How to Go Zero Waste? 7 Easy Tips to Get You Started : Rediscovered Families

How to Go Zero Waste? 7 Easy Tips to Get You Started

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Wondering how to go zero waste ? Our 7 easy tips will help you get started and you’ll find it is easier than you think. The best part? You will be helping the planet AND saving money. Click through to see our crazy simple ideas.

reusable zero waste containers

Looking for ways to help your family be more eco-friendly? Are you just starting your journey? I know how overwhelming it can be at the start. These seven easy tips will help you get started. The best news? Most of them will also save you money.

So, let’s take a closer look at some simple changes you can make to reduce the waste you produce.

Need more information about the zero-waste movement? Read more here.

1. Be Creative with Food Scraps

This part is easy, before you toss vegetables past their prime or fruit peelings think about how you can use them. Here are some ideas that can help reduce food waste. 

Regrow Them: Did you know you can regrow a lot of vegetable scraps? It makes for a fun family project and is absolutely fascinating. Or maybe that’s just me! I’ve successfully regrown lettuce and spring onions.

Dye It: Skip the dye that comes packed in plastic bottles and make your own dye with produce scraps. This dye can color everything from fabric to Easter eggs. Plus, it’s non-toxic, so it is safe for the whole family to experiment with. Again, all you will need to do is boil the scraps in water. Use beet peels for pink dye, wilted spinach for green, outer cabbage leaves for purple, and onion skins for yellow.

Use it up: You don’t have to throw out those crusts. Turn them into croutons or yummy bread pudding. You can also dry them and make breadcrumbs. Got vegetables that have gone past their prime? Cook and puree them in a blender. Then add the mixture to soup or stews.

Kitchen hack: Got some brown sugar that has gone hard? Place a crust in the container overnight and the sugar will be soft in the morning. It’s culinary magic!

compost bin with scraps

2. Consider Composting

When you’re finished with your food scraps, compost them. When food waste and other organic material gets sent to the landfill, it produces methane because it decomposes anaerobically (with a lack of oxygen). Luckily, we can easily prevent the production of this potent greenhouse gas with composting.

Compost Program: Check to see if your city offers a composting program where they either pick up the bin curbside or offer a backyard composter.

Don’t want to travel to the outdoor compost bin throughout the day? Place a small container on top of your counter or in a cupboard. If you’re worried about the smell, empty it daily, or try a composting bin with a carbon filter.

DIY Composting: If your township doesn’t offer a composting program, don’t let that deter you. You can start a compost pile or container in your backyard and use the compost to feed your garden—compost is free, won’t harm the environment, and has much more staying power than chemical fertilizers! Don’t have a backyard? You can also compost in apartments by using small bins and finding a drop-off location.

Have fun with your kids by making a bottle composter. It is an interesting project and kids are fascinated by rotting stuff. The more disgusting the better!

Couple in thrifts store

3. Get Thrifty

There is no shame in second hand. In fact, it is a great way to save money and divert landfill waste. Thrift shopping can be especially useful for children’s clothing since they outgrow it far quicker than the garment will wear out.

Fact: Did you know that by buying a used pair of jeans instead of new, you are saving 1,800 gallons of water? That’s how much it takes to grow enough cotton for a single pair of jeans. Cotton T-shirts aren’t quite as bad but still require a whopping 400 gallons.

Decluttering your home? Donate any items you don’t need or want to thrift stores or women’s shelters so someone else can enjoy them.

Hint: When donating items make sure they are clean and that clothes do not have stains or holes. Always call ahead to make sure the donations are welcome before turning up with a car load of boxes.

Going zero waste with reusable bags

4. Shop Consciously

If you take a look at your garbage’s contents, chances are you will find a lot of packaging, specifically from food. Cut down on food packing with these easy ideas.

Try the Farmers’ Market: Not only is the Farmers’ market an ideal place to find package-free and fresh produce, but you are also reducing emissions since local produce requires less transportation. Don’t forget your reusable tote and organic produce bags.

Go Bulk: Many grocery stores now offer bulk section or you could also go to a bulk store. Either way, all you have to do is bring your own jars. Before buying jars, reuse pasta sauce jars, pickle containers, and other glass vessels.

Make It: If your family loves granola bars, skip the packaging by making your own with bulk ingredients. You can also use this method for other snacks like hummus, fruit leather, and crackers.

How to go zero waste? Try reusable produce bags

5. Pull Together a To-Go Bag

Pack a bag to keep in your car with zero waste swaps, so you can easily say no to single-use items on the go.

Coffee Cup: Try bringing your own cup to fill or making coffee at home. If making coffee at home, you can skip the paper coffee filters by swapping to a reusable one or use a French press .

To complete your to-go bag, add other items like handkerchiefs, reusable straws, reusable tote, organic produce bags. and a collapsible container to take leftovers home from restaurants. What do you do with soiled or wet items while out? Put them in a wet bag. These zippered pouches have a waterproof liner that will trap moisture and odors.

See our complete list of easy Zero Waste Swaps.

6. Borrow or Rent Before Buying (Or Find it For Free)

Buy good quality is the advice given to anyone wondering how to go zero waste. It makes sense doesn’t it? The better a product holds up, the longer it will last and stay out of a landfill.

It is great to own good quality things that will last a lifetime, but there are times when it doesn’t make sense to buy something at all. Especially when you can borrow it for free, or rent it cheaply.

It really all depends how often you are going to be using a thing. For example, you want to make a couple of bowl cozies as gifts, but sewing is not your passion. Do you buy a sewing machine or go and use the one at the library for free?

You need to put a few shelves up. Do you need to buy a drill, or could you borrow one from a friend?

The hedge at the bottom of the garden has gone wild. Do you buy a heavy-duty hedge cutter, or rent one for a fraction of the cost?

Do you see where we are going with this?

If you love sewing, make all your clothes, and create beautiful home furnishing- well it makes sense to buy your own machine. However, if you only need it for a few jobs then go use the one at the library.

If you work in a place that is hard to get to by public transport or bicycle it make sense to have your own car. If not consider leasing a car for the few days each month that you will need it.

Hint: Get together with like minded friends to create a loaning library. Create a list of items you would be willing to loan. It acn be abything from books, to magazines, to simple tools. Draw up some simple guidelines, so that everyone is on the same page.

Family demonstrating how to go zero waste by using the library.
Make Friends With Your Local Library

Libraries have so much more than books these days You can borrow books, magazine, DVDs, Toys, audio books. Patrons have access to digital resources such as newspaper, magazine, streaming movies, audio books, and e-books.

Some Libraries even loan small tools or have Maker Spaces where you can use a 3 D printer, sewing machine, or green scree with video editing software.

My library saves me thousands of dollars each year and when I am done the item goes back. I don’t have to buy, maintain, store, clean or insure it.

7. Have Fun The Zero Waste Way!

Moving toward a zero-waste lifestyle can make a seriously positive impact on the environment, but that doesn’t mean we have to always be serious. Get your kids involved in the process wherever you can by reusing food scraps in hands-on projects, using compost in your backyard garden, making zero waste snacks, or even creating eco-friendly Valentine’s cards.

Here are some easy Zero waste activities

  • Build a blanket fort
  • Have a dance party
  • Make land art
  • Go to the library
  • Watch the sunrise
  • Go star gazing
  • Roll down a grassy hill
  • Make fairy houses from natural materials only
  • Bake something

There are endless ways to start transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle and the process doesn’t have to be perfect. Even if you end up with wrappers or forget your reusable coffee cup once in a while, don’t sweat it! Any changes you make to be less wasteful will help protect our planet—while also teaching your children to do that same.

Need more information about going zero-waste? Check out this handy guide.