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101 EASY Eco-Friendly Zero Waste Tips

101 EASY Eco-Friendly Zero Waste Tips

This post is designed to pull together as many SUPER simple sustainable living tips that you could start building into your life today. You’re unlikely to be able to do them ALL today, but you can sure make a good start. 

Generally, you just need a bit of commitment to a more eco-friendly, zero-waste life. 

This isn’t a check list of things you NEED to do, but more a huge collection of ideas to prompt you to think in less wasteful ways. There’s no one correct way to do this. 

Pick a few that resonate and build them in. If you were to add just 2 a week, you’d have ticked off all 101 by this time next year, and be living a far lower impact life. 

Every day we have a choice to make this world a little wasteful. What can you do today?

  1. Use bar soap instead of liquid soap, it tends to come with less packaging.
  2. Try canning to preserve food.
  3. Ask for no straw in your drink order when out.
  4. Buy food without packaging or minimal packaging.
  5. Ditch paper towels and use tea towels and rags.
  6. Plant a small garden.
  7. Check out your farmers market.
  8. Swap tea bags for loose leaf tea in a reusable strainer. 
  9. Try making tooth powder to avoid unrecyclable toothpaste tubes.
  10. 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!
  11. Make dry shampoo to stretch between washes.
  12. Make your own deodorant.
  13. Beware of greenwashing, always do your research.
  14. Make homemade gifts to give to friends and family.
  15. Eat more vegetables and legumes.
  16. Switch from a plastic disposable razor to a metal safety razor.
  17. Avoid receipts when out, ask if one has to be printed. Sometimes they do, but not always!
  18. Find your local cobbler to repair tired shoes.
  19. Line dry a load instead of using the dryer.
  20. Vote with your dollars for a sustainable future.
  21. Most sunscreen causes coral bleaching, go coral friendly!
  22. Surround yourself with tools and items that are meant to last a lifetime. Try to only buy objects once.
  23. Learn how to freeze your food without plastic so it doesn’t go to waste.
  24. Buy more locally made goods.
  25. Repair something when it breaks.
  26. 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.
  27. Surround yourself with items that serve multiple purposes to streamline and cut excess junk.
  28. Try elderberry syrup if you feel a cold coming on instead of immediately reaching for a plastic pill bottle.
  29. Get a library card to support your local sharing economy.
  30. Bring reusable produce bags for fruits and veggies.
  31. Meal plan to avoid food waste.
  32. Get rid of pests naturally.
  33. Swap disposable pads and tampons for cloth pads or a menstrual cup.
  34. Try to avoid palm oil.
  35. Repurpose stale bread.
  36. Always say no thank you to free promotional items. They tend to be cheap and break easily.
  37. Try making your own lotion.
  38. Look into collecting rainwater or a greywater system.
  39. Try homemade mouthwash.
  40. Look into tree-free TP.
  41. Learn how to repair a button or hem to extend the life of your clothing.
  42. Serve dinner with cloth napkins.
  43. Wrap presents in newsprint or not at all!
  44. Learn where to properly dispose of items like gift cards, old cell phones, batteries and unusable cords can be turned in at best buy etc.
  45. Pick up litter when you’re out and dispose of it properly.
  46. Ditch plastic q-tips for plastic-free or reusable.
  47. Try Wheatless Wednesdays to cut back on intensive grain farming.
  48. Avoid junk mail by placing a sticker on your box or going to
  49. Ask yourself if you truly need it before making any purchases.
  50. Focus on experiences rather than things.
  51. Ditch sponges in lieu of compostable scrubs or brushes.
  52. Use both sides of the paper!
  53. Keep a stocked pantry to avoid getting takeout on busy nights.
  54. Always run a full dishwasher or load of clothes.
  55. If it’s a 30 minute or less walk, get outside instead of driving.
  56. Ditch plastic shower loofahs for a real loofah or a bamboo bath brush.
  57. Reduce your meat consumption. If you’re not ready to go vegetarian start small: try Meatless Monday, weekday vegetarian, or even weekday vegan.
  58. Try your hand at an easy all-purpose cleaning spray.
  59. Find your local tailor to help with clothing repairs.
  60. Join a community garden.
  61. Go paperless for all your bills!
  62. Make your morning cup of coffee with a french press or pour over with a reusable filter to avoid extra waste.
  63. Ask for no plastic and reused packaging materials for online orders.
  64. Start a backyard compost.
  65. Unplug electronics when not in use.
  66. Try cloth diapering.
  67. Swap your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo toothbrush.
  68. Donate unused items in good condition to support the second-hand market.
  69. Ditch tissues for handkerchiefs.
  70. Turn old sheets and towels into handkerchiefs, rags, napkins, and cloth produce bags.
  71. Wash clothes when they are actually dirty, instead of after only one wear.
  72. Commit to bringing your reusable bags to the store. If you don’t have them, turn around and go get them! After forgetting them once, you won’t do it again.
  73. 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.
  74. Change light bulbs to LEDs.
  75. Don’t buy anything impulsively!
  76. Be mindful when using technology.
  77. Put on a sweater and socks before turning up the heat.
  78. Get some houseplants at a local nursery to purify your air, don’t forget to return the little plastic pots!
  79. Swap little plastic chapstick tubes for DIY lip balm.
  80. Know where everything you buy comes from whether it be food, clothing, or other household goods
  81. Pack your lunch instead of eating out every day.
  82. Bring your own container for to-go food and leftovers.
  83. Bring your own to-go cup when getting coffee on the run.
  84. Store your food properly to make it last longer.
  85. Learn to regrow kitchen scraps.
  86. Ask for a real mug at the coffee shop when staying in.
  87. Open a window to cool down your home or air it out.
  88. Think second-hand first when purchasing something.
  89. Pick up a lonely banana.
  90. Don’t leave your house without a full reusable water bottle.
  91. Turn the water off while brushing your teeth.
  92. Make your own face mask from stuff in your pantry.
  93. Make your own febreze spray to freshen your room for pennies!
  94. Look into rechargeable batteries instead of disposables.
  95. Keep a bucket in the shower to water plants or flush the toilet.
  96. Swap cotton rounds for reusable rounds.
  97. Wash your clothes in cold water when you can.
  98. Swap don’t shop! Host a clothing swap with friends.
  99. Try to shrink the amount you recycle. Zero waste is about recycling less not more.
  100. Take public transit if available or carpool.
  101. Look at installing a bidet attachment.

37 Genius Trash-to-Treasure Crafts That Will Save You So Much Money

You can accomplish most of these simple upcycling ideas in a single afternoon.

1. Before: Soda Can

Don’t recycle that can just yet — it has a lot more aesthetic potential than you realize.

1. After: Soda Can Art

Some cutting, shaping, and painting turned the empty beverage into the petals and stems of these pretty framed florals.

Get the tutorial at Purple Hues and Me »

2. Before: Mint Box

After freshening up your breath, a candy dispenser can also organize your purse.

2. After: Bobby Pin Holder

Banish flyways just like coffee breath. Replace the container’s label with washi tape, and voilà — bobby pins are finally corralled in one place.

Get the tutorial at Bright Bold and Beautiful »

3. Before: Kitchen Stool

If your kitchen island seating is literally on its last leg…

3. After: Gift Wrap Caddy

Flip the stool upside-down to stash a supply of wrapping paper, and hang any extra tools on the legs’ cross bars.

Get the tutorial at Home Talk »

4. Before: Cake Pans

After years of birthdays, your cake pans probably aren’t pristine. But that’s no reason to toss them

4. After: Tiered Tray

Last-minute dinner party centerpiece: a vintage-style display like this one.

Get the tutorial at A Nest For All Seasons »

5. Before: Tires

Yes, even this banged up piece of rubber can find a place in your home (and we don’t mean in the garage!).

5. After: Christmas Lawn Ornaments

Last-minute dinner party centerpiece: a vintage-style display like this one.

Get the tutorial at A Nest For All Seasons »

6. Before: VHS Storage Case

Almost any antique store you visit will have a few VHS cases for just a couple dollars.

6. After: Christmas Lawn Ornaments

Bring them into the 21st century with a coat of grey paint and some industrial legs.

Get the tutorial at Sadie Seasongoods »

7. Before: Knife Rack

Paired with skewers, this common kitchen object is totally perfect for the craft room

7. After: Thread Organizer

Your most-used threads are always within reach when standing at attention in this DIY organizer. And a coat of bright paint adds a pop of creativity to your space.

Get the tutorial at Refresh Living »

8. Before: Headboard

This lucky antique store find would be a beautiful focal point in a bedroom, but the owner had another cool idea.

8. After: Quilt Rack

Turned on its side, the elegant piece becomes an eye-catching space to display blankets and throws.

Get the tutorial at Brepurposed »

9. Before: Broom Bristles

A gently used broom is practically begging to be upgraded from sweeping the floor to weekend DIY material.

9. After: Desk Organizer

This pencil holder is more homey and helpful than the uninspired, angular cups you’d find at an office supply store.

Get the tutorial at Homeroad »

10. Before: Florist Bucket

Since the container your flowers arrive in already fits all of the buds to a T, don’t toss it just because the exterior is an eyesore.

10. After: Romantic Vase

A large floral appliqué with a coat of white paint gives the bucket an antique, romantic vibe that totally enhances the beauty of fresh flowers.

Get the tutorial at Shabby Fufu »

11. Before: Salsa Jars

Your chips-and-dip habit doesn’t have to result in a ton of glass jars in the recycling bin.

11. After: Candle Jars

Rinse them out and create pretty candle jars in a fun color scheme that matches your home.

Get the tutorial at The Real Thing With the Coake Family »

12. Before: Knife Block

Your chips-and-dip habit doesn’t have to result in a ton of glass jars in the recycling bin.

12. After: Craft Caddy

With the help of a drill (and some bold paint), this knife block gets a second life as a kid-friendly art station.

Get the tutorial at Thrift Diving »

13. Before: Tissue Box

A case of the sniffles doesn’t have to be all bad. Just hold on to empty Kleenex boxes from cold season.

13. After: Desk Organizer

A step above the average pencil cup, this cute caddy boasts special compartments (read: repurposed toilet paper rolls) to organize home office essentials.

Get the tutorial at Domestically Blissful »

14. Before: Tin Cans

Next time the soup’s on, rinse out the can for an after-lunch DIY.

14. After: Patio Luminaries

Plot out pretty designs or go for classic polka dots when making these outdoor lanterns. If you don’t have a powerful hole punch, just use a hammer and nail.

Get the tutorial at Crafts Unleashed by Consumer Crafts »

15. Before: Tin Cans

Instead of tossing salsa and pasta sauce containers in the recycling bin, save a few screw-top jars.

15. After: Apothecary Jars

Fancy glass containers don’t need to be expensive. Copy the vintage pharmacy look by painting the lids and affixing spare knobs or drawer pulls.

Get the tutorial at Little House of Four »

16. Before: Coffee Cans

If you go through more coffee cans than water bottles, that’ll come in handy for this upcycle idea.

16. After: Planters

Fresh paint and a textured trim transform these containers into decorative pots. Pop a pair on your mantel for some extra greenery.

Get the tutorial at The Wicker House »

17. Before: Phone Book

Everyone’s got an old phone book sitting around. Don’t recycle it just yet!

17. After: Phone Book Wreath

Upcycle your phone book into a sunny yellow wreath that will put a smile on everyone’s face.

Get the tutorial at A Night Owl Blog »

18. Before: Window Shutter

An old window shutter is just the sort of thing you might find on the side of the road or even in you own garage.

18. After: Paper Organizer

Bring it inside to help organize your scrapbooking papers (or, ya know, your tax forms). Simply add a fresh coat of paint and some pockets and you’re good to go.

Get the tutorial at Jennifer Maker »

19. Before: Lotion Bottle

The next time you run through a bottle of lotion, rinse it out to create something practical for your home.

19. After: Herb Garden

These colorful planters are the perfect size to create a handy indoor herb garden. You can also use them to corral pens, pencils, and other office supplies.

Get the tutorial at Lovely Indeed »

20. Before: Paper Rolls

The next time you run through a bottle of lotion, rinse it out to create something practical for your home.

20. After: Wall Organizer

Glue a few rolls together to create a quirky wall organizer that can store all sorts of knick-knacks, from keys to air plants.

Get the tutorial at A Kailo Chic Life »

21. Before: Classic Book

The covers of Reader’s Digest condensed books feature pretty patterns that are just as beautiful as the stories inside — and so you might as well display them with the rest of your art collection.

21. After: Photo Display

Adhere a family photo to the cover of each book and display them right on the mantel.

Get the tutorial at Sadie Seasongoods »

22. Before: Wine Corks

You know you’ve been saving those corks for something. We’ve got the most adorable solution ever.

22. After: Vase

This trash-to-treasure craft works especially well if you’re loyal to one brand of wine (since all the corks will be the same size).

Get the tutorial at Design Improvised »

23. Before: Vintage Mirror

Past-prime mirrors are a dime a dozen at thrift stores and yard sales alike. Pick one up and transform it into a centerpiece for your coffee table.

23. After: Candle Tray

A delicate candle tray will look so chic in any farmhouse, boho, or traditional home.

Get the tutorial at Bless’er House »

24. Before: Boring Rug

Vacuum your old rug to clean off excess dirt — then, get ready to take it up a notch.

24. After: Bright Overdyed Rug

This hot trend is surprisingly easy to do at home. Mix store-bought dye per instructions — we used RIT all-purpose dye in Coral. (Note: Match your dye selection to your fiber type — e.g. natural vs. synthetic.) Wearing gloves, fill a glass spray bottle with mixture. Coat surface of rug. Repeat until it is the desired color.

25. Before: Paint Bucket

Your home refresh doesn’t have to end with a fresh coat of paint. You can also turn those empty paint buckets into something fabulous.

25. After: Ice Bucket

A gold-trim ice bucket is just the thing to take your bar cart from blah to bold.

Get the tutorial at Hey Let’s Make Stuff »

26. Before: Vintage Teacup

At a yard sale? Scoop up that set of old teacups — there are so many creative re-uses for them.

26. After: Teacup Candle

These adorable homemade candles make perfect gifts. Not to mention, you can customize the scent exactly to your liking.

Get the tutorial at A Night Owl Blog »

27. Before: Chandelier

If you’re replacing your old dining-room light fixture, give it a second life and turn it into something totally new.

27. After: Crystal Necklaces

A show-stopping necklace will make you feel elegant whenever you put it on (or simply see it in your jewelry box). These ones require just a bit of suede cord and lobster clasps.

Get the tutorial at Two Purple Couches »

28. Before: Cinder Block

Your next round of yard work might leave you with a few concrete blocks leftover — and if it does, don’t worry about how you’re going to schlep them to the dump.

28. After: Planter

Instead, paint a pretty design onto a few of them and use the blocks as indoor or outdoor planters. Your flowers will never know the difference.

Get the tutorial at Design Improvised »

29. Before: Window Frame

Transform this dumpster-bound find into an entryway organizer that will add a pop of color and pizazz to an otherwise empty wall.

29. After: Entryway Organizer

Use painter’s tape to give the frame a fresh new color. Paint one pane with chalkboard paint and customize the others to your liking. Add a shelf and some hooks and you’re done.

RELATED: 15 DIY Wall Decor Ideas to Instantly Upgrade Any Blank Space

30. Before: Thrifted Basket

Get creative with a flea market find (we picked up this seagrass beauty for $10).

30. After: Statement Basket

This dream weave was easy to achieve: simply paint a design, following the pattern of the basket.

31. Before: Brick

Use bricks from a leftover home project or buy them at your hardware store for around 60 cents each.

31. After: Planter

Scoop dirt or potting soil into a hole and pop in a few small succulents for the ultimate low-maintenance garden.

32. Before: Boring Rug

Before you send those cans off to the recycling bin, see if you can upcycle them first.

32. After: Pretty Pots

Rinse clean, file sharp edges, then measure the can height, cutting wrapping paper or wallpaper to fit before securing with double-stick tape.

33. Before: Wine Corks

Leftover wine corks are the perfect things to upcycle into something new.

33. After: Bottle Stoppers

Transform them into the perfect hostess gift with a little hot glue and a few gems.

34. Before: Lampshade

If you can find two matching lamp shades, then you can DIY your own chic light pendant.

34. After: Scandi Pendant

Remove the fabric and lining from the shades and attach the wire frames bottom to bottom with electrical tape. Thread a pendent light cord through the middle and screw in an LED bulb. Hot glue the end of a length of jute cord to the top frame and wrap around until covered. Repeat with the bottom half.

35. Before: Sideboard

There are so many ways to transform this simple piece from the neighborhood garage sale…

35. After: Statement Sideboard

Use painter’s tape to create a geometric pattern on the front of the cabinet. Now, you’ve got a show-stopping piece.

36. Before: Secretary Desk

Past-prime mirrors are a dime a dozen at thrift stores and yard sales alike. Pick one up and transform it into a centerpiece for your coffee table.

36. After: Statement Desk

Add a layer of paint, some peel-and-stick patterned paper, and a tassel for a desk that can hold its own as the centerpiece of your space.

37. Before: Paint Stirrers

Snap up some freebie sticks every time you hit the hardware store and build a little collection of scrap wood.

37. After: Starburst Mirror


A framed craft store mirror is all it takes to spice up the dining room walls. You can even stain the stirrers to match the table.

Get the tutorial at Decorating Cents »