by Texas Homesteader ~
Many are concerned about the environment & want to live a more zero-waste life. You may wonder: Is it hard? Expensive?
Nope! Come see my tips.
(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)
Are you interested in the zero-waste path? Do you wonder just where to start? Feeling a little overwhelmed?
Well don’t worry, living a more zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult.
Reducing Waste Not An All-Or-Nothing Requirement!
It’s nearly impossible to truly be ZERO waste.
So it’s important to remember that like most things, it’s not an ‘all or nothing‘ decision. You can pick & choose the areas most important to you and still make a real impact.
And most of the time it actually SAVES you money!
There’s an extensive list at the end of this post with LOTS of ideas. I encourage you to check them out.
But below are simple tips to begin effortlessly reducing your waste each & every day.
1. Shopping Bags: Paper or Plastic? Neither!
Cities all over America are banning single-use plastics. And I for one say HUZZAH!
Plastic Shopping Bags
Many people are becoming painfully aware of the environmental cost of all those single-use plastic shopping bags.
Although some people try to find another use for single-use shopping bags, in most cases they’re thrown away.
Sadly, a shockingly small percentage of plastic bags are ever actually recycled. Plus fewer recycling facilities even accept plastic bags anymore.
Often you just find them as trash blowing through fields or clogging our waterways.
Paper Shopping Bags
Are paper shopping bags really better? Sure they’re compostable & made from a more renewable resource.
But they still take lots of resources to produce. And since they’re heavier they cost more to transport too.
So with no clear choice, what to do?
Shopping WITHOUT Disposable Shopping Bags
When that cashier asks you ‘Paper or Plastic’, answer NEITHER!
One of the first things I did to move closer to a zero-waste life was to eliminate single-use shopping bags from my life.
I couldn’t be happier! Those dang plastic bags seem to reproduce overnight when no one’s looking #amiright??!!
Heavy Reusable Bags – My reusable canvas bags hold much more than a flimsy plastic bag would. And the shoulder straps make them so much easier to carry too.
No more flimsy torn plastic bags tossing expensive groceries to the ground!
Open-Top Shopping Basket – For smaller shopping stops I have an easier way to carry my groceries using my Market Basket.
The wide top means I’m comfortable accumulating my purchases and taking them to the cashier without having a large buggy with a perpetually wobbling wheel to navigate in and out of crowded store aisles.
I love my *Handmade Market Basket & get many compliments on it. Just planting that seed with others around me, bebe!
After I’ve unloaded my groceries at home I’ll place my reusable bags or basket back in the car.
They’re always ready to be reused, even for an unscheduled stop!
2. Ditch Disposables At Your Table
Disposables are convenient but they rack up a cost, both budgetary well as environmental.
Think about it: You buy disposables to use for a very short time & throw them away, just to repeat the cycle over & over again.
But don’t fret, zero-waste options are EASY. And you’ll get a nicer dining experience for your family to boot!
Use Real Dishes
Opt for real honest-to-goodness plates and flatware when serving your meals.
Our plates were mostly picked up for cheap at thrift stores, although I still have plates gifted to me at my high school graduation. Let’s just say that was a loooong time ago!
Using real plates offer a more satisfying dining experience. PLUS they save the cost of buying disposable plates just to throw them away and buy them again.
For my family, a cloth napkin instead of a hard crinkly disposable paper napkin really makes a difference in the feel of even a simple meal.
I’ve Made Cloth Napkins from an old unloved tablecloth but they can be purchased pre-loved for cheap at thrift stores too.
And they last a long time. Some of our cloth napkins have been in constant use for over 20 years – even through raising our children into adulthood.
Cloth napkins take no additional resources for us to launder. We toss them in our regular laundry loads along with my Homemade Laundry Powder.
3. Learn To Make Easy Food Items For Yourself
Making Homemade Yogurt was my very first self-sufficiency step decades ago.
Then I started making other easy things for myself.
Don’t be intimidated. Start with one thing & build on your goals as you gain confidence.
I’m sure you’ll find (like I did) that it’s much easier than you’d been lead to believe. And to be honest it’s quite empowering.
4. Cook From Scratch The EASY Way
First and most importantly, remember every meal doesn’t have to look like it came from the cover of a magazine. Modest meals are delicious and nutritious too.
So if your vision of meal perfection is keeping you from cooking from scratch, resolve to enjoy making simple yet healthy & delicious meals more frequently.
Cooking Shortcut: Cook-Once, Eat-Twice
One of my most-used shortcuts is Cook-Once, Eat-Twice cooking. That’s where you cook a LOT of an entrée at one time and freeze the leftovers in dinner-sized portions.
Then a nutritious meal can be as simple as thawing a dinner-sized serving of, say, homemade meatloaf and opening a couple of cans of veggies for sides.
Be sure to check out my simple Shortcuts To Homemade Meals Every Day.
5. Repurposing Gives New Life To Old Items
Turning an old tablecloth into cute country-themed cloth napkins is a perfect example of repurposing something no longer serving its original purpose in a new way.
I’ve used an old hay ring no longer fit to use with the cows into a Protective Barrier around a newly-planted tree.
And I’m constantly repurposing empty coffee canisters into any number of helpful things instead of throwing them away or recycling. I’ve used empty coffee cans for:
Check out all the Coffee Can Repurpose Ideas I’ve come up with over the years.
When something around your house has outlived its usefulness, look at it with brand new eyes. Can it be used somewhere else for a different purpose?
6. Compost: Black Gold For Your Garden
Some people save veggie trimmings in the freezer, then use them to make vegetable broth. That’s a great (and edible) repurpose for sure!
But after those veggie scraps are completely spent from making broth, don’t toss them in the trash. They can go for yet another repurpose – compost.
Food Waste is a big problem. And rotting food in a landfill is an even bigger problem.
So turn food no longer fit to eat into compost instead using food scraps that used to just go into the trash!
We use a *Tumbling Composter, it helps prevent our compost from attracting pests & flies. Plus the tumbling action makes usable compost faster.
Check it out my post Easy Guide To Compost if you’re ready to begin composting.
7. Buy Used When Possible
Sometimes you need to buy things. But even then you can stack the cards in Mother Nature’s favor.
We Buy Items Used from a thrift or antique store.
Our thrift store purchases are typically higher quality than we could afford new. PLUS no new whatsit needed to be manufactured to fill our need.
Typically there’s no packaging either. So this I consider this a big fat environmental zero-waste win all the way around.
Take The Next Step
These seven tips are quick & easy ways start toward a more zero-waste lifestyle. Once you take those first simple steps the next steps are even easier and more fun – it’s addictive!
There are many other ideas listed below. Check them out, you’re bound to find something new!
Zero-Waste Health & Beauty
- Zero-Waste Shaving Using A Safety Razor
- Low-Waste Snap Toothbrushes
- Homemade Minty Mouthwash
- Quick & Easy Homemade Deodorant
- MYO Light & Sheer Face Powder
- 3-Ingredient Beeswax Lip Balm
- Homemade Vanilla-Scented Shampoo Bar Soap
- 3-Ingredient DRY SHAMPOO Mix
- Homemade Hairspray
- MYO Naturally-Scented Hair Conditioner
- Morning Motivation Mint Soap
- Homemade Soap: Lavender/Rosemary
- Soap Grows On TREES! Soapberry Shampoo
- How A Bidet Can Be An Eco Win
- Easy Zero-Waste Health & Beauty Swaps
Posts About Reducing Plastic
- Reducing Plastic Is Easy
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Natural Air Freshener In Reusable Glass Jar
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
- Growing Your Own Plastic-Free Scrub Sponge
Reducing Household Waste
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junkmail
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Powder
…and Many More
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