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6 Ways to Be Green and Well at Home

Clayelle Wolf

May 20, 2020

Want to live a low or zero waste lifestyle? There’s no time like the present. As we continue to work from home (WFH), it’s a prime time to start building eco-friendly habits for your home office and your living spaces. Making a positive impact on your living space and community helps you feel more connected to the world around you while improving your wellbeing.

My Zero Waste Journey

I joined Salesforce in 2015, and I’m proud to work for a company that takes sustainability so seriously. With a little research and inspiration from this book➚, my husband and I took the low-waste leap in 2019 to do our part.


Our friends and family were so enthusiastically curious that I put together a Zero Waste Guide➚ to share our strategies and crowdsource new ideas — which quickly grew from two pages to 26! While implementing these changes required planning and adjustment, they were overall very doable.


Ready, Set, Reduce

With all that’s happening in the world, our daily lives have shifted, and there are some zero waste practices we temporarily can’t do in our current economic environment (like buying tofu in bulk from our deli). There are, however, a lot of things we can still do with sustainability in mind.


Here are six ways to go green for you to consider.


1. Spruce up your home office.

  • Surround yourself with nature’s air filter: plants. I’m giving two pine tree seedlings from a volunteer event last year as much TLC as possible and hoping for some indoor cayenne peppers soon.
  • Soak up natural light. Try to set up your office near a window. I pull the shades down at night and open them during the day to keep my space as warm as possible before turning on the heat.
  • Go digital. Avoid paper and office supplies and remember to unplug electronics at night.
  • Swap single-use plastics. With easy kitchen access, we can all skip bottled drinks and disposable food ware, and break out durable glasses, mugs, plates, and silverware.

2. Opt for unpackaged fruits and vegetables.

One of the easiest ways to reduce kitchen waste is to buy “loose” produce when possible (be sure to wash everything thoroughly, of course). These are our groceries from earlier this week after a good scrubbing.

3. Go plant-based a few times per week.

Let plants be the star of your dish. Eating fewer animal products (especially beef) is a great way to reduce carbon emissions.


Pro tip: Get creative with leftovers and use ingredients you already have in your fridge or pantry to reduce food waste.


4. Be mindful of materials.

If you need to buy something packaged, prioritize paper and glass containers (examples below). Paper can be composted or recycled, and glass can be infinitely recycled without degrading in quality (compared to plastic, which is actually “downcycled➚” and eventually will end up in the landfill).


Pro tip: Use paper bags at the store. We’re currently unable to bring bags for bulk shopping into the grocery store, so I use paper bags.

5. Compost your food scraps.

Keep composting if you can! Now is an excellent time to start composting in your apartment or backyard. Organic matter sent to a landfill releases methane gas from a lack of oxygen in the decomposition process.


Pro tip: Keep your compost bin in the freezer (minimizing odors), so you don’t have to dump it as often.

6. Break out the reusables.

With current shortages, reusables not only reduce your household trash but also make you more self-sufficient. Dishtowels work for pretty much everything (a paper towel replacement, small bag, hand towel, you name it), and special occasion napkins can be used all the time. They are a nice touch, especially when eating more meals at home.


Pro tip: Keep your family members’ napkins separate with different napkin rings — I’m the pine tree!

Remember, there’s no one right way to live a zero- or low-waste lifestyle. Try one or a few of these practices — small changes really add up! As my days have gotten longer and more fragmented, rituals, simplicity, and intention bring a lot of comfort. I hope these tips inspire and help you to be happy, connected, and well in a time when it’s needed more than ever.

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