Zero Waste for Beginners: A Guide with easy tips for getting started

It can be overwhelming to go zero waste for beginners. But with a few easy tips, you can get started on your way to having less waste for your home or green office. You’ll learn about the different types of waste, how to reduce your consumption, and some easy ways to recycle and compost your waste. In this article, we’ll outline three main ways to reduce waste: by reducing plastic consumption, by reducing throwaway items, and by recycling.

Reducing Plastic

Plastic bags, bottles, and utensils are some of the biggest offenders when it comes to waste. Plastic stays in the environment for a long time, because it takes a long time to decompose. Plastic bottles take up to 450 years to decompose in landfill. You can reduce your use of plastic by investing in reusable bags, water bottles, and straws.

canvas bag
Bring your canvas bag with you to the grocery store

Glass jars are also a great way to reduce your reliance on plastic. When you do use plastic, be sure to recycle it.

Single Use Items

Single-use items have become a ubiquitous part of our lives, from the disposables we use in our homes to the packaging we see everywhere we go. While they may be convenient in the short term, single-use items come with a host of environmental problems. They are typically made from non-renewable resources, which means they can’t be broken down or reused. This means that every time we use a disposable cup or plate, we’re contributing to the growing mountains of waste that end up in our landfills. What’s more, many single-use items are coated in chemicals that can leach into the environment and cause harm to wildlife. When you have plastic packaging around your fruits and vegetables, the plastics can leach into your food. The good news is that there are alternatives to single-use items that are just as convenient and don’t come with the same environmental baggage. Reusable cups and water bottles, for example, can be used over and over again, saving money and resources in the long run. By making the switch to reusable items, we can all do our part to reduce our impact on the planet.

Plastic Bags

With the goal of reducing plastic bag usage, more and more people are opting to use reusable bags when they go shopping. However, not all reusable bags are created equal. When choosing a reusable bag, it is important to consider both durability and capacity. A bag that tears easily or is too small to hold all of your groceries is not going to be very effective in helping to reduce plastic bag usage. Instead, look for a bag that is made from sturdy materials such as canvas or nylon, and that has a wide opening and strong handles. With a little bit of care, such a bag should be able to last for many years, making it a sustainable and eco-friendly choice. Also, if you normally use a plastic bag to buy your vegetables, consider using cloth bags instead.

Plastic Bottles

A plastic water bottle is made of petroleum. Plastic water bottles, which are made from fossil fuels and resemble other disposable beverage containers, are manufactured and transported using a petroleum product called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Every year, 17 million barrels of oil are used to manufacture bottled water. Petroleum is a non-renewable resource, which means that once it is used, it cannot be replaced. In addition, the production of plastic water bottles generates greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.

Fortunately, there are some simple steps that individuals can take to reduce their reliance on plastic water bottles. For example, they can invest in a reusable water bottle and carry it with them throughout the day. They can also purchase a water filter for their home and office, which will allow them to fill their own bottles with filtered water rather than buying bottled water. Finally, they can support companies that use sustainable packaging materials. Also, most toiletries and cleaning supplies come in plastic bottles. By switching to bar soap, bar conditioner, and making your own cleaning supplies from vinegar and baking soda, you can eliminate buying items in plastic containers. By taking these steps, individuals can help to protect the environment and reduce their own carbon footprint.

Bar Soap
Bar Soap – Photo by Neon Soapworks

Glass Jars

Glass jars are a great way to reduce your plastic usage. Not only are they reusable, but they can also be recycled. Glass jars are also a great way to store food and other items. They are airtight and keep food fresh for longer. You can also use them to store other items such as nails, screws, and buttons. Glass jars are a versatile and eco-friendly way to reduce your plastic usage.

Plastic Utensils

Many people are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. Throwaway utensils are one common source of plastic waste, and eliminating them can be a simple way to reduce your ecological footprint. There are a few easy ways to cut out plastic utensils. One is to invest in reusable silverware that you can keep with you when you’re on the go. Another is to bring your own utensils to restaurants, or request that they avoid providing disposable ones. You can also support businesses that have made a commitment to reducing plastic waste, such as by only using compostable or biodegradable utensils. By taking small steps like these, we can all make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution.

Reducing Throwaway Items

Paper towels, toilet paper, and paper bags are all items that we use once and then throw away. One of the best ways to be more eco friendly is to reduce the amount of throwaway items you use. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. One way is to ditch disposable items in favor of reusable ones. For example, instead of using paper towels, invest in some cloth towels that can be used over and over again.

You can also say no to plastic bags and water bottles and bring your own reusable bags and containers when you go shopping or out for the day. Another easy way to reduce throwaway items is to simply use less. For example, if you typically toss out half a sandwich at lunch, try eating a smaller sandwich or packing a salad instead. Every little bit counts when it comes to reducing waste and being more eco friendly.

Paper Towels

There are many reasons to replace paper towels with cloths. For one, cloths are more durable and can be used over and over again. This cuts down on waste, which is good for the environment. cloths also tend to be more absorbent than paper towels, so you can use less of them overall. And, if you buy reusable cloths made from sustainable materials, you’ll also be supporting green initiatives. There are plenty of reasons to ditch paper towels in favor of cloths – so why not make the switch today? Here are the 8 best eco-friendly dish towels and cloths.

Toilet Paper

Today, more and more people are becoming aware of the damaging effects of plastic on the environment. In response, many companies are now offering plastic-free alternatives to traditional products. One such product is toilet paper. Toilet paper is an essential item in many households, but it can also be a major source of plastic waste. Fortunately, there are now a number of brands that offer toilet paper made from recycled materials or that are completely plastic-free. By switching to one of these brands, you can help to reduce your impact on the environment.

In addition to being better for the environment, plastic-free toilet paper can also be better for your health. Many brands of toilet paper are treated with chemicals that can be harmful to your skin. by switching to a natural or recycled product, you can help to keep your skin healthy and free from harmful chemicals.

Making the switch to plastic-free toilet paper is a simple way to reduce your impact on the environment and improve your health. We buy our toilet paper from our local restaurant supply company, but there are many companies that will ship toilet paper wrapped in paper, in a cardboard box, which contains no plastic.

Bamboo vs Wood Pulp Toilet Paper

It’s no secret that toilet paper is an important part of our daily lives. However, what many people don’t realize is the toll that its production takes on the environment. Toilet paper is made from wood pulp, and the process of turning trees into toilet paper is incredibly wasteful. In fact, it takes 37 gallons of water to make just one roll of toilet paper. That’s equivalent to more than 83 million rolls being produced each day – which quickly adds up to 125 million pounds of wood being used each day.

Fortunately, there is a more environmentally friendly option: bamboo. Bamboo is a grass that grows very quickly, often reaching up to 2.9 feet in just one day. This makes it a sustainable and renewable resource that can be used to create toilet paper without damaging the environment. Not only is bamboo better for the planet, but it’s also just as soft and effective as traditional toilet paper. So next time you need to restock your supply, consider making the switch to bamboo toilet paper.

Paper Bags

Paper bags have a number of advantages over plastic bags. They are biodegradable, meaning that they will break down naturally over time. This makes them much friendlier to the environment than plastic bags, which can take hundreds of years to decompose. If paper bags tear, paper bags can be easily repaired with tape. Finally, paper bags are recyclable, and they can be reused many times before being disposed of. For all these reasons, paper bags are a better choice than plastic bags.

But if you want to reduce even that amount of recycling, switching to reusable canvas bags is an easy way to make a big difference. Canvas bags are sturdier than paper bags and can be used over and over again. They’re also usually more stylish, so you can show off your environmental consciousness while you shop.

Reusable canvas bags are just one of the many ways that you can reduce your impact on the environment. By making small changes in your daily life, you can make a big difference for the planet.


When it comes to food, the best way to reduce waste is to compost your food scraps. This reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills and helps to fertilize the soil. You can also buy local and seasonal produce to reduce the amount of packaging that is used. You can also shop at bulk stores, where you can bring your own containers to fill food and toiletries up.

Food scraps

One person’s trash is another person’s treasure, and this adage is especially true when it comes to food scraps. While many people simply discard their food waste, there are a number of ways to put these scraps to good use. For example, many scraps can be composted and used to fertilize gardens and lawns. Kitchen scraps such as vegetable peelings and coffee grounds can add important nutrients to the soil, making them ideal for growing healthy plants. Furthermore, food scraps can also be used to feed animals such as chickens and pigs. In some cases, food waste may even be able to generate electricity or produce other forms of energy. As such, it is clear that food scraps have a lot of potential and should not be simply thrown away.

Compost Bin

Many people are interested in composting, but they may not know where to start. One of the best ways to start composting is by setting up a bin. A compost bin can be as simple or complex as you like, but there are a few key things to keep in mind.

First, you will need a container to hold the compost. This can be anything from a plastic bin to an old wheelbarrow. Second, you need to add a variety of organic materials to the bin, including leaves, grass clippings, and fruit and vegetable scraps. It is important to chop or shred these materials before adding them to the bin to speed up the decomposition process. Third, you need to add water to the bin on a regular basis. The amount of water will vary depending on the type of material you are composting, but generally speaking, the mixture should be moist but not soggy. Finally, you need to turn the compost regularly to aerate it and speed up breakdown. Once you have all of these elements in place, you can start reaping the benefits of your own homemade compost.

Community Gardens

Community gardens are a great way for people to come together and grow their own food. They provide an opportunity for people to meet their neighbors, learn new gardening skills, and get some exercise. In addition, community gardens can help to beautify a neighborhood and provide a green space for wildlife. While they may require some initial planning and effort, community gardens are a great way to bring people together and improve the health of both the environment and the community.

Food Reuse

Historically, gleaners are people who collect leftover crops from farmers’ fields after the harvest. The word “glean” comes from the Old English verb gelǽnan, meaning “to gather.” Gleaners are often seen as poor or homeless people who are desperate for food, but there are many different types of gleaners. Some gleaners are professional food rescuers who work for organizations like Urban Gleaners in Portland, OR, or Gleaners of Clackamas County. Others are hobbyists or volunteers who simply enjoy giving back to their community. And still others are farmers themselves, who believe that no food should go to waste.

Gleaners today will tend to work with organizations like grocery stores that have food that is about to expire, or items that are not selling as well, and donate them to these organization to distribute to people who can use the extra food. No matter their motivations, all gleaners share a common goal: to reduce food waste and provide fresh, healthy food to those in need.

Strategies for shopping at grocery stores

A growing number of people are becoming aware of the problem of plastic pollution and are looking for ways to reduce their reliance on plastic. One place where we can make a difference is when we are grocery shopping. Here are some strategies for using less plastic at the grocery store:

  • Bring your own reusable bags for carrying groceries. This simple step can help to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up in landfills.
  • Look for items that are not packaged in plastic. Where possible, choose fresh fruits and vegetables that are not wrapped in plastic.
  • Opt for reusable containers. Whenever possible, choose reusable containers over single-use plastics. For example, you might buy a block of cheese instead of pre-sliced cheese that comes in a plastic bag.
  • Do bulk shopping at grocery stores

By following these simple tips, we can all help to reduce our reliance on plastic and make a difference in the fight against plastic pollution.


One of the best ways to reduce your waste is to recycle. You can recycle paper, plastic, and glass. You can also compost food scraps, which reduces the amount of waste that goes into landfills.

As more and more people become aware of the importance of recycling, they are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact. While some municipalities have established recycling programs, many individuals are still unsure of how to recycle properly. The following tips can help to make recycling easier and more effective.

One of the most important things to remember when recycling is to separate materials. Most recycle centers will not accept mixed materials, so it is important to sort items before taking them in. It is also important to rinse out food containers and remove any caps or lids. This will help to reduce contamination and make the recycling process more efficient.

In addition, it is important to check local guidelines before recycling. Some materials, such as batteries and electronics, may require special handling. By following these tips, individuals can help to make recycling more effective and ultimately reduce their environmental impact.

Specialized Recycling Companies

There are now new companies such as Ridwell that picks up hard to recycle items. They give you bags to store your batteries, light bulbs, plastic film, and threads. These are their core categories. Every pickup, they also have a special category, for example, crayons, or biking accessories. They also have pickups for clamshells, and styrofoam for an additional fee per bag. These are things we dispose of everyday without a good recycling or reuse solution. Ridwell hopes to change that with their convenient pick-up service. Simply sign up for a subscription and they will provide you with everything you need to start recycling these items responsibly. Plus, they offer discounts for referrals, so it’s easy to spread the word and get more people on board with this important mission. So why not give Ridwell a try? It’s easy, convenient, and good for the environment!


Bea Johnson kicked off the zero waste movement with her book Zero Waste Home, published in 2013. Living a zero waste lifestyle can seem daunting, but with a few simple tips, you can get started on your way to reducing your waste output. There is a growing movement of people who are interested in sustainable alternatives to traditional products and practices. These individuals are often motivated by a desire to protect the environment, reduce their carbon footprint, or live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. As a result, they may choose to purchase environmentally-friendly cleaning products, install solar panels, or grow their own food.

While sustainable alternatives can sometimes be more expensive or time-consuming than conventional options, many people believe that the long-term benefits are worth the effort. In addition, as more people adopt sustainable practices, the cost of these alternatives is likely to decrease. As the demand for sustainable products and practices increases, it is hoped that businesses and governments will also begin to prioritize sustainability.

We talked about the different types of waste, how to reduce your consumption, and some easy ways to recycle and compost your waste. By following these tips, you’ll be on your way to a zero-waste lifestyle! Thank you for considering going zero waste!

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