Tiny Homes, Zero Waste


Living in a tiny home generally means living where there is no garbage pickup. So what do you do with all that trash that quickly builds up? With a few adjustments in your daily routine, you can live a zero waste lifestyle. That’s right, no garbage and no trips to the nearest landfill.

Living with zero waste doesn’t mean that you can’t live a normal life with no luxuries. What it does mean is taking a conscious approach to your consumer choices. In return you will save money on purchases you really don’t need, saving space in your tiny home, and reducing your ecological footprint at the same time!

How do you even start to live a zero waste lifestyle?

Here are some tips to get started…

  • Don’t buy products with plastic packaging. Stainless steel and glass containers can be washed and used over and over for other purposes around the home.
  • Stop using paper products such as napkins and paper towels, use cloth instead. You will save money quickly when not using costly disposables.
  • Use regular reusable dishes instead of plastic and paper. Some retailers do offer compostable paper plates, cups, bowls, and napkins if you must use a one time option.
  • Instead of throwing out food, eat leftovers. Repurpose food items into sauces and jams when possible. Get creative and create new and exciting dishes with your food not eaten.
  • Recycle everything you can including unbroken glass, some plastics, paper and cardboard, tin and aluminum cans.
  • Keep food and kitchen scraps, garden waste, and recyclables separate.
  • Use metal or glass water bottles throughout your day.
  • Bring your lunch and utensils. Disposable lunches (to-go packaging, traditional plastic utensils, etc) generate 100 pounds of trash per person annually. 
  • Make your own multipurpose cleaner. In a spray bottle, combine 1⁄2 cup white distilled vinegar with 1 cup water, and add 10 to 20 drops of tea tree, lavender, lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Shake well before using.
  • Use reusable containers such as mason jars for bulk loose items such as rice, granola, grains, oatmeal, dried fruit, and beans.
  • Avoid using plastic bags. Start using big shopping bags made from canvas, mesh, cloth or recycled/recyclable plastic.
  • Don’t buy single servings. Buy the largest size available or in bulk and divide into smaller eco-smart containers.
  • We can’t pour used cooking oil down the drain (it causes clogs) or compost it. However, you can donate cooking oil to be recycled into biodiesel fuel.
  • Compostable Items: fruit and vegetable parts, eggshells, coffee grounds, unbleached paper, tea bags, disease-free houseplants, and much more.
  • Try vermicomposting where red wiggler worms quickly transform organic matter into usable compost. These clean, simple, efficient systems are useful for those who don’t have space for an outdoor compost pile.

The concept of living entirely waste-free takes a bit of getting used to, as our modern lifestyles constantly demand that our attention is focused on consuming for the sake of consuming. The seemingly endless cycle of consumerism has led to us forgetting many of the important things in life. We generally work very hard, and spend less than an ideal amount of time with family and friends, sacrificing doing the things we love. Through a zero waste lifestyle we can get that time back while saving money and doing our part in protecting our planet.

Attempting to live a zero waste lifestyle won’t be easy but worth every bit of the journey. However do not try to go zero waste all at once. Try a few tips we have presented here, master them, and try a few others.

Until next time, live tiny!

F.A.Q. - What is a Tiny Home?

There is no set definition as to what constitutes a tiny house. However, a residential structure under 500 square feet is generally considered a tiny home.

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