What a Zero Waste Home ACTUALLY Looks Like

Danielle Alvarado

October 19, 2020

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Zero Waste Home
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Welcome to our Zero Waste Home Tour!

With all of the perfect pinterest pins, bright and airy photo shoots, and labels upon perfect labels in the pantry….zero waste can seem a bit too hard to achieve. In real life, zero waste is anything but pretty and it really is just doing the best you can with what you got. Today I would like to give little tour of my imperfectly wonderful zero waste home.



Reusable Towels for EVERYTHING

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I cannot even remember the last time I used a paper towel and they are the most over-utilized unnecessary item that I can think of off the top of my head. I remember being young and our family using roll after roll of paper towels. The trash was just FULL of them.

One day my father said to me, “Hey! Stop wasting all the paper towels. You do know they come from trees, right?” and I didn’t. I had no idea. I was 8 years old. I never forgot that and ever since that day I always used the tea towels, kitchen towels or whatever else I could find!


Reusable Jars

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I save all the jars…ALL the jars. If I have too many, I don’t recycle them. Instead, I tell myself, “Are you buying too many pre-made items? How can I reduce the number of jars in my home?”

And there are so many ways! Making your own peanut butter for instance (like in this photo), making your own pasta sauce from fresh tomatoes, blending or whisking together homemade salad dressings and more. If it comes in a glass jar, there is a very good chance that we can make it ourselves.


Cloth Pads for More Than Cloth Diapering

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I remember the day I realized that my son’s cloth diaper inserts were perfect for my period. Aunt flow came to town while we were out camping (totally unexpected) and I had nothing to use. Normally I would use a store-bought “period” reusable pad or my menstrual cup but I didn’t have any of that with me. I saw the bag of reusable cloth inserts and they were perfect! I have used them ever since.


The Menstrual Cup

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I go back and forth with adoring this menstrual cup to not using it at all. It really depends on your preference but hundreds of thousands of women around the world love it. If you are a tampon user, you will find this VERY easy to use! I never liked tampons so I am much more of a pad chick!


Reusable Spray Bottle

We have had these spray bottles for over 3 years and adore them. I use them for all of my vinegar cleaning solutions and I could not ask for more. I use them every single day and if they break, I will just replace with a new glass bottle without the plastic spray nozzle.


Dish Washing Stuff

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This was one of the hardest swaps for me because I was such a plastic sponge ADDICT. Don’t worry, you can get bamboo scrubs that work just like the plastic ones but I found that I don’t even need them! I use all of these instead; the scrubbers, the bottle cleaner, and various bamboo/bristle brushes. I adore them all!

My favorite brushes come from a company called EcoCoconut. Here’s their website if you would like to check them out!


Second Hand or Trash Goodies!

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Do you see this absolutely stunning solid wooden side table that I use next to my bed? These were trash….TRASH! I still cannot believe it. A little TLC and they were good as new and look stunning in our minimalistic bedroom. Another thing that was trash in this photo is the plant that is thriving so beautifully next to my bed. Her previous owner could not care for her so we took her in and she is just so happy!


Sheets for EVERYTHING

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Picnic? Too sunny in the house? A little bit chilly? Need some privacy? Sheets, baby!

I use sheets for everything. I love to pick up sheets at the second-hand shop, wash them and then store them in my closet for various needs around the house. Once they are used up you can cut them up into extra towels to clean the house!


Pick the Weeds and Buy Biodegradable Plant Pots!

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I have a little obsession with picking flowers; but not just any flowers. I like to pick the flowers that are about to be mowed down by the owner of the property. Martin thinks I’m crazy, but I find nothing more beautiful than dried flowers hanging from my ladder.

Another great zero waste hack is to purchase plants in non-plastic planters such as these beauties from KokoDama. I found these at my local garden shop and I am sure you can find something very similar as well!


Save the Crates and Bags!

One thing that worries me about “perfect” zero waste homes is the lack of plastic or brown bags in the photos. I get that we have stopped purchasing plastic and most unnecessary bags, but where did all the ones that you had go? Where are they?? haha.

Every single plastic bag that I had in my house when we vowed to stop the plastic is still here. Every single one. Plastic is durable, it’s long-lasting and it should not be tossed in the recycle bin just because we are plastic-free. We should be reusing it until it has completely turned to crap.

Crates, on the other hand, are quite “in style” and for good reason. We love to save crates! I use them to store things, to hold my fruits and veggies, to recycle and more. Save those crates! If you have too many, throw them up on the Facebook marketplace for free.

I would love to hear what you have in your own home to live a more low-waste or zero-waste lifestyle!


Looking for more zero waste inspiration?

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