At-home exercises to reach zero waste

Aug 13, 2020 - 3:39 pm

Zero Waste by 2040

By: Bailey Grimmett 

Austin has a goal to reach zero waste by 2040. Zero waste means keeping at least 90 percent of discarded materials out of landfills, and we’re still working towards that goal. How can Austin get into better 'zero waste' shape by 2040?

Here are five at-home exercises you can add to your daily routine to help Austin reach that zero waste goal from home!

Exercise #1: A waste reduction warm-up

Man rents a bicycle

Before buying or online shopping, find alternative options to buying ‘new’:

  • Rent what you don’t need every day. Do you regret purchasing a dress for that one event, or the equipment for that one project? Are these things now lurking in the corner of your closet or garage? Look online for rental options for everyday items—you may be surprised to find how many things are for rent just by typing “Rent [ITEM]” in your search bar.
  • Reuse your stuff in a creative way. Try turning a worn out t-shirt into a useful shopping bag or look for local businesses that sell secondhand or upcycled (i.e. things made out of other things) items. Many thrift stores are now offering online ordering, curbside pickups and outdoor sales.

Exercise #2: Repair your things, repeat

Woman uses a sewing machine to stitch a shirt

Fix what you already have by attending a Fix-It At Home! class. During these interactive, online classes, local instructors will teach you how to repair your broken items. Not only is it fun to pick up new skills, but you can save money and your treasured items in the process. Connect with fellow DIY repairers across the globe by following or posting the hashtag #FixAtHome.

Exercise #3: Food waste workout

Woman puts food scraps in Bokashi in-home composting system

Are you ordering more take-out? Learning to cook sourdough bread? Don’t trash the leftovers or food waste! Uneaten food is a valuable and natural resource that has many benefits. Find out how your food waste can benefit your home (apartments included)! You may even be eligible for a home composting or chicken keeping rebate.

Exercise #4: Yard trimmings and lawn care – breaking a sweat

Person used lawn mower to cut grass

More Austinites at home means more time for lawn care. Did you know there has been an 89 percent increase in yard trimmings collection in Austin since March 2020? Instead of removing yard trimmings, find out ways to put them to use. Try ‘grass-cycling,’ spend time with your family or roommates composting in the backyard, or turn your trimmings into mulch. Learn more about reusing your yard trimmings.

Exercise #5: Stretch your ‘stuff’

Clothing and accessories boxed up to be swapped

Give your unwanted items a second life by finding ways to keep them in use:

  • Share items in a safe and fun way. Try a social distance swap with your neighbors or find ways to share your items through the Buy Nothing Project.
  • Donate items to one of the many organizations on the Austin Reuse Directory. Be sure to call drop-off locations before visiting to learn about their COVID-19 safety protocols. If you are an Austin Resource Recovery customer and unable to drop off items, schedule a pick-up of unwanted clothing and housewares through the curbside collection program.

Post zero-waste workout tip

Cat buried in pile of bubble wrap

If you find yourself ordering things online more, you may have more packing materials such as cardboard boxes and bubble wrap in your home. With a 146 percent growth in all online retail orders, let’s make sure we’re recycling right when the time comes. Use our What do I do with tool or download the new Austin Recycles App for your Apple or Android device to find out what to do with just about anything.

Repeat these exercises daily and see results in just a few weeks!

For more ways to exercise your zero waste muscles at home, follow Austin Resource Recovery on Facebook and sign up for our newsletter for tips, how-to's, stories, news and inspirational ideas on rethinking your waste.