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Having zero waste at home may seem next to impossible, especially when there are often multiple family members you’re trying to get on board. Just the thought of making that big of a change sounds scary, but making little changes around the house can help guide you in the right direction to have close to zero waste at home.
Let’s talk about what zero waste at home actually is. According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, zero waste is “the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health”.
So in simpler terms, reduce, reuse, recycle. Although it’s very simple to say, it’s a lot of work to change your mindset. The thousands of habits we have developed take a lot of work to undo. But in order to have zero waste at home, you have to start somewhere. Here are some great ways to become more eco-friendly and start your journey to having zero waste at home.
Zero Waste in the Kitchen
- If you haven’t started to separate your recycling from your trash, start there. Your city likely has a recycling pick up, so make sure to check with your local city guidelines on how to separate everything. Once you have a game plan, have separate bins, and make a chart to hang in your kitchen for the rest of the family. Having a visual guideline can help each member of the family transition easier.
- Composting is a great step towards zero waste at home. All of the food scraps that you’re so used to throwing away can lead to so many problems. Recycle Now states “When waste is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere.”
Having your own compost bin and disposing of kitchen scraps properly can not only help the environment, but it can improve the quality of your soil in your garden. As those kitchen scraps break down, they provide nutrients your plants desperately want. If you’re not sure where to start with composting, here is a compost bin you can keep underneath your kitchen cabinet.
- Let’s face it, sponges are gross. They collect dirt and grime from your dishes and are disposed of so quickly. Instead of wasting your money and going through an endless amount of disposables, consider crocheting your own.
Skip the cling wrap and plastic containers
- When you’re thinking of having zero waste at home, you have to look deep into the things that we use every day that are not recyclable. Plastic wrap and plastic Tupperware are simple things you can exchange out that have a huge effect on the environment. Moldable beeswax is a great alternative to cling wrap and can oftentimes extend the life of the item you’re wrapping. Glass Tupperware lasts longer than plastic, is BPA free, and it can be reused for so many different things, as well as be recycled if damaged.
Zero Waste in the Bathroom
- If you haven’t heard of this alternative, stop what you’re doing and go buy these now. This is such a simple way to start having zero waste at home. Toothbrushes are almost completely made of plastic, and since the CDC recommends you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months at a minimum, making the switch to a bamboo toothbrush minimizes the amount of plastic that ends up in the landfill.
Shampoo and Soap Bars
- With a large family, your bathroom and shower can feel a little crowded with the amount of shampoo and conditioner bottles. Consider making the switch to shampoo and conditioner bars instead! Not only will this reduce your plastic use, but it will save you so much room in your bathroom. If you have time, you can even make your own.
Read More: DIY Body Wash From a Bar of Soap
Ditch the toilet paper
- That’s right, you heard me right. According to National Geographic and the World Watch Magazine, “Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper”.
Going zero waste at home can be so much easier when you make the switch to a bidet. Companies like Hello Tushy have a bidet attachment that you could consider instead of purchasing a toilet that has one already attached.
Additional Changes to Live Zero Waste at Home
Pets Can Help Eliminate Waste
- What?! Who thought composting could be so much fun? In addition to your compost bin, pets are a great addition to the family and can help get rid of those kitchen scraps. They can also be a huge motivation in getting the family on board with the changes at home! Make sure to do research on what your dog and guinea pigs can and cannot eat before giving them your kitchen scraps.
- When you’re considering things to change to have zero waste at home, laundry detergent is a big one to think about. Some new eco-friendly items that are up and coming are laundry strips, but you can always make your own laundry detergent at home and place it inside of a glass container.
Read More: Easy DIY for Baby Laundry Detergent
- Let’s face it, our kids grow so quickly that you may constantly feel that you’re buying new clothes every season. Instead of just tossing the clothes away or storing them in your attic for years, consider hosting a clothing swap. This way, you’re giving the clothes to someone that could use them and adding gently used clothes for your own kids’ closet. This will help eliminate waste in your home as well as introducing zero waste at home to other families.
Read More: Why and How to Host a Clothing Swap
Zero waste at home is not impossible, it just takes the right mindset. Don’t expect to go zero waste at home overnight, slow changes are the best way to begin living this lifestyle. When you’re introducing these changes, have a family meeting and make sure that everyone is educated on why these changes are needed to improve their lives and the world we live in.
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Photo Credits: Lauren Benson Photography