Zero waste the easy way.

5 Zero Waste Winter Activities to Do This Season

zero waste winter activities

I love living in tune with the seasons, and easily get excited whenever a new one approaches. Summer will always be my favorite season (warm days and delicious fruits abound), but there is a certain charm to winter. The cold has a way of bringing people together, making them reflect on things come to pass. I consider myself a pretty deep person who easily gets lost in her thoughts, so winter really brings out that side of me, and I'm perfectly comfortable with that. I also love that cozy feeling I get while  cuddling up with a good book in my toasty home as it snows outside. It makes me feel safe, warm and protected. Winter brings to mind snowy landscapes, barren trees, hardy vegetables, and warm hot cocoa. There's something about winter that makes you slow down and cherish all you have. It's also not as barren as most people think: I absolutely love winter produce and will definitely be talking about it later on in the post. So, if you want to get into the winter spirit, reduce your waste and live seasonally, you're in the right place. Here are 5 zero waste winter activities to do before the season ends!

50 Last Minute Zero Waste Gifts + How to Wrap Them Waste Free

last minute zero waste gifts

In need of some awesome last minute zero waste gifts? I hear you: Christmas is right around the corner and you need something fast. But fast doesn't mean your gift can't be ethical and sustainable!  Most of the gifts you'll find on this list can be homemade, making them even more special (in my humble opinion). You might already have the ingredients or materials needed to make them lying around your home. Other gifts may have to be purchased somewhere. I recommend checking your local farmers market, artisan soap makers, flee markets, vintage shops and thrift stores for last minute gifts, when in doubt. You never know what you'll find there: One of my farmers markets sells amazing goat milk soaps and hand crafted beeswax candles carved into beautiful shapes. Who wouldn't want that as a gift? Just remember: Gifting is about sharing kindness with one another. The price tag doesn't matter so much (what matters is it came from the heart). So don't stress over how much you spend!

Zero Waste Christmas Decorations

zero waste christmas decorations

What does it mean to have zero waste Christmas decorations? To me, it means reusing the same decorations passed down from generation to generation. Every Christmas, my family pulls out a big container full of ornaments and decorations from storage. We've reused these same decor items for years, meaning we don't have to go out and buy new ones every year. Most of the Christmas decorations have a lot of sentimental value to us too: Ornaments I made when I was a little girl; beautiful glass ornaments my mother has from her grandmother; Decor given to us by cherished loved ones. All of it has a history, making decorating special to us (so there's no way we'd throw it out). We don't decorate around the house too much - largely we focus on our Christmas tree. We don't use tinsel or adorn the tree in bows and ribbons. In fact, all we wrap it in is lights - lights we've kept in good shape for years. All other decorations pretty much live in our living room and dining room, but they're nothing over the top. Maybe a statue of Santa, a plushie of Rudolf, or a snow globe here and there. What truly matters to us is the warmth in our home. Anyone who steps foot into our apartment can feel it: The love we have for each other and the good will we bare. And isn't that what this season is all about? Spreading joy and good will to all? 

Zero Waste Christmas Cookies: Perfectly Imperfect Gingerbread Cookies

Zero Waste Christmas Cookies

Funny story about these zero waste Christmas cookies: They're gingerbread cookies that look like sugar cookies. There's a reason for that. I didn't have any brown sugar on hand (or at least I thought I didn't at the time of baking them - I later found out we did in fact have some in the cupboard my mom stowed away, out of sight). So, thanks to that little mishap, the cookies are a lot whiter and less brown than traditional gingerbread cookies. But you know what? It doesn't matter. They still taste absolutely delicious, and just like a gingerbread cookie too. There were other things about this recipe that didn't go as planned as well: I didn't have molasses so I used honey instead; Didn't have baking sheets so I used pizza pans instead; Didn't have gingerbread men cutouts so I used star cookie cutters instead. And you know what? My cookies still came out absolutely, undeniably tasty. I was taught a powerful lesson today (by myself, no less). The lesson is: Use what you have. Make do with the ingredients at hand. It's pretty wasteful to go out and buy a product if you have something that can be used in its place. After all, we as Americans consume a lot of stuff (especially during the holidays). It's so much better for the environment if we just take a moment to buy less and use what we already have. After all, that's what zero waste living is all about, right? Without further ado, here's how to make some zero waste Christmas cookies (that just so happen to look like sugar cookies).

How to Have a Zero Waste Christmas

zero waste christmas

I love Christmas. It's a time for cheer, merriment and all around goodwill. What I don't love is the waste that comes with it. All that wrapping paper is enough to give me a headache. Not to mention the plastic packaged gifts! And lets not forget the push for mass consumerism, starting with Black Friday. The holidays are indeed wasteful, but I'm happy to say there's so much you can do to cut back on it. I firmly believe the individual has a lot of power to make a difference. You can totally have a (nearly) zero waste Christmas, if you just get a little creative and think outside the box. 

3 Zero Waste Alternatives to Black Friday

zero waste alternatives to black friday

It's Black Friday and you know what that means: People are rushing to the stores to participate in mass consumerism. Almost everyone knows about this day following Thanksgiving. I've even participated in it in the past. But not anymore. Now, there are plenty of zero waste alternatives to Black Friday I much prefer, and encourage you to try too. Here are three zero waste ways to combat the consumer madness we're all encouraged to participate in this time of year.

How to Create a Zero Waste To Go Kit

zero waste to go kit

Creating a zero waste to go kit is such a simple and effective way to curb waste on the go. If you're familiar with any zero waster, chances are you've noticed we each have our own unique zero waste to go kit. 

5 Ways to Fight Food Waste: Plan, Store, Thrift, Donate and Compost

fight food waste

Food waste is a huge problem, especially in America. Forty percent of all food in America is wasted. When food is wasted, it goes to landfills where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide. That's because food in a landfill does not break down properly. Consumers are just as responsible for food waste as are grocery stores (who tend to throw out perfectly good food when they can't sell it). Consumers (like me and you) will toss food we don't feel like eating in the trash, along with food scraps (like banana peels and the tops of strawberries). All of this leads to methane gas which harms our planet even further. This is unacceptable, considering there are so many starving people in the world. According to a 2018 report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), 821 million people globally go hungry and are undernourished. The sad truth is we have enough food to feed everyone. But food waste (and food loss) prevent us from doing so. That's why fighting food waste is such an important task we all must undertake. Here are five ways to fight food waste and become a food waste warrior.

Zero Waste Pickles: Homemade Dill Pickles

zero waste pickles

Anybody up for some zero waste pickles? This easy homemade dill pickle recipe requires no canning what so ever. Just a refrigerator, some ingredients from the farmers market, and a little patience. Once you have the cucumbers set up in the jar (which takes barely 15 minutes), you just have to wait three to four days for the pickling to begin. Trust me when I say these are worth the wait: My batch came out absolutely delicious, crunchy and sooo drool worthy. Way better than any store bought pickles, that's for sure. And no added artificial ingredients!

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! 

Zero Waste Period: Reusable Pads + Period Underwear

zero waste period

Having a zero waste period isn't hard. You just need to figure out what works for you. There are several options available on the market, but my personal favorites include reusable pads and period underwear from Lunapads. These two items are life changers, and I'm not exaggerating. Before I made the switch to reusables, I would go through one-and-a-half packs of disposable pads every month. Each pack had about 24 pads in them. So, in other words, I was sending about 36 pads to the landfill in just one period cycle. The plastic in disposable pads take hundreds of decompose too, so they'll be around for a while. Plastic never truly goes away: It will just become micro-plastic and continuously leech into the environment. That thought alone was enough to make me switch to reusables. Now, I no longer have to worry I'm polluting the environment simply for being a woman.

Zero Waste Halloween

zero waste halloween

I live in an apartment, so giving out candy to little kids on Halloween was never a concern my folks (or me) had to deal with. I guess that's a blessing in disguise: We didn't need to spend money buying plastic bags of candy wrapped in more plastic. I do, however, have fond memories of going trick or treating myself. So I wasn't completely waste free as a child, despite the fact my parents never had to buy stuff for trick or treaters. I still live in an apartment today - the only difference is I don't go trick or treating anymore. Instead, I usually just spend the holiday wearing cat ears and watching a semi-scary film with my boyfriend (he's not big on horror). I'm grateful for this simplicity, considering Halloween is a really hard time of year for the environment. All those plastic wrapped candies, single use costumes, and rotting pumpkins really add up. That's why I decided to devise a zero waste Halloween guide that would help you navigate this spooky holiday. I've provided a list of zero waste candy options, zero waste costume ideas, zero waste Halloween decor and zero waste Halloween recipes to chill your bones. No matter what you're doing this Halloween, you can use this handy guide as a reference to make the best possible decisions. Ready to celebrate a zero waste Halloween? Enter if you dare.

5 Zero Waste Fall Activities to Do This Season

zero waste fall activities

As someone who lives in tune with the seasons, I get excited whenever a new one approaches. Summer is by far my favorite season (all the fresh produce at the farmers market gets me pumped), but I have a soft spot for fall. That's probably because I was born in fall (November 18 to be exact - in case you want to get me a gift 🤣), but there are other reasons too. Fall brings to mind crisp air, changing leaves, fall produce, and warm chai tea. There's something about fall that just feels so cozy and invokes this slower paced way of living. Its also a time of harvest: Enjoying all of the autumn bounty before winter's sharp chill freezes over the land. I absolutely adore fall produce and will definitely be talking about it later on in the post (aside from pumpkins and apples, there are a lot of other fruit and vegetables in season right now too). So, if you want to get into the fall spirit, reduce your waste and live seasonally, you're in the right place. Here are 5 zero waste fall activities to do before the season ends!

Zero Waste Tomato Sauce

zero waste tomato sauce

This past weekend my family got together to make one thing: Homemade tomato sauce! I won't lie: The process was very tedious, labor intensive, and NOT waste free. There was a lot of plastic I couldn't necessarily avoid (gloves, bags, etc.), and food scrap waste. However, it was at my aunt's house so it was not within my control (I don't have the means or the equipment to can at home). None the less, I plan on providing my aunt with some suggstions for next year: This year was the first time we've done it as a group and we plan to make it an annual thing (yay). I've already thought of several zero waste solutions to combat the waste problems I spotted while making the sauce. So today, along with providing the recipe we used to make our sauce, I'll also be providing ways to counteract waste. I plan on pitching these simple zero waste fixes to my family next year to make the process a lot more eco-friendly. Hopefully, with this in mind, we can create some amazing zero waste tomato sauce next year! Until then, I hope it helps you make your own zero waste tomato sauce - now excuse me as I go devour some pasta. 

Zero Waste Beet Pickles: No Canning, Roasting or Waste

zero waste beet pickles

Zero waste beet pickles taste just as good, if not better, than store-bought pickled beets. They're also ridiculously easy to make. All you need is some vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and you're good to go. Pickling is also a great way to reduce food waste, especially when you have an over-abundance of food. Too many beets? Pickle them. Too many carrots? Pickles to the rescue. Too many cucumbers? You get the drill. The method I use to make these zero waste pickles is called refrigerator pickles, and they do not involve canning. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or equipment to can, so refrigerator pickles are the next best thing. Refrigerator pickles are an easy way to preserve vegetables but not the same as canning, which requires sterilizing the jars and much more processing. All that's required of refrigerator pickles is that you keep them in the fridge: No heat or sterilization required. It's much more do-able, especially when you're a busy body like me. 

Zero Waste Tea: How to Avoid Plastic Tea Bags

zero waste tea

Confession time: I've never been a coffee drinker. I don't prefer the taste (though I do admit I like the smell when my dad brews it). However, I am an avid tea drinker. I have a nice cup of green tea every morning to get my mojo going. There are three ways to get zero waste tea: Grow it yourself (I'm currently growing mint), buy it in bulk (I do that for raspberry leaf, chamomile and hibiscus tea), and/or buy it in sustainable, compostable packaging (Yogi tea for the win!). I clearly do a mix of all three. My reason? Most tea bags are made from plastic. It's a sad truth for someone like me. This means any tea bags that are made from plastic will not biodegrade at all - though the tea leaves inside the bag will. Plastic tea bags are also bad for your health: When placed in hot water for your tea, the plastic leaches harmful, toxic chemicals straight into your drink. Yuck, no thanks. If you're like me (and want to keep plastic as far away from your tea as possible) you're in luck. Here's how to avoid plastic tea bags and brew a nice cup of zero waste tea.

Zero Waste School Year: Sustainable Supplies + Waste-Free Ways to Improve Your School

zero waste school year

Ready to have a zero waste school year? I haven't been in school since 2016, but I can honestly say I miss the excitement that comes with buying new school supplies. That said, I'd do things a little differently now, thanks to zero waste living. To make your life easier, I've compiled a list of all the zero waste school supplies you'll need to thrive this year, all in one place. Plus, I've included several waste-free ways to get involved with your school and make a real difference (at the bottom of the post). After all, why stop at school supplies, right? Zero waste is about so much more than just getting new, plastic-free things. It's about changing your lifestyle, making a difference, and getting involved.

Zero Waste Beginners Guide: 20 Tips to Get Started

zero waste beginners guide

A lot of people ask me "how did you go zero waste?" The answer is: Research. Tons and tons of research. I read articles, blogs, books, watched videos, documentaries. I was like a sponge, soaking it all up. Then, I applied that research and started making more conscious, educated choices. Yes, I bought a few new items (like my reusable water bottle, travel mug, etc.) but it was more of a mindset change than anything else. Zero waste living isn't so much about what you buy: It's about how you live, and what you do with the items you buy/already have. For example, you could already have a reusable water bottle, but it doesn't mean anything if it sits in your cupboard all day long, not being used. Zero waste is about developing a relationship with your items, learning to cherish them and purchasing with end of life in mind. If you're new to the zero waste lifestyle, all of this can be quite overwhelming. That's why I've created this zero waste beginners guide: It's everything you could want to know about the zero waste lifestyle rolled into one. Here I'll explain exactly what zero waste living is, along with 20 actionable tips to get started. Are you ready to dive in and start making a difference?

How to Stay Zero Waste at a Party

zero waste at a party

Staying zero waste at a party can be pretty challenging. Whether it's a family event or a friend's party, I get it. Waste happens. Between all the disposable plates, cups and utensils, it's hard to feel like the environmentalist you are. However, I'm here to tell you there's hope. While you can't completely control the actions of others, you can control your own. I've been to several parties, family and friend, and I can assure you, I know how to stay zero waste at a party. If you're confident, pleasant and polite, you won't have any problems. You may slip up every once and a while, it happens to the best of us, but I'm here to give you my tips and tricks. Follow these general guidelines and you'll go home feeling more proud of yourself than ever. Here's how to stay zero waste at a party.

Zero Waste Bug Spray

zero waste bug spray

Mosquitoes love my blood, so creating a zero waste bug spray was a high priority this summer. I'm sure many of you can relate: You're sitting outside, enjoying the summer evening, and before you know it, you're covered in bug bites. And worst of all, they itch like mad! Not sure about you, but whenever I get a mosquito bite, it starts out small, then swells up like a big balloon on my skin. It's so uncomfortable and disgusting. 

But worse yet, there's very limited zero waste, all-natural options for bug repellent on the market. Unfortunately, most store-bought bug sprays contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide) - try saying that three times. In studies on rats, prolonged DEET exposure led to diffuse brain cell death and behavioral changes. The study concluded humans should stay away from it as well. However, other studies have shown that many people are fine when they use DEET products on a sporadic basis. 

That's all well and good, but I don't like to take chances with my own health. I'd rather eliminate the risk altogether and stick to using something natural. Plus, lets face it, making your own insect repellent is way cheaper. Who wants to spend X amount of dollars on one can of bug spray when they can buy ingredients that make them multiple cans of bug spray? Here's how to make your own all-natural zero waste bug spray.

Zero Waste Farmers Market Essentials

zero waste farmers market

Every Saturday I come home with a beautiful zero waste farmers market haul. Reusable tote bags stuffed with mesh produce bags; Returnable paper cartons filled with delicious, local berries; Spinach and romaine lettuce with leaves the size of my hand. Fresh produce gives me so much life. Not only is it healthier for me, but it's healthier for the planet. There's very minimal packaging on these plants, if at all, at the market. I'm able to go there with produce bags a blazing and stuff 'em all in. No plastic single-use bags needed. And I do it every. single. Saturday. It feels so good knowing I have this beautiful bounty to look forward to. The earth produces some amazing things (especially in summer, at the peak of growing season) and it's fantastic to experience that first hand. Why wrap something as beautiful as lettuce the size of my head in a plastic bag? I don't think so. If you've been wanting to shop at the farmers market, or even just the grocery store, without producing waste, be prepared. I'm going to show you exactly what I use to get the job done. Here are my zero waste farmers market essentials. 

Zero Waste Sunscreen: 6 Plastic-Free, Reef Safe Alternatives

zero waste sunscreen

Zero waste sunscreen is a must in the summer months. Unfortunately, most commercial sunscreens come packaged in plastic and have questionable ingredients in them. Speaking of questionable ingredients, did you hear Hawaii recently banned the sale of sunscreens containing chemicals harmful to coral reefs? The bill will go into effect by January 1st, 2021, giving retailers plenty of time to get harmful sunscreens off the shelves. It makes you wonder why these sunscreens are on the market to begin with. Because, lets face it, if they're harmful for other organisms, chances are they're harmful to us as well. The truth is, none of this stuff is properly regulated (the beauty industry can pretty much sell you just about anything, it's that unregulated). That includes sunscreens. It's time we opened our eyes and took control of our personal health again - not to mention the earth's! Follow Hawaii's lead and ditch conventional sunscreen. Instead, opt for zero waste sunscreens that are both plastic free and reef safe. I have 6 amazing zero waste sunscreens lined up for you. Which ever sunscreen you pick, you'll be making an amazing purchase for the environment and your health. Lets save the coral reefs together!

My Zero Waste Skin Care Routine

My zero waste skincare routine is rather simple. I don't like using too many products on my face and body, even if they are natural. That's partially because I'm lazy and partially because skin care can be ridiculously expensive. Though, I must admit some things are worth paying for (and at the very least you can say you tried them out). I'm very finicky about the packaging of my products ever since going zero waste. I do my best to avoid any skin care products packaged in plastic and I have greatly succeeded! Before I went zero waste I couldn't believe the amount of green beauty products (sugar scrubs, facial masks, etc.) I had that were just sitting around gathering dust. Some were in glass, but most were in plastic. Honestly, I gave a huge chunk of my beauty products away because I just wasn't using them and didn't want to waste anything (most were lightly used, if not untouched). I'm glad I minimized my beauty routine because at least now I'm not purchasing things just because they look pretty or sound amazing. I'm purchasing them because A) They come in sustainable packaging B) use natural ingredients and C) I actually need them and thought my purchase through. This has pretty much eliminated the need for outlandish, excessive spending and curbs so much of my waste. Now without further ado, here's my zero waste skin care routine.

How to Store Leftovers without Plastic

store leftovers without plastic

Do you know how to store leftovers without plastic? It's actually pretty easy: You just need the right tools for the job. My fridge is almost completely plastic-free now, thanks to some sustainable alternatives. Before I went zero waste, plastic wrap permeated almost every inch of my fridge. It was downright invasive. But plastic wrap is so bad for both the environment and your health. After all, plastic is a substance known to leach toxins into food. Worse yet, after using plastic wrap for a short duration, you throw it away and it lasts in the environment nearly forever. Plastic wrap is hard to recycle in most areas, and in some it's not recyclable at all. I'm glad our family doesn't buy it anymore: It was also a real money drainer. 

How to Celebrate Plastic Free July

plastic free july

If you're a zero waster, chances are you've heard of Plastic Free July already. Several times, in fact. It's pretty much all over my Instagram feed right now, and for good reason! It gives people the chance to really make a commitment to going zero waste. Plastic Free July is essentially a campaign that started in 2011 to get people thinking about plastic pollution, and ways to solve it. The goal of Plastic Free July is to avoid disposables the month of July (and hopefully every day afterward). The cool part about this challenge is that you can pick one disposable to avoid (like plastic packaging), the big four (like plastic bags, bottles, straws and coffee cups), or go all out and go completely plastic free. The commitment level is totally up to you, and since the commitment is only a month long, it's a good way to get a taste for the zero waste lifestyle and see if it's for you. The cool part is, by the end of the month, it'll feel so natural and second nature to you (after all, it takes about 21 days to form good habits). 😉 Ready to get started? Head on over to Plastic Free July and make the pledge on what you're going to give up this July. Encourage your friends and family to enter too! They'll soon find out how easy and fun it is to go plastic free, and you can make it a joined effort. Now, without further ado, here's how to celebrate Plastic Free July.

Zero Waste Morning Routine + Giveaway

zero waste morning routine

My zero waste morning routine is a stabilizing part of my day. I do my best to keep my mornings as simple, healthy and waste free as possible. Since I'm a full-time freelancer and blogger, I'm on the computer for a majority of the day. This obviously doesn't allow for much physical activity, or socialization. For this reason, I've crafted a morning routine that will center me, get my creative juices flowing and put me in a happy state. I do my best to keep my mornings as waste-free as possible too, and I hope it inspires you to do the same. To help you get started, I've partnered up with Brush with Bamboo to giveaway a 4 pack of organic toothbrushes, an adult travel case and a tongue cleaner. Check out the bottom of the post for details on how to win! It's an Instagram and national giveaway only (sorry international followers), but it's super easy to enter! Now without further ado, here's my zero waste morning routine.

6 Zero Waste Health Tips to Keep You Healthy Year Round

zero waste health

Want to stay healthy and zero waste at the same time? The two are actually quite interconnected. Giving up all that plastic exposes you to less toxins, that's for sure. And when you stop buying food packaged in plastic, you force yourself to give up a lot of processed junk, opting for real food instead. So, being zero waste on its own already gives you a much needed boost in health. Here's how to take it to the next level with 6 of my favorite zero waste health tips.

Zero Waste Lunch Essentials (+ Zero Waste Salad Recipe)

As a freelance writer and blogger, I pretty much work out of home. That said, I still make and pack a zero waste lunch for myself, usually at night for the next day. Very rarely am I scrambling to make an impromptu lunch last minute. I tend to use fresh, locally grown produce to make my meals. My mom and I go every Saturday to the farmers market to stock up on food we mainly use for our lunches. We're salad addicts, so most of the produce we buy gets used to make that. We always buy everything plastic-free too, thanks to our handy tote bags and produce bags. We tend to make our salads the night before, that way my mom can wake up and take hers to work hassle free and I can eat mine whenever I get hungry. In order to keep my lunch as waste free as possible, I'm also very conscious about what I store it in and how I eat it. Here are my favorite zero waste lunch essentials. As a bonus, I've also included a zero waste salad recipe I have been loving lately. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

How to Care For + Clean Cast Iron

how to care for and clean cast iron

Are you curious about how to care for and clean cast iron? Many people are, but believe it's too much work and upkeep. The honest truth is cast iron skillets require very minimal care, are pretty cheap, and can last a lifetime. All you have to do is know the basics to caring for them and they'll become your most prized kitchen tools. I would know: My trusty Lodge 8-inch cast iron skillet is pretty much my go-to in the kitchen now. I use it to make everything from omelets to stir fries. It's super easy to clean, low fuss, and practically unbreakable. What's not to love?

Zero Waste Vegetable Broth from Food Scraps

zero waste vegetable broth

Ever since I was little my mom has always called me a soup head. For good reason: I love my soup, no matter the season or occasion. But you know what I don't like? Most store-bought broth. If you check the ingredients on store bought broth, you'll more than likely find loads of salt. Not exactly healthy. Plus, store-bought broth is typically packaged in containers lined with plastic, and BPA free or not, I'd rather not expose my soup to plastic. Not to mention even organic broth comes in wasteful single-use packaging. That's why I've found a way to make my own broth at home, without spending any additional money. Using food scraps, instead of discarding them, I've started making some zero waste vegetable broth worthy of my soups. This isn't a new idea by far, so I can't claim this is something I started (its been done for years by many a wiser person than me). But I can say it's definitely worth sharing.

6 Zero Waste Spring Cleaning Tips

zero waste spring cleaning

By: Ariana Palmieri

Over the course of the winter, I must admit I barely clean my room. Dust piles up, items sneak their way onto my desk and my closet looks like a tornado hit it. But come spring? The weather is gorgeous, the sun is shining, and I'm ready to detox everything negative from my life. That's how I know it's time for some zero waste spring cleaning! Just the other day, I tackled my room: I practically gutted my closet, dusted every nook and cranny and donated a bunch of items I no longer find useful. It's amazing how many items you keep and hold onto over the weeks, months and years. I often have trouble letting go of my items, but sometimes, you just have to. I always make sure everything gets a second chance at life though: I never just throw things away. Donating old toys from 10+ years ago, clothes I barely wear, and books I don't read are all part of the zero waste way. It's honestly freeing to let them go, and it's good to know they won't go to waste! If you're thinking about spring cleaning your room (or entire house), here are six zero waste spring cleaning tips I have to offer you.

Zero Waste Contact Lenses and Eyeglasses: How to Recycle Them

zero waste contact lenses and eyeglasses

By: Ariana Palmieri

I must admit, my eye sight is not the best. Ever since I was little I've needed glasses, and just a few years ago I switched over to contacts. Yes, I'm aware that contacts are very wasteful, but I personally prefer them (I like how I look in them better and how my vision improves with them). I still use glasses (only when I'm home or I'm in for the night), but I always wear contacts while I'm out and about. Up until one year ago, I hadn't thought about the impact wearing glasses or contacts had on the environment. I was using one-a-day contacts you toss out after one single use (talk about wasteful). Then, after being enlightened by the zero waste movement, I found there were better options available. So yes, there is such a thing as zero waste contact lenses and eyeglasses. Here's how you can avoid sending your contacts (and glasses) to a landfill by recycling them properly. It's easier than you may think!

How to Be Zero Waste at the Movies

zero waste at the movies

By: Ariana Palmieri

I'll be honest: My boyfriend and I are frequent movie goers. We both like action and sci-fi movies best, so whenever a good one comes out we're on top of it. He's a huge fan of Star Wars specifically, so that's always a given, and I love super hero movies (omg, have you seen Infinity Wars yet?? GO). But I must admit, being zero waste at the movies isn't always easy. With all the ticket stubs they give out, the plastic-wrapped candies, the plastic-lined buckets of popcorn...all of it can be quite wasteful. Worse yet, my movie theater doesn't even have recycling. They just dump everything into the trash. That's why I decided, whenever I could, I would do my best to keep my waste at a minimum while at the movies. I never purchase candy there (just popcorn), and that's easier to make at home and bring in a glass jar (stashed in my bag of course). Maybe at some point I'll try to talk to the theater about changing their wasteful practices, but until then, I'll at least do my part. Since I'm sure I'm not the only zero waste movie goer, I figured it would be a good idea to share my tips and tricks with all of you greenifiers too. I've even included a sample letter (at the bottom of the post) you can use in case you decide to contact your local theater about introducing more zero waste options! Now without further ado, here's how to be zero waste at the movies.

Zero Waste Mouthwash: Homemade Mint + Tea Tree Recipe

zero waste mouthwash

By: Ariana Palmieri
My mom is a dental assistant, but she absolutely loves the homemade toothpaste I make. So much so, that whenever she runs low, she's always asking me to make more. If a dental assistant approves of it, its got to be good. That made me think: What if I took it a step further and replaced our conventional mouthwash with zero waste mouthwash? My mom had no objections to this. In fact, she even admitted she doesn't like traditional mouthwashes, saying "mouthwash with alcohol in it is too abrasive anyway". 

How to Freeze Food Without Plastic (Using Glass Jars)

freeze food without plastic

By: Ariana Palmieri

When you think of frozen foods, you probably think of those plastic bags containing mixed vegetables (that probably aren't even in season) and plastic covered meats you stuff in the freezer. Let me start off by saying that my freezer (at the moment) does have these items in them. I live with my folks, and I can't necessarily control what they buy (though I do make plastic-free suggestions where appropriate). Still, I've noticed a shift: My mom is starting to feel more and more comfortable with the idea of freezing food without plastic. On Sundays when she makes her delicious pasta sauce, she always reaches for a mason jar first to store the leftover sauce, then freezes it. I'm proud of her for that. She's done that with more than just sauce too: Soup, broth, chopped vegetables. All because I taught her how to freeze food without plastic. And honestly, it's really not that hard.

Zero Waste Makeup Remover: DIY Oil Cleanser

zero waste makeup remover

By: Ariana Palmieri

Removing your makeup doesn't have to be wasteful. I like to keep things simple at night, so I use a DIY oil cleanser and an organic facial cloth to do the job. I store the cleanser in a little upcycled glass dropper bottle, making it the perfect zero waste makeup remover. Just a few drops of this stuff works wonders and practically melts my makeup off with minimal effort. When I'm done rubbing it in to my skin, I just rinse it off with some water and wipe it off using my facial cloth. Easy, simple and effective. The best part is making this makeup remover didn't cost me a thing: I used oils I already had in my pantry. 

Zero Waste Easter Ideas

zero waste easter

By: Ariana Palmieri

Out of all the (religious) holidays, Easter is definitely my favorite one. I've always loved how uplifting and refreshing it felt. The themes of renewal, new beginnings and celebrating life were always appealing to me. Plus, I'm in love with spring, and Easter celebrates all things spring (think tulips, daffodils, babies, etc). But there is one problem with Easter: All the dang plastic! Just like most holidays, waste is amplified through plastic Easter eggs, plastic wrapped baskets, plastic Easter grass and so much more. There's a part of me that wishes I could go back in time to celebrate Easter like my grandmother did, just to avoid all the plastic. That said, celebrating a zero waste Easter (in modern times) certainly is possible, which is why I decided to create this blog post.

Zero Waste Junk Food: Homemade Potato Chips

zero waste junk food

By: Ariana Palmieri

One of the struggles with going zero waste is that you can't exactly pig out on junk food anymore. Most junk food is packaged in single-use plastic (e.g. potato chip bags). Thing is, you don't necessarily have to give up on junk food entirely when you go zero waste (though, that is certainly the easier and healthier choice). There are some bulk food stores that carry candy (and even chocolate) in bulk, so you could always shop package-free using glass jars and pick some up. That said, zero waste potato chips are not exactly a thing: Can you imagine walking into a bulk food store and seeing chips in the bulk bins? I feel like as soon as you went to scoop some up they'd break and you'd be left with nothing but shattered remains by the time you reached the cashier. Enter homemade potato chips: The zero waste junk food solution to all your chip-related needs.

Zero Waste St. Patrick's Day

zero waste St. Patrick's Day

By: Ariana Palmieri

Are you doing anything for St. Patrick's Day? While I'm a full-blood Italian, I like to live by the phrase "everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day". I mean, come on, I am "Greenify-Me", after all. That said, I want to have a zero waste St. Patrick's Day too. I've always felt like holidays were especially wasteful, and (sadly) St. Patrick's Day is no different. A lot of people go out of their way to buy lots of green items: This includes green plastic cups, utensils, plates, and accessories. But where does it all go when the day's over? In the trash. So, in order to have a greener, less wasteful St. Patrick's Day, I've devised a few tips and tricks that will help. That way, we can all go green together (in multiple ways)! Here's how to have a zero waste St. Patrick's Day (and still have a good time).

DIY Zero Waste Lip Balm

DIY zero waste lip balm

By: Ariana Palmieri

I'm always disappointed with conventional makeup aisles. For starters, Burts Bees is the only natural option typically offered. Secondly, everything's packaged in plastic: The actual makeup container and the protective plastic surrounding it. Even lip balm. I mean seriously: If you want to see how plastic-obsessed we are as a society, go down a makeup aisle. It will change you. That's why I decided enough was enough: It was time to make my own DIY makeup. First up - DIY zero waste lip balm.

Zero Waste Food Shopping: How to Use Bulk Bins Without Creating Waste

zero waste food shopping

By: Ariana Palmieri

Does your local health food store have a bulk bin aisle? Mine does, and up until a few weeks ago, I never used it. I live in Staten Island (New York) and Tastebuds (my local health food store) is pretty much the only zero waste grocery store near me that has bulk dry goods. They have one big aisle dedicated to bulk grains, coffee, herbs, spices, nuts, seeds, snacks, dried fruits, baking goods and more. I've known about that aisle ever since I was little, but never actually knew how unique and essential it was to zero waste living until recent. Now, thanks to Tastebuds, I'm able to go zero waste food shopping whenever I want without creating waste. And guess what? I'm going to show you exactly how I do it.

Zero Waste Dish Soap

zero waste dish soap

Do you know what's in your dish soap? I can confidently say what's in mine (just 3 harmless ingredients), but it wasn't always that way. Just recently, I convinced my parents to let me make some zero waste dish soap so they'd stop buying conventional products. I'm not sure if you're aware, but not only are conventional brands packaged in plastic, but they're also filled with water-polluting chemicals. Nasty ingredients like fragrance, methylisothiazolinone (what the heck right?), sodium lauryl sulfate, and more chemicals you can't even pronounce are in conventional brands. According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Dawn's Ultra Concentrated Dishwashing Liquid (Original) has these harmful ingredients (and way more), which poses a high environmental concern. These chemicals enter waterways (and get on human skin!) every time we wash dishes with them. I'm just not comfortable letting those chemicals touch me, my family, or waterways, so I gave this DIY dish soap a try.

Zero Waste Recipe: Quick Cashew Milk

quick cashew milk

By: Ariana Palmieri

Anybody up for some quick cashew milk? I know I am: I'm rather impatient (at least when it comes to food), so I like really simple, time efficient recipes. A lot of cashew milk recipes I see online require you to soak the cashews for at least 3 hours, or overnight. Yawn. No thanks. If you don't feel like soaking cashews (or any nuts) for hours just to get milk, I hear you. That's why I decided to share this zero waste recipe for quick cashew milk: It only takes about 30 minutes to make. No soaking, no straining and no nut pulp: Just creamy, delicious, plant-based milk.

Zero Waste Cleaning: Orange Peel Vinegar Cleaner

orange peel vinegar

By: Ariana Palmieri

Recently, I posted a photo on Instagram of my (at the time, unfinished) orange peel vinegar cleaner: It got a lot of likes and so many people expressed interest in making some. That's why I figured it'd be a good idea to share the recipe on my blog, along with my opinion of it as a cleaner. It's really not hard to make at all and makes for easy zero waste cleaning. Oh, and it smells amazing.

Zero Waste Recipe: No Bake Vegan Chocolate Bites

By: Ariana Palmieri

If you have a sweet tooth like me, you always appreciate the taste of chocolate. While I do prefer organic chocolate, even that comes in a wasteful wrapper. What's a girl to do? Well, thankfully I've devised a zero waste recipe for no bake vegan chocolate bites and it's absolutely amazing. Because this recipe is vegan and no bake, it only takes an hour or so to make (and most of that hour is spent waiting for the chocolate to harden in the freezer). It's only got 3 ingredients (cocoa, coconut oil and maple syrup) making it extra easy and extra healthy. Gift them to give your sweetie on Valentine's Day (or eat them by yourself, watching some Netflix - I don't judge). Either way they'll be sure to please. What more could you ask for?

Review: Kypris Beauty - Cleanser Concentrate + Glow Philtre

kypris beauty review

By: Ariana Palmieri
I'm very picky when it comes to skin care products now a days: I like efficiency, but need clean ingredients I can feel good about putting on my skin. But, perhaps most importantly, I have to love the packaging. No, I'm not saying this to sound superficial, I mean it in the best way: It needs to be zero waste friendly packaging. So items in disposable plastic, or plastic in general, are not exactly ideal. I want to be able to reuse any container I have and make it last, even once its contents are gone. Thankfully, Kypris Beauty gets it. They not only have amazing products with clean, all-natural ingredients, but also reusable packaging. Everything is packaged beautifully in glass, including their Cleanser Concentrate and Glow Philtre (which are the two products I have). Score! No nasty rigid plastic here, and no toxins. The Cleanser Concentrate is just that (a cleanser) and the Glow Philtre can double as a mask or gentle exfoliant. If you're looking for some all-natural, high quality, zero waste skincare, you need to read my official Kypris Beauty review below!

DIY Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

DIY Zero Waste Laundry Detergent

Most laundry detergents come in plastic containers that are hardly zero waste friendly. Plus, have you read the ingredients in conventional laundry detergents? They're pretty toxic and unnatural if you ask me. That's why I decided to create my own zero waste laundry detergent that I could fit into a 4 oz. glass jar. No more packaging waste, and no more unnecessary chemicals. I particularly love using this detergent on my zero waste essentials, such as cloth napkins, face towels and reusable pads. I just wash them all in the sink using this stuff. That said, it's definitely strong enough to hold its own in a laundry machine. This recipe was inspired by The Simply Co's laundry detergent, which is amazing, but can get a little pricey with each new purchase.

How Does Construction Affect the Environment?

construction affect the environment

By: Ariana Palmieri

Recently, my local mall has undergone a few pretty big renovations. They just added a parking garage to it that has two floors. They're also going to be adding a whole new wing to my local mall with new, more up-scale stores. The work for that is still in progress, still incomplete. While the whole idea sounds nice, it got me thinking: How does construction affect the environment? I'd imagine it's not the greenest, most eco-friendly job, but to what extent? Well, I decided to a little digging. Suffice it to say, construction definitely has a big impact on the environment, in more ways than one. Here's what I learned and what you need to know.