74 Easy And Affordable Zero Waste Tips To Start Your Journey

Written by: Hendrik

Category: Zero Waste, Home

Updated on:

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS; PLEASE READ MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFO.

I was so impressed when I first saw Trash is for Tossers with her little jar full of a year’s worth of trash.

It didn’t feel very real, but I wanted to see what it was all about.

So my wife and I started our zero-waste journey four years ago and have never looked back.

We haven’t been able to fit our yearly trash into a glass jar, and come to think of it, it is not possible for most of us, but that shouldn’t stop us from trying, right?

Imagine just reducing your trash by x % and what impact it can have.

Since you are here to learn some essential zero-waste tips.

I categorized it by room to make it easier to see and less overwhelming. Take the zero waste checklist at the end of this article and slowly tick one by one off and replace it with your new zero waste products.

You will see your life become clutter-free, like minimalism, and you will live more healthily simply by surrounding yourself with more natural alternatives.

Zero waste tips for the kitchen:

Coffee maker

Avoid buying coffee pods and buy fresh beans instead. You can use a french press or a stovetop coffee maker like the famous Bialetti.

zero waste tips

Tea Strainer

Get loose-leaf tea instead of tea bags; combined with a stainless steel filter. They make for excellent plastic-free tea. Save money and drink better-quality tea. Learn more here.

Unpaper towels

Replace paper towels with reusable paper towels. Over 51,000 trees are cut down daily to support America’s paper towel habit. This swap saves trees and precious water resources and helps save you money.

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Glass jars

As you can see, we collect a lot of glass jars and reuse them. It’s super easy and really a simple hack to reduce your carbon footprint by eliminating plastic container in your house and living a more waste-free life.

Mason jars

Mason jars are a great way to reduce food waste by storing leftovers in your fridge or freezer. Learn more about how here. Or you can even get creative and make art.

Herb garden

Having a little herb garden at home can be a great way to reduce plastic waste since each herb often comes wrapped in plastic. There are some clever solutions even for small apartments.

Compost

Start to compost your food waste. This is a great and easy way to give your food scraps the well-deserved afterlife. If done correctly, your food scraps become a nutritious source of compost for your garden.

If you don’t have a garden check out these apps to help, you find one in your area. Alternatively, there are some home composters to try.

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Cutlery

Stop buying plastic cutlery for parties or events; replace it with bamboo, or use the steel ones from your kitchen.

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Dish Washer Detergent

Replace plastic bottles with some eco-friendly and zero waste alternatives with no packaging. Like from Etee or Earth Breeze.

Ditch Sponges

Kitchen sponges are made from synthetic materials and add to household waste. Opt for coconut husk sponges or loofah.

Dish Brush

It’s basically a big toothbrush. Easy to replace with a wooden alternative like this one.

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Swedish dish cloth

Dish clothes are all made differently. Only Swedish dishcloths are made from wood pulp, making it safe to compost in your bin. All the other ones. Synthetic fibers that never biodegrade.

Prepare your meals

Preparing your meals at home has so many benefits. We are bringing the family together, eating healthy, trying new styles and reducing the amount of plastic waste entering our bodies. Yes, packaged food has microplastic and is best to avoid.

Here is an article that shows you which salt is best to use to reduce the number of microplastics in your body.

Zero Waste Tips for your Home

Let’s continue with our zero waste efforts and create a zero waste home or a low waste home. The goal is to reduce waste and send little to nothing to landfills.

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Grocery bags

Bring your reusable bag to the grocer.

Plastic bags are a big no-no in the zero-waste community. Yes, we can only sometimes avoid them; hence reusing them is a great solution. Otherwise, opt for natural grocery bags made from cotton, hemp, or even recycled parachutes.

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Cloth Produce Bags

Add some cloth produce bags to your zero-waste kit. They come in handy when grocery shopping, help reduce carbon emissions and look much better than plastic bags.

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Use Rechargeable Batteries

Batteries are hard to recycle. We are better off buying rechargeable batteries.

All-purpose Cleaner

You can easily use one all-purpose cleaner around the whole house. Here is a DIY article about making a white wine vinegar cleaner for the entire house.

Stop Junk Mail

This one requires a sticker on your mailbox or having a creative afternoon with the kids to say no junk mail, thanks.

Go Thrift Shopping

Instead of buying new clothes, there are plenty of great online places for thrift shopping.

Switch to Digital Downloads

The days of CDs are over; downloads are the way forward. Most of us are already members of Spotify or Netflix. While there are many more apps to use and download your favorite movie or song, this helps the environment.

Reuse Gift Boxes and Wrappers

Simple trick, it just requires some storage space, and you can reuse old gift wrappers or boxes and gift them again.

Replace Plastic Bottles

Replace your plastic water bottle with a reusable water bottle.

This might be the number one zero waste tip you hear about all the time. There are a lot of reusable bottles out there, so make sure you pick the right reusable water bottle for you.

From self-cleaning bottles to simple single-wall stainless steel ones, there ought to be one for you. Less microplastic in your body and less plastic waste in the environment. Alternatively, you can use charcoal or other water filters for drinking tap water.

Binchotan Charcoal Water Filter Test

Buy Food Without Packaging

Avoid buying food in plastic packaging. This is only sometimes achievable, but if you have to buy it in plastic packaging, opt for the biggest bag, so it lasts longer.

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Stainless Steel Straw

Stop using plastic straws and replace them with stainless steel or glass straws. Or some of these 5 eco-friendly drinking straw alternatives.

Change To Led Lights

Replace your old lightbulbs with energy-efficient LED light bulbs. This saves money and the environment.

Reuse Old Sheets

Turn your old clothes into sheets to use for cleaning.

Layer up before heating

Before you turn on the heater, throw a blanket over and put your favorite sweater on.

Turn off the water while brushing.

It’s easy to forget to turn off the tap when brushing your teeth or shaving. This little exercise can save you 13% of your annual water bill, according to an article on money.com.

Unplug Devices

The household has around 40 devices plugged in, draining power (phantom power). Altogether these account for more than 10% of your annual bill according to how stuff works.

Best to not only turn the device off but obliterate the outlet.

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Sunski is made from recycled plastic.

Buy Quality Items

This is one of the perks of living a zero waste lifestyle. You buy less, but you purchase high-quality products that often save money over time. Thankfully, there are many plastic-free options today, so you can easily find the right product for your style.

It’s worth checking out our discounts page and grabbing some good deals as you transition on your zero waste journey.

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Zero waste tips for the Bathroom

Toilet Paper

Toilet paper accounts for 31 million trees being cut down yearly in the US alone, and China requires 41 million, and that is a lot of trees to be flushed down the loo.

Bamboo toilet paper is a great alternative, a very fast-growing plant that requires little water and no pesticides to grow. Who gives a crap is my favorite which you can learn more about in this article.

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Try A Bidet

To eliminate your dependency on paper even more, try a bidet. There are inexpensive and really the cleanest way to clean your downstairs. Tushy is probably the most famous one but here we have a deal with whisper bidet to save you some doh.

You wouldn’t wipe your hands with a bit of paper after touching some dirt, would you?

Switch to bar soap

Another great zero waste tip is switching from shampoo and body wash in plastic bottles to soap bars. Soap bars are abundant out there, and we get it. It can be overwhelming to choose which one to choose; hence we created this article to find the best zero waste shampoo bars and conditioners for your hair.

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Replace your plastic toothbrush

When you’re due for a new toothbrush, grab a bamboo toothbrush instead. If you remove the bristles, you can even throw them in your compost after the end of the life cycle.

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Change to a zero waste razor

The safety razor or zero waste razor is an easy swap you can make in your bath. I have a video here that talks about the Leaf zero waste razor, but you can find more information about zero waste tips for your bathroom.

The Leaf Razor Review + Unboxing | Could this be the best razor ever?

Tooth tabs

Instead of using toothpaste in a tube, you can go and get this one in a metal tube or change over to tooth tablets. I have tried them and don’t like them, but maybe they are for you.

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Deodorant

Plastic free deodorant is easy to get these days. Alternatively, you can try and make your own with a few ingredients. My personal favorite is the crystal deodorant.

Menstrual cup

This is not really my territory, but my wife bought the Diva cup, and well, she doesn’t really like it. But then, there are plenty of women that swear by it. Again not my forte.

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Laundry cleaner

Use zero waste laundry detergent like drops or tru earth or earth breeze stripes to reduce the number of plastic bottles going to landfills. Fun fact: Did you know that 70% of detergent is water?

Shopping Habits for your zero waste lifestyle

Shop at Farmers’ Markets

Going zero waste requires many fun and easily implementable skills. One big one is going to your local farmers market and buying plastic-free fruits and veggies.

Additionally, you buy only produce that is in season and doesn’t;t travel halfway around the world.

Turn Down Freebies

On your Sunday stroll through the historic city, kindly smile and say No thanks to the young chap handing out freebies. A smile goes a long way 🙂

Order at zero waste Online Stores

Yes, many places allow you to order staple goods online and ship them to your doorstep. Here is a list of some of the best zero waste online stores.

Go Paperless for your Bills

Receipts contain BPA, which,h when touched, leaks into your bloodstream. Another great reason to go paperless and write bills on apps like

Use purifying plants

Never buy plastic plants. You can have air-purifying plants that bring harmony and good health to your home. Plastic gases off chemicals, so it has the opposite effect.

Here is a list of pet-safe household plants to add to your beautiful space.

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Give up plastic wrap

This one is easy because all you need to do is replace plastic wrap with beeswax wrap. You can buy them in a zero-waste store or make them yourself inexpensively. They require afresh-up after a while, so it makes sense to have some organic beeswax at home. You can learn how to do this here.

Use mason jars

Ahh, good old mason jars. We even use them as glasses to drink out of, and since you can get all sorts of attachments for straws, coffee, cheese grader, or a soap dispenser, these have to be some of the best zero waste tips.

Use the power of the sun

When doing your washing if you can, not everyone can dry their clothes out in the sun. But if you live in a country where that is possible, do it. Not only does it kill the sun bacteria and germs that may still be hanging out in your wash, but it also helps to reduce the cost of your electricity bill by $100 per year, according to his article.

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DIY

This is part of the zero waste lifestyle that I love since I am a handyman myself. There are so many items that can be fixed with a little bit of elbow grease. Want to start composting but don’t have a compost bin? Grab some pallets and a couple of screws and build a straightforward compost bin for your garden.

Want to start a worm farm? Grab a drill and drill lots of holes in a bucket, put another bucket underneath, fill it up with greens and browns, and add your worms. Done. There is a bit more to it, but you get the idea.

If you can’t implement any of the above zero waste tips, try DIY some stuff. You’ll be surprised by what you can do, how much money you can save and how fun it can be.

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Make a zero waste kit

This is fun and comes in very handy as you don’t have to remember every single item when you leave the house. Simply grab your backpack with everything in it, and you are ready to rock.

If you want to learn how to make your own and prepare for a zero waste travel kit, read here.

Donate or Trade

YOu can donate your used clothes to donation bins or, even better, have trade parties with your friends. Most donations end up in landfill, sadly.

Recycle properly

We have moved around on this planet a lot, and every city has different regulations and rules regarding what you can recycle and what you can’t. Make yourself familiar with the recycling program in your town and understand what can be recycled and what can.t

It isn’t always very black and white, especially regarding paper recycling. Can a pizza carton be recycled? Here is an article that gives you all the answers to what can and can not go into your recycling bin.

Sell your clothes online

Thanks to many second-hand online shops like Poshmark and more, it has always been challenging to trade or donate your used clothes. If you want to go zero waste and have a wardrobe full of clothes you don’t wear anymore, this is a good place to start.

Learn how to create a capsule wardrobe for yourself.

Support ethical brands

Instead of buying from big names like H&M and Zara, I am sorry that as good as they look, it is fast fashion and not sustainable as much as they are trying to market themselves as “green” companies. They have a long way to go.

On this website, you will find a whole category of ethical fashion brands, from swimsuits to underwear; check it out and remember to look at the discounts page for huge savings.

Store your food in a glass

Plastic containers are a big no when it comes to zero-waste living. The main reason is that they can leach harmful chemicals into the food you are trying to preserve. Opt for glass containers or stainless steel ones from these guys.

Hardware for Dad! Stainless Steel Lunch Box

Prepare your meals

I am still terrible at this one, but I am lucky to have a wife that loves cooking. Preparing your meals is huge, and a meal plan helps to avoid food waste.

Freeze food

This links in with the meal plan. Cook plenty and freeze the rest for later days in the week. You can even use mason jars to freeze your food, and here is how so you don’t find broken jars in your freezer.

Sandwich bags

Using stasher bags instead of single-use zip lock bags are great sustainable alternative.

Making small changes count big

Supporting local farmers

A great way to reduce waste and live a zero-waste lifestyle is by going to the farmer’s market. Bring your reusable grocery bags and some reusable containers for things like olives, and enjoy a waste-free shopping experience.

Bike, Bus or Carshare

Opt for your bike or take the bus, or check and see if you can use a carpool to work with some colleagues or friends.

Eat seasonally

Instead of eating green bananas in winter, they have traveled halfway across the globe and contributed to air pollution Plus, most of the time, the fruit is picked so early that it’s tasteless. Try and eat more seasonally; it worked in the past.

Reduce take-out

Take out is always delivered in plastic containers and has to travel to your home, thus not environmentally friendly. Plus, having hot food in styrofoam containers is a big no-go in zero-waste living. What we have done, though, is bring a food container to a restaurant and take the leftovers with us.

Stop buying balloons

Balloons are pretty, but they are also a piece of plastic with a very short lifecycle and can cause more havoc than good for years to come. Getting eaten by wildlife equals clogging up their stomach and starving them. Not the best way to celebrate a birthday, but here is a list of sustainable options.

Fly less

We have become so comfortable flying everywhere that we have forgotten how much flying contributes to CO2 emissions. For short distances, see if there is a train or a bus available.

Zero waste tips for your office

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Replace your plastic pens

Lamy has been making inexpensive, quality pens for decades. If you need highlighter pens, you can grab the ones made by woo, and they work too.

Alternatively, pens let you grow a plant when they are finished. Or what about those made from recycled newspapers?

Refilling a Fountain Pen Ink Cartridge | For Newbies

Use recycled paper

For your printer or just in general in your office environment. See if you can replace virgin paper with recycled paper.

Paper Sticky Notes

You can buy sticky notes made from recycled paper. Here you go.

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Push Pins

To organize your life, a whiteboard or a corkboard is a great way to manage your business. Why not combine it with bamboo push pins for that zero-waste lifestyle?

Superglue

Yes, you can get superglue made from plant-based liquid.

Notebook

Either grab a recycled paper notebook or get one made from sugarcane paper, a very abundant waste byproduct.

Scissors

Scissors can be made from recycled plastic waste, another great zero-waste tip.

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School Supplies

Get your kid started with the right mindset and buy a bamboo ruler and math kit for school.

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Zero waste Pet

Yep, who would have guessed that our pets could be part of our zero-waste tips article?

Our pet’s food comes in plastic packaging. There are only a few options where you can buy pet food in bulk, such as some co-ops and farmer’s markets, but otherwise,e you can prep some food at home for your loved four-legged friends.

Toys

Toys for your pet are often made from plastic, and here are some recycled plastic options to help you reach your zero waste goals.

Dog Collar

The great thing about the zero-waste lifestyle is that it is becoming more and more mainstream, hence why you can even find dog collars made from recycled plastic.

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Dog Poo Bags

There are a lot of dogs that live in Cities, and thankfully, most owners clean after them. But general poo bags are not recyclable, nor do they biodegrade. Try these for a change.

Final thoughts

Sure this may be a very long list of zero waste tips that you can use, but if you tackle them one by one, you will succeed, and it is quite fun to do and see the progress.

To make it even easier for you, I have created this zero waste checklist here for you to download. All you need to do is enter your email and grab the list. You don’t even need to print it since I designed it in a way so that you can tick off the boxes on your computer. Pretty cool what you can do today with technology.

So there you have it. These are my tips for zero waste living. I hope you found some new ones that you haven’t heard of before and if I missed something, please let me know in the comments below.

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Hendrik Kaiser

I've studied biology and lived for 3 years on an off-grid permaculture farm. I love kitesurfing and keeping my body healthy and fit. Hence, I care so much about keeping our environment clean and being as zero waste as possible. Being a zerowasteman is a superpower everyone has inside of themselves, and I want to teach you how you can unleash it.

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