| |

90 Zero Waste Tips For Beginners (Impactful & Easy Habits)

90 Zero Waste Tips For Beginners (Impactful & Easy Habits) - Almost Zero Waste

This post and the photos within it may contain affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a commission at no extra charge to you.


Going zero waste? Then, these 90 zero waste tips for beginners will give you plenty of practical ideas to kick-start your journey. 

Most of the tips are pretty easy to put into practice. However, 90 might feel like a lot. 

To avoid feeling overwhelmed, I will share with you the 10 best ones to start with. 

Additionally, I made a checklist to help you track your progress. You can grab it at the end of the article.

Let’s begin! 


Top 10 zero waste tips:

The easiest & impactful zero waste tips for beginners are –

  1. Get a reusable water bottle 
  2. Use a reusable bag or a backpack
  3. Get produce veggie bags
  4. Buy in bulk in reusable containers
  5. Choose metal, glass, or paper packaging  
  6. Eat seasonal, plant-based food
  7. Shop secondhand
  8. Compost food scraps 
  9. Get shampoo & conditioner bars   
  10. Ditch paper towels for reusable cloths 

Now, let’s explore the rest of the zero waste tips. You can find them divided into 7 categories:

Personal & Wardrobe | Kitchen | Bathroom & Cleaning | Shopping & grocery | Social activities | Traveling | Other 


Personal:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

1. Mug-to-go 

Get a reusable mug for to-go beverages, like coffee, smoothies, or tea. (you can also use a jar from home) 

2. Get reusable containers

Invest in a few reusable containers and use them for bulk shopping, ordering food from restaurants & leftovers, etc. 

3. Pack lunch for work/school 

By doing that, you will save money from buying quick to-go meals, reduce single-use (plastic) waste, and eat healthier! 

4. Sustainable period 

Look into reusable period products, such as cloth pads, menstrual underwear, or menstrual cup. A menstrual cup (like AllMatters menstrual cup) is my favorite option – it is super comfortable, hygienic & easy to use. Find the best menstrual cups for beginners and tips on how to insert & take them out

5. Buy or make reusable cotton rounds

Instead of using single-use cotton rounds, purchase reusable cotton rounds or DIY! Find an easy tutorial by Shelbizleee:

DIY Zero Waste Makeup Remover Pads + Reusing Dumpster Finds

 

6. Minimalize personal care routine

Try to figure out which are the essential products you need, and avoid purchasing new things that you don’t use/need daily.  

7. Switch to zero waste personal products

You can find sustainable alternatives to almost anything –  sunscreensdeodorants, face creams, oils, soaps, makeup, etc. Once you are done with personal care products in plastic packaging, start switching to eco-friendly & plastic-free alternatives

8. DIY 

There are many simple DIY things that you can try making at home –  deodoranttooth powdermouthwashdry shampoo, face masks, etc. So find a handful of things that seem manageable, and try making them! 

9. Dye your hair color with natural dyes 

If you dye your hair, avoid using strong chemicals. Instead, look for better and more natural alternatives, such as henna. 

10. Donate or trade 

Donate things you no longer use to your local second-hand market or find my list with 20 drop-off donating locations. For trading, there are a few websites that I found:

What if you have clothing that is in very bad shape? Then, you can check my article with 17 creative ideas and things to do with old clothes that you can’t donate.

11. Watch out for greenwashing 

Greenwashing is very common. That’s when a company claims to be environmentally friendly by hiding negative outcomes and highlighting just their positive side. Learn how to spot greenwashing here

12. Learn more with zero waste books

To learn more and get motivated, read some of these zero waste books filled with excellent ideas. 

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

13. Buy fewer (new) books

It’s better to visit your public library and borrow books from there. Also, look for a digital version of the books you want – either Kindle or Audiobook. If you want to own certain books, buy second-hand copies.  

14. Recycle properly 

Do you know that you can’t recycle containers that are contaminated with food or that most areas refuse to recycle receipts because of their toxic coating? 

Recycling is a very gray area, and it can be annoying because each municipality has its regulations. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find how to recycle correctly. Do your best, and look up what are the rules where you live.

Wardrobe:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

15. Sell your clothes online 

If you want to declutter and downsize your wardrobe – you can make some money along the way. Go to one of these 23 second-hand clothing platforms, and sell your things. 

16. Boycott fast-fashion 

Fast fashion has devastating consequences for our planet. Try to avoid fast fashion brands as much as you can. If you want something – make sure you love the item, it is not an impulsive purchase, and you will often wear it. 

17. Buy fewer clothes 

Buy less, and focus on higher quality, durable clothes and shoes. Try to support ethical brands, and look for certifications like Organic and Fair Trade. 

18. Avoid synthetic clothing 

Most synthetic materials are often by-products of petroleum. As a result, they are non-biodegradable, and it takes a long time to decompose. Try to avoid clothes made from polyester, nylon, fleece, rayon, organza, taffeta, spandex, lycra, elastane, and acrylic. 

19. Support ethical brands 

For the times you need to buy new things, consider supporting ethical clothing brands. Find a list of affordable & sustainable clothing brands here


Kitchen:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

20. Use a wax wrap 

Keep your bread or other foods wrapped in a wax wrap – that will keep the food fresh for longer. You can buy beeswax or the vegan version – soy wax wrap.

21. Say “No” to trash bags 

Instead, find zero waste alternatives to trash bags. You can: 

  • Make and use a DIY reusable trash bag 
  • Line your bin with newspaper 
  • Use reusable bags for different materials 
  • Go bagless 

22. Cook from scratch

Many pre-packed foods are pretty easy to make at home. For example, you can make homemade nut milk, sauces, hummus, spreads, bread, crackers, cookiescupcakes, etc. This will help you to reduce A LOT of packaging. 

23. Meal plan 

A meal plan will help you to save money and to avoid food waste. If you are short on time, you can consider investing in a pressure cooker since it halves the cooking time, and you can cook huge baches. I have one, and I’m pleased with it. 

24. Store your food properly 

Globally, we create a lot of food waste –  1.3 billion tonnes early

To reduce food waste at home, learn how to store your fruits and veggies properly.

An excellent video that I recently watched shared plenty of helpful tips. You can check it out: 

How To Make Your Groceries Last Longer

25. Freeze food 

This is another way to save food waste. For example, consider freezing overripe bananas and avocados, older bread, cooked legumes, etc.

Canning is another great way to preserve food. The shelf-life is up to a year, and it doesn’t require any refrigeration. 

26. Reuse food scraps 

There are plenty of ways to reuse things first before throwing them away. For example: 

  • Roast apple or potato peels for a crunchy snack.
  • Use broccoli stems for baking, stir-fries, or raw in salads. 
  • Use leftover pickle juice to pickle other veggies quickly.
  • Make a veggie broth by using onion peels, carrot peels, celery stems, etc. 
  • Use stale bread to make crunchy croutons for soups and salads. Use some of these tricks to return it to life: 
Stale Bread Hacks | MyRecipes

27. Eat more plants & fewer animal products 

Animal agriculture is a well-known industry with a negative impact on the environment. Reducing doesn’t mean going fully vegan. Just try to be more mindful of your animal product consumption. 

You can start with:

  • Meatless Mondays 
  • Weekday vegetarian
  • Explore plant-based alternatives, like vegan burgers, yogurts, etc.

 Find more about some of the most exceptional environmental benefits of reducing meat here. 

28. Regrow veggies 

Carrots, lettuce, basil, green onion, garlic, leek, and celery are some of the veggies you can regrow. Place any of these in a container and cover the roots with water. 

Once they start growing, you can transfer some to a pot or your garden. Check this video with plenty of simple ideas to start: 

14 Store Bought Vegetables & Herbs You Can Regrow

29. Eat seasonally 

Eating produce in season is tastier and better for the planet. In addition, fruits and veggies are often from your region, which lowers the carbon footprint from long-distance transportation. 

30. Avoid single-use coffee capsules 

Instead of buying capsules, make your coffee in a Moka pot, French press, Turkish style, or pour it over with a reusable filter. 

31. Ditch the plastic sponges 

Clean your dishes with compostable loofah sponges or bamboo dish brushes

32. Switch to dish soap bars  

Get plastic-free block soap for dishes instead of the liquid soap in plastic bottles. You can also look for a local bulk store that offers bulk liquid detergent. 


Bathroom: 

90 Zero Waste Tips For Beginners (Impactful & Easy Habits)

33. Get a reusable safety razor

If you take good care of your reusable safety razor, it can last you a lifetime. Find how to use it here.

34. Recycled or bamboo toilet paper

Get plastic-free 100% bamboo or recycled toilet paper individually wrapped in paper. If you can’t find it locally, check:

35. Get a bidet 

A bidet can save you tons of toilet paper, and it is WAY more hygienic. There are a few options that are very affordable and easy to install. For example, you can get a bidet attachment like Tushy or a handheld bidet.

36. Get reusable q-tips

I’ve been using reusable bamboo q-tip for the past 3 years. After using it, I wash it with soap and water, dry it, and keep it in a small box. You can also get Last Swab reusable ear cleaner or single-use, plastic-free ones

37. Use soap bars

Switch from liquid shampoos and soaps in plastic to solid shampoo and soap bars. You can find many plastic-free options made with a few simple ingredients. Check EthiqueHiBAR, or Plaine Products (in aluminum refillable bottles). 

38. Zero waste oral routine

Switch to a bamboo toothbrushplastic-free dental floss, and plastic-free toothpaste/tooth tablets. You can also DIY my favorite mineralizing zero waste tooth powder.

Cleaning:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

39. Make a DIY cleaner 

It is SUPER easy – fill a jar with citrus peels. Then, fill the jar almost until the top, with white vinegar. Fill until the end with water. Keep in a dark place for at least 2-3 weeks. Then, strain the liquid and use it for most surfaces. 

Furthermore, you can use baking soda as an abrasive scrubber or mix it with a bit of water as an all-purpose surface cleaner. 

40. DIY laundry detergent or buy an eco-friendly one 

Laundry detergents are commonly derived from petrochemicals and have synthetic fragrances. Check out environmentally-friendly Meliorasoap nuts, or DIY – Fairyland Cottage shares amazing 2-ingredient recipe here: 

2 Ingredient Laundry Detergent - Zero Waste - Natural - Economical

41. Dryline your clothes

Dryers are using a lot of energy, so by air-drying everything, you will save up energy. And money, too. 

42. Use a microplastic filter 

Every time you do your laundry, your clothes release hundreds of thousands of microfibers – a.k.a tiny plastics. They eventually end up in our waterways, then in our food, water, etc. 

This microplastic filter is made from 100% recycled plastic, and it can catch these microfibers.


Shopping & Grocery:

90 Zero Waste Tips For Beginners (Impactful & Easy Habits)

43. Avoid unsustainable companies

Some products and companies are destroying our planet and creating tons of waste on the way. Support local small businesses and consider avoiding:

44. Email before ordering online

Before you order something online, write an email to the company to ask if they can ship the item you want plastic-free. I recommend doing that for “sustainable” companies, too, since they sometimes use plastic packaging.

45. Support local farmers & businesses

From clothing, food, coffee shops, etc. In that way, you can support the local economy and avoid plastic and emissions from transportation. 

46. Write a list before you go grocery shopping 

This will help you to buy just what you need & to save money. 

47. If you forgot a reusable bag, ask for a box

Sometimes you might forget reusable bags. Luckily, you can still avoid a plastic bag by getting an empty box from the store.  

Find more ideas on how to reduce plastic bags here.

48. Buy loose produce 

Most supermarkets sell a lot of plastic-free fruits and veggies. Always choose the loose produce!  

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

49. Get reusable veggie bags 

It will be way easier to get your loose veggies and fruits in reusable produce bags. Most supermarkets sell reusable bags in their veggies & fruits section. 

50. Get the single bananas 

Often, the single bananas that are not in a bunch are thrown out because they are left out. Pick the single bananas, and save them from the trash! 

51. Buy ugly veggies 

Unfortunately, the “imperfect produce” often goes to waste first, even though the imperfections are just external. Embracing funny-looking & deformed fruits and veggies is a great way to reduce food waste. 

52. Don’t buy single servings 

If you can’t find something plastic-free, get the biggest size available, even if it’s plastic. This will reduce the overall waste. 

53. Order plastic-free staples online 

If you don’t have a bulk store, you can find online bulk shops that ship dried goods, usually in paper bags. You can reuse the paper bags afterward or compost them. 


Traveling:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

54. Visit local food markets 

When traveling, visit local food markets to try foreign foods, which will often be package-free. In that way, you will also support small and local businesses. 

55. Walk, bike, or use public transport

Biking is an excellent eco-friendly way to explore more of your travel destination for a shorter period. For far distances, use public transportation, instead of getting a taxi.

56. Stop short distance flying 

Flying is convenient, but it is terrible for our planet. So, whenever possible, try to find an alternative way to travel, such as – car-sharing, a bus, or a train. 

57. Pack your food for air travel 

Airplane food is not the best, and it mostly comes in single-use packaging. So it is best to prepare some delicious food in reusable containers or to get some plastic-free snacks. 

58. Choose direct flights & pack lightly 

If you travel somewhere far, try to find a direct flight. A plane’s takeoff and landing contribute to about 25% of a flight’s total emissions. 

59. Carbon offsets/Support environmental projects 

You can “offset” your carbon emissions from flying with an airplane. The idea is to support sustainable projects or organizations planting trees, funding alternative energy sources, etc. 

To learn more about carbon offsets, watch this informative & short video by Our Changing Climate: 

Can carbon offsets really save us from climate change?

60. Don’t buy plastic bottles when traveling with an airplane

Usually, many international airports have free water dispensers, where you can refill your reusable water bottle. If you are traveling to a location with poor water quality, get yourself a purifying water bottle such as GRAYL or Brita.

61. Borrow 

If you’re looking for a specific item you need a few times, borrow it instead of buying it. For example, I needed ski gear, so since I am skiing rarely, I borrowed the ski pants from a friend, the rest from a ski rental shop. 

62. Take additional reusables 

By carrying a few essential reusables, like food containersutensils & tote bags, you can lower your waste tremendously.  


Social activities:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

63. Give experience gifts 

Instead of giving materialistic gifts to your friends and family, consider surprising them with experiences! For some inspiration, find 36 experience gifts, under $30, $50, and $100

64. Avoid single-use items on social activities 

If you are at a party, or a birthday, ask the host to give you reusables instead of disposable items. Or you can even bring your reusable ones, just in case.

65. Reduce takeout 

Ordering food means a lot of single-use plastic. To reduce plastic waste, try to find a place that uses paper containers. If you can, write a note to your order and ask for plastic-free delivery. Also, say that you don’t need any plastic cutleries or tissues. 

66. DIY gift wraps 

Get creative and find unusual ways to wrap a gift without creating any additional waste. Check how to make a simple Japanese gift wrapping by Pointful Things: 

How To | Furoshiki - Japanese Gift Wrapping (part 1)

67. Find like-minded people 

Connect (online or offline) with other people who share the same goals. This can be very motivating; you can share tips, struggles, and experiences with each other. 

68. Pick-up trash 

Organize a local garbage pick-up. Or do it with a few of your friends in an area that needs a bit of cleaning! 

69. Stop buying balloons 

Or similar pointless items. Ballons often find their way to open water and harm marine animals. Plus, they are polluting the Earth. Find my favorite eco-friendly alternatives to balloons here.


Other ideas:

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

70. Avoid receipts 

Most receipts aren’t recyclable because of their coating, which usually contains BPA (Bisphenol A). Find my tips on how to avoid receipts here.

71. Use Ecosia 

An incredible search engine, which supports the planting of trees around the world! If it sounds too good to be true, learn more about how it works

72. Buy less new electronics 

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream. For 2019, worldwide, we generated 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste. 

Second-hand items have already been produced and are in circulation. Shopping second-hand saves resources & items going to landfills and reduces the demand for new things. 

Consider buying gently-used things like bikes, smartphones, laptops, TVs, etc. This tip will save you a lot of money, too. 

73. Reduce your paper usage

Paper production creates a lot of waste; it causes deforestation, air pollution and uses enormous amounts of energy & water. What’s worse, we treat many paper items as single-use items. A few paper-saving tips include: 

  • Pay your bills online 
  • Use digital tickets and passes
  • Avoid paper bags 
  • Avoid unnecessary printing 
  • Try to stop junk mail 
  • Use the back of the envelope/scrap paper to write lists 
  • Choose paper items made with recycled materials

74. Minimize purchases 

Be more mindful when buying things, and reduce impulsive shopping, food, clothes, and anything in between.  

75. One in one out rule 

A fantastic minimalist policy that will help you to keep clutter under control. The idea is that every time a new item comes into your home, a similar item must leave. 

76. Repurpose, reuse, and repair things 

Find creative ways to repurpose, reuse, and repair (almost) everything! Instead of tossing older or broken things, find ways to fix them & extend their life! There are so many things you can do with old stuff; the list is endless! For example:

  • Reuse and upcycle various food/drink containers
  • Turn old sheets and towels into cleaning cloths, or produce bags
  • Upcycle current furniture, save window hardware and screens, repurpose carpeting, etc. when renovating your home
  • Upcycle old shirts into cute tops, long old jeans into shorts, etc. Find simple ideas on how to transform your clothes from Haley’s Corner:
12 SUMMER THRIFT FLIPS ☆ jeans to shorts, cropped tops, patches + more diys!

77. Refuse freebies 

Refuse free promotional items – most times, we don’t need these things, and they are often cheap stuff that breaks quickly. 

78. Dog poo bags 

There are pretty cool compostable poo bags, in case you have a doggo. You can purchase affordable ones like these or simply use a newspaper. 

79. Switch to LED lighting 

LED bulbs use roughly 15 times less electricity than halogen lighting. As a result, they are one of the most energy-efficient forms of light. 

80. Rechargeable batteries over disposable 

Anything that has a reusable alternative over single-use is worth looking into. If you tend to use batteries for various things, consider getting rechargeable ones


The 90 zero waste tips checklist:


The checklist will help you keep track of your progress. Download it and mark the zero waste tips you are already doing. Then, you can see what’s left and work on it!

You can use the checklist directly on the computer (it’s interactive), or if you have some old paper, you can print it out. 

Write your email below to subscribe to my newsletter and get the zero waste checklist:

Subscribe to my newsletter and get the zero waste checklist (+ my free e-book):

zero waste tips,zero waste tips for beginners

If you have questions about the checklist, or any of the tips, drop a comment below, or feel free to join the Almost Zero Waste Facebook group!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.