Zero Waste Living

Recycling is good, but to reach our Zero Waste goal we need to move beyond recycling to reducing, reusing and repairing. This page has examples of products and practices that reduce packaging and disposable waste caused by common, everyday activities. There’s something for every lifestyle and every budget, and even one change will add up to big results.

Zero Waste Living is about lightening the amount of “stuff” we consume while going about our daily lives. While many of our tips are related to “swapping” one type of product for another that uses less packaging or is reusable, there are many low- or no-cost ways to live the zero waste lifestyle.

Please try one of these ideas and help Palo Alto zero out waste. Interested in how we determined what constitutes a "Zero Waste" product or practice? See our Zero Waste guidelines.

Everyday Actions Add Up

What makes something “Zero Waste?”

Here are some guidelines we put together to help choose products or practices that will truly reduce waste:

  • Use products that are reusable in place of disposable items.
  • Minimize product packaging by choosing products that use little or no packaging.
  • Try to eliminate plastic packaging unless it is durable, multi-use and returnable to the vendor.
  • Buy products in reusable, refillable containers, that offer:
    • Refills in reusable/returnable containers 
    • Refills in recyclable containers or compostable paper
  • Try concentrated versions of liquid products that don’t include the water.
  • Try do-it-yourself alternatives that reduce packaging waste