reused again for months.
Hence, you can save the environment and your budget.
10. Avoid Cooking Too Much Food
It’s easy to get carried away when cooking food for our loved ones.
But if possible, only cook what’s enough for the family – no more, no less.
Wasted food means wasted resources and energy in growing, transporting, preparing, and cooking the ingredients.
And many people don’t know that throwing away food in the trash is terrible for the environment.
Rotting food in trash or landfills creates methane, one of the greenhouse gases (GHG) responsible for global warming and climate change.
Granted, your wasted food might not be a lot but imagine 100 families are doing the same, or a thousand.
This brings us to our next zero waste ideas for home…
11. Practice Composting
Composting is an excellent way to reduce the waste your family sends to landfills. It is also a perfect way to utilize biodegradable trash, including food scraps.
The finished product of composting is an organic, hummus-like material, known as compost – an excellent natural fertilizer for plants and crops.
Here’s an excellent video about composting in your home for beginners.
But we would like to mention that composting can be time-consuming.
12. Start a Garden
If you have ample space in your yard, you can create a mini garden where you can grow spices and easy to grow veggies like eggplants, okras, or pumpkins.
And instead of using fertilizers made of harmful chemicals and comes in plastic containers, you can use your compost.
Hence, growing greens and veggies in your yard will allow you to utilize the compost you create and save money.
13. Minimize Eating Outside
It’s a norm that once in a while, families go out and eat in restaurants. However, this activity produces unnecessary wastes.
Who knows how the restaurant sourced the ingredients in their menu, whether they are using organic ingredients, and how they are packaged and transported.
Now, we are not telling you not to eat outside. It’s totally your choice.
But it can be a source of unnecessary waste and expenses, just saying.
14. Go Zero Waste on Parties
Who doesn’t enjoy a party? Should your family host one in your home, avoid using single-use plastic and disposable dinnerware and cutleries.
Here are some simple zero waste ideas for home parties:
- Rent dinnerware, glasses, and cutleries. Search for “dinnerware rentals,” and you’ll get plenty of options.
- Cook the food yourself. If you have to order, ask if the foods can be put in non-plastic trays.
- Serve drinks using stainless or reusable straws, or don’t serve with straws at all.
- Instead of using CDs or DVDs, stream music, and videos online.
15. Heard of Zero Waste Home Heating and Cooling?
Well, it’s not as fancy as it sounds, but it can help reduce electric consumption.
For starters, avoid cracking your AC all the time on summer days. Instead, open the windows to let fresh air.
Meanwhile, Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home suggests leaving your oven open after baking in the winter to let it cool and warm your house at the same time.
16. Turn Off Unused Electric Appliances
We often leave our home appliances on even without us using them.
- If you’re watching a movie, there’s no need to leave your laptop or computer on. You can even turn off the lights to save energy and add more thrill to the movie experience.
- If you’re listening to music, turn off the TV.
- When no one is in your room, turn off the lights and the AC.
Honestly, there are tons of simple things you can start doing at home to reduce waste and energy consumption. And save money!
17. Recycle and Reuse
Okay, this one is pretty obvious. The idea behind a zero waste lifestyle is to reduce the trash we send to the landfills.
So before throwing anything away, see if you can do anything to repair them. If not, then see if they can be recycled or reused.
If you don’t want to recycle yourself, you can send your collected recyclable trash to recycling centers near you.
18. Open Family Garage Sales
Having a garage sale every few months is a good zero waste idea you can consider for your home.
You can help other people get something they need for a cheap amount, and you earn a few bucks from the things you’re not using anymore.
19. Donate Old Stuffs
If you’re feeling generous, you can simply donate your old stuff to other people and community centers instead of opening garage sales.
20. Shop Wisely
So take some time to think and look through the things you’re planning to buy. If they aren’t that important, you can scratch them off your shopping list.
Also, make sure to carry your reusable shopping bag.
And when you arrive at the market or the mall, try to avoid buying things that come pre-packaged in plastic.
21. Opt for Electronic Statements
When paying for utilities, booking for trips, or making other financial transactions, refuse printed receipts unless necessary.
Electronic statements help minimize the use of print and paper. This, in turn, will save more trees and lessen the consumption of resources.
22. Carry a Handkerchief
This list of simple zero waste ideas for home wouldn’t be complete without us telling you to ditch paper tissues and disposable wipes.
Instead, always carry a handkerchief with you.
Whether it’s for blowing your nose or wiping your face, a good handkerchief will get the job done – minus the waste.
And when shopping for a handkerchief, try to get a bamboo handkerchief instead of cotton.
It’s because the bamboo fabric is more eco-friendly than cotton.
23. Get Bamboo Bed Sheets
Speaking of bamboo, did you know that producing bamboo sheets is more eco-friendly and less wasteful than sheets made of cotton and other fabric?
So let us ask you a question, what are your sheets made of?
Bamboo sheets are soft, hypoallergenic, durable, and surprisingly affordable.
24. Shop Eco-Friendly Clothing
When shopping for new clothes, here are two ways you can minimize waste.
First, you can buy cheap and high-quality second-hand clothing in thrift shops. Buying second-hand clothing will help you save money and minimize adding new waste into the system.
However, finding clothes from thrift shops is time-consuming.
You have to wade through a sea of used clothing to find the ones that will fit you and your family perfectly.
So another eco-friendly alternative is to buy clothing made of bamboo.
25. Get a Biodegradable Pet Waste Bag
And the final entry on this list of zero waste ideas for home is about taking care of your pets.
How do you clean the poop of your fur babies? Plastic bags?
A more eco-friendly alternative is to scoop your pet’s poop with toilet paper and flush it.
Another way is to clean it using a biodegradable and compostable pet waste bag.
However, keep in mind that there are potential pathogens in your pet’s poop. So do prior research should you decide on composting animal waste.
Lauren of Trash is for Tossers is suggesting that if you do compost your pet’s wastes, make sure that the pet compost is far away from your organic compost.
Who says only you can live a zero waste lifestyle? As it turns out, even Bow Wow can too!
The truth is, many people do want to adopt a zero waste lifestyle for their home and help the environment.
However, the thing that’s holding them back is the thought that it might cause inconvenience for them and their family.
With these 25 simple zero waste ideas for home, we hope we made it clear that a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t need to be hard.
Nor should a zero waste lifestyle have to come at the cost of anyone’s comfort.