Five Simple Ways to Create A Zero Waste Home

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Zero Waste Home

My New Year’s resolution is simple: go zero waste as much as possible. This means reducing the amount of trash your family produces to zero.

With two kids, I realize that it will be difficult to eliminate all waste, but I am going to try to create as little waste as possible!

5 Ways To Go Zero Waste

When starting anything new the key to success is a solid plan. Little steps make change easier. Here are five ways to make your house a zero waste home.

1. Buy in Bulk

Buying in bulk is easier now since so many stores carry bulk options. Many stores allow you to bring your own container and simply charge by weight. We love to do this with oats, flour, sugar, and other dried goods. Bigger quantities mean less packaging, which gets us closer to our zero-waste goal.

Another option is to buy large quantities of personal care items like soap, shampoo, or body wash. Bonus if your soap will also work as shampoo! This unscented liquid soap is great. It is formulated so we can add our own essential oils or just leave it plain. It can also be thickened by adding table salt! In our family, one gallon lasts several months.

2. Buy Less

Probably the most obvious way to go zero waste is to buy less in general.

Buying less means using more of what you already have. We love multipurpose items that can be used in a variety of ways. Mason jars are one of our favorite multipurpose items because they can be drinking glasses, kitchen utensil holders, or even used as storage for food, crafts, homemade lotions, or even containers for gifts!

I also buy very little seasonal decor. We have very limited storage space in our home, so I tend to do minimal decorating. Plus, the seasonal decor is often made of plastics and other cheap materials that just end up in landfills.

3. DIY More

This shouldn’t surprise any of you! I absolutely love DIY projects and I save a lot of money (and waste!) by doing them.

I could definitely make more homemade cleaners. They are such a great solution to overly fragranced store-bought cleaners that come in plastic bottles.

Another zero waste idea I want to try is these handy reusable beeswax food wraps. They are such a great solution to plastic wrap!

4. Compost in Your Zero Waste Home

We try to compost most of our vegetable waste. I say try because I often put things aside to take out to the compost bin and they end up in the garbage can instead.

Plus, I’ve never been a super successful composter. This year I plan to follow some of these great tips on how to make compost really fast, plus we might try vermicomposting. I’m not ambitious enough to try a composting toilet, but I know lots of people who love them!

5. Reuse and Recycle

Reusing and recycling items is probably what most of our zero waste strategy will consist of.

I love to recycle glass jars for DIY projects and keep a bin of clean glass jars in my basement for this reason. It also saves me money because I have jars of all sizes for various projects. I used a mini jam jar to hold this DIY Whipped Vanilla Latte Body Butter.

We love re-using lots of items in our house. Paper bags from the store can double as wrapping paper; shoe boxes work as storage for craft supplies; plastic containers are perfect for holding beads and buttons, or can also be used in craft projects. Additionally, these can all be recycled to be used again.

I do recycle, but not as much as I should. Our town recycles glass and aluminum, but not plastic or cardboard. However, I know that I can save my recycling and drive it to the recycling center one town over. It’s a little extra effort, but totally worth it.

What are your zero waste tips?

If you are also trying to eliminate waste I would love your tips! Share with us in the comments below.


About Katie Vance

Katie is a wife, mother, aromatherapist, and lover of all things DIY. She offers consultations and gives simple aromatherapy advice at Katie Vance, Aromatherapy Simplified. You can also find Katie on Facebook.

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  1. Elizabeth Anderson says

    Kitchen scraps go into an old coffee can as theyre produced. In the morning, when I go to feed the chickens, the coffee can goes with me to be dumped into the composter. The birds get into it, but add their wastes to the bin.

    The eggs that the hens produce are gathered into used egg cartons and given to family on the condition I get the cartons back.

    I also use the cardboard egg cartons and empty toilet paper tubes to start my plants for the garden.

    Decent boxes live their 2nd life for birthday and Christmas presents. Then afterwards, I keep the larger boxes in the car to handle produce. Finally, the boxes are again filled with donations for our local charities.

    I dont subscribe to any newspaper or magazine, as I can get all that info and more off the internet.

    Old tires get turned into garden walls when packed with dirt.

    Old 5 gallon plastic water jugs get turned into potato planters.

    The jars that pasta sauce comes in, I reuse for rice and such that I buy in bulk.

  2. Rose says

    After a year’s worth of COVID-19 pandemic living, some new-ish Zero Waste habits:

    1. Banned reusable shopping/produce bags? I use the readily available newspaper ad from the front of the store to wrap my loose produce (mushrooms, beans, brussel sprouts, etc). The bigger stuff just lays in the cart. The paper is recycled at home. I ask that the groceries be returned to my cart. I transfer the groceries to the reusable totes/boxes/baskets I keep in my car.

    2. I have a very large tote (made from recycled billboards). It contains our Dining Out Accessories. Cloth napkins and silverware, salt and pepper shakers, stainless steel straws, an assortment of containers (non-Styrofoam) for any leftovers, pen, extra mask, and hand sanitizer.

    3. Restaurant guidelines require anything on the table that isn’t washed must be thrown out. It is not uncommon for me to bring home S&P or sugar packets, paper napkins (both gently used and unused), butter packets (or unused butter into my own container), unused on-the-side salad dressing, and even paper placemats and aluminum cans that I recycle at home.

  3. Lee says

    The hubs insists that we buy paper towels so we buy pretty good ones. After using on our face as napkins, I rinse out and use them for kitchen counter messes then rinse again and use on the floors. After that they’re composted.

  4. MiTmite9 says

    Back in 1970 Earth Day began here in Santa Barbara. This green movement came about in direct response to the horrific oil spill which took place offshore in Santa Barbara in 1969.

    Earth Day encouraged me to take an Adult Ed organic gardening class. My family and I have been recycling our kitchen scraps ever since. Composting is easier than people think and if one doesn’t have the means or space for a compost pile, there are now so many compact compost tumblers available—-there’s really no excuse for anyone to toss kitchen scraps of any kind into the trash.

    Sometimes I just bury my kitchen scraps and drag a large umbrella stand or a piece of screen with tomato cages to anchor it over the buried scraps, to keep out animals. Why not return the scraps to the earth and enrich one’s soil? Feed your earthworms.

    For those who can’t compost, San Franciscso has a curb-side kitchen scraps recycling program. Every town and city should follow suit. Those eggshells, teabags, food scraps and pet fur all belong back in the soil, not in the landfill. As an added plus: you won’t need any trash bag liners anymore, either.

  5. Amy Delpiere says

    Any food you can grow yourself goes right to your kitchen. No driving to the store, no transporting the food to the consumer, no harmful chemicals, no packaging. That’s the best kind of zero waste I can think of.

  6. Wendy A Ormond says

    I keep “take away” or “to go” container in my car for leftovers. I also keep a couple dining sets composed of reusable plates, cups, and dinnerwear in my car. I try to remember not to use straws and need to remember, when waitstaff are asked for water, to add “no straw please”. I have reusable straws (one set metal and one plastic and the straw brush) at home. I also keep a set of eating utensils in my car. I too compost for the most part, but really need to focus more on my compost pile, as it does not break down very fast. Now that I am retired I should have more time to do so.

  7. Mrs. M says

    Our family has a lot of waste from bringing home “To Go” boxes and cups after dining out. We dine out about once a week, and I usually plan to bring my leftovers home for my next day’s lunch. The “To Go” boxes are usually styrofoam (sometimes plastic), and then there’s plastic cups for gravy or dressings!
    This year, I plan to take a reusable container from home (Tupperware, Pyrex, Glad, or Ziploc containers that we use for leftovers at home) and place my food in it to carry home. It will seal better than the typical styrofoam boxes and, if I use a glass Pyrex, the food won’t have to be transferred to another container when reheating it in the oven or microwave.
    If you know you’ll have leftover soup, you could plan ahead by bringing along a pint size jar (Mason, Ball, etc).
    Best wishes in 2019 and your goal of near Zero waste!

  8. Mrs. M says

    Best translation of Biljana I could find… Bosnian?
    “What I like is also the reuse of waste in decoration.
    This year’s Christmas pine is derived from various plugs and paper that I took from the flower shops as their waste.
    An incredible spell of just a little goodwill
    I’d love to put you a photo and I’ll try on the cover page”

  9. Biljana says

    Ono što se meni svida je također korištenje otpada u dekoracije.
    Ovogodišnji božićni bor izađen je od raznih čepova i papira koje sam uzela iz cvijećarnica kao njihov otpad.
    Nevjerovatna čarolija od samo malo dobre volje
    Voljela bih vam staviti fotku pa ću probati u naslovnoj stranici