How to Go Zero Waste

We’ve compiled some resources from our site and around the internet to help you get to zero waste. If there is something specific that you need help with fill out the form on the right and we’ll send you an answer as soon as we can!

The Basics

Don’t Make Waste

This one is pretty simple, waste is actually a shorthand for the whole production process. Each new item we buy has all kinds of extraction, transportation, and manufacturing in its past, this is unfortunately still true for recycling.  You’ll be surprised at how differently you see the world tomorrow after trying not to make trash.

Keep Your Accidents

If you do make trash, don’t sweat it!  The point is not to steep in guilt for a day, it’s to build your awareness and give you the psychological tools you need to overcome the wasteful habits engrained in all of us. So collect whatever trash you make on your day and do a quick reflection at night, also send us a picture of it!

What Counts?

Anything new, so don’t go buying a brand new compost bin to start off you zero waste lifestyle.  Like we said in the first rule zero waste is not really about trash, it’s about resources.  Check out the tips below to find out some common friction points and get a little better understanding of what it means to be zero waste!

Some Exceptions!

Toilet Paper: If you’re able to install a bidet, awesome! If not, try to buy tp in paper wrapping rather than plastic. Medicine: Continue taking any medication you need to feel your best, and don’t worry about the trash! Gifts: If someone gives you a gift that has wrapping, that’s ok. It wasn’t your purchasing decision. Work associated waste: If you work at a lab for example and need to wear gloves we don’t consider that your responsibility.

How To Start Zero Waste

First of all, congratulations for making it to this webpage and reading this blog! By that choice alone, you have begun the first step in going zero waste: thinking about it. You may already be on your way to starting a zero-waste lifestyle, but it is understandable...

Minimal Zero Waste Essentials

What is the minimal set of items that can maximize your preparedness for a zero-waste day? It feels so good when I make a purchase or order food and have the perfect zero waste solution at my fingertips. “Do you need a bag for that?” Oh no thank you, I have one right...

Zero Waste Gift Wrapping

Happy holidays zero wasters! This is a great time of year to consider zero waste wrapping options—they’re beautiful, personalizable, and better for the environment! Why does this matter? Thousands of trees are cut down each year to make wrapping paper. And a lot of...

Ann Arbor Holiday Zero Waste Gift Guide

It’s time to do your holiday shopping, and this year, why not give your loved ones a zero waste gift to reduce the amount of waste produced during the season? The Ann Arbor Holiday Guide 2022 has got you covered with seven zero waste gift ideas that will make your...

10 Tips for a Zero Waste Black Friday

Holiday shopping creates a staggering amount of waste.  Up to 80%  of Black Friday purchases and packaging will end up in a landfill, incinerated or as low-quality recycling. And all that waste is just a small fraction of the problem. 95% of a...

Operation Dining Out

How to go zero waste at a restaurant When you are eating at a restaurant, you get to transform into a zero-waste mastermind, always on alert for opportunities to avoid trash. 🕵️‍♀️ In particular, keep the following in mind: Stake out the premises Recruit the staff...

How to Compost

Your Guide to Composting   According to the EPA, about 30% of our waste is compostable, and food scraps that live in a landfill instead of being composted end up emitting methane—a greenhouse gas that is about 30x more powerful than C02. But when you compost you...

Everything You Need To Know To Go Zero Waste

This post is a living document please suggest things in the comments, think of this as our community's best advise, so far... Here goes! First of all our motivation for going zero waste is to stop our personal contribution to the production of unnecessary stuff (and...

How to Stop Junk Mail Once And For All

44 percent of junk mail goes to the landfill unopened. Junk mail was the bane of my zero waste journey for a long time. No matter how many times I opted to go "paperless" it just kept coming! And if you're living zero waste and choose to count recycling as waste (like...

Hour-by-Hour Guide to Going Zero Waste for Earth Day

Earth Day is right around the corner and it's the perfect time to give the zero waste lifestyle a try. We've put together a guide to help you through the day and some tips on how to prepare (after the guide). Enjoy and remember to pledge to go zero waste for Earth...


Here are some of the best resources available to help you get started (or continue!) with a zero waste lifestyle. All of them have amazing tips and guides that are super useful. One quick not of caution—many of these sites have books or products for sale. We encourage you to save your purchases of new items only for things that are absolutely necessary (bamboo toothbrush for example). You actually don’t need any new equipment or special utensils, straws, mason jars etc. to go zero waste, and you likely already have everything you need. And if not you can find it at a thrift shop, craigslist of Facebook Marketplace. The challenge is not only to produce less waste, but to purchase fewer new items (see our production cycle graphic for more on this).

Check out our blog post on getting started with zero waste and the rest of our articles on specific tips for zero waste. Still have questions? Once you’ve pledged, you can join our Facebook group and post any questions you have there! Our community will help you out and once you’re an experienced zero waster you can become a resource for others.



Zero Waste Home

Bea Johnson is the mother of zero waste. We recommend downloading the online version of her book (it has tops of useful tips) and checking out their bulk store app for finding places to shop nearby that offer zero waste options. And be sure to add your favorite stores to the app so we can grow the zero waste community! (This app only exists as a web version).

Going Zero Waste

Kathryn Kellog has the best zero waste blog we’ve found (if you have blogs you like better, feel free to send them our way). Kathryn writes about every topic imaginable, check out this very helpful step-by-step guide of how to transition to zero waste. Her instagram is really fun too. 

Zero Waste Chef

Take a look in your trashcan—most of the waste is probably from food packaging right? Learning to shop and cook is a big part of being successful in zero waste and zero waste chef can help you learn all the essential skills.

Story of Stuff

Story of Stuff has amazing educational materials that can help you understand why you should do zero waste. Binge all of their YouTube videos. You won’t regret it and you’ll learn a ton!

Beyond Plastics

Follow beyond plastics to see how you can get involved with pressuring corporations and governments to decrease their waste. We recommend signing up for their email list.