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Over the last 100 years, plastic has become a real problem for our planet. We have used it more and more and relied on it too much. And it has become obvious that we now need to stop! But what can we use instead? Well, there are plenty of DIY zero waste projects ideas out there that are great alternative products to be using instead of all the plastic disposable items. A lot of these zero waste DIY ideas can use things that you may already have around your home, such as fabric scraps and old clothes.
Instead of using disposable products, why not use some of these reusable ideas instead? Would you like to see how you can easily make your own zero waste, money saving products? Then read on!
Zero Waste Projects For Your Home
- Zero Waste Projects For Your Home
- Zero Waste Kitchen Projects
- Laundry Room
- Around The Home
- When Pregnant / With A Young Child
- Christmas and Birthdays
- Eating Out & On The Go
Why should we all want more zero waste homes? Well, we really do need to stop throwing so much into landfill. By using reusables it reduces the amount of single use plastic we are using. This saves us money and saves the planet into the bargain.
But what zero waste projects are easy to make ourselves at home?
Here is a massive mega list of over 70 zero waste products that you can be making to replace the disposable items in your life. By making these you are bound to
- save money
- reduce the single use plastic you use
- feel better that you are doing your bit for the environment and
- be making a difference
I have taken each room around the house in turn, plus given ways of reducing waste at Christmas, birthdays, when out and about, and when you have a small baby. So make a start and read on!
Zero Waste Kitchen Projects
The obvious place to start with a list of zero waste projects is the kitchen. We produce an awful lot of plastic waste in the way of food and packaging, so a key place to try and reduce single use plastic is in this heart of the home.
So what zero waste projects can we make to help be more eco friendly around the kitchen?
These plastic free dish scrubbers are really simple to make, and can even be made from your old towels. Once they’ve worn out they can be composted! Stop using plastic sponges and use these instead! Find the easy tutorial here.
Crocheted Dish Scrubbers
Alternatively, you can also crochet just twine into brilliant round dish scrubbers. See how with this zero waste crochet projects tutorial.
Cling wrap is one of the worst culprits for being a wasteful use of single use fabrics. And there are so many alternatives to cling film. One of the easiest diy projects is to make beeswax wraps using 100% natural beeswax pellets and cotton cloth (which can even be from upcycled clothes). Find out how to make these with or without pine resin here.
Do you drink a lot of tea? Did you know that teabags do contain some plastic? So why not make your own reusable mini drawstring bags? See how here.
Another way you can reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home is to buy loose produce and use your own bags to transport it home. These reusable produce bags save the plastic waste and are so useful Plus you can upcycle old bedding or clothes to make them in whatever size you need. See the simple sewing tutorial here.
The same produce bags can be used to keep produce fresh in the house. Make them in thick dark cloth for storing potatoes or mushrooms well. Or make a large one to use as a loaf bag for keeping your loaf fresh!
Reusable Kitchen Roll
Paper towels are a huge waste product in most kitchens. And so these unpaper towels are a brilliant idea for having around instead of the usual kitchen roll. They are very simple to make, and are the perfect way to use up old towels or clothing too. See the easy sewing tutorial here.
Reusable Bowl Covers
Washable Compost bin liner
When I first started composting I foolishly bought biodegradable compost bin liners. But I found that they take forever to degrade in my domestic compost bin. So now I use a reusable and washable compost bin liner, which I made just like my produce bags, but with a washable waterproof material. You don’t really even need a drawstring! Find my bag tutorial here.
If you are making lots of zero waste DIY products, then it is only reasonable to make some zero waste cleaning products to go with it. This recipe for DIY zero waste cleaning solution uses white vinegar which can be bought in bulk and reuses plastic bottles. You can use different essential oils to suit your mood too!
Microwave popcorn bag
Now, I am not convinced about these, but it is certain that it is wasteful to buy the prepackaged popcorn, so you can make a cotton bag to pop your corn. I personally prefer a hot air popper, or silicone microwave bowl. Find a DIY cotton popcorn bag tutorial here.
Similarly, you can make your own soap to use in most areas around your home. This is a lovely tutorial.
Plastic bag dispenser
Finally in the kitchen, we all do get given plastic bags from time to time, and the key to a zero waste life is to reuse these as much as possible. So a great organiser for your reusable bags is this dispenser. I made mine years ago from this tutorial.
Another place where it is easy to make zero waste choices to save money and reduce plastic use is in the laundry room. What swaps can we make here?
Horse chestnut laundry soap
Soap nuts are a great alternative to standard washing liquids and powders. But did you know you can also make your own laundry detergent from buckeyes or horse chestnuts. Yes, at certain times of year, conkers are all over the ground. Why not make your own washing liquid from this plentiful local resource? Find out how here.
Homemade laundry tablets
Alternatively, you can use soap nuts, or homemade laundry tablets. Read this tutorial and learn how to make your own eco friendly laundry tablets.
Mesh bags for washing
Mesh bags are great for keeping all your small items together, and for if you have bras with pads or underwires that can easily get lost. I use my produce bag tutorial with a muslin or cotton mesh fabric to make different sizes.
Tumble Dryer sheets
Finally in the laundry room, you may use a tumble dryer, and if you do have you ever used tumble dryer sheets? Well they are part plastic, and so to reduce this wastage why not make your own very easy tumble dryer sheets? Honestly it is one of the easiest things to do. See how to make your own in this tutorial.
Next on the list of places to find zero waste swaps to make is the bathroom.
Reusable Sanitary Pads
One of the biggest wastage areas for most women in the bathroom happens during their menstrual cycle each month. SO much plastic is in disposable sanitary pads. So it really does make sense to make the switch to reusables.
You can buy them, but my free sanitary pad pattern is incredibly easy. And you can upcycle old towels to make these as and when you need new ones.
Reusable Sanitary Towel Wet Bag
If you are using reusable sanitary pads you do need some ways of storing the wet pads in your bag once used. See my tutorial here on how to make a wet and dry bag for using your reusable sanitary pads.
Reusable Make Up Remover Pads
These little cute makeup remover pads are a perfect way of reducing cotton wool wastage. Just pop them in a little mesh bag and wash them once they get grubby. See my tutorial and pattern here.
Crocheted Face Scrubber
Alternatively, instead of fabric pads, if you are good at crochet you can make your own soft wooden make up remover pads instead. See how in this post.
Upcycled Towel pouf
When it comes to the shower, I hate those plastic poufs that you get in gift sets. But I love to exfoliate! So this upcycled towel shower pouf is a great way of getting the shower scrub that I want without the plastic. Find my tutorial here.
Recycled Burlap Pouf
And do you fancy even more scrubbing power? Then this burlap or hessian scrubber pouf for the shower packs even more of a punch! Find out how to make it here.
Do you struggle to keep your hair dry when you bathe or shower? Then this shower cap can really help. Be even more zero waste – pack it when you travel to stop you using the disposable plastic ones. Find out how to make your own.
Soap holder pouch
It’s even more zero waste to take soap into the shower than bottles and gels. So why not make one of these soap holder pouches to stop your soap getting mushy?
Bath mitt with soap pouch
And alternatively, you can upcycle a towel to make this make this bath mitt with a soap pouch too! See the tutorial here.
And just as in the kitchen, it is so much more zero waste to make your own bathroom cleaner. Find my easy DIY surface cleaner recipe here.
You can use your own home made cleaner with your own zero waste wipes. Just cut some old towels into squares, serge around them and soak in your cleaner to make zero waste disinfectant wipes. You can also keep them in a large jar for when you need them. Find a good tutorial here.
Toilet cleaner bombs
A lot of the toilet cleaners on the shelves are really bad for the environment. I couldn’t believe it when I found a brilliant method of cleaning my loo with ease! And find a method for making toilet bombs to keep your loo sparkling clean and fresh here.
Lastly, it may be quite taboo, but you can reduce your toilet paper wastage by using family cloth. Most people use them after a bidet/lota or just for pee. Use the cloth pieces when you have been to the loo, place them in a bin, and then soak and / or wash them in your washing machine. Find out more about family cloth here.
Around The Home
There are lots of other zero waste crafts and sewing projects that you can use all around the home too.
Rag rugs have to be one of my favourite zero waste craft ideas. It is such a good way of making sure none of your old clothes go to landfill. Make pretty rugs for all around the house with this tutorial.
I store my smallest fabric scraps in a fabric basket that I made when I first started sewing. If you make a large enough bag with reinforced/interfaced sides these could also be used as waste paper bins.
Another brilliant way to use up fabric scraps is to make scrap fabric twine. And by coiling and sewing these together, or maybe using the fabric scraps around a central cord, you can build up zero waste basket bowls and placemats. Find out how here.
Fabric napkins are a brilliant replacement for disposable paper tissues and napkins. And they are incredibly easy to make. Read how you can make your own here.
Swiller mop replacement head covers are full of plastic, but i love my mop. So I made a replacement cover and wipes that can be used with my swiffer to make it much more zero waste. Find out how to make your own here.
Similarly, buying refills for the swiffer duster is costly and wasteful. The swiffer refills are packed with plastic. Why not make your own and save money with this tutorial?
Fabric coasters and placemats
Fabric coasters and placemats are the perfect idea for the busy family home. They can be washed and reused, and make brilliant presents too. Find out how to make them here.
DIY Floor cleaner
Just as with the surface cleaner, it is easy to make your own natural eco friendly floor cleaner instead of buying plastic bottles of store bought brands. And you can usually make it with items you would normally find in your store cupboard. See how I made my floor cleaner for using with my swiffer mop.
It is fine heating your home up just to waste energy as it all goes out under a door crack. So making these draught excluders is the perfect way to ensure the heat doesn’t escape, saving you money and keeping you warmer this year! Find out how to make them here.
Bin liner from newspaper
One of my favourite zero waste projects around the home is using old newspapers. If you stick a couple of sheets together, with a few folds you can get a pretty sturdy bin liner. This also works well in your compost bin as long as things don’t get too wet!
Finally, when working out in the garden, a kneeler pad makes the work easier for your joints. This project shows you how you can make a pad for your knees out of old towels and cloth.
When Pregnant / With A Young Child
I didn’t take up sewing until my little girl was around 6 months old, so sadly I missed out on creating some of these items. But if I had been on my zero waste journey then, I would definitely have made some of these, as they are great ways of reducing some of the single use plastic that seems to be thrown your way as a new mum.
Babies are messy. So these baby bibs will be a very welcome addition to any household. Find my easy tutorial and pattern here.
Nursing breast pads
Even before the baby is born, you may start leaking breast milk. SO these nursing pads are a lovely gift for a very pregnant or newborn mum. Find how to make them here.
Reusable Diapers / Nappies & Covers
Just as with most reusable pads, disposable diapers are full of nasty plastics. Reduce your use of these by using reusable bamboo or terry cloth nappies. You can buy them and take a pattern from those, or find a tutorial with an integrated nappy cover here.
You may go through a tonne of disposable wet wipes before your baby turns one. Instead, why not upcycle some old soft cloths or towels to make some reusable wet wipes? Keep them in a box with some water whilst on the go and it will save money and the environment.
Similar to baby bibs, burp cloths are a brilliant way of upcycling old cloth and sheets. Find out how to make your own here.
Nappy Wet Bag
When my little one was small, I did make a wet bag for clothes and our used homemade wet wipes. If you are going zero waste these wet bags are really useful and easy to make. Just make a zipped bag but as large as you need and add a waterproof lining. Find a bag making tutorial here.
Nappy Storage Bag
Similarly, you may also want a dry nappy storage bag for when you are out and about.
Finally, muslin cloths are incredibly easy to make. Just hem large squares of old cotton bedding and you can make as many of them in as many sizes as you require!
Christmas and Birthdays
Christmas and birthdays are very wasteful times in the calendar. So many decorations, cards and presents contain plastic, and a lot just gets thrown away afterwards.
See my post on how to have a more zero waste Christmas.
But what zero waste diy projects in particular can we be making to reduce waste during our celebrations?
Reusable Gift Bags
Gift wrap very rarely can be recycled, unless it is totally plastic free with no tape attached. You can reuse it, but that only lasts so long. Why not make reusable gift bags and reuse these for your presents to each other within the family each year instead? Find out how here.
Reusable Sewn Tags
As well as making reusable wrapping bags, sewing gift tags that can be reused over and over again is a great way to stopping waste at Christmas and at birthdays. Find a tutorial here.
Another incredibly wasteful thing we all have at Christmas is Christmas crackers! So why not reduce the wasted by making these gorgeous reusable fabric crackers that can be used year after year?
Christmas Card Garland
A lovely way of reusing your old Christmas cards from last year is to upcycle them into a card garland. Just cut them into circles, stick two circles back to back and sew through them one by one. Free decor!
Christmas Card Gift Tags
As well as using your old cards as a garland, why not use them to make gift tags for your presents? You just need to cut rectangles with pinking shears, punch a hole in one end and add an upcycled ribbon!
A really easy and simple way to decorate your house whatever the occasion is by making reusable bunting. You can use old fabric scraps or even old clothes! This simple tutorial shows you how.
Alternatively, you can make a no sew garland by just knotting fabric scraps around a length of cord or twine. See my tutorial how to make your own.
Furoshiki Wrap has been around for centuries. Why not use an old scarf or large hemmed square of old cloth (bedding perhaps?) and wrap your presents in this eco friendly fashion instead of using standard gift wrap? See a tutorial here.
Scrap fabric twine
I love making scrap fabric twine, which can be used to make jewellery, bowls, placemats and lots of other things. Or you could just use it to tie around your gifts when wrapping.
Scrap Fabric Wreath
A scrap fabric wreath is a brilliant door adornment that can cost pennies to make. Use old scraps to make this easy wreath that can be adapted all year round, for Christmas, Halloween or Easter. See my tutorial.
Advent Calendar Bags
Advent calendars are a hugely wasteful thing that you might buy year after year. Instead of wasting all that money, why not make these cute advent calendar bags and fill them with candy or little gifts for each day instead? Here is how to make them.
Water balloon alternative
Is is summer and you want to have a water ballon fight? Well think of the money you can save and the single use plastic you will stop using if you use this water balloon alternative!
Finally, if your little one does have a party, consider not having plastic party bags with plastic tat in. Instead send your guests home with reusable homemade party bags with sweets and gifts that will be appreciated more. Use my lined drawstring bag tutorial or make a zipped pouch with a long cord strap for a perfect little girl party bag!
Eating Out & On The Go
It is also important to remember to be a little bit more sustainable when you are out and about, travelling and eating on the go. By making zero waste swaps when you are away from home, you can save even more money!
Plastic sandwich bags and ziplock bags are definitely things that need to be relegated to the history books. Why not make your own reusable wraps with my easy tutorial?
Alternatively, you can use a snack pack to carry around those vital victuals. Here is a great tutorial.
Reusable Straw case
Also when you are out and about don’t forget to carry your reusable bamboo or stainless steel straw! And you can prevent your pocket or purse lining from getting wet by carrying it in this handy reusable straw case. Find the easy sewing tutorial here.
Along with your reusable straw, you may want to carry a full set of cutlery around if you eat out a lot. This tutorial shows you how you can make a lovely fabric cutlery case for a bamboo or metal knife fork and spoon set.
Toothbrush travel case
As well as being a handy case for a reusable straw, my sewing tutorial also doubles as a great travel case for your toothbrush.
Travel Trash Bag
When you are out and about you might need somewhere to place your rubbish so you can dispose of it in the right bins when you get home. This travel trash bag is a great way to keep your car clean too.
In the coldest months of the year, these hand warmers are a brilliant reusable way of keeping your hands toasty. Plus they are so easy to make. Find the tutorial here.
Forget about disposable tissues. Instead use reusable and washable hankies. An incredibly easy gift idea, you can find a tutorial here
Reusable Tote Bag
When out and about it is always more zero waste to have your own bag just in case you buy something. I make these great reusable tote bags for having in my purse when I am on the go. They are just an incredibly handy thing to have. Find the easy tutorial here.
Drawstring Bag – Travel Washbag
It is pretty easy to make a zero waste travel washbag. I used my drawstring bag pattern with a waterproof material for the lining. They make great presents and can easily be washed and used over and over!
So there you have a whole load of easy DIY zero waste ideas for home. Do you think that you will be making any of these zero waste project ideas?
And would you like to see some more zero waste sewing projects? Well I love making things with waste materials and that is why I also have a mega list of what to do with your leftover fabric scraps. Do go take a look!
Or maybe you would prefer my post on how to go about upcycling old clothes.
And have I missed anything off this list? Anything that you think would be improved by being reusable? Do get in touch. Comment below or find me over on my social media channels
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