You shouldn’t need any more convincing about why it’s necessary for all of us to try to live a less wasteful lifestyle at this point. Our plastic garbage crisis has never been worse, yet living without plastic can actually improve your health. We decided to assemble the ULTIMATE zero waste list of tips, suggestions, ideas, and recommendations because it is presently Zero Waste Week.
Zero Waste Life: 85 Tips, Suggestions, and Ideas to Help You Quit Waste Forever
- Be prepared by carrying a reusable cup, bag, food containers, and utensils in your work bag/handbag.
- Buy less stuff – simply avoid buying anything you don’t really need.
- As much as possible, support zero-waste businesses or brands with low-waste features.
- As much as possible, avoid single-use items.
- Travel less – Covid-19 has made this easier, but try to avoid unnecessary travel after Covid, and if you do, here’s how to do it better.
- When possible, use public transportation instead of private cars/Uber, and walk as much as possible.
- Avoid using plastic as much as possible; here’s a handy guide.
- Reconsider all of your purchasing and consumption decisions: do you truly require it? Is there a low-waste option? Once you’ve trained your brain to do this, it will become second nature.
- Plan your weekends, holidays, and leisure time around outdoor activities in nature, rather than shopping or malls.
- When shopping on Amazon, ask for plastic-free options.
- Reduce overall online shopping and simply buy fewer items.
- Encourage the use of recycled cardboard and plastic-free packaging on websites.
- Avoid rushing delivery by collaborating with the shipper to consolidate items into a single shipment.
KITCHEN & GROCERIES
- Buy groceries in bulk at stores that do not use packaging.
- Visit wet markets and farmers markets.
- Avoid eating packaged foods.
- Bring your own bags and containers.
- Learn how to compost your food waste.
- Recycle whatever you can, and if you can’t, stop.
- Whenever possible, eat organic, locally grown foods – organic agriculture is far less wasteful than conventional agriculture.
- Purchase unsightly vegetables and fruits because they are more likely to go unsold at supermarkets.
- Try to plan your meals as much as possible.
- Don’t go to the grocery store hungry, and make a list so you only buy what you need.
- Be creative with old food and leftovers to avoid wasting it – here are some suggestions.
- Request that receipts be emailed to you rather than printed.
- Prepare more meals at home rather than relying on packaged foods and delivery services
- Instead of using paper towels, try reusable alternatives or cut up old clothing to use as cleaning cloths.
- Make better use of your freezer by cooking in batches and freezing the leftovers.
- If at all possible, only purchase used or vintage clothing and shoes.
- As much as you can, stay away from fast fashion labels.
- If you must purchase new items, consider investing in upcycled brands (that utilise deadstock or waste textiles).
- Rent clothing instead of purchasing it if you enjoy fashion and want variety.
- Make all of your worn-out clothing and footwear wearable again.
- Organize your closet to make it simple to locate items.
- To make getting dressed easier, create a capsule wardrobe.
- To keep items in use, donate or sell anything you no longer need.
- Washing your clothes less frequently will reduce laundry waste because they are not as dirty as you might think.
- To prevent microfibers from getting into our water streams, rivers, and oceans, add a microplastics filter bag to your washing machine.
- Purchase used or vintage furniture.
- Rent furniture if you require a wider selection.
- Wait until your electronics truly break before replacing them.
- Invest in used electronics rather than brand-new ones.
- Encourage florists that don’t use plastic and use seasonal stems, or even better, buy plants.
- Create your own household cleaners (most things can be cleaned with a combination of white vinegar, baking soda and lemons).
- Make something for someone, invite them to a meal, or give them an experience as a gift rather than a material item.
- Purchase a home water filter to eliminate your need for bottled water.
- Make all of your bill payments via email or paperless options.
- Replace disposable batteries with rechargeable ones.
- To prevent energy waste, unplug all of your electronics when not in use.
- Make the switch to LED lighting.
- Refrain from overusing the heating and cooling systems.
- Opt for reusable jars for your soy wax candles.
- After washing your clothes, air dry them on a line rather than using a dryer.
- Use cloth diapers/reusable nappies; they are simple to use and better for your baby because they are free of plastic.
- Don’t use baby wipes; instead, make your own cleaning solution and use reusable cloths.
- Join a toy library or a toy rental subscription service to enjoy variety without having to buy hundreds of toys.
- Purchase long-lasting toys made of wood and other natural materials.
- Host waste-free birthday parties.
- Request plant-based dishes (a vegan diet is far less wasteful than one containing meat, dairy and seafood).
- Support chefs who advocate for local, organic agriculture.
- Bring your own food container and take any leftovers home.
- Do not deliver If possible, do takeout and bring your own container to collect, or look for eateries that provide reusable packing.
- Stop using single-use coffee cups and packaged drinks in favour of refillable or reusable alternatives.
- Stop using straws entirely.
- Help food banks repurpose uneaten food into meals for the hungry.
- Select restaurants that promote plastic-free and zero-waste initiatives.
BATHROOM & BEAUTY
- As much as you can, switch to soap bars for your shampoo, conditioner, face wash, face cream, body lotion, and body wash.
- Instead of costly creams, use pure cold-pressed oils and butters that are available without packaging (shea butter, argan oil, olive oil, coconut oil, mango butter)
- Make your own beauty products; it’s simple to make face masks, toothpaste, and mouthwash.
- If you can’t avoid them entirely, consider brands that offer refills so you can use the bottle more than once.
- Stop using toothpaste tubes; find an alternative made without plastic, or manufacture your own.
- Use less makeup; although it’s not impossible, going completely waste-free with makeup requires starting with fewer products.
- Use a safety razor instead (plastic-free and with replaceable metal blades).
- Switch to period underwear and a reusable menstrual cup (for women).
- To cut down on toilet paper use, install a bidet or Japanese-style toilet.
- Shorten your showers, please! One of the most concerning issues we face is the issue of wasted water.
- Use washable, reusable face rounds.
- Whenever it’s not in use, turn off your water heater
- Use as little paper as possible.
- Make sure there are reusable cups, cutlery, and food containers in the pantry for employees to use.
- Establish composting and recycling containers.
- When ordering takeout, try to place joint food delivery orders so that no employee orders separately.
- Involve enthusiastic employees in a zero waste committee to help ensure that low waste practises are implemented.
- Encourage Green Monday by launching a campaign in which staff eat plant-based once a week.
- Raise the thermostat to consume less energy.