Room by Room Guide to a Zero Waste Home
When I first started learning about the zero waste lifestyle, I felt a little overwhelmed. I sifted through so much information, and I found it difficult to know where to begin. As I read about different waste reducing ideas, I tried them out for myself. I started carrying reusable shopping bags at the grocery store and learned about composting in my backyard. While I eventually put my zero waste lifestyle into practice, the beginning felt chaotic and involved a lot of research and trial and error. At the time, I think I really could have used a clear and organized room by room guide to a zero waste home.
Are you interested in the zero waste lifestyle but feeling stuck on how to implement it in your own home? If you love to do lists like me, I think you will enjoy and benefit from this guide I’ve created for you. When using the guide, you can check off these zero waste swaps as you begin using them in your home. Then, you can notice your progress as you alter your lifestyle and review areas that you can improve. Hopefully, this guide can keep you on track and motivated with your zero waste goals. Going zero waste doesn’t happen in a day. It’s a process and a journey that happens overtime.
For me, a zero waste kitchen was and continues to be the toughest transition. When I think of a zero waste kitchen, I think of bulk bin shopping, jars, and reusable grocery bags. While these swaps are wonderful, not every zero waster has access to grocery stores with enough bulk bin variety to find everything they need for their home. Often, I still have to buy food in packaging for my family, and that’s okay! Instead of focusing on transitioning to the zero waste lifestyle perfectly, just do your best with the resources offered in your town.
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Thankfully, even if you don’t have bulk shopping available to you, I can think of plenty of other accessible swaps you can make in your kitchen to reduce waste. For example, I loved learning about how to compost my kitchen scraps to reduce waste. If you haven’t read it yet, check out my beginner’s guide to composting. You will find everything you need to know to get started on your own compost pile. Early in my journey, I realized that the bulk of waste we created in the kitchen came from food scraps from cooking. Instead of piling up in the trashcan, these scraps now get added to our compost bin. After it decomposes into nutrient rich compost, we use it in our backyard garden to make more fresh veggies. What a wonderful cycle! Check out these compost bins you can use in your own home:
Aside from composting, I’ve also loved ordering fresh produce from Misfits Market. While this company must use a little bit of plastic in order to keep their produce fresh to ship it (freezer packs!), I love that they avoid wasting organic fruits and vegetables that may otherwise get thrown out due to minor defects. This company can provide some affordable and healthy foods for you and your family, and they will deliver it right to your door. Check them out here to begin a subscription!
Below, I’ve added my zero waste kitchen check list to help you stay on track when making sustainable kitchen swaps. Remember, you can find most of these zero waste alternatives in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow online zero waste store.
Let me just say that I’m so glad I missed the zero waste DIY laundry detergent phase! Thankfully, I came across a fantastic zero waste laundry paste early on and have used it ever since. With laundry paste, I just add water to the paste in my own container and use it like any other liquid detergent. Aside from using laundry paste, I also try to use our dryer as little as possible. We have a clothesline in our backyard that we use to dry most of our clothes, and we have a wooden drying rack for when it rains. Not only does line drying your clothes help your clothes last longer, but it can also save energy. Win, win!
With laundry paste and line drying most of our clothes, I typically have a super simple zero waste laundry routine. However, since baby Vasco came along, I have had to alter my routine slightly to accommodate his cloth diapers. Now, we have to add a couple loads of laundry each week. To learn more, you can check out my Cloth Diapering 101 post. In most cases, this zero waste laundry routine checklist should do the trick, though:
Transitioning to a zero waste bathroom can be really fun! With so many options for different toiletries, I had a blast deciding which products I preferred to use. You can try DIY recipes, toothpaste in glass jars, toothpaste in recyclable metal tubes, compostable dental floss, safety razors, shampoo and conditioner bars, and so much more. Honestly, the options are endless for a zero waste bathroom. While we often conventionally fill most bathrooms with plastic containers, so many zero waste companies keep popping up with plastic free alternatives. Of course, you can find my favorite zero waste toiletries in the Tiny Yellow Bungalow online zero waste store. However, I would also recommend checking out this plastic free, recycled fiber toilet paper I’ve found. Not only is this toilet paper better for the environment, it is also very affordable!
Because there are such limitless possibilities for zero waste bathrooms, I’ve linked some of my other blog posts that go into more detail about different bathroom options along with my zero waste bathroom checklist. Remember, you don’t have to make every change in one day! Adopting just one of these zero waste options pushes you towards a more zero waste lifestyle!
Luckily, the bedroom is easier to tackle when it comes to the zero waste lifestyle. While we often fill our kitchens and bathrooms with single use plastic packaging, our bedrooms typically involve making conscious decisions on larger purchases instead. In short, I mean choosing eco friendly furniture! While you won’t need to buy furniture often, try your best to purchase intentionally when you do. I love finding secondhand furniture at estate sales or antique stores. Furthermore, when searching for things like pillows or mattresses, make sure to do your research in order to find the most environmentally friendly products on the market. Recently, I made the switch to an organic mattress. While researching mattresses, I realized how many chemicals I was sleeping on with my old mattress. You can read more about my Happsy mattress and why I love mine so much here.
Honestly, a zero waste living room follows similar guidelines to a zero waste bedroom: make conscious furniture purchases! We do our best to shop secondhand for furniture, and we only buy what we really need. Also, we try to make do with what we already have. Repurposing furniture can be really fun! For example, we needed a new couch when we moved to Athens from Houston. Instead of purchasing a brand new couch, we jazzed up a twin bed to make a couch for our living room. Not only was it adorable, but our guests could use it as a bed when visiting. Oftentimes, you just have to get creative with what you already have in your home.
While I’ve already covered different composting methods, I also love to fill my house and outdoor space with plants. Specifically, I love growing plants that I can use. My sister and I have a vegetable garden that we love learning from every year. Regardless, if you don’t have space for an entire backyard vegetable garden, plenty of plants grow well in containers and indoors. Try starting with herbs like parsley, oregano, or basil. Typically, I learn about plants through trial and error. You may have to try different amounts of water and sunlight, but overtime you will learn how to help your plants thrive!
What does your zero waste journey look like? Do you like to go zero waste room by room or randomly make changes