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8 Zero-Waste Swaps for a Sustainable New Year

An assortment of sustainable DIY projects

A new year, a fresh start, and the ideal time to begin something. The idea of making big or small changes to improve our lives seems to be an appealing notion for many of us and though we have the option to make these resolutions any time , the New Year seems to carry a certain weight. It is a jumping off point, an invitation to assess what is working in our lives and what isn’t. The resolutions themselves are almost a way to formalize our desire to create new habits, practices, and routines that will better serve ourselves and the world around us. This year, I’m not asking myself as much about what isn’t working for me in my personal life, but more what I am doing that isn’t working for the world. What habits can I change to better serve the planet that I live on?

With climate change looming large for all of us, it is easy to get overwhelmed or discouraged by the sheer size of the problem. However, there are small ways in which we can alter our daily practices that will have a positive impact, and resolving to make these changes can be a very empowering answer to the anxiety we may feel about addressing global issues.

Landfills are a top source of methane emissions, a powerful greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change. As a zero-waste company, Mountain Rose Herbs recognizes that one of the best ways to reduce waste is to avoid creating it whenever possible. Buying in bulk and reusing containers are low-hanging fruit. But what does this mean for changing habits in our households? Fun, easy, and sustainable DIY projects! With this in mind, I gathered a few recipes from around our blog to help inspire sustainability-themed New Year’s resolutions.

 "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has." -Margaret Mead

Adorable homemade soap nut laundry bricks sit in a jar

use Soap nuts for laundry soap

Did you know that 700 million laundry detergent containers are thrown into landfills in the US each year? Crafting your own soap nut laundry detergent means you won’t contribute to that number. There are only three ingredients, so it is simple to make and gentle on the planet. You can also customize the scent based on which essential oils you choose; this is a huge bonus for me as I have a rather picky nose.

try Natural Herbal sachets instead of dryer sheets

Dryer sheets are single-use products which is always a red flag for folks that are trying to reduce their waste. They are also often scented synthetically and can emit harmful chemicals into the air. I know that one of my least favorite things to experience on an evening walk is a scent blast from someone’s dryer vent. Herbal sachets are a great alternative for anyone that wants to add a little natural scent to their laundry without the waste or synthetic aromas.

A cookie is dunked into a frothy glass of homemade hemp milk

make your own hemp milk

The sustainability of the hemp plant is well known. This versatile plant is fast growing and incredibly productive which means that hemp milk is also one of the most sustainable milk alternatives around. Homemade hemp milk is not only sustainable, but its flavor is a far cry above its store-bought counterparts, and it is also free of preservatives and other additives.

Try chicory root as a coffee alternative

Is one of your resolutions to cut back on coffee? This recipe is a lovely, caffeine-free substitute that brings all the joy of sipping on a warm beverage without the jittery fall out. Most coffee alternatives are prepackaged, so purchasing ingredients in bulk and creating your own blend is a creative way to avoid adding some extra packaging into your life.

A wooden toothbrush sits with some paste on it, ready to be used

make your own toothpaste

Over one billion toothpaste tubes are thrown into the landfill each year. Making your own toothpaste is the perfect way to end that cycle and gain more control over the ingredients that go into your toothpaste.

craft your own roll-on deodorant

Four billion plastic deodorant containers make their way into rivers, streams, oceans, and landfills each year. Who knew that smelling good could create that much waste? This recipe uses natural ingredients and a glass, reusable bottle. It’s another opportunity to be creative in the new year and to craft your own scent blends. Sustainability and aromatherapy in one project!

A glass spray bottle filled with cleaner amongst flowers

Make a DIY surface cleaning spray

Talking about all of the plastic bottles that get thrown away is always disheartening. More than 60 million plastic bottles, including those used for cleaning products, get thrown away each day. The good news is that by crafting your own spray cleaners and using upcycled plastic bottles or glass bottles you can help alleviate that output. This is another quick and easy recipe that can help you achieve your low-waste goals.

Craft Your own natural toilet cleansing powder

Conventional toilet bowl cleansers contain chemicals like chlorine, ammonia, triclosan, diethylene glycol, and sodium dichloriosocyanurate. These chemicals are extremely detrimental to waterways and aquatic life and are not removed in water treatment facilities, meaning they make their way out into the world and wreak havoc on aquatic habitats and natural systems. Making your own cleaner is an easy way to make sure that the ingredients are not harmful, and allows you to avoid excess packaging.

*The above facts and statistics come from US consumer habits and the waste generated from single-use containers.

Want more Diy projects for a sustainable household?

Check out these Green ideas for the kitchen!


You may also enjoy:

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Topics: Natural Body Care, Recipes, Sustainability, Tea & Herbal Drinks, Green Living


Written by Maia on December 30, 2021

Maia was born and raised in Eugene Oregon. An avid nature and animal lover, when she is not snapping blog photos for Mountain Rose; you can find her romping around in the woods with her pup, having impromptu dance parties in her living room, experimenting in the kitchen, and looking for new sci-fi and fantasy stories to dive into.

Woman breathing in mindfully next to an essential oil diffuser.


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