Readers had a great threadjack a few weeks ago about how to live a low-waste lifestyle — so we thought we’d round up some of their suggestions in a single post! Readers who are trying to reduce and reuse, what are your best tips to live a low-waste lifestyle? (This seems particularly timely since there were so many recent stories about how recycling programs are far from perfect…)
This post contains affiliate links and Corporette® may earn commissions for purchases made through links in this post. For more details see here. Thank you so much for your support!
Kat’s Tips on How to Live a Low-Waste Lifestyle
I follow a lot of the tips the readers shared myself! Some of the stuff we do (which may also conflict with my goal of decluttering, ha) includes:
- Instead of discarding product packaging, I save a lot of the boxes for in-cabinet/in-drawer/in-closet organization. (Anything iPhone is great here, but I also just bought these pretty little mugs that came in the most gorgeous boxes… and I still have empty diaper boxes in my own closet even though we’ve been out of diapers for years, thank goodness.)
- We save a ton of old towels for rags — it takes us forever to go through a paper towel roll.
- We have soooo many reusable lunch containers.
- We try to use our Sodastream as often as possible instead of buying cans or bottles of seltzer. I’m also a big fan of my wide-mouthed water bottles instead of bottled water. (Summer tip: I like to put a bit of water in the bottom of a Nalgene bottle, then freeze it — it keeps your water cold for a looong time.)
- On the mom side of things, we’ve had a lot of great things that came to us pre-used, and we’ve passed along many things either for sale or donation — we’re also big believers in hand-me-downs.
- If there’s something I know we’re going to use a lot of, I try to buy the biggest container possible to cut down on plastic waste — 33+ oz. soap container, bring it on.
- It may gross you out but alternative products for your period are really great right now — I highly recommend them, especially if your period is less than punctual and you spend a lot of time “waiting” for it.
- I’m intrigued by all of you who love bar soap, especially for hair — I feel like I’m missing the perfect in-shower holder for bar soap so that it doesn’t all wash away? Do share, readers…
- For those of you who have outdoor space for gardening, I’m starting to get into overwintering annuals like begonias — you can also save money on soil by reusing aluminum cans to fill the bottom half of your containers!
Reader Suggestions on How to Live a Low-Waste Lifestyle
- Cut up old T-shirts and towels to make cleaning rags and replace paper towel use.
- Put a used lemon in the dishwasher before you run it so it smells nice (the reader puts one half in the top rack and one in the silverware tray).
- Repurpose empty milk jugs as garden cloches for plants (e.g., pepper and tomato) when there’s still a chill in the air at night.
- Keep glass jars to reuse in all sorts of ways.
- Cut-up boxer shorts/T-shirts make an awesome alternative to garden twine and are great for delicate plants. “We compost loads in our bin and make leaf mulch as well, and have a water butt attached to the guttering for watering the plants. We also buy the great big jugs of hand and dish soap and just refill it, reducing the plastic waste.”
- “I would use old pantyhose for garden twine, because they had a bit of flexibility for delicate plants.”
- “Microwaving diluted lemon juice for 5 minutes makes it super easy to wipe down the inside of your microwave. Any time we need half a lemon (or lemon rind) for a meal, we use the rest of the lemon this way!”
- “Broccoli rubber bands are the favorites in our house. I have a narrow shelf at the side of my craft table and my scissors tend to work their way to the end of the shelf and then onto the floor. I keep a fat pink broccoli rubber band around the end of the shelf and it adds just enough lip to the shelf to stop things from nosediving. I use rubber to stretch them around the lid of a bottle or jar that won’t open — the rubber band gives just enough traction for my hand to get it open!”
- “When I change the baking soda in the fridge (every 3–6 months), I pour the old baking soda down the drain to freshen up the pipes.”
- “I save old newspaper and use it in two ways: 1) stuff wet shoes after getting caught in the rain, jumping in a puddle, or machine washing (sneakers can be machine washed, it’s amazing!); 2) line my compost bin with newspaper rather than buying fancy compostable bags.”
- “When I wanted to start using less paper towels but DH wasn’t fully on board, I just stopped buying big packages of it. I now buy one roll at a time and keep it under the sink, and it lasts us quite a while.”
- “Clean tuna cans with no sharp edges are great for in-drawer organization. The boxes from Birchbox are also good for this, though a big larger.”
- Use shoe boxes to organize drawers.
- Use glass bottles from skin serums for bud vases.
- Wash and re-use Ziploc bags
- Use any bags for trash instead of buying trash bags.
- “We save cardboard egg cartons and use them to start annual flower seeds indoors each spring. They tear apart easily for planting, and the whole thing goes straight into the ground.”
- “Half gallon milk jugs get a cutout and some decoration and serve as medium sized planters.”
- “A bucket in the shower catches 0.5–1 gallon cold water before it runs warm. Since we also have a bit of a plant habit, this provides free refills for the watering can.”
- “Half of my freezer is filled with frozen water bottles and milk jugs full of water. Half of the original freezer space is the right size for me to keep the inventory of frozen foods manageable, without losing track of what’s in there completely. Less empty space in the freezer also means a more efficiently running freezer using less power(less warm air can get in when you open the door).”
- “For anyone wanting to avoid plastic waste for hair products, I’ve found a number of bar shampoos that worked well, but not conditioners. I swear I’ve tried every conditioner bar on the market. I now buy the conditioner that’s made by Bar None and comes in an aluminum (100% recyclable!) bottle.”
- Use shower gel instead of bar soap.
- “Another thing I use bar soap for is for dishes. I use a dish brush to scrub some soap on, and it works just as well as any other kind.”
- “If you have a baked on or burnt on mess on the bottom of any pan, including Le Creuset, pour in a bit of water and a generous shake of baking soda, heat to boiling on the stove, and rub off the gunk with a silicone spatula. It works so fast.”
Readers, do you do any of these things? What are some of your best tips on how to live a low-waste or no-waste lifestyle?