Though it may look like a lot on one page, I took many baby steps in my first year of zero waste living that added up significantly come December.


Mess Kit

To get into the habit of bringing my own reusables, I put together a mess kit to tackle the low-hanging fruit of plastic disposables.

- Mason jar or canteen vs. paper & plastic cups & water bottles
- Stainless steel straw
- Foldable spork vs. plastic utensils
- Bring a cloth napkin
Fabric tote & cloth bags vs. plastic bags
Tiffin instead of take-out containers


- Repair your electronics: I repaired my iPhone screen using a kit from iFixit
- Mend clothing, repair worn-out shoes
- Natural loofah & sponges vs. plastic ones
- Natural cleaning with vinegar, castile soap and baking soda instead of infinite cleaning products
- Reusable rags vs. disposable paper towels
- Reuse & down-cycle items for cleaning tools: old bamboo toothbrush, fabric scraps as rags, loofah, etc



- Package-free soap bar & castile soap vs. multiple soap products
- DIY lotions using bulk oils
- DIY roll-on deodorant vs. aluminum-based compounds
Safety razor vs. disposable plastic razors
- Beauty RMS Organic ConcealerDIY mascara & lip balm vs. chemical-laden cosmetics


- Bamboo toothbrush & wooden comb vs. plastic versions
- Cloth handkerchiefs vs. paper tissues
Diva cup & reusable panty liners vs. tampons
Natural loofah vs. plastic loofah
Compost hair and nail clippings


- Believe in bulk! Bring your own containers to the grocery store and look for bulk bins
- Compost food waste
- Mason jars, metal glassware vs. plastic tupperware containers
- Metal & wood cookware vs. plastic cookware
- Cast iron vs. nonstick
- Cloth kitchen towels vs. disposable paper towels

Photo by Sterling Taylor.

Photo by Sterling Taylor.


- Embrace minimalism & capsule wardrobes
- Swap, sell, & second-hand your threads
- Peruse the free pile
- Use compostable or reusable gift wrap, or just don't wrap it

 Next Year

- More plants
- Zero waste office supplies
- Wardrobe upkeep tools
- Improve & expand DIY recipes
- Touring/travel