Zero Waste Tips for Home that Will Make You Plastic Free
There's 51 trillion tiny pieces of plastic floating around in the ocean, and 8 million tonnes of plastic are added to that every single year. This worrying reality is a great motivator to clean up your home and read some of these awesome zero waste tips for home!
Before we dive into the zero waste tips, here's a little bonus hack. This is the ultimate zero waste hack that works as a fantastic guideline to living zero waste:
How to go zero waste at home: Take a mental note of the products you use at home and throw in the garbage. Next, google "zero waste alternative for (enter product here)." From there, you'll most likely be able to find a sustainable alternative to the product you used to throw into the garbage.
Zero Waste Tips for Home
To make things easier on you, I've taken the liberty to split the list of tips into the following categories in case you were looking for specific zero waste tips in a certain part of your home;
Zero Waste Tips for...
Zero Waste Tips for the Kitchen
This list does not include grocery shopping. If you want to learn how to grocery shop plastic free, I wrote a blog post on it!
- Compost your parchment paper
- Ran out of parchment paper? Get a reusable silicone baking sheet!
- Learn how to properly store your food
- Only need half an onion for a meal? Put the other half in a bowl cut side down, and you don’t need to cover it.
- Put leftovers in a reusable container with the lid on, make sure the lid is tightly sealed!
- Tired of the top layer of iceberg lettuce getting soft in the refrigerator? If you leave that soft top layer of iceberg lettuce on top of your lettuce head and it will keep the layers below it crisp!
- Storing hot food in a mason jar? Leave the hot food on the counter for at least 30min to bring the temperature down a bit, then throw it in the fridge for an hour. Once cooled, you can put the mason jar with food in the freezer. If you put hot food in a glass jar, then into the freezer right away, the glass jar will break.
- Use leftover veggie scraps to make a vegetable stock!
- Use reusable cutlery
- Store a jug of tap water in your fridge (now when you want a cold glass of water, you don't have to waste water waiting for the tap water to cool down)
- Have a roll of tin foil you still use? Make sure it gets recycled by washing food residue and grease off of it, rolling it into a ball, then throwing it in the recycling
- Mixed material tin foil (like yogourt tubes, candy, and juice boxes) cannot be recycled
- Replace saran wrap with reusable wax food wraps
- These are the BEST vegan wax food wraps, they're extra malleable, washable, reusable and 100% biodegradable! Click here to order yours!
- Use a reusable garbage bag, or no garbage bag (just make sure you wash the bin regularly)
- When buying liquor, try to buy glass bottles instead of plastic bottles. Try and avoid getting cans with plastic rings - instead shop the cans that come in a cardboard box
- Turn the tap off when you're scrubbing your dishes clean
- Make sure your dishwasher is full before turning it on
Make your own dishwasher detergent
- 2 cups washing soda or baking soda
- 2 cups borax
- 1/2 cup coarse salt or epsom salt
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 15-20 drops of lemon essential oil
- Mix well, set in ice cube trays or silicone molds - let them FULLY dry (takes about 24 hours), and you're done!
- Use a reusable cloth instead of paper towels
- Save your pasta water to water your plants!
- Swap plastic sandwich bags out for reusable silicone bags, or preferably with reusable glass container
- Replace freezer bags with mason jars or reusable silicone bags
- Need to replace your dish brush? Swap it out for a dish brush with a replaceable and biodegradable brush head
- Swap tea bags with loose leaf tea (a lot of tea bags contain plastic!)
"Steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature (95 °C) releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage."Plastic Teabags Release Billions of Microparticles and Nanoparticles into Tea (2019)
Tips to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom
- Recycle your toilet paper and reuse it... wait that doesn't sound right... Use RECYCLED toilet paper made from recycled materials (that makes more sense)
- Swap a bar of soap for a plastic dispenser bottle
- Use a cloth to dry your hands rather than paper towel
- Washing your hands? Save water by turning the tap off when you're scrubbing your hands
- Need to replace your toothbrush? Get a biodegradable, sustainably sourced bamboo toothbrush!
- Are you out of disposable razors? Get a safety razor (saves you money over time)
- Getting low on plastic floss? Swap it out for silk floss once you run out
- Once you run out of deodorant, look into ordering biodegradable deodorant!
- Swap plastic swabs out for cotton swabs, or reusable swabs!
- Look into making your own toothpaste, getting some from a local zero waste shop, or ordering zero waste toothpaste! If you're looking for sustainable, natural toothpaste, this zero waste toothpaste is even fluoride free!
- To save water, look into purchasing a low-flow shower head!
- Need to pack a toiletry bag for travel? Maybe this can help!
- Swap tissues out for a natural fibre cloth hanky!
Zero Waste Bedroom Tips
- Go thrifting for new clothes
- Host a clothing swap to give your old clothes another home
- Looking for new shoes? Check out Parley or Rothy's
- If you like reading a real book, borrow from the library
- Don't mind not reading from a physical book? Look into audible or buying an e-reader
- If you need to replace furniture, try finding what you need in a second-hand store or from a classified ads website like craigslist.org
- Look for ethically made, organic bed sheets with minimal packaging
Green Laundry Room Tips
- Like to use dryer sheets? Once you run out, swap them for wool dryer balls!
- Only put on the washer when there's a full load of laundry
- Wash your clothes with cold water as much as you can
- If you're able to, air dry over using a dryer
- Only use the dryer on full loads
- Keep your lint trap clean (increases efficiency of your dryer)
- Swap your Tide stick for a zero waste stain remover stick!
Time needed: 6 minutes.
Make your own laundry detergent! (below is Megean Weldon's recipe)
1 cup Baking Soda
1 cup Washing Soda
1 bar Pure Castile Soap
Several drops of your favourite essential oil (optional)
Finely grate the bar of Castile soap.
Use a cheese grater to finely grate your bar of Castile soap.
Mix baking soda, washing soda, Castile soap, and essential oil together.
Place the grated bar of Castile soap, the baking soda, washing soda, and essential oils into the bowl. Mix Well.
Use about 2-3 tablespoons per load depending on size and load soil level.
Now you're done! So easy right? Depending on the size of your load of laundry and your desired soil level, use within 2-3 tablespoons of your laundry detergent.
Creating a Plastic Free Games Room
- Buy video games second-hand
- Look into buying a refurbished TV
- Check out second hand shops for board games
- Host a game swap with your friends
- Stop vampire energy with energy efficient smart outlets
- If you don't have smart outlets, unplug your electronics when you're not using them (even if they're turned off they still draw energy)
- If you need to use batteries for some electronics, invest in reusable batteries and a charger (you'll save a lot of money)
Zero Waste Tips for your Dining Room
- Hosting a party but don't feel like doing dishes? Look into renting reusable plates and cutlery from a catering company or a party store
- Try using reusable cloth napkins instead of paper napkins
- Reusable cutlery, glasses, and plates/bowls over disposables!
- Need to replace chairs or your living room table? Look for second-hand furniture!
- If you need a tablecloth and/or placemats, look for a natural fibre sustainably made tablecloth
Zero Waste Home Office Tips
- Try to write online as much as possible to avoid paper waste
- Use recycled paper
- Refill your printer cartridges at a printer shop instead of tossing them
- Swap plastic pencils out for recycled pencils made from newspaper
- Use refillable pens instead of disposable pens
- Try using lick on stamps to avoid the disposable backings
- Swap out plastic tape for paper tape, it's biodegradable and recyclable!
- Sign up for e-billing
As I'm sure you saw, the majority of the tips can be broken down into the three following guidelines.
- Look for reusable items, if you can't - get a biodegradable version
- Try to buy second-hand
- If you're able to, make it yourself
What zero waste home tips did I miss? Let me know in the comments!
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