Zero Waste and Frugal Homesteading

People homestead for a variety of reasons. Zero waste and homesteading go hand in hand. This not only helps the environment but saves a good amount of money over your lifetime.

Chickens enjoying food scraps

Using kitchen scraps for compost or chicken feed results in zero food waste. Yes, even meat is fine to feed chickens. Though rotten food can potentially get a chicken sick, as long as they have access to other food, they avoid anything that is too spoiled for safety. between a dog and chickens, we have zero food waste. Even what the chickens do not East gets mixed in with their manure which I collect for great garden fertilizer.

Electric tools take less maintenance and are catching up to some gas powered tools in power (though we are not quite their for the more powerful ones). Look into electric lawn mowers, weed trimmers, and chainsaws instead of their gas counterparts to avoid having to pick up ethanol free gas regularly and maintainthe more complicated engines. Ideally you can pick one company and use just a few of the batteries interchangeably to keep costs down.

Instead of ziplock bags, use glass containersand silicone stretch lids over bowls or silicone reusable bags (especially dishwasher safe ones). They even make aluminum can lids you can wash in your dishwasher.

For guys, when you shave, use an electric trimmer or old fashioned razors instead of disposable blades.

It might sound weird, but instead of toilet paper, look into a bidet. Works better and only uses water. Even the cold water versions are really not uncomfortable and are very inexpensive ($20). I have enjoyed mine for a year or more and would never go back. I only use toilet paper for a runny nose now (and even then, you can use cloth handkerchiefs).

Girls have the option to use silicone menstrual cups instead of disposable feminine products.

Reusable metal straws are the best. We use ours almost daily. We just rinse them out when done then run them through the dishwasher later and have no buildup of food or need to use a small brush.

If you use coffee pods, by a reusable pod and buy coffee beans or grounds to refill it. We use an espresso machine and roast our own beans for it. We try to use the coffee grounds in our compost/chicken bin so they end up feeding our garden eventually too.

Instead of to go cups, use a vacuum sealed — look for a dishwasher safe version for easy cleaning.

Paper towels are handy, but most of the time a towel will suffice. They also make washable “paper“ towels that look and feel like a paper towel with good absorbency but are washable. Just make sure everyone knows not to throw it out. 😉

When on the go, consider using metal silverware instead of plastic and wash it when you get home.

Reuse your amazon boxes or newspaper spread out on top of your soil in your garden to get rid of weeds. Put some compost on top then mulch to avoid weeds for months or years!

Punch holes in the bottom of aluminum cans or plastic containers and use them as starting pots for seedlings. You can also use these containers for storing small objects like nails and screws in your garage.

Most lumber or furniture that is not rotten can be repurposed for other projects. Think outside the box. We used some old window sills as open shelves in our master bedroom and an old kitchen sink is going in our greenhouse. Sometimes furniture that is outdated just needs to be sanded down and stained or painted a different color. Old windows make great cold frames (mini greenhouses for growing plants in the cold seasons).

Five gallon buckets make great planters with some holes drilled in them. I have also made chicken feeders and waterers from them. You can’t have too many five gallon buckets for hauling tools and water on a homestead.

Pallets can be built into raised beds and all sorts of furniture.

Replace your lawn with a bigger garden to avoid having to mow and let your land actually produce resources rather than expend them.

Donate old clothes and toys to a thrift store. Embrace minimalism and avoid making unnecessary purchases. Focus on buying quality and practical items rather than the alternative on a whim. Take a day or two before buying anything unnecessary and ask yourself if you really need or can use this item. Most of the time the answer is, “No.”

Purchase rechargeable versions of your most used batteries such as AA or AAA.

Use a water flosser instead of dental floss.

Minimalism, frugality, homesteading, and zero waste have quite a bit of overlap. Whatever your motives, some of these tips can help the environment and your wallet at the same time.