Zero Waste tips and ideas
More and more people are realizing that their consumer habits directly impact their carbon footprint. The products we buy often eventually end up in landfills, only leading to more environmental damage. Luckily there are so many options out there to live a greener, more sustainable lifestyle. Here are a few tips and resources to help you live a zero-waste lifestyle.
Shop at refill centers
Refill centers are popping up all over the place! These are stores where you can bring your own container and fill up on your favorite dish soap, shampoo, or other product. Examples of these stores are Green11 in San Francisco, or Refill Madness in Sacramento. The idea here is reducing plastic waste in landfills by reusing the same container. It is also a good deal because you can buy products in bulk therefore saving time repurchasing it all the time.
Buy directly from the farmer
Lots of areas, especially in California, have co-ops or direct-to-market stands where farmers cut out the middle man and sell directly to you. This saves the farmer money because they don’t need to transport the product and it saves you money because there is no overhead fees from the grocers. The fruits and veggies are always fresher, wax-free, and you can bring your own box or bag to fill instead of buying something wrapped in plastic. It’s a win-win!
Composting can save a lot of waste from going directly into the trash. Besides fruits and vegetables, you can also compost newspaper and dye-free paper, wood ash, pieces of natural fiber and cloth, dryer lint, yard waste, grass clippings, coffee grounds and tea, and any plant-based food without oil or salt (including liquids and leftovers). If you don’t want to compost yourself there are most likely several places in your community where you can donate you compost materials.
Donate reusable items
Local schools and artists often will post ads on Craigslist, at Community centers, or on Facebook groups asking for donations of reusable products. This can be anything from plastic containers to store beads or paint, old t-shirts for painting smocks, or magazines that can be used for collage projects. It is always best to pay it forward and donate to those in need.
There are a multitude of resources online and on Pinterest for how to make amazing crafts out of items you probably have lying around your house. Just search for DIY reuse craft projects and they usually will have step by step instructions with photos. This is especially great if you have children at home that are constantly telling you “I’m bored”. If you are not the crafty type you can always just repurpose your items. For example, a plastic bin can become a storage container for bulk rice, dog treats, or tea bags.
*Fun fact: The CCHEI headquarters is virtually 100% zero-waste! We reuse or rinse-then-recycle all plastic and glass food containers. Cardboard and paper is either used to start yard waste burn piles or added to compost. No animal products are used on-site, so all food waste is compostable or fed to our rescue goats and chickens. All other unwanted items are donated to other nonprofits or community centers.
Other great resources on how to live zero-waste can be found here: