I know that most of you Pandas care about the environment and Planet Earth very deeply. After all, it’s not only our home but also where all those desperately cute animals we love to feature on Bored Panda live. From cats and dogs to every single wild floof that we’d adopt at the drop of a hat if only we could.
However, the climate crisis continues to ravage the planet. As politicians are calling for a global green deal, Europeans are reeling from the floods that devastated Germany, Belgium, and are now shifting to Austria. While we know that laws, international agreements, and changes to how major businesses operate are the main driving force in the fight against climate change, each of us also has a personal responsibility to move away from a wasteful life to one that has less of an impact on the environment.
That’s where the r/ZeroWaste subreddit comes in. The online community is dedicated to sharing everyday tips and tricks that help protect the environment and raise awareness about how we can all do our bit. Inch by inch. Step by small step. The end goal is to make sure that all discarded materials are reused. Ideally, absolutely nothing would be sent to landfills.
As you scroll down, remember to upvote the lifehacks that you found to be the most useful. We’d also love it if you share any of your own environmentally-friendly tips and tricks with all the other Pandas in the comments. Intrigued by a low-impact lifestyle? Thinking of joining the r/ZeroWaste community? Good on you! But first, you might want to check out their in-depth wiki. It’s incredibly informative.
I had a friendly chat about the subreddit’s history, community, and how to convince people who are on the fence about doing more to protect the environment with moderator Inasaba. “/r/ZeroWaste was created in 2013, and I have personally been a part of the community since 2016, back when we only had around 5,000 subscribers. The sub really started growing in 2018, hitting 100k subscribers by the end of that year. The growth recently has been amazing!” they told Bored Panda about the subreddit’s growth towards the 577k members it has now. You can find the full interview below.
#1 Christmas Tree Rental
Image credits: riceblush
#2 Instead Of Polluting The Planet With Confetti, Hole Punch Leaves! Fully Biodegradable
Image credits: thecureisthecause
#3 My Christmas Present To My Mother In Law. (It Looks Like Her Dog.) I Used All Donated Scrap Fabric. I Throw Away Nothing When Trimming – I Keep Even The Tiniest, Weirdest Pieces When I’m Quilting My Big Quilts, Because You Never Know When Something Is Going To Need A Shadow, A Collar, Or A Nose
Image credits: exhaustedoctopus
I was curious to find out more about the subreddit’s expansive wiki and moderator Inasaba was more than happy to open up about it. “Our wiki is largely crowdsourced, especially the page with resources by city. If you view the edit history of each page, you can see which users have contributed edits. There are a few users who have done a lot of work on it, and we are very thankful to them! One of our moderators is also in the middle of some rewrites for clarity,” they pointed out that the wiki is a project made by the ‘Zero Waste’ community, for the community.
One of the main challenges that r/ZeroWaste faces has to do with the quality and quantity of new content. Though, to be fair, it’s a challenge any larger online community is bound to have at some point in their life cycle.
“As with any large subreddit, it can be a challenge to keep content relevant, interesting, and fresh. We deal with repost bots, spammers advertising greenwashed products, and a lot of other things that luckily our users never have to see. This is definitely not unique to /r/ZeroWaste, as these are problems that I see on every subreddit I help out with,” moderator Inasaba said.
#4 Libraries Are So Vastly Underappreciated
Image credits: Random_420-69
#5 This Awesome Moroccan School Security Guard Wasted No Quarantine Time And Restored, Free Of Charge, These Benches That Were Supposed To End Up In The Trash So That They Can Be Reused This School Year
Image credits: thecureisthecause
#6 This Was Enough For Me To Finally Kick Starbucks For Good
Image credits: nanniemal
However, there are some other deeper issues at play in the community, too. “I would say that issues specific to our subreddit have been things such as the slow degradation of the ideals of ‘zero waste.’ A moving from an emphasis on the more important Rs (refusing and reducing,) to less important (recycling and reusing packaging.) We struggled for a long time with a lot of content that did not actually prevent waste, and that was more suited for crafting/upcycling subreddits than one where people strive for zero waste. We’re working hard to try to steer the subreddit back to its roots: the goal of reducing the amount of waste that we produce as high up the chain as possible,” they told Bored Panda what their current mission is.
“There has also been a bit of difficulty to expand some users’ thinking with regards to their impact on the world outside of what they can directly see. The subreddit does focus a lot on packaging waste, but much of the waste in the food system occurs before the food reaches our markets. Much more impact can be made by shifting to a plant-based diet than to a local one, or a plastic-free one, for instance. But this is something that often faces harsh criticism when brought up in discussion,” the mod added.
#7 Recycling Old Picnic Coolers For Stray Cat Shelters
Image credits: charliesheenpart
#8 Italian Brand Barilla Removed The Plastic Window From Their Boxes (UK)
Image credits: Clari24
#9 Turkish Garbage Collectors Open A Library For All Of The Books Citizens Discard In Their Trash
Image credits: br_shadow
I was also interested to learn how one would go about convincing someone to start walking down a more eco-friendly path in life. Moderator Inasaba pointed out that you’ll only ever convince those who are on the fence on the issue; there’s barely any convincing those who are set against climate change and protecting the planet.
“If someone isn’t in the headspace to want to accept the facts of human-caused climate catastrophe, it will be very difficult to sway them. As for people who are more ambivalent, I believe that exposing them to the realities that are being faced in parts of the world that are more vulnerable to the early effects of climate change can be very powerful. The imagery of landfills overflowing with waste is very powerful, as well as that of the extreme weather effects, desertification, wildfires, and displacement caused by accelerating climate change,” they said.
#10 Toothbrush With Replaceable Bristles So You Don’t Have To Keep Buying A New Handle
Image credits: simple_gay
#11 I Just Finished My Latest Art Made Solely Put Of Recycled Wine Foils
Image credits: Snicklefritz25
#12 Sunnybee, A Farmer’s Market And Store In Chennai, India, Has Begun Wrapping Their Produce In Banana Leaves. Makes Me Glad That My Country Is Thinking Forward Like First World Countries
Image credits: is62fpx3on
The ‘Zero Waste’ subreddit currently has more than 577k members. It’s been around since early 2013 and has since then become one of the main environmentally-friendly subreddits on the site. Reddit’s full of these and you can always find the niche that you’re particularly interested in, whether it’s r/composting, r/Frugal (which we’ve written about recently on Bored Panda), r/minimalism, or others.
The r/ZeroWaste moderators and community members have a lot of great info to share in their wiki. One of these pearls of wisdom is Bea Johnson’s family’s ‘5 R’s’ which help move toward a lower-impact way of life. “REFUSE what you do not need. REDUCE what you do need. REUSE by using reusables. RECYCLE what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. ROT (compost) the rest,” the subreddit explains in their wiki.
#13 My Shopping Bag Has A Printed Holiday Pattern So It Can Be Reused As Wrapping Paper
Image credits: zuckerbooger
#14 This Week I Will Hit My 8000th Bag Of Trash Cleaned Up. I Love My Life, And I Encourage Others To Try This
Image credits: Daniel_Toben
#15 This Is Completely Out Of Season And I Did It Four Years Ago, But I Work In A Bakery In A Health Food Store And This Is How I Evaded Throwing Away Broken But Otherwise Perfectly Fine Cookies That Didn’t Make The Cut For Platters. Injure Bread Men!
Image credits: iris513
The subreddit suggests that people move toward a zero waste lifestyle “one small step at a time.” It’s about building a series of healthy and environmentally-friendly habits, so you can’t expect your entire philosophy to change immediately in one go. It’ll take patience, dedication, and you’ll have to overcome quite a few obstacles. Both within yourself and in your social circle.
“Start being more conscientious of what you’re tossing into garbage and recycle bins. Then, identify one thing that you commonly throw away and could easily replace with a reusable item (such as replacing paper coffee cups with a travel mug),” r/ZeroWaste’s mods give newbies a sense of direction.
#16 You Can Grow Loofahs (They Are In The Cucumber Family), Dry Them And Use Them To Wash Dishes. 5 Plants Make Enough For About 2 Years In Our House. Fully Biodegradable When They’re Worn Out
Image credits: scavenger_hobo
#17 We Need More Coffee Shops To Do This
Image credits: GeekBite
#18 Picked Up A Used Cardigan That Turned Out To Look Much Better In The Picture Than In Person, So I Turned It Back To Yarn And Crocheted The Yarn Into A Cat Bed
Image credits: couchpotatolady
“As you continue making one change after another, you may find yourself considering a home composting setup, buying food in bulk, turning down free samples (and their associated packaging), taking steps to eliminate junk mail, and acquiring other reusable items to replace disposable products. Remember that each of these steps is only as sustainable as your willingness to stick with it long-term,” they explain.
“For example, purchasing reusable silverware for use away from home does no good if you never remember to use it and/or give up on it after a few months. (You might also ask yourself if purchasing a new item is really necessary or if you could instead use something you already own or can get from a friend or secondhand store.)”
According to the mods, when making any decision at all, you should evaluate how convenient something is for you, how expensive it is (not just in terms of money but also in terms of time), and what impact your choice will have on the environment.
#19 A Library That Rents Cake Pans!
Image credits: zerowastecalifornia
#20 A Few Weeks Back I Put A Box Of Empty Candle Jars Out On My Verge For Giveaway – I Didn’t Want To Throw Them Away – And Today I Found A Lil Box Of Candles In My Doorstep With Some Of The Jars Refilled With Lovely Scented Candles
Image credits: escabeloved
#21 Old Spice Has Plastic-Free Deodorant
Image credits: Reallysmallcavebears
#22 For Anyone Out There Who Has An Old Trampoline And Isn’t Sure What To Do With It
Image credits: hyrule-hysteria
#23 Sometimes Junk Store Frames Don’t Come With Hanging Hardware. Tin Can Lids Get The Job Done. Learned This Trick From My High School Art Teacher
Image credits: blabbitygabbity
#24 Bulk Frozen Vegetables In Romania! First Time I’ve Seen Somethibg Like This
Image credits: caballorider
#25 My Dad Built A Green House Out Of Piles Of Random Stuff He’s Been Saving In The “You Never Know When It Will Come In Useful” Pile. Old Windows, Bits Of Flooring, Recycled Straightened Nails, And Off Cuts Of Steel Roofing. Only Had To Spend $40 On 8 Large Bolts. So Proud Of Him!
Image credits: rnords
#26 My Boyfriend Wrote A Paper On How Superworms And Mealworms Can Digest Styrofoam Into Biodegradable Waste At A Fast Rate. We Expanded It Into A Project At School This Year. This Is A Farm That I Started A Week Ago. It’s Simple And Low Maintenance. Please Try It Out!
Image credits: k0ella
#27 As A Truck Driver I Am So Tired Of Seeing Garbage Everywhere Left By Other Drivers. So I Decided To Be The Change That I Wanted To See In The World
Image credits: -life_starts_now-
#28 My Drugstore Just Got A Refill Station For Laundry And Dishwashing Detergent!
Image credits: mushabooms
#29 Our Local Supermarket Makes Juice Out Of Unsold Fruits. Literally Zero Waste
Image credits: EduKehakettu
#30 I Built This House Almost Entirely Out Of Dirt And Reclaimed Materials!
Image credits: earth_block_horno
#31 Decorating My New Apartment My Updating The Furniture Left Behind
Image credits: HereForCuteDogs
#32 Can’t Believe A Zero Waste Shop Opened Up Only 15 Minutes From My Rural Village In Scotland!
Image credits: Shanibandangle
#33 Today I Collected 8 Bags Of Garbage From Nature… We Try To Justify Our Ignorance In Front Of Ourselves And We Will Say “It’s Not Mine”, But We Are No Longer Entitled To That Nowadays. Nature Is Our Collective Responsibility, And This Sense Of Responsibility Motivates Me To Clean Up The Forest
Image credits: luboslavonody
#34 Somebody Made Homes For Street Cats To Take Shelter In Out Of Water Jugs
Image credits: thecureisthecause
#35 My Eldest Daughter, 13, Started Doing Embroidery After She Saw Some Videos On Instagram. Yesterday She Surprised Me With This Beautiful Flower That She Stitched Over A Hole In My Favorite Jeans!
Image credits: reddit.com
#36 A Local Soapmaker Sells Miscellaneous / Broken Pieces Of Soap Without Packaging At A Discount. Perfect For Trying Out New Scents!
Image credits: CharmingtheCobra
#37 A Friend And I Have Started Doing Weekly Trash Walks Around Our Neighborhood In La. This Week We Filled Two Whole Trash Bags Going Less Than Two Blocks. We’re Hoping To Keep Growing Our Little “Club” And Maybe Inspire Some Others To Start One Too!
Image credits: amoebaboiz
#38 The Paper Didn’t Reach
Image credits: Stonkerer
#39 Office Goes Zero Waste And Gave Everyone One Of These
Image credits: samonaidobroto
#40 George Kent Using His Own 64oz Nalgene Bottle Instead Of The Single Use Plastic Bottles Provided At The Impeachment Hearing Today
Image credits: sherrihartsell
#41 I Sell Clothing Online And Finally Mastered Zero Waste Mailers! Made 100% Of Discarded Plastic And Sealed Shut With My Sewing Machine
Image credits: rhinocerousfeet
#42 With An Axe And Two Knives, I Carve Spoons From Freshly Fallen Wood Picked In My Forest. Spoons Are Everyday Tools That Have Been Used Since The Beginning Of Humanity
Image credits: urubu_artisan
#43 I Used Bird Seed For My Graduation Pictures Instead Of Glitter/Confetti!
Image credits: clairemt11
#44 Diyed A Soap Dish Out Of Unused Takeout Chopsticks, Glue, And Thread
Image credits: kaitlin941
#45 A Knit A Sweater Made Entirely Of Old /Scrap Yarns I Had Lying Around
Image credits: JadedYarn