The biggest zero waste myth is that it’s hard, expensive, and time-consuming. Yes, it might be one of the three (or maybe two at times), but not all of them.
Really, zero waste doesn’t have to be the difficult, unachievable goal so many imagine it to be. Because zero waste is an end goal – the in-between process is a much more flexible, fluid thing. Working towards your ways doesn’t have to be a chore.
I know that a lot of people can’t afford zero waste options, don’t have time, or don’t even have access to the resources that would let them go fully zero waste. That’s OK. Taking steps towards reducing your waste is a huge first step.
This blog is here to break down a zero waste journey into 100% manageable steps.
Start at the beginning
Zero waste on a budget
These resources have all been invaluable to helping me lead a more meaningful, lower-waste lifestyle. I have either purchased these online or found them in second hand shops nearby. I hope you’ll find my recommendations useful!
But before digging in, an important disclosure:
FYI: some of these links are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Anything on this page I own and/or have tried and would recommend to my very best friend – and you! Please remember not to buy these products new unless you have no alternatives at home and have scoured your local second hand shop!
KeepCup: my #1 zero waste weapon (because I have a serious coffee habit) that is not only adorable, sturdy, and helps me ditch those disposables, it also gets me free drinks. Yup, my 12 oz. glass KeepCup has already paid for itself in free drinks from baristas who think it’s just that cool!
Stojo collapsible mug: can you tell I really like tea and coffee? You can just toss it in your bag, forget about it, and then get very excited when you remember it’s there and can get a coffee without a single-use container. Check out my full review here.
Reusable produce bags: whether you’re grocery shopping or foraging or just picked up a couple items at the store, mesh reusable produce bags with a handy drawstring are the perfect thing to keep in your regular purse or backpack. You never know when the chance to refuse a bit of plastic might come up!
Bamboo toothbrushes: an average human uses 156 toothbrushes and 389 tubes of toothpaste over their lifetime. Instead of creating all that waste, try bamboo brushes by Brush With Bamboo or WooBamboo. Zero waste toothpaste options include a Fig+Yarrow tooth powder I personally recommend or a similar Lush product.
For getting started… the seminal classic Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. Full of her story, practical tips, and simple recipes for cultivating a trash-less home. Also try The Zero-Waste Lifestyle: Live Well By Throwing Away Less for a great mix of mind-boggling statistics and practical tips.
For facts and figures… Detrash Your Life in 90 Days: Your Complete Guide to the Art of Zero Waste Living, a great read, being super practical and well-researched by the environmental engineer author.
For learning more about growing your own food… I enjoyed paging through Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre. I think the information there is also practical for those without a 1/4 acre of land available – just pick and choose what you find useful.
Ethical clothing recommendations
While I always advocate for buying secondhand, there are some items I will invest in after a long search!
Everlane: I love Everlane because of it’s commitment to transparency in terms of where the items are produced and by who. Plus, the minimal, high-quality aesthetic just speaks to me. Everlane is pretty much luxury on a mid-level budget.
notPERFECTLINEN: my literal dream wardrobe consists of nothing but their super-floaty, (obviously) linen line. Handmade goods from a small Latvian collective? I really don’t think it can get dreamier than that!
Thinx: For the past few years I’ve exclusive used Thinx underwear as my period protection of choice. While many balk at the idea, it’s absolutely nothing like free bleeding and I don’t often remember wearing them unless I’m actively thinking about them. I personally think they’re simple, no-hassle, and they’ve lasted forever.