Easy Ways to Go Zero Waste at Home (Plus Recipes!)

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I’m sure you’ve heard the term ‘zero waste’, but maybe you’ve wandered what in the heck it actually means? And better yet, are there easy ways to go zero-waste without carrying around mason jars for my leftovers or switching to cloth TP??

Yes, you can lower your waste output without totally disrupting your way of life. Get the basics of low-waste living down with the zero waste tips (plus a few amazing zero waste recipes) in this post.


Even though you might be dubious about one individual’s impact, remember that your lifestyle, your choices as a customer are similar to voting for a cause or a party. In this case, you vote for less (unnecessary) waste as well as less questionable ingredients and materials. That sends a strong message to the fashion, beauty and food industries.

Millions of people going low waste might not eradicate poverty and climate change, but it is a significant part of the solution. 

What is Zero Waste?

Zero waste is a global movement, a lifestyle to follow that is based on more mindful consumption habits in order to be able to protect the environment from further damage. Concretely, this means eliminating the concept of waste and thus avoiding sending anything to landfills or incinerators. We would then emulate nature, where all elements have a purpose, and nothing is wasted. 

In other words, zero wasters want to move away from a linear economy (take, make, use, trash) towards a circular economy where resources are preserved, and goods are reused/repaired/recycled indefinitely. 

Why Zero Waste?

Opting for a zero waste lifestyle comes with benefits for both yourself and the planet. The underlying reasons and motivations are personal; however, I hope the below examples will trigger some reflection and eventually will be the ultimate boost you needed to implement a few eco-changes in your daily routine. 

Decrease Pollution

Waste sent to landfills and incinerators comes at a significant price for the environment. As a matter of fact, landfills release toxic gases in the atmosphere; gases such as methane that contribute to climate change.

Sometimes, trash does not even reach landfills and ends up in our waterways and oceans, thus being ingested by marine life and causing cruel death.

Protect natural resources

Extracting natural resources (even more so non-renewable ones) more often than not has devastating consequences on the surroundings: deforestation, biodiversity loss, soil degradation, water shortage, and air pollution, to name just a few examples. Applying zero waste principles in our consumption habits would eventually allow us to break the dependency vis-à-vis raw material extraction.

Live more simply, with less stress

Zero waste and minimalism are complementary in terms of approach, even though different in underlying motivations. Take time to assess what you own and what you truly value. Something you have not used for a year might be better off with someone else. Let me be clear, the goal is not to simply dispose of, but to refuse what we do not need, then reuse/resell adequately, as further described below.

Aren’t you sometimes overwhelmed not knowing ‘what to wear’ or ‘what to cook’ or thinking ‘where did I put this’? Well, I am! And I can tell you that half-empty, ideally well-organized cupboards are the greatest relief:

  • You quickly find what you need.
  • You hesitate less and thus win time. 
  • You have a growing tendency to buy reusable, versatile, and long-lasting items. 

How to start Zero Waste at home 

Zero (low) waste is a step-by-step approach that both individuals and companies can apply. The most famous one is based on the 3 ‘Rs’ (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). 

For the purpose of inspiring you to find more creative solutions at home, I’d like to expand this list to more ‘R’ attitudes. For this to work, make sure to follow the below order. In other words, recycling and rotting are the LAST resort.

The purpose is not to be a perfect zero waster from the start. Instead, explore ways to reduce waste without too much effort and try to involve your family in the journey. Support and awareness are key success factors in your eco-journey. 

Refuse & Reduce 

As you might have guessed, the most eco-friendly gesture and first R on your list is simply to refuse. Thus, avoid and reduce unnecessary purchases as often as you can. Think simple, reusable, versatile, durable, and long-lasting items that will break your dependency to buy new single-use products, for example. 

Reuse, Repair & Repurpose

This section is my favorite as it is all about creativity, affordability, and ingenuity. The next R attitudes on your list are boil down to making your items and products last longer. Reassemble parts to create something new, redesign objects into decorative items, take classes on how to repair and sew, reuse, and sell/buy second-hand. 

Moreover, zero waste is often about doing and creating from simple, natural ingredients and fabrics. This is especially the case for beauty and home products. Have a look at my favorite DIY recipes:

DIY Laundry detergent

This recipe from Puratium only needs 5 inexpensive ingredients that you might already have at home.  

  • Boil 60oz of water
  • Let cool down for a few minutes, then add, 4oz of grated Marseille soap (or your favorite natural soap bar), 2oz of baking soda and 1oz of washing soda.
  • Stir gently for a minute or two.
  • Let it cool down until it reaches room temperature, then add 40 drops of essential oil of your liking (lavender is a winner).
  • Store in a jar or container you already had – this recipe should be about 40 loads. 

Homemade Toothpaste

homemade zero waste toothpaste

Blend 3 tablespoons of baking soda, 4 tablespoons of organic coconut oil, and about 8 to 10 drops of anise or peppermint essential oil. Stir in a jar with a lid in a dry and cool place.

DIY Deodorant

easy DIY zero waste deodorant
  • In a double boiler, melt 3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil.
  • Once melted, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda, 2 tablespoons of arrowroot, and 6/7 drops of essential oil of your liking (tea tree is a winner).
  • Pour in a small jar with a lid and store it in the fridge for a few hours.
  • Apply a small portion on your armpits like a lotion.

More Zero Waste Recipes to Try:

Solid Lotion Bars

How to Make Vegan Lip Balm

Homemade Sugar Scrub

Orange Vinegar for Cleaning

Recycle & Rot 

Recycle might seem like the ideal first-hand solution. However, remember that recycling products entails using energy, transportation, and sometimes a blend of recycled/new raw materials in the process. Moreover, nowadays, it is extremely rare to find materials or fabrics that are 100% recycled properly. Did you know, for example, that only 9% of the world’s plastic has been recycled? The remaining percentage will take hundreds of years to decompose and will do a lot of harm along the way. 

Recycling is, however, a better eco-alternative than pure disposal, so make sure to ask your local recycling center the best course of action should you have doubts about a given good. 

Additionally, composting in your garden or apartment worm bin is another step of the zero waste approach. You can compost a lot more than you may think. Food scraps and small garden waste, for sure, but also carton, paper, coffee ground and filters, and even 100% organic cotton clothes! 

And… RETHINK

Thus, buy new as a last resort and, if you do, support local brands that put a high focus on choosing eco-friendly materials and packaging. 

Final thoughts

Implementing zero (low) waste at home does not necessarily have to be drastic or come with a loss of life quality. You can start small with what works best for you and your loved ones. Progressively, you can try new DIY recipes and swaps. It is a personal journey, one that takes self-tolerance, practice, and a hint of creativity. 

Simply remember that choosing a different – earth-friendly – lifestyle is another way of voting and demanding a better world: one that does not harm nature and its living creatures. 

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