How To Reduce Household Waste: Zero Waste Tips (Including Giveaway)

When people hear the concept of zero waste, it can seem somewhat overwhelming. How can someone not create any rubbish?! But the truth is, for the vast majority of people who try to practice a zero waste lifestyle, it is more like zero waste is something to aim towards by taking a slow step by step journey in the right direction. And that’s ok. It is really about doing your bit to protect our planet. Plus each action you take tends to become a gateway to the next. So it really isn’t as hard as it first sounds!

This post covers alot of different areas, but the point is just for me to share tips and alternative products with you all. I intend for you, my readers, to pick somewhere to begin, and to find new ideas to continue from whatever stage you are already at; the idea is not for anyone to try to take it all on at once! Gradual change is the key to making it feel sustainable and not too overwhelming. This is also by no means a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination! There are many, many people far further along the journey than I am, but we can all learn from one another, so I am just sharing what I know!

Here are my ideas for developing a zero waste lifestyle, divided into sections for ease of reference (because I like to be organised!)…

Toiletries

This is the area that I have been working on myself most recently, so I figure it makes sense to start here!

Deoderant

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earth Conscious, deoderant
Earth Conscious Deoderant Stick (RRP £8)

Earth Conscious sell a zero waste natural deoderant that now comes in both tin or stick format. I have only just got mine so too early to comment personally, but reviews on it are great! 

Shampoo/ Conditioner

Shampoo bars are the obvious choice for zero waste hair washing. Alternatively, powder is another option. However, if you cannot get on with shampoo bars or powder, I recommend that you buy a huge bulk size container of shampoo and conditioner so that it needs replacing far less often. You can purchase a smaller reusable pump bottle to make it more practical. 

For example, Faith in Nature sell huge 5 litre refills for around £50. If you feel put off by the price for a product you haven’t tried, it is well worth ordering the smaller size versions first then investing in your favourite. They also offer free samples for a small limited number of their products, so you can try before you buy that way too. I realise this may sound like it defeats the point of choosing zero waste items somewhat, but it is really about looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead. Other brands probably have bulk size versions too, if you look into it and find any others, do let me know in comments.

As for conditioner, I have written before about natural hair conditioners. Although these are not actually zero waste ideas as such, they are items that can be used for a range of purposes and again can usually be purchased in much larger sizes so this helps to drastically reduce waste.

Soap

There are a wide range of beautiful, often handmade, natural soaps available that are sold without packaging (or minimal, recycled packaging) so produce little to no waste. If you prefer liquid handwash, again I recommend buying in bulk to reduce waste. 

Facewash/ Scrub

I totally recommend you make your own! There are some fab DIY recipes around if you google. I made a great coffee scrub last year. Alternatively, there are various eco conscious independents and other brands who ensure their packaging is minimal and environmentally- friendly. (And remember to check for no microbeads too!)

Toothbrush

Go for a bamboo toothbrush. Most come in fully recyclable minimal packaging and the toothbrush is biodegradable. I have one from Save Some Green. 

Cleaning

Alot of people buy many different types of cleaning products for all different purposes, which immediately creates far more waste. So my first bit of advice is try to simplify!

Cloths/ Wipes/ Scrub pads

Opt for resuable versions made from sustainable natural materials, such as bamboo, hemp or organic cotton cloths and wipes, and coconut hair scrub pads for example.

Multi – Purpose Cleaner

I recommend making your own DIY version if possible. We tend to use vinegar solution. Otherwise choose an eco-friendly brand in the largest size possible that covers a range of uses. 

Washing up Liquid

Again my best advice is to select one that lasts longer so less waste!

Laundry

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Living Naturally, soapnuts, laundry
Living Naturally Soapnut Laundry Medium Starter Kit (RRP £15.66)

I was sent this fab soapnut starter pack from Living Naturally, which I have used for my most recent washes (probably about 4 loads now of various items). I am really impressed at how effective they are; in my opinion, they leave clothes just as clean and fresh as regular detergent! Not only are they natural and zero waste but they also work out much cheaper too, so this is a very cost effective way to do laundry as well as protecting the environment. Do give them a try and tell me what you think!

Menstruation

Ok, so granted this isn’t relevant to everyone but menstruation products can cause alot of waste so this is an important one! There are various reusable products, so you will most likey find that there is something to suit everyone that needs them. Earthwise Girls are my go to site for this, since they stock a good range of items to choose from. Personally, I mainly use a cup but also have reusable tampons, period pants and cloth pads too so that I can go with the flow. (Get it?! Sorry, excuse the pun!!!)

Eco Fluffy Mama has written alot on this subject and offers great advice.

Food and Drink

This is a huge area. There are so many different aspects and I doubt very much that I have covered even the majority of them in this post, but here goes…

Groceries Shopping

First things first; take your reusable bags along! Or use cardboard crates instead, which is what we do as we find that easier.

Choose items with minimal and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Aiming for a fresh raw food diet, rather than buying convenience goods, is not only good for your health, but better for the environment too. Fruit and veg, for example, do not need plastic wrappers! Of course, I totally understand this might be ideal but is not always realistic for many – but it is, at the very least, just something to consider when doing your shop. Buying bigger versions of long lasting cupboard food also saves on some packaging too.

Food Waste

Try not to buy more than you will eat, freeze if applicable so it lasts longer and my favourite for fruit and veg – make it into a smoothie and drink it up!

Storage/ Lunchboxes/ Picnics

There are lots of durable, practical ways to store food without causing waste. Mason jars, glass or metal containers, resuable sandwich bags and washable beeswax wraps (to replace clingfilm) are all good options. For snacks on the go, carry around reusable cutlery, made from bamboo or similar. Plus carry washable cloths rather than wipes in your bag too.

Drinks

Use a resuable cup or flask, and water bottle for drinks on the go. And ditch the plastic straws, opt for eco- friendly alternatives instead if you can’t do without!

Other

Did you know? Aluminium foil is not rubbish; scrunch it into a ball and throw it into your recycling pile!

Further Reading

There are lots of great blogs, articles and books about this subject, but here is just a small selection…

Eco Fluffy Mama green living blog

12 Ways To Cut Your Waste by Grow Eat Gift

Zero Waste Guide by Earthwise Girls

Rethink Your Rubbish by PinkOddy

Zero Waste Week Supporters

Last but not least…

To celebrate Zero Waste Week, I have a fab Bathroom Starter Kit from Earthwise Girls to giveaway to one lucky reader! 

zero waste, eco, green living, natural, sustainable, environmentally friendly, Earthwise Girls, bathroom set
Earthwise Bathroom Kit (RRP £14)

Earthwise Bathroom Set includes:

  • Bamboo medium bristles toothbrush
  • Wooden hair comb
  • Hemp hair & body soap (supplied in a compostable wrapper)
  • Earth Conscious deodorant
  • Divine chocolate bar
  • Pukka herbal teabag

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends 25th September 2017. Open to UK residents only. Other T&Cs apply.

Author: Living Life Our Way

NP and home ed mum, conservationist, nature lover, blogger, SEN & MH advocate, ex teacher. ~Don't think outside the box, think like there is no box~

155 thoughts on “How To Reduce Household Waste: Zero Waste Tips (Including Giveaway)”

  1. I buy loose fruit and veg at the supermarket to reduce packaging and get meat from the butcher counter, as again less packaging is used. I take my bags with me when I go shopping and also avoid buying online as products tend to come massively over packaged.

  2. I grow a lot of fruit and veg and freeze what I can. I have chickens so food waste can go to them in return for lovely eggs and I also compost. Meal planning is essential to food waste and I even use the water from the condenser drier to water the plants 😊

  3. We recycle but find that packaging is a big part of it. However, we do cook just what we need for meals, and also buy what is needed and try to keep away from the buy 2 deals if we dont need them.

  4. I grow my own fruit and veg so i have less waste as i only pick what i need, i also have chickens that have my scraps

  5. As a family we’ve decided to shop more consciously i.e. biogradable, recyclable products not wrapped in excess packaging etc thereby reducing our plastic waste and we’re making more of an effort not to buy on impulse.

    We’ve also got into the habit of picking up rubbish we spot on the beach where we walk our dog.

  6. Everything has another use, just think about it before you throw it away. I’ve saved up all our old worn out clothes and recently started to make a rag rug out of them.

  7. I always think about what we buy in before it gets to what we can recycle. I like as much food/products as possible to be local which means we are supporting the local community and we try and buy in pack/portion sizes that may mean we have to shop a few times a week if we need a top up but it does mean we get to eat fresher foods. The thing that irritates me the most is fancy packaging on products bought on line, I have to throw half a forest in the recycling just from boxes inside of boxes inside of boxes.

  8. I try to use Eco packaging where possible and I recycle everything that can be recycled. I freeze food where possible and make most meals from scratch, I usually buy fresh fruit/veg but do not place them in the little clear plastic bags I tend to keep them loose.

  9. We just set up a recycling area upstairs as well as downstairs so we can sort rubbish as we go along rather than when the one bin was full

  10. The best way to reduce waste is to make an effort every single day to either do one thing better or to encourage others to produce less waste and recycle.

  11. My top tips would be to reduce the amount of product packaging that you bring into your home and before you decide to “bin” anything think about whether you can find another use for it, recycle it or pass on to someone else.

  12. I have a meal plan for the week because I have such a hectic schedule. It means I can cook what I need and freeze leftovers. This minimises waste as I am using everything in my fridge

  13. Freeze leftovers immediately instead of thinking you’ll eat it for lunch tomorrow (you won’t!) including bakery rolls, baguettes etc. I’ve been freezing sliced bread for years but was really surprised how well fresh crusty rolls freeze and now batch freeze, taking them out as needed.

  14. Grow your own fruit and vegetables, bottle the fruit, freeze some too and share the veggies amongst friends and neighbours.

  15. Educate your children properly so they can tell you off when you waste electricity, water etc (my son’s brilliant at this!)

  16. I reuse plastic packaging and make them into fun stuff for the kids like spaceships, cars or painting pots. The kids love recycling and I’m helping educated tgem.

  17. Ignore all best before and use-by dates – smell the food. If it’s off, don’t eat it. If it’s mouldy, chop off the mould and eat the rest.

  18. I meal plan and reuse most of our food waster – bones make stock and veg peelings make stock too. Any spare portions go in the freezer for emergencies.

  19. I always buy unpackaged ‘loose’ fruit and veg, always carry a reusable coffee cup and always bring my own bags

  20. As far as it possible cook from scratch, that way you are reducing plastic packaging that ready meals and part prepared meals are in. Fresh fruit and veg can be bought loose again reducing the ‘film’ plastic that can be hard to recycle.

  21. Meal plan in advance so you always use the whole bag of veg instead of throwing most of it away. Use veg peelings for stock.

  22. Use bag clips for sealing opened packets. I’ve recently discovered them I’m constantly using them, Saving on food waste and keeping food fresh!

  23. we enjoy buying food that comes in recyclable materials as well as growing our own we only have a little amount in tubs but we are hoping to grow lol we are also big fans of foraging

  24. I tend to be somewhat thrifty and think about the cost to my pocket of waste. This then has a direct impact on the environment, as I tend not to ‘buy in’ to the consumerist society, and I recycle things, upcycle things, and don’t just replace perfectly good items just for the sake of it.

  25. My top tip for reducing waste is to be aware of how much of a product you are using – for many things it’s actually worth buying more expensive because you’re using twice as much of a cheaper product, which isn’t only no cheaper but also creates more waste!

  26. Write to or message every major retailer you buy from and ask them to reduce their non-recyclable wrapping and containers. At home, buy a small composter for your food scraps and peelings.

  27. I only buy what I have to get, so there is no food wastage,what is left I try to make up another meal, and I compost all pickings, I also recycle my carrier bags, they get used several times

  28. We recycle as much as we can, and have a compost bin. I also put out uneaten cat food and meat scraps for the foxes that live at the bottom of our garden. This stops them raiding our dustbin as there is no meaty smell to attract them.

  29. Using a small sandwich sized lunch box instead of food bags/cling film and putting all peelings on the compost heap. At the end of the week I put all of our veg in the slow cooker for veg soup lunches for the week.

  30. I check my cupboards and fridge just before I write up my shopping list so I don’t end up buying extra just what I need this week. If we do have leftovers I freeze most of it or use for lunches and dinner the next day.

  31. Categorize what you already have and use it up before buying more. For example, I have loads of lotions. I’m currently working my way through them one at a time. I’ve managed to work my way through most of my selection of shampoos and perfume this way, and it keeps me from bringing unnecessary waste into the house.

  32. The biggest tip for me was try not to get overwhelmed by it all. Take on one issue at a time and resolve that before moving on to the next. That way you’ll make progress rather than getting bogged down with the enormity of the bigger picture and potentially giving up. Know that even a small change makes a big difference over time.

  33. My tip is to start with looking at what you’re bringing into the house to start with – and only buy what you know you will use and can be repurposed, re-used or recycled when you’ve finished with it.

  34. Recycle! Even my 3yo makes sure she puts her rubbish in the right bin 🙂
    Recently swapped to cloth nappies with my baby too 😀

  35. I meal plan so that we only buy what we need and I always take my own bags and packaging, and I try not to buy prepacked. I also try and reuse stuff too particularly glass – so many uses!

  36. Try to buy locally…fruit and veg from Farmer’s Markets, always support local charity shops where you can pick up fab, perfectly recyclable products and use bath water for watering plants.

  37. I write a meal plan and then a supermarket list with this! stops me buying things I would waste or not have time to use! I also keep left overs and make lunchbox dishes for them! Your freezer is your best friend

  38. It’s pretty much a way of life to not waste anything in our house. We use an old metal coal bin as a composter and put in veggie peelings,teabags,etc. Because it is all enclosed and metal it gets hot and we have the most brillient compost each year from it which we use to pot up out tomatoes and use as a mulch on the vegetable plot. We also have lots of waterbutts including old dustbins to collect water.

  39. Just about everything has a potential second or multiple use if you are creative enough. I recycle everything possible in all the ways open to me. I get a kick out of re-purposing something and finding a way to mend or repair rather than buy new. I think water is a precious resource and use any left over water from kettles or hot water bottles to water plants. They prefer water at room temperature anyway. I wash dish cloths, flannels and cleaning cloths until they wear out.

  40. Find interesting ways to use leftovers – eg use up egg whites by making meringues, use cold rice in egg fried rice dishes etc

  41. My top tip for reducing waste is to actually throw away as little as possible – so freeze leftovers or fruit and veg which is about to go off and use later in puddings and soups, recycle everything you can, give suitable items to the charity shop, swap items with friends, put items on local boards to give away or sell.

  42. Avoid wasting food by freezing everything. If I find myself shopping without a bag I buy a thicker 10p one instead of a 5p one as I will use it many times, whereas a 5p one will only get used once then used as a bin liner.

  43. i end up with veg and salad getting out of date so i have started making curries and sauces with them and freezing them so it saves waste x

  44. Recycle as much as you can. Don’t waste food, think about what you really need.

    Being on my own means I do get food that goes stale / out of date before I can use it. But it doesn’t go in the bin. Couple of examples: dregs of jam went mouldy – put outside for the insects to eat. Crackers (to go with cheese) went stale – fed to the birds (wet them first). Out dated flour / cooking oil / rice / pasta – make a bird cake!

  45. As a household we waste very small amounts. We only buy foods that we will eat and buy some of our veg frozen as that is what tends to be wasted when it is fresh.

Comments