Zero Waste – a room by room guide

So, what is “zero waste”?  Well, for me, it means sending as little waste to landfill as possible.  Yes, we recycle, but recycling is not a magic bullet – it is a hugely energy-intensive and polluting process where many products, particularly plastic, are down-graded into lower quality products and will eventually end up in landfill.  So, recycling is not the best option.

I find it helpful to follow the 5 R’s, in order:


Here’s a room-by-room rundown of the changes we’ve made so far on our journey to zero waste.



Pantry staples from Bulk Barn Henderson using BYO cloth bags and jars

Some food refills from Organics Out West

Bread from local bakery in BYO bag

Fruit & veges from the Avondale Markets using mesh produce bags & BYO tofu container (or I go to a local fruit & vege store and ask for not-yet-packaged produce from the packing room)

Takeaways using BYO containers

Restaurant food:  request no straw or disposable items and have a container handy for leftovers

muslin bagsonya weighfoodinjars2

Homemade food…

Food waste…

Compost!  So easy, free (after initial compost bin purchase) and great for your garden.  Check out the free composting workshops run by The Compost Collective


knitted dish cloth

Wooden dish brush

Knitted dishcloths

Homemade spray cleaner

Ecostore bulk refill dishwashing liquid (available at Freemans Bay store)

Ecostore dishwasher tablets


Compostable Go Bamboo toothbrushes and homemade toothpaste:

Ecostore bulk refill shampoo (available at Freemans Bay store)

Ecostore package-free soap (available at Freemans Bay store)

Cloth toilet wipes (being used part-time…not fully committed!)…we have a simple, clean system – used wipes are popped into a lidded bin next to the loo and then thrown in the wash.  No smell…no waste…easy peasy!

toilet wipes

Greencane recycled sugarcane/bamboo toilet paper

Homemade air freshener

Lunette menstrual cup

lunette cup

Cloth panty liners

panty liners

Cloth tissues/hankies

Homemade deoderant (I do the low-fi version of this recipe, without the shea butter – and just mix the ingredients together)

Stainless steel safety razor



Eco Planet laundry powderbaking soda vinegar

Knitted washcloths

Homemade spray cleaner

Homemade “Jif” cleaning paste

Drain cleaner:  white vinegar & baking soda from Bulk Barn Henderson with BYO containers

Reusable cloth vacuum cleaner bag


BUBBA’S ROOM (Savana has been toilet-trained for quite some time, but when she was a bub we used the following…)nappies

Cloth nappies:  Real Nappies purchased secondhand on TradeMe

Baby wipes:  cotton washcloths


Bought secondhand on TradeMe – if not available for local pick-up, I request sustainable (paper/cardboard) packaging.

Gifts are usually either secondhand, homemade or “experience gifts” (vouchers for massage etc.)  Buy Nothing Christmasfuroshiki-main

For gift wrapping, we either recycle paper/boxes we already have or we use the furoshiki fabric wrapping method

We’ve been working towards zero waste for the last three years.  One step at a time.  Some areas that we will need to find solutions for once we run out of resources are:

  • stationery
  • art supplies
  • make up
  • first aid