25 Ways to Go Zero Waste

25 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Recently, I have become fascinated with the zero waste lifestyle. Why? Because it’s one of the most eco-friendly things you can do for the planet. Think about this: The average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day. That’s 1,600 pounds (726 kg) of waste produced in a single year. If that number startles you, it should. In order to help the environment, we need to become more conscious of what we’re buying, not less. Easy conveniences like “disposable plastics” and coffee cups are not worth the purchase. Instead, by focusing on a zero (or low) waste lifestyle, you can truly make a difference. And I mean pounds worth of difference (hey, this time it’s measurable). Want to know some simple ways to go zero waste? It’s actually not as hard as you think. Here are 25 ways to go zero waste.

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25 Ways to Go Zero Waste

  1. Buy a reusable water bottle made from glass, aluminum, or stainless steel. Here’s my favorite stainless steel water bottle, made by Swell. Make sure you drink from reusable cups too (not made from plastic). 
  2. Use an plastic-free water filter system, like bamboo charcoal. Here’s how I filter water without plastic, for more details.
  3. When you’re at a party, ask the hostess for your own cup and plate. Offer to wash it when you’re done. No solo cups and paper plates for you!
  4. Shop at the farmers market where it’s easy to get package free produce. Here are my farmers market essentials.
  5. If you want takeout, call the place you want to order from ahead of time and ask if they’ll let you bring your own container. Most places won’t have a problem with this. Head over there and put the food you ordered into your own glassware, mason jar, or multi-tier tiffin
  6. DIY your own all-natural makeup and place your creations in upcycled glass jars (here’s my favorite DIY lip and cheek stain). Or, make the switch to pre-made organic cosmetics (here are 5 zero waste makeup brands worth the money).
  7. Look for items with little to no packaging. Extra packaging just creates more unneeded waste.
  8. Use an eco-friendly toothbrush, like a bamboo toothbrush. You can compost most of it at the end of its life!
  9. Make your own toothpaste and mouthwash. Super simple and cuts back on so much waste.
  10. Invest in zero waste floss: Conventional floss is plastic. There are plastic-free, compostable floss options out there to switch to.
  11. Buy reusable products: Look for reusable cameras, razors, lunch bags, cloth diapers, cloth napkins and towels, and rechargeable batteries.
  12. Buy a reusable coffee cup and have them fill it for you at Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts, instead of using a “disposable” coffee cup (which, FYI, cannot actually be recycled).
  13. Make your own all-natural cleaning products. One of my favorite all-purpose cleaners would have to be my orange peel vinegar cleaner. Simple to make and very effective.
  14. Have a zero waste period by buying cloth pads and period underwear you can hand wash, instead of disposables (disposable feminine hygiene products have toxins lurking in them)! 
  15. If you wear contacts, use 2 week or 1 month contacts. Make sure to recycle the container and the box they come in!
  16. Use mason jars to store grains, spices, and leftovers (instead of Tupperwear).
  17. Mason jars are also great at storing makeup brushes, toothbrushes, pens, pencils, and so much more (get creative!).
  18. Keep at least one or two big tote bags stashed in your car (in case you go on an impromptu shopping trip).
  19. Don’t toss out food scraps! Make your own compost with it instead. Don’t have a backyard to do it in? No worries: Just take a big bowl and dump all your food scraps in it, then put it in the fridge. This will prevent it from rotting. Most farmers markets will accept compost, so just take it with you to the farmer’s market every week! Here’s how I compost in my apartment.
  20. Donate any clothing you no longer use and purchase organic, fair trade clothing. Too pricy? Shop vintage pieces instead!
  21. Shop at your local farmers market using your reusable cloth bags.
  22. Learn how to shop zero waste by shopping at the bulk food store. If you don’t have a bulk food store near you, here’s how to shop without bulk options.
  23. Buy products or packages made from recycled materials. Some examples include writing paper, toilet tissue, and paper towels.
  24. Look for organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade labels. But don’t limit that to just food. Buy organic beauty products and clothes too!
  25. Subscribe to my newsletter and get my free ebook, 10 Ways to Reduce Trash. It’ll help you delve into zero waste living even further. 

25 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Did you find this list helpful? What are some ways you’ve gone zero waste?

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By Ariana Storniolo (Palmieri)

Ariana Storniolo is the founder of Greenify-Me, a blog dedicated to zero waste and sustainability. Her work has also been featured on Going Zero Waste, Green Matters, Mother Earth Living and several other online publications.


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