Pack a Zero Waste Lunch - Day 17 of the Zero Waste Challenge

Lunch can arguably be one of the most wasteful meals. There’s lots of single-use packaging and lots of easy grab-and-go options wrapped in plastic.

Today I’m challenging you to ditch the fast-food to-go salads, the saran wrapped wraps, and plastic soup containers.

Today, I challenge you to pack your own lunch from home in reusable containers.

Tips for packing a zero waste lunch from www.goingzerowaste.com day 17 of the zero waste challenge #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge #lunch

It’s day seventeen of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.

Today we’re talking about packing your lunch.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Lunch time can be super wasteful. Typically, we eat this meal away from home while at work or school.

This can mean lots of disposable items from individually packed drinks and snacks to plastic baggies and brown paper bags.

It’s also the time of day, when we’re most likely to head out and get takeout. Most of us eat our lunches at our desks. We don’t typically have time to go to a restaurant and sit down to eat so we’ll call ahead, pick up our lunch in disposable packaging, and plop right back down at our desks and get back to work!

There’s a few simple ways to avoid making a wasteful lunch part of your daily routine.

the solution:

By packing my lunch, I find it is a super easy way for me to combat any unnecessary waste. I often see co-workers go out to grab sandwiches in those Styrofoam trays and/or wrapped in plastic wrap.

For me, it’s a lot easier to make my own sandwich. It’s also way cheaper and typically a healthier option.

If you don’t like the idea of eating the same thing day in day out, I’m totally with you. You certainly don’t have to stick to one generic meal to stay waste free.

I like to stick to two salads, two sandwiches and one leftover throughout the week, as a general rule. For more information, here’s how I pack my own zero waste lunch.

A few challenges back we talked about meal prep (day 15 to be exact). That skill can certainly help you pack your own zero waste lunches in no time.

Taking the time to prepare your lunch will make you a lot less likely to purchase a to-go soup or salad. You can make your lunch the night before, or prep your lunch for the whole week on a Sunday night. It’s totally up to you.

If you’re in a hurry, you can also whip up a meal a few minutes before leaving for work. On those days, I suggest making something easy like a sandwich or packing leftovers.

For some meal inspiration, here’s a few lunch ideas that’ll get you through work:

  • Avocado, hummus, tomato and sprout sandwich.

  • Homemade veggie noodle soup.

  • Lettuce, clementine, strawberry, almond salad.

  • Butternut squash soup.

  • Collard green wraps.

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

  • Kale, butternut, pumpkin seed and cranberry salad.

  • Potato leek soup.

You can get a lot of the ingredients for these meals at your local farmers market, plastic free. If a particular fruit or vegetable needed for the meal isn’t in season, replace it with one that is.

It’s always best to make meals using real, whole foods whenever possible. Overly processed foods tend to be the ones that come in the most packaging, after all, so be sure to buy your meal ingredients wisely.

I like to pair my lunches with little sides as well. Some good, waste free sides are apples, carrots, or dried fruits bought in bulk. Check out this blog post for more information on how to grocery shop without creating any trash.

Along with making meals from whole foods, consider what you will store your meals in. I’ve listed some of my favs below and they are affiliate links. For more information see my disclosure policy.

You can carry everything in a big lunch sack or bag with you to work, for starters. As far as storing the actual food goes, there are so many options.

Here are some zero waste lunch essentials:

Tips for packing a zero waste lunch from www.goingzerowaste.com day 17 of the zero waste challenge #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge #lunch

On top of these items, be sure to take with you some reusable cutlery and a reusable water bottle.

You can take your salad dressing with you, or dips for wraps/sides, in a small little glass jar, or a metal dip cup with a silicone lid. You’d be amazed at how much waste you’ll cut back on.

If you prefer to eat out of real plates and bowls, consider bringing some dishes to work with you.

You can store plates and flatware at work. This way, when you’re ready to eat, you can just place your meal onto an actual dish or bowl.

If you love getting daily takeout then be sure to check out this blog post! It’s super easy to get takeout zero waste it just takes a touch of planning ahead.

take the challenge!

Over the next 14 days, your challenge is to pack your lunch.

Instead of buying lunch to go, or storing it in a disposable zip lock bag, make your own and put it in a reusable container.

You can buy whole foods at the farmers market to transform into delicious meals like salads and sandwiches. Store them in reusable glassware, mason jars, metal tiffins or cloth napkins and bring it to work.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Repair Something - Day 16 of the Zero Waste Challenge

In our society, it’s common to just throw items away when they no longer work or when they break. Our items are made so flimsy that it’s often cheaper to buy a replacement than it is the repair what you already have.

It’s one of the reasons investing in quality is so important. If you have a quality item that you love, it will be easier to repair and you’ll actually want it repaired!

I remember several times growing up when I was excited that something broke so I could “upgrade.” Now, I don’t feel the same way at all. I recently went on a trip and my FAVORITE backpack which I’ve had for 15 years is starting to fall apart - and I am distraught!

I don’t want a new backpack… I want my old PERFECT backpack to live forever! You can bet I’ve been breaking out a needle and thread reinforcing it all over because I expect that backpack to last another 15 year.

When you love an item - you want to save it!! So, today, I challenge you to repair something, or get it repaired by a professional, instead of tossing it.

repair something from www.goingzerowaste.com day 16 from the zero waste challenge! #ecofriendly #gogreen #zerowastechallenge #zerowaste

It’s day sixteen of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.

Today we’re talking about repairing something.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Two items most typically thrown away after they tear or break are clothes and electronics. Sadly, these two items also contribute to a lot of waste.

When electronics are thrown away (think computers, phones and gadgets) it’s referred to as electronic waste or e-waste. Only 20 percent of e-waste is recycled, which is bad for the environment because electronics can leak toxic materials like led and mercury over time.

Discarded clothing is also bad for the environment. According to one study, it’s estimated a truckload of textiles is wasted every second. Most of the discarded clothing is made from plastic like polyester and acrylic making this another form of plastic pollution.

I think it’s high time we start treating our belongings with more care and thought. Of course, one of the best ways to treat our belongings with more care and thought is to also make sure we’re only consuming things that we truly care about! But, that’s more of a day one challenge.

Currently, I have a jacket that has a tear in the seam and I desperately need to repair it.

So, this challenge is for me too. I am challenging you to get one of those things out of your own “needs repair” pile and fix it up.

the solution:

When you hear the word repair, you might think about a plumber or a repair man. The truth is, anyone can learn the art of fixing things (though it takes a lifetime to master it).

While you may never develop the same level of skill a professional has, it’s good to know a few tools of the trade. Some examples of handy skills to know include fixing a button, changing a tire or mending a tear.

Here are some basic repair skills you should try:

  • Sew a button.

  • Darn a sock.

  • Sew a tear shut.

  • Fix a leak.

Being handy has its benefits: It can save you a lot of money and also keep something out of the landfill. All too often we dispose of products whenever they break, rip or falter without even trying to fix them. Often, the fixes are pretty easy.

A huge challenge of living the zero waste lifestyle is learning these repair skills. So much unnecessary waste can be prevented just by learning to stitch a simple seem or figure out how to sew on a button.

Honestly, you don’t really have to learn those skills if you don’t want to: There are tailors or cobblers who can fix your shoes. Or repairmen that can fix your blender, or anything that needs fixing.

If fixing items isn’t really your thing, or you’re really not into DIYs, then I challenge you to at least take your item to someone who can fix it. There are repair cafes popping up all over the world which look like a ton of fun to be part of.

Where to take broken or worn out items to be fixed:

  • Shoes – Take them to your local cobbler (they will replace soles, laces, etc.).

  • Clothes – Tailors will fix and hem your clothes (so if you have a tear, missing button, etc.).

  • Plumbing – Find local plumbers in your area that can fix leaky faucets or burst pipes.

  • Electronics –  Electronic repair stores will fix most electronics (hardware or software issues).

Make sure to always support your local repairmen whenever you can. You can find people in your area through doing a quick Google search.

If, for whatever reason, something cannot be repaired, make sure it is disposed of properly. Get my complete guide for how to recycle e-waste! Clothing can be donated (if in good enough condition) or made into rags for zero waste cleaning.

That said, only dispose of an item properly as a last resort. Really make an effort to get it fixed!

So, your challenge for today is to learn how to repair something, or take it to someone else who can repair it for you.

take the challenge!

Over the next 15 days, your challenge is to repair something.

Instead of throwing something away when it rips or breaks, challenge yourself to fix it. If you’re unsure how to repair it, bring it to someone who can. Our society is too quick to throw broken things away without a second thought: Let’s fix that!

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Zero Waste Meal Prep 101 - Day 15 of the Zero Waste Challenge

Did you know you can dramatically reduce waste by taking just a few minutes to meal prep once a week? It sounds super complicated… and boring. I mean who wants to eat the same meal days on end?

I certainly don’t! That’s why I prep ingredients instead of meals. This gives me total freedom with my meals and I can get them on the table FAST. Plus, I can prevent food all sorts of food waste taking us back to yesterdays challenge 10 tips prevent food waste!

Today, I challenge you to spend at least 30 minutes meal prepping for the week.

Zero waste meal prep 101 from www.goingzerowaste.com day 15 of the zero waste challenge #ecofriendly #zerowastechallenge #mealprep

It’s day fifteen of the zero waste challenge! We’re officially halfway through the challenge: Only sixteen more days to go!

The beginning of the challenge focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.

Most of the topics will start getting slightly more advanced for the rest of the challenge before we move into activism and ways to get your community involved, but today we’re talking about meal prep.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Meal prepping ahead of time can really reduce your workload throughout the week. It will also help you avoid unnecessary “quick fixes” like microwaveable dinners packaged in plastic.

It helps to prevent food waste, and will keep you fed with super nourishing meals! When you meal prep, it’s much easier to eat a diet focused around vegetables because, you’ll have already done all of the hard work ahead of time.

the solution:

I typically spend 2-3 hours meal prepping. I make it fun. I turn on a tv show or listen to a book or podcast, and then I just start prepping.

For me, meal prep means peeling my carrots, cutting them into carrot sticks, and roasting and sauteeing my in season vegetables. It helps me prevent so much trash and saves time.

If you’re going for just a short 30 minute prep, then get all of your vegetables chopped and stored in clear glass containers so you can see what foods you have prepped and nothing will get lost in the back of the fridge.

Check out my ultimate guide for plastic free food storage.

Whenever I’ve had a super hard day at work, I have so much peace knowing I have so many things prepped. It makes it super easy for me to get a fast and healthy meal on the table.

Having most of the meal prepped, prevents me from going out to eat and/or reaching for overly processed, overly packaged snacks. So just by having a few things prepared, I’m able to prevent a lot of waste.

Today, I’m challenging you to do the same. I think you’ll find this will really help you prevent waste and provide easy meals.

Aside from physically preparing meals ahead of time, it’s also a great idea to sit down and think of how many meals you need to make. Will you be prepping breakfast, lunch, dinner? Do you have any dishes in mind that you like to eat?

I prep by flavor profile, not by meal so I have complete and total control over what I eat and am not beholden to a meal plan. Because the moment someone says, lasagna is on Tuesday… suddenly I don’t want lasagna on a Tuesday… I want tacos.

When you have prepped around flavor profile, you can use the produce that’s in season to create whatever you want. So, in winter time, I might put sweet potatoes, black beans, and kale in my tacos, but in the summer I’ll put peppers and onions and pinto beans. Add a little bit of salsa, cumin, coriander, chili powder, lime juice, and the ingredients transcend the region.

I recommend writing out a list of the cuisines you like to make and eat throughout the week, as well as what core ingredients you’d need to make them.

For instance, when it comes to making Mexican food I like to make sure that I have tortillas, tortilla chips, salsa, beans, etc. on hand. Then I can change the produce to reflect the season.

Maybe you like to make Indian food, American food, Italian food, whatever type of food you like to make - you know how to keep your pantry and spice cabinet stocked so you can make any food your heart desires.

Then, prep the basics. I like to prep several carbs maybe it’s rice, pasta, quinoa, or sweet potatoes. Then I like to prep several proteins for me these will be lentils, beans, hummus. Then I like to prep tons of in season veggies.

Then I can assemble my plate to include all of the important categories. These are the questions I ask myself:

  • Do I have a protein?

  • Do I have a carb?

  • Do I have fiber?

  • Do I have good fats?

If I can answer yes to all of those questions, then I know that I’m going to have a meal that keeps me feeling full, which can be a challenge if you eat a mostly plant based diet.

take the challenge!

Over the next 16 days, your challenge is to meal prep.

Go ahead and set aside at least 30 minutes to prepare food for the week ahead after you go grocery shopping.

This can mean peeling carrots, boiling vegetables, or chopping up produce (whatever makes your life easier).

You’ll be less tempted to reach for single use packaged items throughout the week if you just prep a little beforehand.

You can also use this as an opportunity to plan out your meals for the week, if you feel extra ambitious.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

10 Tips for Fighting Food Waste - Day 14 of the Zero Waste Challenge

Food is too good to waste, and yet one third of food produced for human consumption is wasted or lost globally.

With a staggering 40% of food being wasted in the US alone. Food waste seems like something small, but it adds up to a massive… and I mean MASSIVE impact.

If food waste were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses behind China and the US. Today, I challenge you to keep break up with food waste!

10 tips for fighting food waste from www.goingzerowaste.com day 14 of the zero waste challenge #ecofriendly #foodwaste #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge

It’s day fourteen of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks, decluttering your life the zero waste way, and conserving natural resources.

Today we’re talking about another lifestyle change - ending food waste!

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

In America alone we waste 40 percent of our food. That’s absolutely crazy since so many people go hungry.

In fact, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 821 million people globally go hungry and are undernourished. The saddest part about that statement is we have enough food to feed everyone on the planet, but most of it is wasted or lost.

Essentially, food waste is food that reaches its final production stage, is fit for human consumption, but for all kinds of reasons is thrown away. Like the insane beauty standards our food has to go through to be able to reach store shelves.

Food loss is food that never reaches its final production stage (which means there’s poor management inside the company producing the food).

Obviously, not all food waste is the consumer’s fault (it’s also companies who manage food poorly), but there certainly is a problem with how we (consumers) treat food.

Thankfully, there are so many things we can do to help prevent food waste.

the solution:

make a plan:

The first thing is to make a plan. I’m not asking you to sit down and do a huge meal plan: I know that can be a total pain.

I’m just asking you to open up your fridge and your freezer and look at your pantry before you go grocery shopping.

If you open up the fridge and say “hey, I’ve got a tomato, a couple carrots and some broccoli that needs to be eaten”, then you can think of a meal or two for the beginning of the week where you can use those up.

You also know now that you don’t need to buy tomato, carrots or broccoli which prevents you from buying duplicate items.

Get my tips for making a five minute meal plan to prevent food waste!

store it right:

When you’re grocery shopping, think about how you’ll be storing your produce. Proper storage is key to making fruits and veg last as long as possible! Be sure to check out my plastic-free storage guide and the video as well.

ignore those dates:

You can pretty much ignore the “best by, sell by and use by” expiration dates. It’s best to always do a taste test.

Here’s what those expiration labels really mean:

  • Sell by: Tells the store how long to display the product for sale. Not a safety date.

  • Use by: Last date recommended for use when the product is at peak quality. Not a safety date except when used on infant formula.

  • Best by: Indicates when product will be of best flavor or quality. Not a safety date.

As you can see, these expiration dates aren’t as scary as they look on a product.

Certain food products you don’t even have to worry about the expiration dates – they might last a longer time than you think…. like honey. Honey from 1,000s of years ago is still perfectly edible. Or, they might not last as long as the expiration date says.

It all depends on how they’re stored, the temperature and a bunch of other factors, so it’s always best to go with a smell and taste test.

Even certain things like sour milk are edible, it’s just not enjoyable to drink a glass of it (but it works great in waffles). So, think of creative ways you can use some of those items.

save it:

If there’s something on your plate you can’t finish, don’t be shy to ask a family member if they want it instead. If not, save it for later instead of throwing it away.

The same goes for eating out: If there’s food you can’t finish on your plate, be sure to take it home instead of throwing it away. I like to bring a reusable container with me when I know I’ll be dining out, just in case I have leftovers.

Get my ultimate guide for storing leftovers without plastic.

Make sure to order or cook with foods you actually like too: While there’s nothing wrong with experimenting, new foods don’t always go over too well (so they’re more likely to get wasted).

Also, whenever produce starts to go bad, or looks sad, consider pickling them. Making dill pickles, or beet pickles is a great way to salvage vegetables (and you can honestly pickle almost any vegetable including carrots, cauliflower, artichokes, etc.).

use your scraps:

Another great way to reduce food waste is to cook with your scraps.

There are so many parts of a vegetable that often get thrown out but are perfectly edible, like carrot tops and broccoli stems. Carrot tops can become pesto and broccoli stems can become slaw.

Here are a few other ways to cook with scraps:

  • Make zero waste vegetable broth from food scraps.

  • Use herb stems in soups, stews and salads instead of discarding them.

  • Add celery leaves to your next soup for extra flavor.

  • Save pumpkin seeds and roast them later.

  • Cook beet tops into a delicious veggie stir fry.

  • Make salad from herb stems, carrot tops, radish tops and beet tops.

Want more tips for cooking with scraps? I wrote an article with Joel from “Scraps”, the TV show, that has some great, innovative ideas on how to cook with your scraps.

For more ideas and recipes, check out my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste!

take the challenge!

Over the next 17 days, your challenge is to reduce your food waste. You can do this in a number of ways, such as cooking with food scraps, saving leftovers, pickling sad produce and meal planning around what you already have in your fridge.

There are so many actions you can take to help reduce food waste: You can start by eating everything you buy at the grocery store! :)

Imperfect produce also has a challenge going this year about reducing food waste and have made some adorable food waste bingo sheets! If you’re looking for food waste inspiration, be sure to check them out.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Zero Waste Grocery Shopping - Day 13 of the Zero Waste Challenge

Whenever you go to the grocery store, you’re bound to notice a lot of items (both produce and dry goods) packaged in plastic.

Today, I challenge you to shop without creating any waste.

It’s day thirteen of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Zero waste grocery shopping from www.goingzerowaste.com for the 31 day zero waste challenge #ecofriendly #zerowaste #groceryshopping #zerowastehcallenge

Now, we’re in the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks and decluttering your life.

Things are starting to get a little more advance and will take a little bit of research to complete. Today we’re talking about zero waste grocery shopping.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

A lot of our groceries are wrapped in plastic. We’ve become so used to the idea that food comes from manufacturing plants and is wrapped in plastic to keep it sanitary all the while forgetting food comes from dirt.

Food is not sterile. It’s grown outside.

Shopping without creating any trash was just normal grocery shopping only 50 years ago. Every corner store and market would have bulk bins full of sweets and treats!

Now, it just seems like everything is overly processed and overly packaged.

the solution:

This challenge is kind of two-fold: First, locate your nearest shop that has bulk bins where you can go zero waste grocery shopping, then actually go out and do it.

To locate your own local bulk food store, type in your address using the bulk food finder app. Litterless also has a mega list of bulk food stores located around the United States.

That said, I understand that not everyone is going to have a bulk food store near them. And sometimes that’s not exactly the end of the world. If that’s the position you’re in, check out this blog post how to be zero waste without bulk options.

If no bulk food stores exist in your area, opt for paper and cardboard packaging over plastic whenever possible. If an item only comes in plastic, buy the biggest container available (this reduces the amount of little plastic bags or containers put into the waste stream).

My closest shop is around 40 minutes away, or two hours both ways by public transit. I only go every couple of months so that way I’m only stocking up and grabbing the essentials.

By going every couple of months I’m reducing my resources as far as transportation goes, and I typically couple it with a fun trip.

Justin, my husband, and I might go to a nice restaurant we wanted to try, see a show, or do something else fun beyond just grocery shopping. Since I’m typically only shopping for dry goods at these stores, it’s not like I have to worry about them spoiling.

I typically bring cloth bags and jars to the grocery store. I don’t bother weighing my bags because they’re typically so light they don’t even register on the scale.

Here’s the general rundown of how I shop in bulk:

  • I weigh my jars by getting them tared upfront at the register.

  • Then I go to the bin and write down my PLU number (or take a picture of it with my phone).

  • I will fill up the jar with whatever the ingredient is I need.

  • When I go to checkout I will tell them the weight and they will subtract the weight of my jar.

  • Then I will tell them the PLU number so they know what’s inside of it.

  • Last but not least, they’ll ring me up.

This way, I’m only paying for what I put in the jar. I have a whole guide to zero waste grocery shopping you might want to check out for more details.

I also have another article about what to do if you don’t have any bulk bins in your area, because I know that will be the case for some people.

But I still encourage you to look around. You might be surprised by what you have. Talk to friends and family, use Yelp and type bulk bins on there, or even walk around your downtown area.

Sometimes I’m so surprised by what I find downtown that doesn’t have a very strong web presence. I found a spice shop, a tea shop and an olive oil shop all where I can get things in my own container, just by getting out there on foot and looking around.

Beyond, just buying from bulk bins, opt for a diet using mostly fresh produce. That’s typically pretty easy to find without any packaging. Bring your own reusable produce bags or just skip them all together!

And, don’t forget to bring your reusable bags like we talked about on day 5. Check that blog post out for some awesome hacks on how to quit forgetting your reusable bags at home.

So my challenge to you today is to find a place to go bulk food shopping and to actually give it a try the next time you need to buy groceries.

take the challenge!

Over the next 18 days, pick one day and go zero waste grocery shopping.

You can find a bulk food store near you by doing a google search, using Litterless’ guide, or searching on the bulk food store locator app.

Once you find the bulk food store nearest you, head on over and shop using your own containers. If you don’t have a bulk food store near you, opt for purchasing products in paper or cardboard packaging whenever possible over plastic.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Pick up Litter - Day 12 of the Zero Waste Challenge

Every time you step outside, you’re bound to encounter litter in some form or another.

Today, I challenge you to pick it up and place it in the recycling bin (or trash, if it cannot be recycled) so it won’t pollute the environment anymore.

It’s day twelve of the zero waste challenge! We’re starting to get into more advanced topics as we head into the rest of the challenge.

Pick up Litter Day 12 of the Zero Waste Challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #litter #ecofriendly #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge

The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re entering into the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks and decluttering your life.

Today we’re talking about picking up litter.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

I’m going to be honest with you: I hate picking up trash. I do not like it, I do not find it incredibly enjoyable, but here’s the thing: Most people don’t.

It’s not typically a favorite pass time for people. Also, there is a little bit of a stigma attached to picking up litter.

Whenever someone picks up litter, others tend to look at them funny. They think it’s weird, or that the person doing it might be being forced to do it as a community service act.

A lot of people are disgusted by the thought of cleaning up someone else’s trash. Their attitude is largely “I didn’t drop it, why would I pick it up?”

This makes cleaning up litter a strange sight to them (unless you’re a sanitation worker).

I think this says a lot about people’s view on climate change as a whole: They believe someone else will come along and fix it, that it’s not their problem because they didn’t start it.

But you still live here, on Earth, right? It’s still your home – shouldn't you take care of it?

The same goes for picking up litter: Sure, you didn’t drop the litter, but it’s still in your area, polluting your neighborhood. Shouldn’t you take care of it?

So, whenever you get out there and you pick up litter, what you’re doing is breaking a kind of taboo. You’re saying “this is okay, this is correct, this is the right thing to do.”

What you’ll notice is as you are picking up litter, you will inspire other people to pick up litter.

the solution:

I work in a pretty popular area and during lunch, a lot of people go on walks or run. A lot of people are very active during their lunch breaks.

When I go out, I walk (typically with my dog) and we will pick up litter. As we pick up litter, we are giving other people permission to pick up litter and it’s amazing.

On the days I don’t pick up litter, no one picks up litter. On the days I pick up litter, everyone is picking up litter.

That’s because I am giving them permission and saying “this is okay, this is normal, this is great. Let's take pride in our area and clean it up.”

Here are a few reasons you should pick up litter in your community (if you’re not already convinced):

  • Keeps your neighborhood beautiful – Litter is an eyesore, after all. Litter can negatively impact your sense of community and make people feel less safe. By picking it up, you’re showing pride for your community and beautifying the area.

  • Protects wildlife – The animals in your area could confuse litter for food or nesting materials. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen birds pick up pieces of plastic. If litter gets into waterways, chances are it’ll harm aquatic ecosystems as well. Picking up litter helps prevent wildlife from chancing upon it.

  • Reduces costs – A lot of money is spent on litter cleanup in the United States. These costs are shared by government and local businesses, so picking up litter can help put those funds to something else your community will benefit more from.

  • Protects children – Little kids are more likely to pick up litter out of curiosity. Unfortunately, this is a safety hazard, seeing as kids are known for putting things in their mouth that don’t belong. Keeping litter off the streets reduces this risk.

There are so many reasons to pick up litter. Even if you pick up just 10 pieces of litter in 10 minutes, you’ll be making an impact.

Whatever trash you do pick up, make sure to put into a bag or lined trash can, and not just loosely in an unlined one. Loose trash often winds up as litter again on trash collection day.

Also, I encourage you to smile and say hello to any passersby as you pick up litter. It shows you take pride in keeping your community clean, and encourages others to take part too.

If you’re really feeling inspired, consider hosting a community cleanup! That’s definitely more advanced stuff, but it’s a great thing to do if you feel your area needs it.

I know it may be a little bit chilly for some of you, depending on where you live, so maybe just take a very short trip out to pick up litter. But I encourage you and challenge you to get out some point this weekend and pick up litter.

Especially, I hope, you will take this challenge with you whenever you’re out and about.

take the challenge!

Whenever, you’re outside I challenge is to pick up three pieces of litter! Take a few moments out of your day (whether it be on your walk to your office or during your lunch break) to pick up three pieces of litter. Doing this will help prevent wildlife from mistaking it for food or nesting materials, and you’ll make picking up litter less taboo for everyone else.

If it’s really cold out and you don’t plan on going outside anytime soon, then I challenge you to at least once a week go for a 10 minute litter patrol around your neighborhood.

Picking up litter encourages others to do the same.

Will you be taking the challenge?

Ways to Conserve our Natural Resources - Day 11 of the Zero Waste Challenge

We consume a large amount of resources on a daily basis (and not all of them are renewable). Today, I challenge you to think a little outside the trash aspect of zero waste and save resources like water and electricity.

Typically when we think about waste, at least in the context of this blog, we’re thinking about trash. I’d like to shift that perspective today.

Ways to Conserve our Natural Resources Day 11 of the Zero Waste Challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #conserve #ecofriendly #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge

It’s day eleven of the zero waste challenge!

The beginning of the challenge focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store. Now, we’re entering into the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks and decluttering your life.

Today we’re talking about saving resources.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

I know that’s pretty big, but whenever going zero waste it’s really easy to kind of narrow down on just your plastic trash without thinking of the overall big picture.

So, today I want you to take a step back and look at that big picture. There are so many resources that we consume daily such as electricity or water.

As you know, we’re using way too many resources like we talked about in day one of the challenge. There are a lot of easy ways that we can cut down on our usage and consumption of these resources.

Water, for example. Are you turning water off when you brush your teeth?

Can you put basin in your sink to catch the water while you’re washing your dishes instead of running the faucet?

Are you reducing the amount of animal products you consume? So much water goes to animal agriculture and by reducing the amount of animal products you consume, you’re also reducing your water consumption.

Everything we do, everything we use and consume has a water and energy footprint. Very rarely do we get to see the amount of resources that go into the making of an item.

Check out this water footprint calculator to really blow your mind.

the solution:

Here are five more ways to cut water consumption:

  1. Place a bin in the shower with you to collect water instead of letting it go down the drain. Use it to water potted plants.

  2. Save the water you use to wash your produce to water your plants.

  3. Take shorter showers: Challenge yourself to finish showering after listening to a five-minute song.

  4. Drink more water: It takes more water to grow the crops needed to make tea, coffee and lemonade than it does to drink straight up water.

  5. If you have a backyard, consider getting a rain barrel.

Another way to easily prevent unnecessary resource usage is phantom electricity. Ten to twenty percent of our electricity usage is just from appliances or electronics running with them plugged into the socket but not even connected to anything.

So instead of just unplugging your laptop from the charging port, go ahead and unplug the charging port from the socket. I think your electricity bill will make you pretty happy and you’ll also be relieving pressure on the power grid.

Here are eight other ways to reduce the amount of electricity you use:

  1. Turn off all the lights in a room when you’re not in it.

  2. Shut down your computer at night so that the monitor isn’t running all night long.

  3. Invest in Energy Star certified electronics and appliances so that way the products you use consume less energy altogether (look for the energy star sticker while shopping).

  4. Hanging up Christmas lights? Set them on a timer, or plug them on only at night.

  5. Choose better lighting options, LED bulbs being the best choice (they use 75 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs).

  6. Use a power strip to reduce your plug load.

  7. Reduce the amount of time you leave the air conditioner on, even going so far as using a fan in its place.

  8. Heating takes up energy as well, so instead of turning the thermostat up, try other methods of staying warm like putting on more clothes and using blankets.

These are just a few ways to reduce your consumption of resources. I’m sure there are plenty more you can think of.

Here are some other ways to lower your overall carbon footprint.

The other bonus to all this is your water and electric bill will greatly reduce the more conscious you become of your consumption habits. And who will say no to saving money, right?

So today I challenge you to think about your overall resource consumption and find easy ways for you to reduce that.

take the challenge!

Over the next 20 days, your challenge is to save resources. Reducing trash is great, but we also waste a lot of resources like electricity and water on a daily basis. Find ways to cut back on electricity and water consumption such as unplugging appliances and electronics when not in use, taking shorter showers, using energy star products and getting a rain barrel.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

How to Compost - Day 10 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day ten of the zero waste challenge!

The beginning of the challenge focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store. Now, we’re entering into the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes. They’re going to take a little more time, but they’re going to have a huge impact on the amount of trash you create like learning to make your own snacks and composting.

Today we’re talking ALL about composting.

How to compost day 10 of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #compost #zerowastechallenge #ecofriendly #zerowaste

Half, yes, HALF of a household’s weekly waste could be composted!

When I went zero waste, composting was the number one thing that had the biggest impact on how much I was throwing out each week.

The food scraps you produce in the kitchen (think carrot peels, egg shells, coffee grounds) can create beautiful compost which is SO MUCH better for the environment then trapping these food scraps in a landfill.

Today, I challenge you to find a composting method that works for your living space.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Composting is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Almost 20 percent of methane emissions in the United States come from organics unable to completely break down in landfill. Methane is 30x more powerful than your average Co2.

So, composting could go a loooooong way for cutting our green house gas emissions!

Confused on what you can and cannot compost? No worries: Here’s a list of what you can compost.

How to compost day 10 of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #compost #zerowastechallenge #ecofriendly #zerowaste

Compost: Organic matter, egg shells, nut shells, coffee grounds, tea, non plastic tea bags, fruit and vegetable peels, stalks, cobs, kitchen scraps, non-plastic coated paper products, natural fibers in small pieces, flowers, grass clippings, branches, leaves, herbivore manure, vacuum dust, dryer lint

Don’t compost: *Meat, *bones, *fish, *dairy, *grease and oil, bleached or laminated paper products, omnivore manure, materials sprayed with pesticides, cat litter, coal ash, *large pieces of wood, coffee cups, “compostable plastics”

* There are some items on this list that are acceptable for municipal composting, such as meat, bones, fish, dairy, grease and oil, and large pieces of wood. But otherwise, you should not compost these at home.

Now that you know what you can and cannot compost, you might wonder how to go about doing it. There are so many different methods.

the solution:

where to compost:

If you have a backyard, you have it pretty easy. You can have a tumbler bin, an enclosed bin that stands alone, a worm bin, or you can even do trench composting.

Trench composting is when you dig at least a foot deep and you put your scraps in and you bury them. You want to make sure you’re digging pretty deep though so that way animals aren’t going to come in and dig them up.

Check out the full zero waste guide on Backyard Composting.

If you live in an apartment, there are other ways to compost as well, such as bokashi bins, electronic composters, and even worm bins which are great for indoors because the worms need to have stable temperatures..

Also, if you have a small balcony, a tumbler compost bin would work just fine. You don’t have to have any sort of ground for that.

Check out the full zero waste guide for Composting in an Apartment.

Composting can be difficult in a small, confined space. Thankfully, you still got options!

USE A SERVICE: See if your city offers you municipal composting. There might even be a local company that offers a service like Compost Now or The Urban Food Loop. A quick google search should turn up composting near you.

USE AN APP: You can also use the compost database from Litterless. Also, check with the app Share Waste so you can find new friends with compost bins near you!

JOIN THE CLUB: See if you can join a local gardening club. They typically have compost bins outdoors and you can drop your scraps off.

HIT THE MARKET: Ask your farmers if you can bring your fruit and vegetable scraps to them to compost.

Often times people buy things like carrots or beets and they take the tops off and they hand them back to the farmer (which you shouldn’t do, since those are totally edible).

Typically, the farmers take them and compost them at their farm, so asking them if you can bring your own food scraps isn’t something outrageous.

how to store your compost:

A great idea would be to invest in a compost pail and place it on your kitchen counter so it’s easy to place your food scraps into as you cook. That way, if you decide to dump your scraps off at a garden or farmers market, it makes your life easier.

Compost pails usually have a handle which allows for easy transport, and a charcoal filter which prevents odor. They’re also usually made out of stainless steel, so they’re highly durable and will look lovely on your countertop.

If you’re short on counter space, you can save all your food scraps in a reusable container of your choice and just freeze them until you get the chance to drop them off at your chosen location. This prevents them from smelling bad, and keeps the flies away.

I like to keep mine in a metal mixing bowl!

avoid food waste:

Of course, before we even get to compost, we should always ask ourselves, “Could I eat that?” Like you can make vegetable broth from food scraps! So, before you go composting your kitchen scraps, consider giving them a second life by making some healthy vegetable stock.

But, we’ll talk more about avoiding food waste later in the challenge.

There are a ton of options, so I challenge you to google composting, see what’s around your town, see what your best option is, and then implement it.

take the challenge!

Over the next 21 days, your challenge is to start composting. If you live in an apartment, consider freezing your food scraps and donating them to your local farmers market or community garden.

If you have a backyard or a balcony, invest in a tumbler or enclosed bin to put your food scraps into. Composting really helps cut back on food waste and gives you an amazing soil conditioner for free (your plants will absolutely thrive in homemade compost)!

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Zero Waste Cleaning - Day 9 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day nine of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge is focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store.

Now, we’re entering into the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks and decluttering your life. Today we’re talking about zero waste cleaning.

YES! Get your green clean on - cause spring is right around the corner. ;)

Zero waste cleaning from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #cleaning #zerowastechallenge

It’s super easy to make your own all-natural cleaning products at home. Today, I challenge you to ditch the conventional cleaners and make some amazing DIYs instead.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Conventional cleaning products do more harm than good for both your health and the environment. Did you know cleaning companies don’t even have to disclose what’s in their products!?

Store-bought cleaners are full of potentially harmful (and polluting) chemicals, they’re packaged in plastic, and they’re pretty expensive - especially when you compare them to their green clean counter parts which you can make for pennies!

Most conventional cleaning products contain ingredients made from non-biodegradable and non-renewable resources like petroleum, which can adversely affect the earth’s ecosystems.

By making your own cleaning products, you can prevent toxic chemicals from going down the drain. When they go down the drain, they pollute our waterways.

5 green cleaning benefits:

  1. Makes your home safer. Since your products no longer contain questionable ingredients (and warning labels), you can rest assured you’re not inhaling toxic fumes.

  2. Protects your health. Conventional cleaning products can cause coughing, sneezing, headaches and other health problems.

  3. Cleans indoor air. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are released when products are used and stored so they can linger in the air long after use. This can lead to a host of health problems,

  4. Helps the environment. This goes without saying, but using green cleaning products means you won’t pollute waterways, contribute to harvesting unsustainable ingredients, or bring unnecessary plastic into your home.

  5. Saves money. Natural cleaning alternatives can be made from inexpensive ingredients like vinegar and baking soda - things you probably have in your kitchen!

Zero waste cleaning from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #cleaning #zerowastechallenge

the solution:

Homemade cleaners are just as effective as the store bought ones, and you only need a few simple ingredients that are easy to find without packaging.

I use things like lemons, salt, baking soda, vinegar (which you can easily buy in a glass bottle), and of course, soap. Find a few of my favorite recipes below.

  • DIY all-natural bleach: Forget conventional bleach. This makes a great, safe substitute.

  • All-purpose spray: who doesn’t love a spray that does it all? Not super into the vinegar smell? Check out this orange peel vinegar cleaner (great for giving your orange peels a second life!).

  • Tub scrub: tub scrub is so effective at breaking down soap scum on your bathtub and cleaning grout. You’ll never need anything else!

To get all of my latest cleaning recipes like dish soap for hand washing, soap for your washing machine, floor cleaner, and more check out my book 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste which is available for pre-order!

Some of the links below may be affiliate links for more information see my disclosure policy.

zero waste cleaning supplies:

SPRAY BOTTLES: For the all-purpose spray, reuse an old spray bottle, or get a glass one.

One you finish your current spray cleaners you can reuse their spray lids and put them on glass sauce bottles like buffalo and soy sauce!

REUSABLE RAGS: As far as cleaning supplies goes, use rags and reusable towels around the house instead of paper towels. You can just cut up an old shirt or towel to get the job done and throw them in the wash after cleaning.

If you’re having trouble breaking up with paper towels, get my 6 tips for transitioning to a paper-free kitchen.

BROOMS AND DUSTERS: For cleaning floors, use a plastic-free broom made from wood. I have one of these hand held brooms/dusters and love it! Or, continue using whatever you have until end of life.

If you have a swiffer, opt for a reusable swiffer duster instead of a disposable swiffer sweeper refill. Or you can use a sock!

DISH SCRUBS: For the dishes, you can use a rag, a wooden pot scraper, copper scrubbers, loofahs, wooden brushes or loofah sponges. There’s so many options to choose from (we’ll talk more about bamboo scrubs later in the challenge).

The great thing is all of these options last A LOT longer than the plastic sponge counter part - ultimately saving you money!

take the challenge!

Over the next 22 days, your challenge is to make your own zero waste cleaning products.

Making your own natural cleaning products will benefit you, your wallet and the environment because they’re cheaper and non-toxic.

Try making something simple like all-purpose cleaning spray from warm water and white vinegar: It’ll get the job done and you’ll be able to use it on almost everything. Store it in a spray bottle you have on hand and pair it with a rag to clean up the zero waste way.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Declutter Your Life - Day 8 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day eight of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge focused on simple swaps like bringing your own water bottle and bags to the grocery store. Now, we’re entering into the second phase of the challenge. These changes are lifestyle changes like learning to make your own snacks and decluttering your life.

There's a belief that decluttering and zero waste stand in opposition to one another, but I firmly believe both principles to be very complementary. 

how to declutter your life in the zero waste way from www.goingzerowaste.com #declutter #tidyup #ecofriendly #zerowastechallenge

We are detached from the stuff we purchase and own. When we go zero waste, plastic free, or go down the path of minimalism, we experience a re-awakening and a connection with our consumerism. 

What we once used to consume blindly, we're now hyper aware. This not only applies to new things crossing our threshold, but all of the stuff that's living in the basement, the attic, and in the far reaches under our bed.

Once we start experiencing this connection with our stuff and our consumerism, we begin to ask ourselves a lot of questions like... how did I consume SO much, and why did I waste so much money? 

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

We consume A LOT of stuff! Like we talked about on day one.

The self-storage industry is booming. It’s currently a $38 Billion industry. (source) Our home size has tripled since the 1950s and we can’t help but accumulate and fill it with stuff. (source)

We wind up buying a lot of stuff that we don’t need, and don’t really use.

The reason it's important to declutter is to redistribute your resources. It's important that we start looking at our belongings as resources. 

There are no wild blenders people pick from trees. Although, imagining a blender tree is pretty hilarious.

All of our stuff is created from different resources, and it takes a lot of energy to assemble and distribute. If we have items in our possession that aren’t being used, then we should ask ourselves if we could distribute them to help new products from being created.

When you redistribute your resources, you're actually saving new resources from being extracted. 

Conserving resources is directly related to living a zero waste lifestyle, and I believe this to be the biggest correlation between decluttering and zero waste. 

the solution:

This is a two part solution.

  1. Go through your belongings and see if there’s anything you don’t need. Ask yourself a series of questions.

    1. Do I need this?

    2. Have I used this within the last month?

    3. Could someone else use this more than me?

    4. Could I borrow this from a friend or family member - do I need to own it?

  2. Be vigilant when shopping! Make sure to ask yourself a series of questions for the possessions that will be coming into your home in the future.

    1. Wait 30 days before making a purchase to make sure the item will truly fit into your home and lifestyle.

    2. Do I really need this?

    3. Will this complement what I already have?

    4. Is it multipurpose? i.e. will it go with more than one thing in my closet, can I use it for more than one purpose in the kitchen?

    5. Do I have something similar?

As you’re decluttering, also keep in mind where you’re going to send your donations. You shouldn’t just drop them all off at the thrift store, but truly try and find better homes for them. For tips on finding the best place to donate your belonging see the video below.

take the challenge:

I challenge you to pick a room in your house and to declutter it. If you’re struggling on what to do with the item follow the series of prompts above.

And, for the next 23 days, if you’re tempted to buy something new ask yourself the series of questions above and place a waiting period before buying. Mine is 30 days, and it prevents SO many unnecessary purchases.

Are you taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

Zero Waste Snacks - Day 7 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day seven of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge focuses on simple changes you can make, and today we’re going to be tackling what can be a pretty wasteful part of the kitchen… today we’re talking about snacks.

25 zero waste snacks for day seven of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #zerowaste #challenge #zerowastesnacks

Some of my most beloved snacks growing up were served in single-use packages everything from Sun Chips to Dunkaroos. Most of these processed foods gracing the lunch room table weren’t only wrapped in plastic, they were individually wrapped in single sized portions. Insult meet injury.

As tempting as all those goodies may be, it’s much better for you (and the planet) to ditch them. Today, I challenge you to make your own snacks.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

I find snacks to be some of the worst offenders when it comes to both added sugar and packaging.

Lots of snacks sold in single use bags are also loaded with unhealthy additives and unhealthy ingredients. Just look at the ingredients label for your favorite conventional chips the next time you’re in a store.

By making your own snacks, you’ll be making healthier choices and helping out the planet. What could be better than that?

the solution:

Try your hand at making your own snacks and avoid the pre-packaged ones.

I know that making your snacks might sound pretty intimidating if you’ve gotten used to the convenience of hitting up the vending machine or packing those individual portions in your lunch bag, but I promise it’s not as hard as it sounds.

I’ve compiled a list of easy zero waste snacks that you can make! Some require more effort than others, but it’s all worth it in the end. You won’t be eating any overly processed foods so your body will thank you.

Personally, I recommend grabbing an apple, orange or banana if you’re strapped for time and still want a zero waste snack. They come in nature’s perfect packaging!

Save your apple cores and fruit skins to be composted, and we’ll talk more about composting later in the challenge.

Here are some zero waste snack ideas that consist of produce:

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Berries

  • Slices of bell peppers

  • Carrot sticks

  • Broccoli

  • Snap peas

  • Citrus fruit

These snacks are super healthy and totally tasty. You can get them at the farmers market and/or the grocery store using your reusable bags like we talked about in day five.

Always do your best to use seasonal produce whenever you can. This has the best flavor, nutritional value, and can be found relatively package free - plus, it’s a lot cheaper!

I like to store my fresh produce snacks sliced, ready to grab, in a glass jar in the fridge. I can also put a lid on the jar and throw it in my bag as I’m heading out.

Sometimes, I’ll portion my snacks in small 8oz or 4oz jars* so I have the single serving convenience without the trash.

25 zero waste snacks for day seven of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #zerowaste #challenge #zerowastesnacks

If you have a co-op or health food store near you, you might be able to find some of these tasty snacks in the bulk bins:

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Trail mix

  • Dried fruit

  • Fig Newtons

  • Rice crackers

  • Chocolate covered things

  • Nut butters

These snacks can be purchased at your local bulk food store using your own containers to cut back on waste. Check out my ultimate guide to zero waste grocery shopping for more tips.

If you’re the sort of person who loves to make their own meals from scratch, you can also make your own snacks ahead of time too.

Here are some snacks that will require a little bit of prep time but no more than 30 minutes:

Some of these snacks call for several ingredients. I can find all of them at my local health food store in the bulk bins, but if you can’t check out my guide for zero waste shopping without bulk bins.

When all else fails, and you can’t make your own snacks, be sure to purchase organic, sustainably packaged snacks in paper or cardboard. It’s much easier to recycle (or compost) paper and cardboard than it is plastic.

Want more snack ideas? Here are 5 super easy snacks you can make that don’t require any packaging.

take the challenge!

Over the next 24 days, your challenge is to remember to make your own zero waste snacks.

Some snacks require minimal effort (like cutting up produce and storing it in reusable containers) while others need to be planned ahead a little more (like homemade granola).

You can buy a lot of zero waste snacks in bulk at your local bulk food store (like seeds, nuts and dried fruits), as well as ingredients to help make more complex homemade snacks.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

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Use Real Stuff - Day 6 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day six of the zero waste challenge! We’re almost through the first week

I love this switch because it’s easy to implement and will have a HUGE impact on the amount of trash that your throw out. Today, I challenge you to use real stuff at your dinner table. This means real plates, real forks and knives, and the oh-so scary cloth napkins.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

use real stuff day six of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #zerowastechallenge #ecofriendly #clothnapkins

the problem:

Disposable products use a lot of resources, and as we know, the earth doesn’t have an infinite supply of resources. We talked about Earth Overshoot Day in Day 1 of the Zero Waste Challenge.

We’re consuming on average a year and a half worths of resources every year and it’s completely unsustainable.

A lot of people assume that using disposable products will save water, but what they forget to take into account is the water used in productions and manufacturing.

It takes 8 gallons of water to make one paper plate! The modern dishwashers that are energy efficient use 3-5 gallons of water per load of dishes. So you could potentially wash A LOT of plates with all of that water you saved.

There’s so much water that goes into these products that we don’t even think about.

the solution:

The solution is pretty simple. It’s to use real stuff! When it’s time to grab a snack or make dinner use real plates, real forks and knives, and real cloth napkins!!

Cloth napkins are typically only relegated for formal dinners but once you get used to using one, you won’t even remember why you used paper ones in the first place.

I have around 30 cloth napkins, which might seem like a lot but I use them for cleaning around the home too. I tried to keep them separate, but it didn’t work out.

Justin and I both sit at the same place at the table for every meal and we leave our cloth napkins there until they’re dirty. Once they’re dirty, we just throw them straight into the base of the washing machine so they’re washed automatically with the next load.

When we lived in the tiny home, and didn’t have access to a washer and dryer in the house we would just place them in the hamper unless they were damp.

If they were damp, we’d hang them to dry and then place them in the hamper.

take the challenge:

For the next 25 days I challenge you to use real stuff around your home and office. Instead of using a disposable plate and plastic forks and knives - use real ones!

If you’re in the office, this might mean you have to bring your own plate, fork, etc to work. Thankfully, my office had a place to store real dishes that you might want to bring from home in the kitchen. If you don’t have that space, maybe there might be room at your desk?

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?

How to Actually Remember to Bring Your Reusable Bags - Day 5 of the Zero Waste Challenge

It’s day five of the zero waste challenge! The beginning of the challenge focuses on simple changes you can make. These are just beginner tips but next week we’ll be getting a little bit more advance. Today we’re talking about reusable bags which is one of the big four.

How to actually remember to bring your bags to the grocery store! day five of the zero waste challenge from www.goingzerowaste.com #ecofriendly #gogreen #zerowastechallenge #reusablebags #zerowaste

Americans alone use 14 billion plastic bags a year (worldwide, about 4 trillion). Today, I challenge you to ditch the plastic bags and always bring your reusable bags to the market.

Prefer video content? Scroll down to the bottom of the page.

the problem:

Plastic bags are made of polyethylene. They’re thin pieces of plastic that are very difficult to recycle and have a very low recycle rate. In fact, all plastic has a low recycle rate.

Only 9% of the plastic ever produced has actually been recycled. (source)

Beyond their unfortunate afterlife sitting in landfills, plastic bags are lightweight easily carried by the wind into nature where they wind up in trees, on streets, and eventually into the gutters.

All storm drains lead to the sea and when they’re in the ocean they present a terrible problem for marine life.

You can tell the difference between a floating plastic bag and a jelly fish, but a turtle can’t. Eventually the plastic blocks their digestive tracts and they die.

Plastic bags have claimed the life of so many sea animals and land animals too like camels. This is a really simple switch and you know that you’re aren’t going to be putting any lives in danger.

the solution:

I know most people probably have reusable grocery bags, but they just somehow can’t remember to get them to the store.

So, I’m going to tell you a few tips and tricks that I use to remember my bags.

get on a schedule:

I’m on a pretty good schedule and I know I’m going to go to the farmers market on Saturday. I know if I need anything else, I’ll probably hit up the grocery store on a Tuesday.

I also know that I’m going to go bulk shopping, which is a special trip because it’s pretty far for me, and I only do that around every two to three months. So, I’m very aware of when I will be going to the grocery store.

Go ahead and look at your schedule and see if there’s a pattern.

Here are some things to ask yourself:

  • Do I drive past the grocery store on the way home from work certain days?

  • Do I prefer to shop for groceries on weeknights or weekends?

  • How often am I going to the store to stock up on food? Once or twice a week?

  • Is the grocery store or farmers market a short trip from my home or office?

Taking note of your proximity to a grocery store and your personal preferences will help you decide exactly when to go shopping.

You can make a schedule for yourself and stick to it, dedicating specific days of the week for grocery shopping this will help you remember to have your bags with you on those days.

If you’re the type of person who never knows exactly what they’re doing, then just go ahead and keep the bags in your car or on your body at all times.

under the keys:

Another trick to remembering your bags is to place them under your keys after you bring your groceries in. That way, the next morning, you can grab your keys and those bags and you can keep it in your car.

on the keys:

If you walk a lot, they make bags that clip onto your keyring so that way you’re prepared wherever you go. It’s only one bag, but if you’re on foot you won’t typically carry more than one or two bags worth of goods.

where to buy:

  • My favorite reusable bags that I’ve used are called BagPodz. They contain so many bags inside of them, making it super handy for a grocery shopping haul.

  • You can also typically find reusable tote bags right at your local grocery store. They usually have them on sale right at the cash register, and they’re very durable and reasonably priced.

  • Before you go out and buy any reusable bags though, be sure to check around your home. You may already have reusable tote bags and not even know it (canvas bags count).

produce bags too!

On top of reusable bags, think about bringing reusable produce bags.

I honestly don’t think you need very many, because most items like an apple, potato, orange, or onion don’t really need to be put in a bag: You can just put them in your cart or grocery bag. There’s no reason to put them in plastic.

The only things I tend to put in a produce bag are going to be small items that really need to be kept together like lettuce or mushrooms because they can break apart without being contained.

You don’t have to buy a ton of reusable produce bags. In fact, you may even be able to use some of your reusable bags if they’re small enough.

Another option is to make your own reusable produce bags. You can just grab pillowcases from the thrift store, cut them up and sew your own produce bags.

Or, you can literally use old pillowcases as is, without sewing them. There are a ton of options, and you don’t have to spend a whole bunch of money.

Remember, the first challenge in this series was to buy less, after all. Use what you have and make it work for you.

take the challenge!

Over the next 26 days, your challenge is to remember to bring your reusable bags with you to the grocery store, and figure out which method would work best for you.

If you still think you’ll forget - practice it!

Some of my favorite tricks for remembering your bags is to place them under your keys after you bring your groceries in. You can also keep some reusable bags with you in the car, in your purse, or clip them onto your keychain.

Also bring some produce bags with you (which you can purchase or DIY) whenever you hit up a grocery store.

Will you be taking the challenge?

want more?

Just starting out? Have 1,000 burning questions!? Get access to my private Facebook group, where I’ll be hosting weekly lives throughout the challenge and I answer all of your most pressing questions.

I’m the head content creator over at pelacase.com and have partnered with them to create an email version of the challenge. I will be sending out weekly recap letters with Pela if you’d prefer to have this challenge in larger chunks and delivered straight to your inbox.

PLUS! I’ll be sending out a brand new e-book at the end of the challenge called the Game On Handbook. Which is all about individual ways to fight climate change. You don’t want to miss it.

miss a day?