Zero Waste Team: ABCs Of Zero Waste

Zero Waste

Zero Waste Tip: We don’t need a handful of people doing ZERO WASTE perfectly.  We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

Action! Doing a few small things is better than nothing. Make small changes to your daily habits before making dramatic changes to your life.

Beeswax cloth food wraps: These are a great way to reduce plastic use in the kitchen.  They seal to a container (bowl, other) with the warmth of your hands, and they work great to wrap up a half a piece of fruit or to use for a sandwich in a lunch.

Carpool: Commit to sharing a ride or taking the bus once per week.

Dishes: Turn off the faucet when you’re not filling the sink or rinsing a dish. Much of our wasted water comes from running the tap unnecessarily.

Eat local: Eat dining “in” rather than take-out. Remember to take your own reusable containers for leftovers.

Fruit sharing: Put a sign in your yard encouraging neighbors to pick, or knock on a neighbor’s door and ask if you can pick!

Go green at the grocery: Bring re-usable grocery bags with you. Re-usable fruit and bulk item bags are also a good idea – buy them online or make them at home yourself!

Honesty: Be honest with yourself about what you are buying, using (or not using) and throwing away.

If everyone used a rain barrel, we would capture a lot of water for use in the yard.  Consider getting one if you don’t already have one.

Just walk: Can you park in one place when you’re in town and walk to your other destinations?

Kids: Get kids and teens involved. Plant a garden, pick fruit, clean up trash, have a conversation about our planet. Children are the future and are our renewable resources!

Local: Support the farmer’s market and buy local produce.  It’s delicious and it hasn’t traveled far, meaning less gas has been used and less greenhouse gasses are emitted.

Model good behavior: Use reusable cups and to-go containers.  Bring your own water bottle and fill it. Pick up trash when you see it.  Rinse recyclables before you put them in the recycle bin. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store.  Be the change you wish to see in the world!

Neighbors: Does someone have a compost station you could dump your grass clippings or kitchen food scraps in?  Can they help you start a garden? Talk to your neighbors about what they can do to help; you may get some good tips from them in return!

Organic: Try buying ONE organic item, either that one thing consistently (eggs or milk) or buy ONE item per week at the store. We vote with our dollars!

Plastic: Pay attention to how much plastic you use.  Count the number of items in your grocery cart that have plastic.  Can you reduce or reuse any of this? Can it be recycled?

Question where things come from: Is it local? Did it get shipped across the country or across the planet? Is it responsibly sourced? 

Reduce, then Reuse, then Repair, then Recycle: Reusable containers like glass jars make great containers for storing fresh herbs, dried spices, baking supplies, salad dressing, salads for lunch, and more!

Styrofoam: Reject anything that comes in a Styrofoam container.  Ask if there is another way to get what you need. Styrofoam can not be recycled in your blue recycle container.

Take out: Bring your own containers when planning to eat out or getting takeout.  Ask businesses to consider going to paper rather than using foam or plastic.

Universal benefits of going green: Healthier planet, healthier kids, healthier forests, air and oceans.  Frequently, reducing your consumption also reduces your bills. Save on heating/AC, gas, and food waste and see more money in your pocket.

Vegetables: Reducing your meat consumption is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint.  Some choose “Meatless Monday,” and others “Meaty Monday,” where Monday is the one day per week to consume meat.  Whichever you choose, know that there are thousands of delicious vegetable-centered recipes out there. And, veggies are really good for you. 

Water reduction: Water your garden in cooler hours of the day, when running water waiting for it to get hot, keep a bowl or pot under the tap and use this water to water house plants, hanging baskets or gardens.

Xeriscape: Native plants in gardens will help pollinators like bees, butterflies and hummingbirds flourish.  Decorative rocks in all sizes save on watering and are a beautiful and eco-friendly way to beautify your landscape.

Yard trimming roll cart: Los Alamos County will provide you with a yard trimmings cart (for no additional fee to your waste service) and this goes into making mulch.  Give your garden waste a new life! Register today at the Los Alamos County Environmental Services website.

Zero waste doesn’t mean you NEVER go out, never drive, never consume.  We don’t need a handful of people doing ZERO WASTE perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

For more information you can check out Los Alamos County Environmental Service webpage at Zero Waste Los Alamos Team is on Facebook! If you have any questions please feel free to contact the Zero Waste Team at or Environmental Services at, or 505-662-8163.