Zero Waste lifestyle during the pandemic

While some of our zero waste practices have been curtailed during the pandemic, and work may have become more blended with our home life, there is still plenty we can do to reduce waste at home and away from home.

The following has been excerpted from tips compiled by the Zero Waste North Bay Task Force. Visit the link below to see the entire list of thoughtful suggestions.

Purchase to minimize waste

We can’t buy in bulk, but we can buy larger packages with less individual wrappings. You can special order gallon-sized containers of shampoo, conditioner, liquid soap, etc.

Essential and necessary for you and something that you don’t already have too much of (to ensure others also have the option to get their essentials).

Made of the highest recycled content.

Reusable, recyclable, and/or compostable packaging. Choose glass or aluminum containers if you want to cut down on plastic.

Shop local

Shop local to Sonoma County (this supports our local economy and businesses to recover faster from this crisis and ensures a lower carbon footprint).

If you shop online, choose a company that is local to Sonoma County, if possible, and uses alternative fuels or electric vehicles.

Add things to your cart, but don’t purchase until you absolutely need something in your cart. In other words, make purchases less frequently so that the order can be consolidated in packaging and less trips made to your residence.

Choose the longer delivery time (some companies will give you perks if you choose a longer delivery time).

Create a note in your online order requesting less packaging, recycled packaging, recyclable, or compostable packaging, etc.

Buy items with recycled content

Did you know that purchasing items made with recycled content does wonders for increasing demand and supporting markets for recycled materials?

Many everyday items including apparel, household goods, and personal care products are made with post-consumer recycled materials. Selecting these goods helps reduce your personal carbon footprint compared to purchasing products made from non-recycled alternatives.

To find items made with recycled content, please visit

Use reusable shopping bags

Yes, you can still use them! Instead of using single-use paper or plastic bags at check-out, load your paid-for groceries back into your shopping cart.

When you wheel the cart to your car, transfer the items into your reusable bags in your trunk. Or, if you walked to the store, transfer items into your reusable bags outside the store.


When ordering take-out, ask that restaurants do not include utensils.

When patronizing your local coffee shop, purchase the smallest size so that less waste is made with the cup. For example, cappuccinos, macchiatos, etc. all have smaller cups than regular coffees, therefore smaller amounts of landfill waste and they also don’t usually require a lid. They have just as much caffeine, if not more.

Reduce Junk Mail

Opt out of receiving junk mail.

Prevent food loss

Explore tips for smarter meal planning, whipping up new recipes, and becoming better at storing your ingredients.

Compost at home

Food loss prevention and food donation are best, but if you need to dispose of food...please compost. Turn your organic materials such as leaves and food scraps into a nutrient-rich soil amendment. Compost helps plants grow and improves water retention in soil.

Get tips for making your own compost, or vermicompost (worm compost) at home.

Learn why compost is important to combat climate change.