Zero Waste DIY Projects: Upcycle for a Better World

DIY spelled in wooden letters on the table

Person upcycling glass jars into candle holders in workshop.

Living a green life can seem challenging, especially regarding waste production in the home. Did you know many everyday items contribute unnecessarily to landfill waste? Our article provides easy and creative DIY projects that help reduce household waste and make your home more sustainable.

Let’s embark on this eco-conscious journey together for a cleaner, healthier planet!

Key Takeaways

  • DIY projects like making unpaper towels, twine scrubbing sponges, reusable snack bags, zero-waste sandwich bags, and beeswax wraps can help reduce waste and make your home more sustainable.
  • By making your own eco-friendly kitchen products and cleaning supplies, you can eliminate the need for single-use items and reduce plastic waste.
  • These DIY projects contribute to a more sustainable home and save money in the long run.
  • Embracing a zero-waste lifestyle through these projects allows us to minimize environmental impact while enjoying the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and eco-friendly for our homes.

DIY Zero-Waste Products for the Kitchen

Create your own eco-friendly kitchen products that produce zero waste, such as DIY unpaper towels, twine scrubbing sponges, reusable snack bags, zero-waste sandwich bags, and DIY beeswax wraps.

DIY Unpaper Towels

Making your own unpaper towels is one of the fantastic ways to add sustainable living habits to your household. Here’s how to make them:

  1. Choose an organic or recycled fabric, such as cotton flannel.
  2. Cut the fabric into square shapes, around 12×12 inches, for a standard kitchen towel size.
  3. Sew all four edges using a sewing machine or a needle and thread manually.
  4. Fit snaps onto each corner of the towel; this allows you to connect them together in a roll, mimicking a traditional paper towel roll.
  5. Ensure that you use the print-on-demand process, minimizing waste from excess fabric and ink.
  6. Keep a basket or container in your kitchen where used unpaper towels can be dropped until washing day.
  7. Unpaper towels are not only reusable but are also more absorbent and softer than conventional paper towels over time.
  8. You’ll save money by reducing your dependency on disposable products while contributing to waste reduction in your home.

Twine Scrubbing Sponge

Looking for an eco-friendly alternative to your kitchen scrubber? Try making a Twine Scrubbing Sponge with these simple steps:

  1. Gather your materials: You will need a piece of natural twine, preferably made from organic cotton or hemp, scissors, and a needle.
  2. Cut a length of twine: Measure out a length of twine approximately the size you want your sponge to be.
  3. Fold the twine in half: Take the piece of twine and fold it in half, creating a loop at one end.
  4. Thread the needle: Thread the needle with a small piece of twine, leaving a tail for later tying.
  5. Begin sewing: Starting at the looped end, begin sewing through both strands of twine, creating tight stitches that hold the strands together.
  6. Continue sewing: Sew along the length of the twine, making sure to keep your stitches close together and secure.
  7. Knot off the ends: Once you reach the end of the twine, tie the ends with a knot to secure them.
  8. Rinse and use: Rinse your new Twine Scrubbing Sponge under running water to remove any loose fibers before using it to scrub dishes or surfaces.

Reusable Snack Bags

Reusable snack bags are a great way to reduce waste and save money on single-use plastic bags. Here are some eco-friendly DIY projects you can try:

  • Sew your own snack bags using organic cotton or recycled fabric.
  • Choose fabrics with playful prints and patterns to make them more fun.
  • Use Velcro or snaps for closures instead of zippers to minimize waste.
  • Make different sizes of snack bags to accommodate various snacks.
  • Personalize the bags by adding labels or stitching on names or designs.
  • Wash the snack bags regularly to keep them clean and ready for reuse.
  • Pack snacks like fruits, nuts, granola bars, and crackers in these reusable bags.
  • Bring them for picnics, hikes, or packing lunches for work or school.
  • Encourage children to use reusable snack bags instead of disposable ones.
  • Teach kids about the importance of reducing waste and protecting the environment.

Zero-Waste Sandwich Bags

Zero-waste sandwich bags are a great alternative to single-use plastic bags. They are easy to make and can be reused repeatedly, reducing waste in your home. Here’s how you can make your own:

  • Choose a durable fabric such as cotton or linen. Organic and recycled fabrics are even better for sustainability.
  • Cut out two equal-sized rectangles of fabric, approximately 8×8 inches.
  • Place the right sides of the fabric together and sew around three sides, leaving one side open.
  • Turn the fabric right side out through the open side.
  • Fold the open edges inward and sew them closed, creating a neat seam.
  • To create a closure for your sandwich bag, attach Velcro dots or sew-on snaps to the top edge of the bag.
  • Now your zero-waste sandwich bag is ready to use! Simply place your sandwich inside, fold over the top flap, and secure it with the closure.

DIY Beeswax Wraps

Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to single-use plastic wraps for storing food. They can be easily made at home using simple ingredients and materials. Here’s how you can make your own beeswax wraps:

  • Start by gathering the following materials: 100% cotton fabric, beeswax pellets, pine resin, and jojoba oil.
  • Cut the fabric into desired sizes for your wraps. You can make them in various sizes to accommodate different types of food.
  • Preheat your oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place the fabric on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone mat.
  • Sprinkle a layer of beeswax pellets evenly over the fabric. You’ll want enough to cover the entire surface but not too thick to become clumpy.
  • Add a small amount of pine resin and jojoba oil to the beeswax. This will help give the wraps a sticky texture and improve their ability to cling to surfaces.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven for about 5 minutes or until the wax has melted completely.
  • Carefully remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a paintbrush or clean cloth to spread the melted wax evenly over the fabric, ensuring it covers every inch.
  • Allow the wraps to cool and harden completely before using them. This should only take a few minutes.
  • Once cooled, your homemade beeswax wraps are ready to use! Simply use them like you would plastic wrap – wrap them around containers or directly cover food items.

DIY Zero-Waste Products for Cleaning

Create your own eco-friendly cleaning products at home to reduce waste and promote a sustainable lifestyle.

DIY Dishwasher Tablets

  • Make your own eco-friendly dishwasher tablets at home using simple ingredients.
  • Mix together equal parts of baking soda, salt, and citric acid in a bowl.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil for a fresh scent (optional).
  • Slowly add water to the mixture until it forms a thick paste.
  • A silicone ice cube tray or mold is used to shape the mixture into tablets.
  • Let the tablets dry for 24 hours or until they are hardened.
  • Store the tablets in an airtight container until ready to use.
  • Place one tablet in your dishwasher’s detergent compartment before running a cycle.
  • The homemade dishwasher tablets are free from harmful chemicals found in commercial detergents.
  • Making your dishwasher tablets reduces plastic waste from packaging and eliminates the need for single-use products.

Reusable Dryer Sheets

Switch to reusable dryer sheets to reduce waste and save money. Reusable dryer sheets are a more sustainable alternative to single-use dryer sheets that often end up in landfills. Here’s why you should consider making your own:

  1. Environmentally friendly: Reusable dryer sheets eliminate the need for disposable options, reducing waste and minimizing your ecological footprint.
  2. Cost-effective: Making your own reusable dryer sheets can save you money in the long run since you won’t have to purchase disposable ones constantly.
  3. Easy to make: Creating reusable dryer sheets is a simple DIY project that requires minimal materials and time.
  4. Customizable scent: Using your choice of essential oils, you can add a pleasant fragrance to your laundry without relying on synthetic chemicals in conventional dryer sheets.
  5. Softens clothes naturally: The reusable dryer sheets soften your clothes as they tumble, leaving them feeling fresh and comfortable.
  6. Long-lasting: Unlike single-use options, reusable dryer sheets can be used multiple times before needing replacement, reducing waste.
  7. Safe for sensitive skin: Since you control the ingredients used in homemade dryer sheets, you can ensure they are gentle on sensitive skin.
  8. Versatile: Reusable dryer sheets work well with all types of fabrics and can be used with any drying method (machine or line drying).
  9. Zero-waste solution: When the dryer sheet loses its effectiveness, reapply a few drops of essential oil onto it, extending its lifespan even further.
  10. Sustainable laundry routine: Switching to reusable dryer sheets is just one small step towards creating a more sustainable home and reducing your impact on the environment.

DIY Wool Dryer Balls

  • Wool dryer balls are a great alternative to single-use dryer sheets.
  • They reduce drying time by absorbing moisture and creating space between clothes for better airflow.
  • Wool dryer balls can be made by rolling up 100% wool yarn scraps into tight balls.
  • Add a few drops of essential oil to the dryer balls to naturally scent your laundry.
  • They are reusable and can last for hundreds of loads, making them a sustainable option.
  • Wool dryer balls help soften fabrics without the use of synthetic chemicals found in traditional dryer sheets.
  • They also prevent static cling and reduce wrinkles in your clothes.
  • Using wool dryer balls can save energy and money by reducing drying time.
  • To use, toss 2 or 3 dryer balls into the dryer with each load of laundry.
  • After use, they can be stored in a jar or basket until the next load of laundry.

Zero-Waste Disinfectant Wipes

  • Make your own zero-waste disinfectant wipes at home using simple ingredients.
  • Mix equal parts of water and vinegar in a spray bottle to create a natural disinfectant solution.
  • Cut old t-shirts or towels into small squares for reusable wipes.
  • Soak the fabric squares in the disinfectant solution until fully saturated.
  • Store the wipes in an airtight container for easy access whenever needed.
  • Use these homemade wipes to clean surfaces, countertops, and other areas that need disinfecting.
  • After use, wash the wipes with your regular laundry to reuse them repeatedly.
  • This DIY project helps reduce waste by eliminating the need for disposable wipes.
  • It also avoids harmful chemicals in many commercial disinfectants, promoting a healthier home environment.
  • You can save money while protecting the planet by making your own zero-waste disinfectant wipes.

Reusable Swiffer Cover

Looking for a more eco-friendly alternative to disposable Swiffer covers? Look no further! Here’s a simple and sustainable DIY project to create your reusable Swiffer cover.

  1. Gather the materials:
  • An old microfiber cloth or an old T-shirt that you no longer need.
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine or needle and thread (optional)
  1. Measure and cut:
  1. Fold and secure:
  1. Turn it inside out:
  1. Attach Velcro strips:
  1. Attach to your Swiffer:
  1. Clean and reuse:

DIY Zero-Waste Products for Personal Care

– Make your own makeup remover pads using organic cotton fabric and a reusable container for storage.

– Create a toiletry travel kit by repurposing small containers and filling them with homemade, eco-friendly products like shampoo, conditioner, and toothpaste.

– Construct a zero-waste produce bag from an old t-shirt, perfect for carrying fruits and vegetables while shopping.

– Say goodbye to plastic wrap by making your own reusable bowl covers out of fabric scraps or beeswax wraps.

– Assemble a travel utensil kit using lightweight silverware that can be easily carried in your bag or purse.

Makeup Remover Pads

Makeup Remover Pads are essential in any skincare routine and can easily contribute to waste production. However, you can make your own eco-friendly, zero-waste makeup remover pads at home. Here’s how:

  1. Gather organic cotton fabric scraps or old t-shirts to use as the base for your pads.
  2. Cut the fabric into small circles or squares, around 3-4 inches in diameter.
  3. Sew two pieces of fabric together, leaving a small opening to turn them right-side out.
  4. Turn the fabric right-side out and stitch the opening closed.
  5. Add a layer of organic cotton batting between the two fabric pieces before sewing them together to make them more absorbent.
  6. Store your homemade makeup remover pads in a glass jar or container with a lid.

Toiletry Travel Kit

Are you tired of using single-use plastic toiletry bottles when you travel? Here’s a DIY zero-waste solution for all your travel needs:

  • Use small glass or metal containers to store your shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. These containers are reusable and can easily be refilled.
  • Make your own toothpaste tablets by mixing baking soda, coconut oil, and peppermint essential oil. Store them in a small tin or glass jar for easy travel.
  • Instead of using disposable cotton pads, make reusable makeup remover pads by cutting up old washcloths or towels. These can be washed and used again for future trips.
  • Create a homemade deodorant stick by mixing coconut oil, shea butter, baking soda, and your favorite essential oils. Pour the mixture into an empty deodorant container for easy application on the go.
  • Pack a bar of solid shampoo instead of a plastic bottle. Solid shampoos are eco-friendly and save space in your toiletry bag.
  • Don’t forget about dental floss! Opt for biodegradable dental floss made from silk or bamboo instead of traditional plastic.
  • Use a small tin or jar to store homemade lotion bars made from natural ingredients like cocoa butter and jojoba oil for moisturizer. Simply rub the bar between your hands to melt it before applying it to your skin.

DIY Zero-Waste Produce Bag

Looking for a way to reduce waste when grocery shopping? Try making your own zero-waste produce bag! They’re easy to make and can be used over and over again. Here’s how:

  • Choose a fabric: Look for lightweight mesh or cotton fabric that is breathable and washable.
  • Cut the fabric: Measure two pieces into rectangles, about 12 inches by 14 inches in size.
  • Sew the sides: Place the two pieces of fabric together, with the right sides facing each other. Use a sewing machine or hand stitch to sew along three sides, leaving one open.
  • Add a drawstring: Cut a ribbon or cord about 18 inches long. Fold it in half and insert it between the two layers of fabric at the top of the bag, aligning the ends with the open side. Sew across the top to secure the drawstring in place.
  • Finish the bag: Turn the bag right side out through the open side. Press it flat with an iron if desired.

Reusable Bowl Covers

Reusable bowl covers are a fantastic eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap or aluminum foil. They are easy to make and can be reused repeatedly, reducing waste in your kitchen. Here’s how you can make your own reusable bowl covers:

  1. Choose the fabric: Look for organic cotton or linen fabric, as they are more sustainable options. These fabrics are biodegradable and have a lower environmental impact than synthetic materials.
  2. Measure and cut: Measure the diameter of your bowls and add a few inches for overlap. Using these measurements, cut circles out of the fabric.
  3. Add elastic: Cut a piece of elastic slightly shorter than the circumference of your bowl. Sew or tie the ends together to form a loop. Pin the elastic around the edge of the fabric circle, spacing it evenly, and sew it in place.
  4. Finish the edges: Fold over the edges of the fabric, circle about half an inch all around, and sew them down to create a clean finish.
  5. Use and wash: Stretch the elasticized fabric cover over your bowl when storing leftovers or transporting food. Toss it in the washing machine with your regular laundry when it gets dirty.
  6. Repeat for different sizes: Make several reusable bowl covers in different sizes so you have options for various container sizes in your kitchen.

Travel Utensil Kit

If you want to reduce waste while on the go, a travel utensil kit is a must-have item. Here’s how to make your own eco-friendly kit:

  • Find a durable fabric, such as organic cotton or recycled polyester, and cut out a rectangular shape that will serve as the base of your utensil holder.
  • Sew pockets onto the fabric to hold your utensils securely. You can create different-sized pockets for items like knives, spoons, and chopsticks.
  • Use a sewing machine or hand-stitching to secure the pockets in place. Ensure they are tight enough to prevent the utensils from falling out during transportation.
  • To complete your kit, add an elastic band or button closure to keep everything neatly stored together.
  • Don’t forget to include reusable straws and a cleaning brush if you frequently use them.

DIY Zero-Waste Home Decor and Other Projects

For DIY zero-waste home decor and other projects, you can make bottle cap magnets, a wine cork board, reusable paper bowls, lavender sachets, and an easy DIY air freshener.

Bottle Cap Magnets

Bottle cap magnets are a fun and creative way to upcycle old bottle caps while adding flair to your refrigerator. Here’s how you can make your own:

  1. Collect bottle caps from your favorite beverages or ask friends and family to save them.
  2. Clean the bottle caps thoroughly with soap and water to remove any residue.
  3. Choose decorative paper or fabric scraps to cover the inside of the bottle cap. You can use recycled wrapping paper, old magazines, or fabric scraps from previous projects.
  4. Cut out a small circle of paper or fabric slightly larger than the inside of the bottle cap.
  5. Apply a small amount of glue to the inside of the bottle cap and press the paper or fabric circle onto it, ensuring it is centered.
  6. Let the glue dry completely.
  7. Add a layer of transparent adhesive sealant over the paper or fabric to protect it and give it a shiny finish.
  8. Once the sealant has dried, attach a small magnet to the back of each bottle cap using strong adhesive glue.

Wine Cork Board

Consider creating a wine corkboard to add a unique touch to your sustainable home decor. This DIY project helps repurpose old wine corks and prevents them from ending in landfills. Here’s how you can make your own wine corkboard:

  1. Collect many wine corks from your collection, or ask friends and family to save them.
  2. Prepare a sturdy backing for the cork board, such as a wooden frame or a bulletin board.
  3. Arrange the wine corks on the backing in any pattern or design you like.
  4. Use strong adhesive glue to secure the wine corks in place.
  5. Let the glue dry completely before handling or hanging the corkboard.
  6. Once dry, your wine corkboard is ready to be used!
  7. Hang it on a wall in your kitchen, office, or any other space to showcase your creativity and love for sustainability.

Reusable Paper Bowls

Reusable paper bowls are a fantastic zero-waste DIY project that can help reduce waste in your home. They are not only eco-friendly but also practical and fun to make. Here are the steps you can follow to create your own reusable paper bowls:

  1. Gather your materials: You will need old newspapers, a bowl as a mold, flour, and water paste (made by mixing equal parts flour and water), and a brush or sponge.
  2. Prepare the newspaper: Tear the newspaper into small strips or squares. Make sure to remove any glossy or colored pages, as they may contain chemicals that are unsafe for food.
  3. Create the paste: Mix equal parts of flour and water in a bowl until you achieve a smooth, glue-like consistency. This paste will act as an adhesive for your paper.
  4. Start layering: Dip each newspaper strip into the paste and then place it onto the bottom of the bowl, smoothing it out. Repeat this process, layering the strips until you have covered the entire surface of the bowl with about three layers.
  5. Let it dry: Allow the bowl to dry completely before removing it from the mold. This may take anywhere from 24-48 hours, depending on the humidity level in your area.
  6. Remove from mold: Once dry, gently peel away the edges of the paper bowl from the mold. Carefully lift it off, making sure not to tear or damage it.
  7. Optional waterproofing: If you plan on using your reusable paper bowls for wet foods like soups or salads, consider applying a food-safe sealant such as beeswax or natural oils to make them waterproof.
  8. Enjoy your eco-friendly bowls: Your reusable paper bowls are now ready to use! They can be used for serving snacks, holding fruit or vegetables, or even as decorative pieces around your home.

Lavender Sachets

Lavender sachets are an excellent DIY project that can add a lovely scent to your home and reduce waste. Here’s how you can make them:

  1. Gather dried lavender flowers, fabric scraps, and sewing supplies.
  2. Cut out two squares of fabric, around 4×4 inches in size.
  3. Place the fabric squares together, with the right sides facing each other.
  4. Sew around three sides of the fabric squares, leaving one side open.
  5. Turn the fabric right side out through the open side.
  6. Fill the sachet with dried lavender flowers until it is about two-thirds full.
  7. Fold the raw edges of the open side inward and sew it closed.
  8. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to the dried flowers to enhance the scent before filling the sachet.

Easy DIY Air Freshener

Looking for a simple and eco-friendly way to freshen up your home? Try making your own DIY air freshener! Not only will you save money, but you’ll also reduce waste by using natural ingredients. Here’s how:

  1. Gather your materials: You’ll need a small glass jar with a lid, baking soda, essential oils (such as lavender, citrus, or eucalyptus), and a small piece of breathable fabric.
  2. Fill the jar halfway with baking soda: Baking soda is excellent for absorbing odors and neutralizing unwanted smells in your home.
  3. Add 10-15 drops of essential oil: Choose your favorite scent or mix different oils together for a unique aroma. Essential oils not only smell great but can also provide aromatherapy benefits.
  4. Stir the mixture gently: Use a spoon to combine the baking soda and essential oil until they are well mixed.
  5. Cut a small piece of fabric: The fabric should be large enough to cover the jar’s opening.
  6. Secure the fabric with the lid: Place the fabric over the jar’s opening and screw on the lid tightly. This will allow the scent to slowly release into the air without letting any baking soda spill out.
  7. Place your DIY air freshener in any room of your home: Whether it’s your bathroom, kitchen, or living room, this homemade air freshener will keep your space smelling fresh and clean.
  8. Refresh as needed: Over time, the scent may fade. Simply add more essential oil drops to rejuvenate your air freshener.


In conclusion, these “10 Eco-Friendly Zero Waste DIY Projects for a Sustainable Home” offer practical and creative solutions to reduce waste and promote sustainability. By making our own products from recycled materials, we can minimize environmental impact while saving money.

Embracing a zero-waste lifestyle through these DIY projects benefits the planet and allows us to discover new skills and enjoy the satisfaction of creating something beautiful and eco-friendly for our homes.

Let’s take small steps toward a more sustainable future! Check out Journey to Conscious Living for more tips!


1. How can I start implementing zero waste practices in my home?

To start implementing zero waste practices in your home, you can begin by reducing single-use items, recycling and composting properly, opting for reusable alternatives, and finding creative ways to repurpose or upcycle materials.

2. Are DIY projects a practical way to create a sustainable home?

Yes, DIY projects can be a practical and cost-effective way to create a sustainable home. By using materials that would otherwise go to waste and creating your own products or solutions, you are able to reduce your environmental footprint while adding personal touches to your living space.

3. What are some eco-friendly DIY projects I can do at home?

Some eco-friendly DIY projects you can try at home include making homemade cleaning products from natural ingredients, repurposing glass jars into storage containers or candle holders, creating your own cloth napkins or reusable bags, and building furniture from reclaimed wood.

4. How do these zero-waste DIY projects contribute to a sustainable lifestyle?

These zero-waste DIY projects contribute to a sustainable lifestyle by promoting the reuse of materials, reducing reliance on single-use items in landfills, minimizing the consumption of resources through homemade alternatives, and encouraging creativity and resourcefulness in finding new uses for old items.