60 Easy Zero Waste Tips for Beginners

zero waste tips for beginners

 Want to practice zero waste living but don’t know where to start? Try one of these easy zero waste tips for beginners. I’ve compiled a list of 60 simple ways to lead a conscious, zero waste life. All of these tips can be implemented easily, without much hassle. You can use it as a checklist and work your way down, or just scan it and choose a few to do ASAP. The choice is yours, just remember to have fun with it! 

As a friendly reminder, don’t feel intimidated to do everything on this list. There are so many options out there to creating your own, super unique zero waste journey. Think about your options carefully and make conscious, well thought out decisions. Even if you’re only able to do a few of these zero waste tips, it’s still better than doing nothing. After all, everything you do for the environment adds up in the end. Without further ado, here are sixty easy zero waste tips for beginners.


60 Easy Zero Waste Tips for Beginners

  1. Bring a reusable water bottle with you when you leave the house.
  2. Say “no straw please” when you order your drink.
  3. Pack a zero waste lunch with you to school or work.
  4. Carry reusable utensils with you from home, wrapped in a reusable napkin.
  5. Swap out tissues for handkerchiefs (find them at thrift stores or cut your own from an old shirt).
  6. Learn how to store leftovers without plastic.
  7. Dine in, instead of ordering takeout. 
  8. Head to your local farmers market and shop there completely plastic free.
  9. Donate any items you no longer want or need to your local thrift store.
  10. Start a compost bin in your backyard or take your food scraps to a drop off location (like the farmers market).
  11. Save your food scraps to make zero waste vegetable broth.
  12. Recycle your electronics properly: Best Buy has a take back program where they’ll accept almost any electronic, no matter the condition.
  13. Learn how to recycle contact lenses and glasses properly.
  14. Repair items when they break, or find creative ways to upcycle them.
  15. Keep a reusable straw on you at all times.
  16. Stay zero waste at a party by asking the host for a reusable plate, fork and cup.
  17. Join your local library: It’s the original sharing economy (no need to buy new and waste resources).
  18. Bring a travel mug with you to coffee shops and ask them to fill it up (or, ask for your drink to stay in a real mug).
  19. Make your own zero waste bug spray to keep mosquitoes at  bay.
  20. Take your shoes to be repaired by your local shoe cobbler.
  21. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
  22. Take shorter showers (5 to 10 minutes is best).
  23. Make your own DIY zero waste toothpaste
  24. Compost any hair from your hairbrush, or any hair that falls out in the shower.
  25. Swap out plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles for Plaine Products
  26. Make your own zero waste deodorant.
  27. Use bar soap instead of body wash that comes in plastic packaging.
  28. Invest in a reusable safety razor and learn about zero waste shaving
  29. Make some zero waste mouthwash.
  30. Use up the makeup you still have now, before buying more.
  31. Create your own zero waste skin care routine.
  32. Swap out plastic lip balm tubes for DIY zero waste lip balm.
  33. When your current makeup is empty, save the empties and find a drop off location you can take them to where they’ll be recycled. Origins is one place that will accept any empty makeup or skincare products to be recycled.
  34. Swap out plastic, chemical laden sunscreens for zero waste sunscreen.
  35.  Take a trip to the bulk food store and use the bulk bins without creating waste.
  36. Save any glass jars you come across to reuse for holding leftovers, bulk food and DIY projects.
  37. Learn how to freeze food without plastic (using glass jars).
  38. Skip chips in a plastic bag and make some zero waste chips instead.
  39. Reduce your meat consumption. One pound of beef takes 1,800 gallons of water to make! Eat more plants whenever possible.
  40. Regrow your kitchen scraps (lettuce and celery are some of the easiest to regrow).
  41. Simplify your kitchen: Ask yourself what tools you actually use in your kitchen, and which you can give away.
  42. Save the water you use to soak produce with and feed it to your plants.
  43. Opt for reusable dish towels and napkins instead of disposables (compost any disposable napkins and towels you do come across).
  44. Make your own zero waste dish soap and pair it with a compostable wooden pot scrubber.
  45. Invest in some cast iron pans instead of nonstick pans (often coated with Teflon, a form of plastic that releases toxic fumes when heated).
  46. Harvest your own produce by joining a community garden, going to pick your own farms, or growing a container garden on your windowsill.
  47. Purchase organic cotton or hemp bed sheets (better yet, pair it with an organic mattress too).
  48. Get to know your local tailor and take any clothing you cannot repair on your own to them.
  49. Opt for electronic receipts when you’re out, whenever you can (most receipts are coated with plastic).
  50. Learn where your local plastic film and plastic bag drop off location is and utilize it well.
  51. Avoid plastic tea bags and opt for zero waste tea.
  52. Make your own homemade nut milk (here’s my favorite quick cashew milk recipe).
  53. Learn how to pickle surplus food to prevent it from going to waste.
  54. Create your own zero waste cleaning routine (I recommend my all-purpose orange peel vinegar cleaner and my zero waste laundry detergent).
  55. Take public transportation whenever possible, or carpool to your destinations.
  56. Create a capsule wardrobe for yourself.
  57. Live in tune with the seasons by eating only local, seasonal produce.
  58. Make handmade gifts for loved ones wrapped in zero waste gift wrap.
  59. Switch to a zero waste period using reusable pads and period underwear.
  60. Stay healthy through holistic means, such as natural immune boosters and fire cider.
Did you enjoy these zero waste tips for beginners? For more tips and tricks, be sure to check out my zero waste beginners guide

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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