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You may have heard the term “zero waste life.”  It refers to the efforts of everyday people to generate as little waste as possible. While much of the world is good at wasting, Americans really invented the disposable life.  This has led to enormous and dangerous amounts of non-biodegradable items filling our dumps, landfills and oceans.  Much of the waste is industrial, but even small households generate a lot of waste.  According to the EPA, solid waste generated by Americans is at least 4.5 pounds per person, per day!

We won’t lie.  Achieving a zero waste life takes some thought and effort, but it is important to start somewhere.  Much household waste comes from the kitchen, so we’ve compiled a list of ideas and products to help you get started.

Plastic ziploc bags and cling wrap are convenient but environmental nightmares!  Fortunately, there are now many alternatives.

We love the beeswax wrap as a great replacement for plastic wrap.  It is cotton cloth covered with a thin layer of beeswax and is washable and reusable.  We use it to wrap sandwiches, cover blocks of cheese, etc.

In lieu of ziploc bags, try using these washable and reusable, zippered cloth bags.  Great for lunch boxes and they come in cute designs.

Try moving away from purchasing plastic storage containers too.  Pyrex makes many sizes of glass storage containers from very small to large serving bowls.  These are great because you can put them right in the microwave to heat up leftovers.  (Remember, no plastics in the microwave!)

When shopping for produce, ditch the plastic produce bags in favor of reusable mesh produce bags. Just fill your bag with your produce and it can be weighed at the register.

 

If you would like more information and ideas about how to reduce your waste output, check out these books:

101 Ways to Go Zero Waste

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash

Check out the cover where she is holding a mason jar of her year’s worth of waste!  Now that is impressive.

And finally, check out this inspiring video about Dan Phillips, a Texas man building affordable housing for low-income people, single parents and artists … all using recycled, whimsical materials.