The past few years have seen increasing buzz around the zero waste lifestyle movement thanks to books like Bea Johnson’s influential Zero Waste Home.
For those new to the subject, zero waste is the effort to reduce, reuse, and recycle your way towards sending as little household trash to the landfill as possible.
Considering that the average American is said to throw away 3 pounds of trash per day, adopting a zero waste lifestyle may seem like a steep challenge! Whilst it might be difficult to get to 100% zero waste however, there are still small steps everyone can take to use less and reduce their waste on a daily basis.
Not only will incorporating some zero waste lifestyle ideas help the environment, but many will also help to save money too, so they make a brilliant double-whammy resolution. For the biggest wins, try to think of the things you use most often, such as reusing water bottles.
The list of zero waste lifestyle tips we’ve put together here is just a drop in the ocean, so if you’d like to learn more, check out Bea Johnson’s brilliant book or visit Lauren Singer’s Trash is for Tossers blog.
In the meantime, here are 39 essential lifestyle tips to help you towards a reduced or zero waste lifestyle – with the emphasis on simple, everyday changes. Enjoy!
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- Replace plastic drinking straws with metal ones
Plastic straws take over 500 years to decompose, so using fewer is a great starting point for reducing waste. Look out for ones that come with small cleaning brushes so you can keep yours in tip-top condition. We like these stainless steel ones that come in a mixture of straight and bendy.
- Always carry a reusable water bottle
It will not only reduce the number of single-use plastic water bottles you go through, but drinking more water can change your body in some really amazing ways! We love this one, which helps you hit your minimum 2 liters per day.
- Take reusable bags to the store
This might be an obvious one but it’s amazing how many times you’ll be caught short when picking up some last-minute groceries. Invest in some reusable grocery bags like these ones that fit right in your pocket so you can take them everywhere.
- Ask for donations or experiences
Reduce your product waste and ask friends and family to contribute to an important charity or a once in a lifetime experience for your wedding or graduation instead of physical gifts.
- Use leftover lemons to make a vinegar cleaning product
Once you’ve made your gin and tonic, use the leftover lemons to create a gorgeous scented natural cleaner with vinegar. Check out a tutorial with this post.
- Keep boxes and packaging from deliveries
With the rise of online shopping, many people find themselves receiving over-packaged deliveries.
- Stop using plastic wrap to preserve your food
It’s difficult to recycle and ends up in a landfill. Switch to washable beeswax wraps or silicone bowl covers.
- Keep letters and envelopes for scrap paper and notes
Dispose of any confidential or sensitive information first, but cut up junk mail, letters, and envelopes to use the back as scrap paper for notes, shopping lists, bookmarks, and more.
- Replace tampons with leakproof period panties
Sanitary products aren’t sustainable, so switching to period-proof underwear like these from Modibodi is a great idea to move towards a zero waste lifestyle.
- Ditch disposable sandwich bags
Just as bad for the environment as plastic wrap, set yourself a challenge, and prepare packed lunches without any single-use plastic for a week, keep sandwiches fresh with reusable cotton bags like these instead.
- Choose longer-lasting LED lightbulbs
LED lightbulbs last 25 times longer than incandescent lightbulbs, so you’ll need to change them far less often and throw fewer away. They’re also more durable and use 80% less power, all whilst giving the same amount of light.
- Bake with a difference
Use washable silicone liners inside the oven and baking sheets instead of lining them with tin foil. Don’t worry, they’ll still save on cleaning up as sauces and food can’t stick to them.
Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws
32oz Motivational Water Bottle
Want to shop all our Health picks in one place? Check out our dedicated shopping page, full of all our best finds from the interwebs!
Folding Reusable Grocery Bags
We’d love to see online retailers do more to minimize packaging in the mail as part of a joint effort for a zero waste lifestyle, but until then, always keep flattened boxes and packing materials rather than throwing them away.
You can use them for mailing your own parcels, especially items that you’re selling on eBay, (another great way to reuse and recycle), moving, or a host of uses. If you’re not as busy on eBay, then how about taking them to your workplace mailroom, or somewhere else that regularly sends packages to see if you can donate them for reuse.
Beeswax Food Wraps
We think they’re more comfortable as well as better for the environment.
You’ll be surprised how little you’ve missed plastic when the week is up.
Reusable Muslin Storage Bags with Drawstrings
Non-Stick Oven Liner
Want to see more of our Zero Waste cooking picks? Check out our dedicated shopping page, full of all our best finds from the interwebs!