12 Ways on How to Start Reducing Waste at Home
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Read along to learn more on how to start reducing waste at home.
As someone who has been slowly switching to natural products for the past year, I’ve been feeling pretty good about reducing waste and the amount of toxins we bring into our home.
So I began searching for ways to reduce waste and save a little money in the long run by making some changes. Basically, zero waste swaps for beginners. A balance of both saving money and swapping.
I have typed up a list of thing to share ways you can start you zero waste journey. Some might be easier than others, but as always, implement what works for you. This is primarily a FOR THE HOME list. Yours might look slightly different depending on your needs.
Ways to Zero Waste
- Replace cling wrap with beeswax wrap
- Use a digital grocery list.
- Use reusable shopping totes.
- Use reusable paper towels.
- Repurpose what you already have before finally throwing it away.
- Reuse packaging material.
- Use a multi-purpose household cleaner.
- Sign up for paperless billing.
- Take advantage of natural lighting
- Air dry clothing whenever possible.
- Use a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug
- Grow your own food
Nothing extreme, but baby steps. Learning how to start a zero waste lifestyle is a process. Ways to zero waste is not something you want to rush through. Swap one thing at at time at your own pace.
1. Replace cling wrap with beeswax wrap
This was one of the initial things we replaced. Instead of cling wrap use beeswax wraps. Not only does it reduce waste, I no longer worry about plastic touching our food and no longer worry about running out of wrap. Plus it looks super cute. A win-win!
2. Use a digital grocery list
Replace a paper grocery list with a digital grocery list. No more using paper or having to remember to grab your list when you go out the door.
3. Use reusable shopping totes
Using reusable shopping totes not only reduces waste but it makes it so much easier to unpack your items when you get home. My favorite shopping totes are the ones below. Easy to carry and clean in case something spills. I feel like this is one of the easiest zero waste swaps for beginners.
*** An update on these. I have several different reusable shopping bags and these are now the primary ones I reach for. The are super sturdy and hand the heavy stuff no problem and fit nicely in your shopping cart.
4. Use reusables paper towels.
Replace paper towels with reusables ones. A quick and easy swap you could do by even cutting up a worn towel in equal sections. They absorb a lot and make cleaning messes really fast.
However, from personal experience, I do recommend having at least one roll of paper towels stashed somewhere for those really, really nasty messes where you just can’t use a reusable one. Like for example, a child drops spaghetti on the floor.
5. Repurpose what you have
Reuse what you already have before getting rid of use for sure. Just like # 4 where you can reprise an old towel to make reusable paper towels. Another example would be to use old toothbrush as a cleaning brush for hard-to-reach spots, like faucets or crevices.
This not only gives new life to something but allows you to put it to good use before tossing it. Plus, it prevents you from having to buy a small cleaning brush.
6. Reuse packaging material
Do you shop online quite a bit? Save some boxes up, especially packing paper to use during the holidays. That brown packing paper makes great gift-wrapping paper.
Just wrap your gift, tie a bow using some yarn, and stick in a piece of foliage for a nice touch. No need to worry about all the crinkles – It gives is a nice touch.
7. Use a multi-purpose household cleaner.
Use a multipurpose cleaner to reduce the amount of bottles you throw away. Not only do you reduce the amount of plastic bottles you throw away, you also save a ton of cabinet space.
There are a few cleaners I like to use. The first one is Thieves Household Cleaner (use referral ID 25860021 @ checkout). It’s completely non-toxic and just one capful in a bottle and fill with water and that’s it. It lasts a long, long time and saves me a ton of money.)
The other is Branch Basics. This is you can also use to clean everything. You can even use it for washing your face and for doing your laundry.
And the last one, if you’re looking for a bleach disinfecting alternative, is Force of Nature. (use code INOURSPACES at checkout)
8. Sign up for paperless billing
Replace paper bills and statements by signing up for paperless billing. And if you tend to forget to pay your bills, you could add a reminder to your calendar or simplify things but enrolling in auto pay.
9. Take advantage of natural lighting.
Try to use as much natural lighting at home during the day. No need to use a lamp or get a higher electrical bill when you can simply open the curtains and get some nice sunshine in. Plus, there are wellness benefits to getting that light in.
10. Air dry clothing whenever possible.
This is another way to reduce waste in the form of energy consumption. Air-drying clothing in the sun, especially whites, helps remove stains in a natural way. Good alternative if you’re trying to avoid the use of bleach.
11. Use a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug
Another easy swap. Instead of buying packs and packs of bottle water to stopping by the vending machine. Grab a reusable water bottle instead.
If you’re particular about your water, I recommend getting a water filter.
12. Grow your own food
Growing your own food is a big one but also one that takes quite some commitment. However, the easiest one you can start out with is an herb. Is there an herb you always seem to need when cooking? Start out with that one.
Frequently asked questions
How to go zero waste on a budget?
Start with the easiest ones that will not impact your finances at all or could even save you money in the long run. Like taking advantage of natural lighting during the day. Or cutting up am old towel to make reusable paper towels.
Is zero waste cheaper?
In the beginning, implementing a zero waste lifestyle will at times require an initial investment in reusable products that align with zero waste principles. However, in the long run, it does reduce the need to constantly buying disposable products, thus saving money.
You want to start with things you are comfortable with changing now and then slowly taking one thing at a time. In our case, we started off with a few things like reusable paper towels and reusable sandwich bags. You can read about why we switched and to which brand here in this post.
Keep in mind that zero waste is a journey and a lifestyle change. It may look different for everyone. You don’t have to go all out and be completely zero waste.
Give yourself some flexibility. Perhaps think 70/30 or 80/20 when it comes to the ways to zero waste. It is not about being perfect but about reducing the amount of waste we produce in our everyday lives.