Zero Waste Life in 5 easy steps

Zero waste living is possible as US blogger Mailyn reveals. Her five R’s of zero waste are easy to follow for everyone….and they might inspire you for 60 Days Green.

Zero Waste Life in 5 easy steps

Why waste free?

Humans are using up more of the planet than there is planet to use. And then we throw it away. This isn’t sustainable.

There are a new tribe of ‘zero wasters’ out there leading the way in sustainable living.

Mailyn is a blogger from the US who set herself the challenge of going waste free for 12 months. In that time she managed to cut her rubbish down to one small jam jar. Yes, one jam jar of rubbish for a whole 12 months. This is how she did it…

The 5 R's of zero waste

Mailyn set out five easy rules to live by that have helped her to live her dream of a zero waste life. She calls them the 5 R’s.



Simply refuse to buy what you don’t really need. Don’t give in to marketing, don’t buy into the myth that more stuff makes you happier.

And conversely don’t refuse free stuff if you can make use of it. Embrace the discarded things.



Buy less of what you do need, don’t over stock. Pick the stuff that isn’t packaged to the max, does fruit really need to be wrapped in cellophane? Buy direct from the greengrocer and just pick what you need, pop it into a reusable bag – zero waste made easy.

There are more stores offering by weight produce now, such as cereal and cleaning products. If you need to buy these, bring your own container and fill up by weight so you aren’t paying for extra packaging that will just go to landfill anyway.

Reusing or re-purposing


Give old stuff a new lease of life. That old pillowcase can make a great bag. An old jam jar can be a new storage container – or even a plant pot. The possibilities are endless.

Invest in a reusable bottle and save on plastic bottles for water. Fill it up, take it with you whenever you leave the house.


NEA recycling bins, Orchard Road" by Terence Ong - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons
NEA recycling bins, Orchard Road” by Terence Ong – Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Commons

Make use of recycling facilities at home and at work. Paper, card, plastic, tin, glass, it can all be recycled so don’t throw it in the rubbish.

Stamps can be removed from letters and saved for charities Р you are doing double the amount of good then!



If it can go back to the earth – let it. Food scraps, card and things like tea bags can go into a compost caddy. If you don’t have a garden find out where your local composting bins are, many parks have them and you can add your scraps to that. A bi-weekly drop off is all it takes and you get the bonus of some exercise too.

Everyone can do something

The 5 R’s are a great guide, and even if you do just one or two of them it is a great start, and contributes to a bigger picture of a cleaner, less wasteful world.

You can hear Mailyn’ story in her own words here.

And apart from knowing that you are doing your bit to protect the future, you’ll save money and get healthier too. This a win-win situation.

For more inspiration check out Mailyn’s blog.

And this Guardian article lists a whole host of zero waste bloggers that might be worth a moment of your time.