A Homeowner’s Guide to Zero-Waste Living
It’s no secret that there is a growing global trash problem. The average American produces approximately 4.4 pounds of trash everyday, which adds up to over 1,600 pounds of trash per person every year. Sadly, this trash eventually ends up in one of the thousands of overflowing landfills scattered across the U.S. that pollute and harm the environment.
It’s up to each and every person to reduce the amount of waste they produce in order to combat the world’s trash problem. Many people have decided to do their part by living a zero-waste lifestyle, which means they live in a way that produces as little waste as possible. How can you adopt this eco-friendly lifestyle at home? Follow these tips to live waste-free in every room in your home:
How to Create A Zero-Waste Kitchen
Reduce Food Waste
It’s estimated that most families waste about $1,350 in food every year. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to reduce the amount of food waste produced in your home. Serve leftovers for dinner, donate the food to the needy, invite friends or family members over to eat extra portions, or use your food scraps to create other meals.
Buy in Bulk
Buy grocery items such as toilet paper, paper towels, and other non-perishable goods in bulk. Products that are packaged in bulk are packaged with less material than single-serve products. For this reason, buying in bulk can reduce the amount of packaging waste produced in your home.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags
The plastic bags used at grocery stores cannot be recycled, so they will be sent to landfills. Do your part to keep waste out of landfills by bringing a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store instead.
Don’t Use Disposables
Landfills are full of disposable items such as plastic silverware, paper plates, paper towels, and paper napkins. Avoid using these disposable items when preparing, serving, and eating food so you don’t contribute to this problem.
Recycled goods are not sent to landfills, but rather to recycling facilities where they are processed and reused. Set up a recycling bin in your kitchen and encourage everyone in your family to use it on a regular basis. This will drastically reduce the amount of waste your household is sending to a landfill every year.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Bathroom
Use Recycled Paper Products
Look for toilet paper and tissues that are made out of recycled paper. Using recycled paper products can instantly make your bathroom more eco-friendly.
Buy Toiletries in Bulk
Buying in bulk isn’t just for the kitchen—this strategy can be implemented in the bathroom, too. Purchase shampoos, conditioners, and soaps in bulk so you can reduce the amount of packaging waste you produce in your bathroom.
Make Your Own Air Freshener
The air fresheners that are sold in stores will end up in landfills, so it’s best to make your own air freshener using zero-waste materials. Grab an old glass spray bottle and fill it with water and about 10-20 drops of a sweet-smelling essential oil. Spray this solution to cover up bad smells in your bathroom, and when the bottle is empty, simply fill it back up again!
Create Your Own Toothpaste
Making your own toothpaste is an easy way to cut back on the product packaging waste you are throwing away in your bathroom. Combine a few ingredients, including baking soda, cinnamon, and organic coconut oil, in a blender to whip up a batch of DIY toothpaste.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Laundry Room
Make Reusable Dryer Sheets
Every load of laundry produces at least one piece of waste: a used dryer sheet. Put an end to this problem by making reusable dryer sheets. Cut an old towel into small pieces and add 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oil to it to create a reusable dryer sheet. Once the scent starts to fade away, add more essential oil so you can keep using it again and again.
Wash After Multiple Wears
The more a clothing item is washed, the more worn down it becomes. Over time, repeated washes can cause the color to fade and the fabric to weaken. If an item is no longer wearable, it will probably be thrown out. Therefore, if you want to live a zero-waste lifestyle, preserve your clothing for as long as possible by limiting the number of times each item is washed. If something is not noticeably stained or dirty, wear it one more time before putting it in the wash.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Bedroom
Create Fewer Spaces For Junk
A simple way to achieve a zero-waste lifestyle is to create fewer spaces in your home for items you don’t actually need. Minimize the number of countertops, shelves, and other storage spaces in your home, and you will be less tempted to purchase items that will eventually become waste.
Use Natural Fibers in the Bedroom
Select materials that are made out of natural fibers when purchasing bed linens, towels, and window treatments for your bedroom. Natural fibers such as cotton and wool will naturally break down in the environment, so they will never clog your local landfill.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Dining Room
Keep Disposables Out of the Dining Room
Disposable items such as paper napkins, paper table cloths, and plastic silverware should not be allowed in your dining room. Use items that can be washed and reused over and over again to reduce the waste produced in your home.
Serve Smaller Portions
Reduce food waste by getting in the habit of cooking and serving smaller portions of food. This way, the people in your home will eat everything on their plate instead of leaving food scraps behind.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Yard
Food scraps and yard waste make up about 30% of the average household’s trash. Keep these items out of the garbage—and the landfill—by creating a compost pile in your backyard. Add leaves, branches, twigs, and other yard waste to your compost pile in addition to fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds. After a few months, the soil at the bottom of the pile should be a dark color, which means it’s ready to use as fertilizer in your yard.
Return Plastic Containers
Have you recently planted new plants or flowers in your yard? If so, you may have a few plastic containers sitting around. Don’t throw these in the trash—instead, take them back to the nursery where you purchased the plants.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Closet
Don’t throw away clothes that are no longer in style—donate them to local non-profit organizations instead. This helps you give back to your community and ensures your old clothing will not end up in a landfill.
Launch A Clothing Swap
Organize a clothing swap event with people in your community. A clothing swap is a great way for everyone in your neighborhood to get rid of items they no longer need in a zero-waste, eco-friendly manner.
Use Old Clothes As Rags
Are some of your clothing items falling apart or looking a bit worn down? You may not want to wear them anymore, but you can still make use of them around your home. Cut them into strips of fabric and use the pieces as rags instead of throwing these items in the trash.
A lot of people throw away clothing items that have holes, broken zippers, or snags. But, if you want to live a zero-waste lifestyle, teach yourself how to repair these issues so you can extend the lifespan of your clothing and reduce your waste production.
How to Create A Zero-Waste Home Office
How many paper bills do you end up throwing away every month? Cut down on this waste by hopping on your computer and going paperless. Go through a stack of last month’s bills and adjust your settings online so the service provider only sends you your bills via email moving forward.
Stop Junk Mail
Most households receive junk mail nearly everyday in their mailbox, and eventually, this mail ends up in the trash. Don’t throw away pounds of paper every year—instead, manage your mail so companies stop sending you junk. Visit DMAChoice’s website to remove your name from mailing lists so companies stop sending you catalogs, flyers, and offers that are not relevant to you.
Use Refillable Pens
Purchase refillable pens instead of plastic, disposable ones. As soon as the ink starts to run out, simply refill the pen instead of tossing it in the trash can.
Print on Both Sides of the Paper
A lot of the waste that is generated in your home office is probably paper. Reduce the amount of paper that you waste by printing on both sides of each sheet. By printing on both sides, you can cut the amount of paper you use in your home office by half!
Implement some of these strategies in your daily life to start reducing the amount of waste you produce at home. Make sure you get everyone within your home on board with these strategies so you can produce as little waste as possible as a household. Before you know it, you will be living a lifestyle that is completely free from waste!