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99 Ideas to Reduce Waste

99 Ideas to Reduce Waste

We love what Kathryn is doing at Going Zero Waste. Here are some simple ideas from her about how to reduce waste, every day. What can you do today?

  1. Ask for no straw in your drink order

  2. Don't leave your house without a full reusable water bottle

  3. Ditch tissues for handkerchiefs – you get used to it ;)

  4. Pick up a lonely banana

  5. Always say no thanks to free promotional items. They tend to be cheap and break easily

  6. Get a library card to support your local sharing economy

  7. Donate unused items in good condition to support the second-hand market

  8. Think second-hand first when purchasing something

  9. Try elderberry syrup if you feel a cold coming on instead of immediately reaching for a plastic pill bottle

  10. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush

  11. Turn old sheets and towels into handkerchiefs, rags, napkins, and cloth produce bags

  12. Build a zero waste kit and put in the trunk of your car or carry it with you when you'll be out so you'll always be prepared. It doesn't have to be large just a few items.

  13. Wash clothes when they are actually dirty, instead of after only one wear

  14. Open a window to cool down your home or air it out

  15. Try to avoid palm oil

  16. Buy food without packaging or minimal packaging

  17. Instead of buying something when you're having a bad day, do something, i.e. go on a walk, take a yoga class, meet up with a friend

  18. Repurpose stale bread

  19. Make dry shampoo to stretch between washes

  20. Surround yourself with items that serve multiple purposes to streamline and cut excess junk

  21. Commit to bringing your reusable bags to the store

  22. Try canning to preserve food

  23. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap, it tends to come with less packaging.

  24. Swap disposable pads and tampons for cloth pads or a menstrual cup

  25. Change light bulbs to LEDs

  26. Be mindful when using technology

  27. Bring reusable produce bags for fruits and veggies.

  28. Put on a sweater and socks before turning up the heat

  29. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth

  30. Don't buy anything impulsively

  31. Try making your own lotion

  32. Check out your farmers market

  33. Make your own face mask from stuff in your pantry

  34. Try cloth diapering

  35. Get some houseplants at a local nursery to purify your air, don't forget to return the little plastic pots!

  36. Get rid of pests naturally

  37. Meal plan to avoid food waste

  38. Unplug electronics when not in use.

  39. Try making tooth powder to avoid unrecyclable toothpaste tubes

  40. Buy more locally made goods

  41. Repair something when it breaks

  42. If you're looking for a specialty item, like camping gear or an extra table for a party, ask a friend if you can borrow one before making a purchase.

  43. Plant a small garden

  44. Learn how to freeze your food without plastic so it doesn't go to waste

  45. Make your own febreze spray to freshen your room for pennies!

  46. Start a backyard compost

  47. Swap little plastic chapstick tubes for eco ones

  48. Surround yourself with tools and items that are meant to last a lifetime. Try to only buy objects once.

  49. Try your hand at home-made household cleaners

  50. Look into collecting rainwater or a greywater system

  51. Store your food properly to make it last longer

  52. Find your local cobbler to repair tired shoes

  53. Know where everything you buy comes from whether it be food, clothing, or other household goods

  54. Ask for no plastic and reused packaging materials for online orders

  55. Pack your lunch instead of eating out every day

  56. Reduce your meat consumption. If you're not ready to go vegetarian start small: try Meatless Monday, weekday vegetarian, or even weekday vegan

  57. Learn to regrow kitchen scraps

  58. Line dry a load instead of using the dryer

  59. Try homemade mouthwash

  60. Ditch plastic shower loofahs for a biodegradable luffa sponge

  61. Ask for a real mug at the coffee shop when staying in

  62. Always run a full dishwasher or load of clothes

  63. Most sunscreen causes coral bleaching, go coral friendly!

  64. Bring your own container for to-go food and leftovers

  65. Ditch paper towels and use tea towels and rags

  66. Beware of greenwashing, always do your research

  67. Buy recyclable deodorant

  68. If it's a 30-minute or less walk, get outside instead of driving

  69. Vote with your dollars for a sustainable future

  70. Bring your own keep cup when getting coffee on the run

  71. Look into tree-free TP

  72. Learn how to repair a button or hem to extend the life of your clothing

  73. Look into rechargeable batteries instead of disposables

  74. Serve dinner with cloth napkins

  75. Eat more vegetables and legumes

  76. Keep a bucket in the shower to water plants or flush the toilet

  77. Wrap presents in newsprint or not at all!

  78. Swap cotton buds for eco ones

  79. Focus on experiences rather than things

  80. Switch from a plastic disposable razor to a metal safety razor

  81. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can

  82. Make homemade gifts to give to friends and family

  83. Try Wheatless Wednesdays to cut back on intensive grain farming

  84. Avoid junk mail by placing a sticker on your letterbox

  85. Keep a stocked pantry to avoid getting takeout on busy nights

  86. Learn where to properly dispose of items like gift cards, old cell phones, batteries and unusable cords, etc

  87. Find your local tailor to help with clothing repairs

  88. Ask yourself if you truly need it before making any purchases

  89. Go paperless for all your bills!

  90. Swap don't shop! Host a clothing swap with friends.

  91. Pick up litter when you're out and dispose of it properly

  92. Make your morning cup of coffee with a french press or pour over with a reusable filter to avoid extra waste

  93. Try to shrink the amount you recycle. Zero waste is about recycling less not more.
  94. Use both sides of the paper!

  95. Avoid receipts when out; ask if one has to be printed. Sometimes they do, but not always!

  96. Take public transit if available or carpool

  97. Join a community garden

  98. Swap tea bags for loose leaf tea in a reusable strainer

  99. Kathryn's favourite zero waste switch: look at installing a bidet attachment


Any other ideas? Send us a message. We'd love to hear from you. 


[c/o Going Zero Waste]

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