How You Can Easily Live A Waste-Free Lifestyle - 22 Tips

Industry Observer with Live Simple Eco

You Can Easily Live A Waste-Free Lifestyle 

One step towards having a positive impact on the environment is to find ways to reduce waste and move towards a waste-free lifestyle. 

Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot. Those are the 5 Rs of living a zero-waste lifestyle. 

Now, I don’t expect you to go from your average family living situation to an Eco-Warrior overnight.

That’s just silly.

But you can start taking steps to live a more waste-free lifestyle. Reducing waste is one of those steps. 

Waste is a problem in our culture. It causes pollution and uses up the planet’s resources. 

Landfills are filling up and releasing methane gases into the air, leaching contaminants into the water supply, and destroying the land. 

Consumerism and the ease to make online purchases are producing more waste and harming the environment. 

It is a continuing cycle of producing, packaging, and distributing more and more stuff that will all eventually end up in the trash. 

But you can make a change! 

You can find ways to reduce waste and limit your landfill contribution.

I am going to tell you how.

Read on to learn super simple tips on how to embrace a waste-free lifestyle.

Benefits Of Reducing Waste

  • Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to produce, package and distribute, and dispose of goods
  • Saves energy
  • Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
  • Helps sustain the environment for future generations
  • Is healthier for you, your family and the planet
  • Saves money
  • Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators
  • Allows products to be used to their fullest extent

How To Reduce Waste For Good

Here are 22 ways you can start to make a change:

1. Buy Only What You Need

When you are shopping and strolling down the isles, it is easy to see something you just can’t live without and plop it in the cart.

Even if it wasn’t on the list. 

But you totally needed it, right?!?!

Um, probably not.

When shopping, buy only as much as you know you’ll use. Food, cleaning supplies, home goods, hardware, paint.

Don’t get caught up in the cute displays and shiny objects. 


Reducing waste starts by buying only what you need. 

You can do it!  

2. Avoid Creating Waste

Whenever possible, avoid creating waste. 

There are so many opportunities throughout the day to make a choice to reduce. Most of them are so small you probably don’t even think about them.

When ordering food to go, say no to the unnecessary plastic utensils. Cause you have your own reusable ones to use. Say no to plastic straws and use a reusable one or just drink straight from the cup. 

Eat ice cream out of a cone instead of a paper cup. Look for products with the least amount of packaging. Only take one napkin and not a handful.

Use reusable whenever possible.

Keep in mind, every little bit of trash that can be avoided makes a difference. It all adds up. 

3. Use Reusable Bags

For shopping, taking your lunch to work, going to the beach. Whatever. Use a reusable bag.

If you live in an area that hasn’t banned plastic bags, be sure to keep some reusable bags in your car or carry with you when you go shopping. 

There are plenty of eco-friendly bags you can buy. You should use them!

Cut down on pollution caused by plastic bags. 

4. Try DIY

Whenever possible, try to Do It Yourself. 

Make your own products to cut down on waste and have control of what materials are used. 

Hop on Pinterest for DIY inspiration. 

You can pretty much DIY anything. House cleaning supplies, furniture, green beauty, home projects. 

Get your craft skills on and do it yourself before you buy. 

5. Maintain And Repair 

Instead of running out and buying new items when something breaks, you should try repairing it first. Either DIY or hiring skilled craftsmen. 

Many slightly damaged items are actually easy to fix. Don’t know how? Hop on YouTube. There are videos for almost everything. 

Also, maintain your car and electronics with necessary updates to keep them running longer and efficiently to avoid replacing more frequently. 

The planet is struggling to deal with the waste created from overconsumption.

Maintain and repair your belongings to avoid more trash being created. 

6. Pack Waste-Free Lunches

The goal of a waste-free lunch means that you have no trash to throw away when you're done.

Avoid single-use packages and pack your food in reusable containers. A bento box or multiple storage containers help you take several food items in one container. 

You don’t need everything in its own special little pack. Sure, it’s convenient to buy a yogurt or nut mix in their own little, cute package, but it’s not great for the planet.

Buy in bulk and pack in washable containers. 

Just set some time aside on Sunday and pack your lunches out for the week. Meal prep and packing is where it’s at. 

The best way to reduce trash is to not create it. 

7. Mug To Go

One use plastic, paper, or styrofoam cups are so yesterday.


They should be. 

There is no need to use single-use, wasteful cups ever again. 

Carry a to-go mug with you wherever you go and ask the barista or server to fill it with your take out beverages. 

Some will look at you weird, but most don’t. It’s becoming more and more common and most won’t bat an eye.

Sure, most of those cups can be recycled but avoid the need by using a mug on the go. 

8. Work Towards Going Zero Waste

This is the ultimate goal, right?!?

Well, maybe for some of you. 

It is a noble goal to have and one we all should strive for. 

Even if you never reach a 100% zero waste lifestyle, work towards that goal with every choice you make.

What can you do daily to help reduce waste?

Use less paper, use reusables, avoid trash. 

Green your home, your work, your life. 

And who knows, maybe you’ll find zero-waste is not as hard as you think. 

You won’t know unless you try. 

9. Avoid Disposable Items

The gobs and gobs of trash created from the to-go lifestyle are disgusting. 

It’s a huge mess that someone at some point is going to have to clean up. Let’s not leave perceived convenience for our kids and grandkids to deal with. 

Take time to dine in and avoid plastic bags, styrofoam, and packaging of take-out. A to-go mug as discussed a minute ago. Reusable bags instead of collecting plastic bags at the store. 

This also goes for other commonly consumed items. Disposable razors, travel toiletries, diapers, paper goods. 

Think long term and buy long-lasting, reusable, and low waste versions. 

When you are reaching for disposable for convenience, think both environmentally and economically. 

Your kids and your grandkids will thank you. 

10. Donate Unneeded Items

When you have things you no longer want or need, don’t throw it in the trash.

Donating to a charity should always be your first priority. 

So many people throw away perfectly good items they no longer need. Simply because they don’t know what else to do with them.

Remember the saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”.

Someone else will find your unwanted or unneeded items useful. Give your old stuff another chance. Don’t just send it to the dump.

Reduce waste and do something good. 

11. Use Natural Alternatives

The holidays are a fun time. The decorations. The festivities. Family. It’s so fun.

What’s not fun? 

All the plastic. 

When buying decorations think of the planet and opt for natural alternatives. A real tree instead of a plastic tree. A homemade wreath from pine instead of a plastic one. 

Other ways to go natural to avoid waste:

  • Make natural potpourris and room sprays instead of using aerosol cans or packages of air fresheners
  • Using wooden utensil instead of plastic 
  • Natural fabric napkins and paper towels that can be washed instead of bleached paper products. 

Use things that can be put in the compost bin rather than the landfill. 

12. Simplify

My husband asked me once if he could choose only one thing to do to have a positive environmental impact what would it be?

I thought about it for a few minutes and decided it would be to simplify.


When you simplify your life as much as possible and only keep belongings that you use and enjoy on a regular basis, you greatly reduce your carbon footprint. 

By making an effort to live simply, you make an effort to reduce what you buy and own. This will naturally cause you to purchase less. Which means you will create less waste. 

Simplifying your life, your home, and your belongings will help reduce waste, lower your carbon footprint and encourage a healthy planet. 

13. Determine Your Impact

Ok, now that you have decided to live more simply, you need to determine what impact you have on the health of the planet. 

Here are some calculators to determine how you are impacting the environment so you know what changes need to be made.

And don’t beat yourself up if they are worse than you were hoping.

You are now taking the steps toward positive change and that is what matters!

You are doing great. 

It’s one step at a time. 

14. Reduce Purchases

Before making any purchases, think, “do I really need this”. What impact is that purchase having on the environment?

In general, think before you buy any product. 

I mean, do you really need it? 

Consider how the production of the product impacts the environment. What further impacts will there be with the disposal of the product? What about the packaging materials?

When you are thinking about buying anything, try to avoid instant gratification. Try the 30-day Rule.

Wait 30 days after the first time you decide you want a product to really make your decision. This will help stop impulse buying. 

Of course, if you really do need something you don’t need to wait. But make sure you are buying from companies that support sustainable practices and use recyclables. 

15. Invest In High-Quality Items

Forget about convenience and trying to find cheap deals. It only ends up costing you and the planet more in the long run.

I get it. I like bargains myself. But there is something to be said about buying high-quality items.

Saving up and buying high-quality products that are built to last will help reduce waste and lower your carbon footprint. 

Focus on purchases that will be a long term investment. Avoid the tendency to find cheaper options that you will have to replace every few years. 

Keep all those bargain buys and “good deals” out of the landfills and slow down the CO2 emissions of production factories. 

16. Take An Eco-Break

For one day, afternoon, or an hour a week, don’t buy anything, don’t use electronics, don’t cook, don’t answer your phone. 

In short, don’t use any resources.

Take an eco-break.

Every hour per week that you live eco-friendly and take a break from using greenhouse gas-emitting products will help cut your carbon footprint by 0.6% annually.

Think about that!

Four hours per week is 2.4% and a whole day each week will cut your carbon footprint by 14.4% a year!

Pick up a book, head to the park and relax. Light some candles and get out the guitar and have a family sing-along. Go stargazing. Watch the clouds float by. Go hiking. 

There are so many things you can do that doesn’t rely on using energy sources. 

Figure out what is best for you and your family and commit to taking an eco-break routinely. 

17. Replace Disposables

This is one of my favorites!

Wherever possible, replace disposable products with reusable ones. 

I call them my eco swaps.

Swap disposable razors, food storage containers, paper towels, napkins, batteries, coffee filters, etc to reusable options. 

This cuts down on waste and you will produce way less trash every month.

Start slow and when you throw something away, replace it with reusable options. 

18. Buy Used

If you need something for your home, look for used before buying brand spanking new. 

To be honest, you may even find better quality used than cheap new options.

Look at local thrift stores, facebook marketplace, craigslist, Freecycle, garage sales, and local consignment shops.

Just because something is used doesn’t make it worthless and crappy.

Think about the planet, y’all. 

19. Halt Junk Mail

This is a good one because I find junk mail so annoying.

What a complete waste

It’s actually pretty easy to get your name off the list. It just takes a couple of steps and online forms to fill out.

But with a few clicks of a button, you can lower your carbon footprint by not getting trash in the mail every day.

Go here to get step by step guide to reduce your junk mail.

20. Share With Friends

Who doesn’t love sharing?!?

Instead of you all buying books and magazines and… whatever… share it!

My circle of friends has a book exchange program. We swap our favorite books and then spend hours discussing them. 

Trade games, movies, stuff for the kids. 

It builds community and it helps the environment. 


21. Go Tree Free

As much as possible, create a tree-free home.

Think of the precious forests. 

Here are a few ways to go tree-free in your home:

  • Replace paper napkins with cloth napkins
  • Switch paper towels with washable, reusable paper towels
  • Use 100% post-consumer recycled toilet paper
  • Read books, magazines, and newspapers from your local library 
  • Take notes on a digital device instead of paper 

22. Avoid Single-Use Packaging 

Avoid products that are packaged for single use. 

Drink cartons, school lunches, candy, pet food, salad mixings, etc.

I know it’s convenient, but it’s not healthy for the environment. 

The planet will thank you if you put a little more effort into buying in bulk and storing for multiple uses. 

Buy eco-friendly containers, to-go cups, and lunch boxes to pack your food and drink instead of using single-use packaging. 

I used to buy a yogurt cup for every lunch. Convenient? You betcha. Sustainable? Not at all.

How hard was it for me to buy yogurt in a big tub and just pack into to-go containers every day. Not really hard at all.  

Look around and decide where you can make some eco swaps to help cut down on single-use products. 

Conclusion On How To Reduce Waste In Your Home

These 22 steps will help reduce your carbon footprint and start your journey to a waste-free home. 

They may seem overwhelming at first, but you will learn that they are actually super simple to do. It almost seems silly that this isn’t the norm in our culture. 

Know that you can make a positive impact. No matter how big or how small, they all add up.

Do this for you, your family, the planet, and for future generations. These tips originally posted on Live Simple Eco: How To Reduce Waste- 11 Super Simple Tips and How To Reduce Waste For Good- 11 Easy ways

Follow These Super Simple Tips On How To Reduce To Simplify And Tidy Up Your Home 




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Peter Mohylsky
PrimeSouth Properties - Santa Rosa Beach, FL
Let me help you find your path to the beach.

Nice post and welcome to AR.  Keep checking in and you can learn bunches.

Sep 15, 2019 12:09 PM #1
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Hi Joann,  Thanks for sharing these great "waste-free" living tips.  Many easy accommodations should be helpful.

Sep 15, 2019 06:31 PM #2
Joann Schermerhorn
Live Simple Eco - Overland Park, KS
Live Simple Eco Blog- Eco-Friendly Living

Bob Crane that's the goal! Hoping to make as easy and accessible as possible for people to start making a positive impact. Starting at home is doable. 

Sep 15, 2019 06:45 PM #3
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Joann Schermerhorn - You have done an excellent job getting the word out and educating the public. There is so much more that we can do and you outlined what's most important. We need to take care of other people, our homes, the children, and our planet. Adults can make a difference for generations to come and this is an article that should be taken seriously. 

Thank you!

Sep 20, 2019 11:25 PM #4
Joann Schermerhorn
Live Simple Eco - Overland Park, KS
Live Simple Eco Blog- Eco-Friendly Living

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP thank you so much for this thoughtful response. I really do hope more people will start taking action to make a positive change. 

Sep 21, 2019 03:35 PM #5
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Joann Schermerhorn

Live Simple Eco Blog- Eco-Friendly Living
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