When it comes to being more zero waste at home, the obvious thing to do is to use things that you already own – and so doing some diy projects is a great start. Not everyone is partially crafty or knows how to sew or knit, so I’ve added a few different ideas that should suit everyone.
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I find being able to make zero waste swaps is a great way to figure out if you’ll actually want and use that swap before buying it. Everyone can be influenced to buy new things all the time, and you might often get that impulsive urge to buy reusable swaps all the time, so by DIYing you can save some more as well as learn some new skills.
DIY Zero Waste ideas for at home
Tissues / Handkerchiefs
With hundreds of disposable tissues being thrown away everyday, a good alternative are handkerchiefs. These are simply just square pieces of fabric, usually cotton, that you would use instead of tissue and then just throw in the wash when you’re done.
When making these I would suggest using cotton fabric, but try to find a soft or brushed texture so that you don’t make your nose red raw!
Kitchen Towels / Unpaper towels
Another huge paper-based product that gets thrown away so much are paper towels. If you’re the kind to generally use them, try making yourself some fabric cloths – you don’t have to make too many at first, just make a few and gradually make more.
Make them similar to handkerchiefs or napkins, just slightly larger or thicker – can be a little rougher fabric if you desire. I like making sure these have either a border or crimped edges so they won’t fray so easily after a couple of washes.
Although getting deodorant in paper tubes is becoming more common, you can still make your own at home if that suits you better!
I’ve made one in the past which was made of around 2 tablespoons coconut oil, 2 teaspoons bicarbonate soda or arrowroot powder, and essential oils. It’s super simple, but can melt in the summer months so make sure you store somewhere cool.
This one might not be for everyone, as well as the fact you can get toothpaste in metal tubes more often now, but you can always make your own toothpaste if you like.
I haven’t tried it out personally, but I know you can get recipes made with coconut oil and peppermint extract most of the time.
If you either wear makeup or have a skincare routine that requires cotton rounds, then make your own! I made some about two years ago from an old pillowcase and they’ve saved me so much money and waste in that time.
Depending on how many you use on a daily basis, I would recommend trying to make enough to last you a week – so around 7-14 depending on if you do your skincare morning and night.
These don’t have to be too fancy, just cut two circles the size of a mug for each round (so you’d cut 14 if you make 7 cotton rounds), sew them together, and them crimp the edges so they don’t fray. You can use lots of different fabric if you like – some people use terrycloth/flannel fabric on one side and a softer smooth fabric for the other side.
Citrus peel cleaner
If you’re getting to the end of your bottle of surface cleaner, why not make your own? You can make a great cleaner from citrus peel infused in vinegar, and then mix in with water in your spray bottle.
This is a great thing to consider, especially since spray bottle pumps cannot be recycled (as they’re mixed materials), but you could also look into dissolvable sachets or tablets too.
A good way to cut down on plastic waste is how you clean your toilet too – instead of using plastic bottles of bleach all the time, you could try out making fizzers instead. Kind of like a bath bomb for your toilet, fizzers are made with citric acid, which is what helps them fizz and scrub away.
Most recipes contain bicarbonate of soda, citric acid, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils, so have a look around and see if you can find one that suits you.
Reusable produce bags
When buying a lot of loose produce, it might be a good idea to invest in some produce bags when going shopping. Depending on what you buy, you could make these out of different fabrics to suit you best.
I’ve made some out of old net curtains and shoelaces – which are great for larger produce like vegetables, as you can see what’s inside. You could also make some out of a thicker fabric that’s more tighter woven if you plan on buying loose grains and pulses.
For some people, buying napkins can be a regular occurrence, but you could actually have yourself loads of money by making your own instead.
Napkins don’t need to be too out there if you just want something simple, and you can make mix-and-match ones from scrap fabric if you have large enough pieces. You could just sew and crimp the edges if you want a quick project, or you could always get some bias binding/edging to make them look more complete.
Twine dish scrubbers
If you’re any good at knitting or crochet, you could make your next dish scrubber out of natural twine – which can later be composted at the end of their life. You could make them either as just a single square, or you could make a little pouch and then keep a bar of dish soap inside.
Sandwich and snack bags
Depending on if you typically eat lunch out or have kids who need packed lunches, then making some sandwich and snack pouches could be really useful.
These can be pretty simple to make, but you might need to go out and get the supplies you need. You wanna make sure you get waterproof fabric for the inside layer to stop any moisture leaching out onto your bag, and some velcro for fastening together.
These can also be relatively inexpensive, so you could buy some if need be – I got mine from AndKeep.
Beeswax or soy wax wraps
Although not everyone needs or uses wax wraps, if they’re something you’d like to diy then you can – and this can be used for both making new wraps or simply refreshing old ones.
I haven’t made any myself, but you need some cotton fabric, beeswax or soy wax pellets, baking parchment, and an iron. You can find all sorts of tutorials online, as well as on youtube too.
These are just a few of the many zero waste diy projects you can try out, so make sure you look out for other too! Do you have any sustainable diy projects you swear by?
Looking for more sustainable ideas? Check out my other posts!
- Beginners Guide to Living More Zero Waste
- A Zero Waste and Sustainable Gift Guide
- A Guide To Eco-Friendly Toiletries: Sustainable Options For Your Skincare Routine
- Ways to Live More Sustainably as a Student
- Going Zero Waste? Some Swaps You Can Consider When Getting Started.
- Eco friendly back to school supplies: The ultimate guide to zero waste and sustainable stationery
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