100 Ways to Live Zero-Waste During Self-Isolation

Updated: Jan 1, 2021

We are all home this year during Earth Day, so I brainstormed 100 ways to celebrate Earth Day from home! If you'd rather way the video version, click here! If you are also interested in the history of Earth Day, be sure to watch this video.



This Earth Day is a weird one. In the past few months, we have seen a virus come out of nowhere and restrict us to our homes. But, in doing this, we have seen air clear up and animals return to once-crowded areas. You can learn more about the environmental impacts of COVID-19 here.


It's also weird because normally there would be rallies and marches and educational conferences. But, this year, we can't do that.


So, I am here to inspire you and show you that there are still plenty of ways to celebrate Earth Day from the comfort of your home!



Two things to note before we get started:


1. For some reason, my post would not allow me to continue to count up, so they are broken out with each category starting with 1, but I promise there is 100!


2. I do not go in-depth in this blog post because I have already made either a YouTube video or a blog post (sometimes both!) already about a majority of these topics. So, I linked all my past content within this blog post so that you can check that out later. These other videos and blog posts give a lot more detail than I can here (or else this would become a novel!). I hope you enjoy!


Table of Contents:


- Taking Action: 1-11

- For the Kids: 12-18

- Going Outside: 19-25

- Food Related: 26-42

- Around the Home: 43-59

- Get Educated: 60-74

- Future Travel: 75-83

- Shopping/Future Shopping: 84-95

- Misc Sustainable Living: 96-100



Taking Action

You don't even have to leave the comfort of your bed or your couch to take direct action!

  1. Write, email, or call your local or state officials asking them what they plan to do to preserve the environment or let them know what you would like to see changed.

  2. Write, email, or call companies you'd like to see change. Whether that is to reduce their plastic, reduce their emissions, or pay their employees fair wages. Let them know your concerns.

  3. Write, email, or call companies that are doing well! Don't forget to praise these companies that are already running sustainably and ethically. And don't forget to shout them out on social media for others to see.

  4. Start a Facebook group. Through this (later, of course) you can organize rallies and beach clean-ups or even get them to help with actions 1-3 to multiply the concerns.

  5. Host an online rally. You can go live on Instagram, Facebook, or YouTube to chat with others about changes you would like to see when life returns to "normal."

  6. Plan a clothing swap when we are allowed to meet once again. Everyone is probably decluttering during these times, so what better way to get rid of old clothes than by also receiving new ones!

  7. Join in for Earth Day Live which will be the Earth Day 2020 online celebration

  8. Follow inspirational people in the Zero-Waste movement and get active in the comment sections

  9. Plan some volunteer activities for when everything reopens

  10. Adopt a highway and partner with coworkers or family members to help keep it clean

  11. Put a plan in place to make your work center more environmentally friendly


For the Kids

For more tips for living sustainably with kids, check out my friend Allie Whalen. Teaching kids these things (and more, of course) helps them to build these habits early on and keep them for life.

  1. Teach them about homemaking. Things like making your own food and planting your own food

  2. Upcycle something together. As a kid, I loved making instruments out of old boxes and rubber bands for example.

  3. Teach them the importance of reducing your waste and preserving the Earth.

  4. Help them learn how to properly recycle.

  5. Watch a kid-friendly documentary or even something like "Planet Earth" on Netflix

  6. Make DIY bird feeders and find a nice tree to place them in

  7. Honestly, you can educate them about a lot of topics mentioned in this post!


Going Outside

Some of us are still lucky and are able to go to parks or the beach. Take advantage of this, especially on earth day! Some of these can even be done from your front yard or even a balcony or porch.

  1. Find a quiet spot and meditate or just watch the animals or clouds. Reflect on the beauty of the Earth and remind yourself why we should preserve it.

  2. Pick up litter. You can do this in your own neighborhood while walking your dog even. Even one piece makes a huge difference.

  3. Learn how to compost. If you have a yard, great! If not, you can compost in your kitchen as well.

  4. Get moving! Rollerblade, bike, skateboard, etc. Enjoy the fresh air while also remembering the importance of taking transportation with less emissions

  5. Connect with the Earth by walking barefoot or laying in the grass. Connecting with the Earth is such a good feeling!

  6. Do a beach or park cleanup. Even if it is just you or just your family!

  7. Adopt a tree! There are lots of websites where you can do this. It is the next best choice since you probably can’t plant one yourself right now


Food-related

We all love a good meal. And I bet you also love the Earth. So, why not combine the two?

  1. Inspire someone to go vegan

  2. Or if you aren’t vegan yet, try a vegan meal today or sometime this week

  3. Learn more about veganism!

  4. Utilize food waste in a smart way by using up old bananas or making your own veggie stock

  5. Research how much food waste is created in the world and brainstorm ways to prevent food waste in your house

  6. Look up farmers markets in your area that you can once again go to when this resolves

  7. Learn how to make something homemade like:

  8. Homemade kombucha

  9. Homemade ginger ale

  10. Homemade peanut butter

  11. Homemade tortillas, wraps, and other breads

  12. Homemade granola or trail mix

  13. Research sustainable and local grocery stores or even bulk stores in your area to maybe change your routine once this is over

  14. Learn to grow your own food such as

  15. Kitchen/windowsill herb garden

  16. Full-on garden in your yard

  17. Regrowing food scraps like green onions


Around the Home

I know, the title of this post is things you can do at home, but these items you will literally be doing around and for your home to make it more eco-friendly

  1. Redecorate your home with things you already own. See what you can find and bring to life

  2. DIY some home decor. You can paint on scrap wood or paper, you can crochet a wall hanging. The options are limitless!

  3. Declutter. This is a great way to pass the time and learn how to live more minimally. Don’t forget to donate them instead of throwing them away!

  4. Upcycle something. Repaint old furniture, turn old t-shirts into a quilt. Another one with limitless options!

  5. Repurpose something. If you have an old mug you want to throw away, see if it can be turned into a planter or even used as a paint cup. Get creative!

  6. Learn how to mend. Mending is such an important skill. It can be mending clothes, mending shoes, mending notebooks, anything!

  7. Me mindful of your water consumption and learn how to better conserve water

  8. Same with energy, be mindful of when you leave lights on and learn how to better conserve energy

  9. Try making your own all-purpose cleaning solution (NOTE: this does not protect against COVID-19, though it does help save those products for when they are necessary)

  10. Reduce your consumption even at home. What I mean is, don’t use as much toothpaste or shampoo or toilet paper. Be mindful of what you are using to make it last longer.

  11. See if you can help your pets reduce their impact. Clearly, they can’t do this on their own. But, buy eco-friendly poop bags (read more here) and litter, make their toys, etc.

  12. Turn your single-use items into multi-use items. Don’t just use that glass jar once, find a way to use it over and over and over again!

  13. Do a trash audit. Collect your trash (please don’t keep food waste, you can learn more about how to do a trash audit here) for a week or a month and see what you can eliminate, reduce, or find in another type of packaging.

  14. Reorganize/rearrange your house to give it new life without buying anything!

  15. Unsubscribe from magazines, catalogs, etc in order to discourage impulse purchases

  16. Switch your bills to online billing to save a lot of paper waste and even postage

  17. Fix any leaky faucets and install water-efficient showerheads and faucets


Get Educated

Not only is it important to act, but it is also important to learn and understand why we act.

  1. Watch my recent video on this history of Earth Day to see where this all started

  2. Read a book about Earth

  3. Speaking of books, opt for audiobooks, ebooks, or borrow books instead of buying new.

  4. Watch a documentary about the state of the Earth

  5. Educate others with a post on social media

  6. Learn about endangered species and what we can do to help

  7. Research your current favorite brands and companies and see if you can find a more sustainable swap

  8. Learn about how living more sustainably can actually save you money (watch or read to learn more)

  9. Learn how you can still live as lazily as you want while also living sustainably (watch or read to learn more)

  10. Research the world’s crisis for freshwater and how we are running out

  11. Educate yourself on the plastic crisis and why we need to reduce our plastic consumption

  12. Learn about how this planet is the perfect conditions for life and that this is our only planet to live on

  13. Contact your local recycling center to learn more about their rules to make sure you are recycling properly

  14. Along those lines, research where you can recycle odds and ends. Things like TVs, mattresses, and more

  15. Learn about random waste streams like holidays, races, and more


Future Travel

Clearly, none of us are traveling right now, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn more about how to travel as sustainably as possible

  1. Learn about carbon offsetting programs and find the one that is right for you

  2. Carbon offset past travels.

  3. Plan your next trip sustainably. Opt for public transportation and find greener accommodation.

  4. Research the importance of taking public transportation vs flying

  5. Learn about the consequences of overtourism and how we can combat it

  6. Research ways to reduce waste while traveling

  7. See what zero waste travel essentials you have and that you can pack on your next trip

  8. Learn eco-phrases for the country you are traveling to next. For example, if you are traveling to Japan next, learn how to say “no straw, please” or “no bag, please.”

  9. Practice packing. I know, this might get your hopes up and could make you sad, but it is important to plan your outfits and pack as lightly as possible. It can also be a great way to fantasize your next trip


Shopping/Future Shopping

Again, we aren’t doing much of this right now, but it is important to learn how we can be shop sustainably when we have that freedom again.

  1. Find new thrift stores in your area to check out when they reopen

  2. While you’re doing that, learn how to thrift shop in a smart way

  3. Research online thrift stores and check them out while at home

  4. Look into new or new-to-you sustainable and ethical brands like Green Spirits and The Other Straw just to name a few

  5. Learn more about slow fashion and ethical shopping

  6. Research brands you should and should not support in the future

  7. Learn more about sustainably produced or second-hand tech (one of the most unsustainably created items)

  8. Email brands (and even email Amazon customer support) asking for a note to be put on your account to reduce the amount of packaging/plastic is being shipped to you

  9. This is kind of anti-shopping, but do a no-buy week or a no-buy month. During this, you still buy groceries and medicine and pay bills, but you don’t buy anything you don’t need.

  10. During this time, keep a list in your phone of things you think you want to buy. At the end of the challenge, revisit that list and see if you still think you need them.

  11. A lot of stores are not accepting reusable bags right now BUT you can put the groceries back in your cart and bag them in your car!

  12. Don’t buy things you don’t need, but when you need to replace something, chose an eco-friendly option

Misc Sustainable Living Tips

There is so much more than this, but this is just a few. Be sure to check out my past posts for beginner, intermediate, advanced, and bonus tips for living sustainably.

  1. Collect rainwater, water from boiling veggies or noodles, or water from pre-heating your shower and use that to water your plants

  2. Find the best water filter and water bottle for you online. Remember to support sustainable and ethical companies

  3. Find new local and/or small business to support when this is over

  4. Change your laundry routine or at least research how and make changes when life returns back to semi-normal. Find new eco-friendly soaps

  5. Same with the bathroom, research more environmentally-friendly shampoo, condition, makeup, toothpaste and more



That's it! We made it through 100 ways to celebrate Earth Day from home! If you'd rather watch a video version, click here. If you have any more tips, please leave them down below.


I hope you are doing well during these we