23 Tips for a Zero Waste Home Office Writing

Just over a year ago, I decided to develop a more sustainable, waste-free lifestyle. As a writer, being at the desk is a big part of my life. So top priority from the start was figuring out how to make an office out of waste – and frankly, one of the easiest parts of my life to chop.

Although I've been slipping into a more responsible consciousness for some time now, I understood the importance of my buying decisions and waste contributions only when I was trying to find more routine household products that could be reused rather than thrown away (eg, handkerchiefs instead Handkerchiefs). About a year ago, I personally committed myself to producing as little garbage as possible – especially plastic garbage (which basically sticks forever and ever). Since then, I've been removing as much of my garbage as possible (about some of the tips I'll be talking about in a minute) and trying to be as responsible as I can about disposing of unavoidable waste (via …) composting and recycling).

When I made these commitments, I expected to feel well, maybe lead a healthier life and hopefully "make the world a better place" (as my sister always tells her children). What I did not expect was that I would do it love the zero-waste lifestyle. Seriously, I'm totally addicted.

I like the simplicity and beauty that have become more important in my life when I made my lifestyle choices. I think it's great that I've eliminated ugly plastic objects (like shampoo bottles and dishwashing brushes) out of my life. I think it's great that I have a simple metric that helps me decide Not I do not need garbage to buy it. It's weird, but I love rinsing bottles and cans before putting them in the wastebasket.

There are still challenges I am working on. I am Not Zero waste (if such a thing really exists). In particular, I'm still trying to figure out how to buy food with (much) less packaging. Although I recycle most of my "non-recyclable" kitchen waste through TerraCycleI notice that it is still not as sustainable as the packaging to avoid. Nevertheless, I'm glad that I've reduced my actual wastebasket to an average of a tiny sack a month.

What has to be said: There are a lot of hard reasons why it is important for all of us to pay more attention to the waste that we produce, but for me the main reason is the joy, I love this lifestyle. For me it is a step towards health. Deciding to waste deliberately is no different than choosing to eat. Both require discipline and some self-growth. But they are both deeply rewarding.

Anyway, enough to preach. For those interested, last winter I promised to post a paper on my key proposals for creating a zero-waste home office. For me, the office was one of the easiest transitions, as I already caused very little waste in this area of ​​my life. Below are my tips for making a sustainable decision in your writing life.

Buy (or bum) tools that are environmentally friendly choices

1. Highlighter pens

I sketch the longhand in a notebook and use a color-coded emphasis system to organize my notes. But highlighters are of course plastic (and toxic). Luckily it's a super easy change to do Highlighter pencils, These are basically just huge crayons, but they work just as well as the markers.

2. pencil sharpener made of aluminum

I beat up my mother (maybe she got it from my grandfather). Instead of buying a large plastic sharpener, I hold it ready to pull off my pens. (I also have a wooden sharpener that came with my highlighter pens, which was great because they are too bold for the standard sharpener.)

3. Scissors made of stainless steel

Ditch the plastic handles for a full steel version, I did not make that switch myself because I already have a pair of scissors – which in itself is a good reminder of what you have, even if it's plastic, rather than buying something new just because it's "zero waste" is.

4. paper tape

Most of the tape is made of plastic. Decide on a paper alternative, whether you are sending verification copies of your books or just sticking on the flap of an envelope that is not sticking packaging or packaging, I have not made this transition yet, but I will execute it as soon as I have used up my current inventory.

5. Compostable phone case

When I finally got a smartphone last year (yes, I was the last person on the planet to get one), I bought a wooden box from Etsy. I thought it would be a better alternative, but half of it was plastic. Next, I need a case (which will be a crap because I love I will look compostable options Made from environmentally friendly materials.

6. E-books

Although digital downloads can not do without their own footprint, it's clear that ebooks do not require the same physical resource consumption as paperbacks and hardcover. I'm not a solid e-book user (I use too Paperback swap and of course the library), but when I buy new, I generally opt for the digital version.

7. Wooden coasters

I have to have my coffee (or kombucha) handy when I write! There are many good options for coasters (including little things around the house, if you like). When you buy new products, you opt for a natural material like woodinstead of plastic.

8. Beeswax candles

I use a big candle with three wicks to "dream" when it's too cold or too windy for an outdoor fire, and I like to have a small candle in view when writing in the evenings (or reading in the morning). My research tells me Beeswax candles By far the healthiest choice – for me as well as for the planet. In terms of health, soy wax is a decent second place (although its footprint is often problematic depending on its source). If the candle is not tell you From what it is made, it is probably made from paraffin (a petroleum by-product) or other chemicals. (Also, look for cotton wicks, as some contain other lead.)

9. Wood / natural fiber decor

When decorating your furniture and decor office, choose natural materials, especially when you buy new products. Look for hardwood furniture (not MDF or laminate made with chemicals like formaldehyde). If you need a rug, avoid choosing between polypropylene and nylon (ie plastic) and opt for wool, cotton or jute instead. For decorating you can buy used (eg antique typewriters!) Or non-plastic alternatives (eg books!).

Buy recycled

10. Recycled pens

Pencils are generally not that bad as they are mainly made of wood. But if you have to stock up, why not choose Pencils from recycled newspapers? Recycling your own waste is great, but the process only works if we buy recycled materials.

11. Recycled notebooks

Of course, you can also completely refuse the use of notebooks to use paperless options such as your computer and your phone. But come on, we writers love our notebooks. Instead of giving up (though it's a good idea to buy laptops only if you actually do) need Make a conscious decision to find recycled alternatives. Avoid plastic covers, including versions made of imitation leather. I have These big, fat beauties to sketch and This slim version for my monthly budget. And I'm thinking the beautiful to collect spells.

12. Recycled Address Book

Technically, you can use one of the above notebooks if you need it for addresses. But you could also opt for it a cute little recycled version specially made for the purpose.

Choose tools that you can reuse / refill

13. Fountain pen

When writing these long outlines, I've always used an ergonomic stylus. I love it, but it goes through ink cartridges like nobody's business. When I mentioned in my New Year's post I was thinking of trying a refillable fountain pen, great reader Glenn Cox sent me a pen and a bottle of ink (woot!) I have not completed the transition yet, but I'm determined to get there.

14. Stapler without staples

Staples are not plastics, but affect recycling (be sure to remove them before placing paper in the trash). Plus, if you can staple your papers without a staple, why not? I used my stapler without staples on eBay (as all newer options are made of plastic). Never again need to buy staples or reload …

Buy your home (and your trash)

15. Use junk mail for scratch paper

Although I try Reduce unnecessary emails as much as possibleI still get the inevitable credit card offers, etc. After I cut out the plastic address windows and discarded, I recycle the paper I can not use and save the smaller waste for scratch paper. Sometimes I even cut up the larger parts to create small scene maps for contours.

16. Save rubber bands

Occasionally, the postman straps my entire post with a rubber band. I always save them from the rainy day when I really need a rubber band.

17. Use old devices

I still have a 2nd generation iPad, the first I ever bought. The hardware is too old to handle the latest iOS updates, and for years I've been thinking about replacing them. But the truth is, I only use it to run the Scrivener app when I move away from my computer. And that works well. So why replace it?

Electronic waste is a big problem. Resist all those commercials that ask you to buy a new phone / tablet / computer just because you are there is a new. Instead, use every last drop of juice in those you have. (And then dispose of responsibly.)

Maintain good habits

18. Buy second hand

I have several rules of thumb that I use when making a purchase decision.

The first rule is to wait. I have no official time limit, but unless it's an article from me Really I try not to buy things as soon as I put them on my list. I think about it for a while, until I'm sure I really need it and make the best choice, what to buy and how to buy it.

The second rule is to avoid plastic – both in the product itself and in the packaging (often a bit more sneaky). As mentioned above, I'm looking for non-plastic alternatives. For example, when I needed a laptop stand, I bought it a wooden alternative from Etsy,

The third rule is that if I do not find a non-plastic alternative (and sometimes even then), I buy second-hand. I buy flea markets in the summer, buy second hand clothes (mostly from ThredUp), and check eBay on Amazon.

19. Do not ask for plastic shipping

I try to shop locally if possible, but I am very picky What I shop and how it is packaged means I often watch online. There are several problems when buying over the internet. One of them is the carbon footprint that results when the package has to be transported to my door.

The other problem is that one of my biggest remaining garbage sources comes from plastic mailers and packaging. Whenever possible, I shop with responsible vendors who do not use plastic wrappers (eg Shopping for free. Wild minimalist. Refill Revolution. Fat and the moon. The good filling. Little yellow bungalow, and Life without plastic). If this is not possible (for example, when I buy on eBay or Etsy), I always try to add a note to the seller and ask him to ship without plastic if possible. In most cases, sellers are willing to sign up.

20. Use power strips that you can turn off when not in use

"phantom power"Refers to the energy that some devices just unplug. Anything that runs on a remote control, has a lamp, or uses a large power plug, may draw power even when it is not in use. A good way to counteract this (for your paperback like anything else) is to unplug unused devices (think of your toaster) or plug in a power strip that you can turn off (this is great for large devices such as Computer and TV)). The strip of my TV is only on when I'm watching in the evening, and the strip on my computer is only on during the day. (When you're at it, you get it Strips that protect your devices from voltage surges.)

21. Borrow equipment if possible

I do not own a printer or scanner. That's partly because I hate things reddishly (and they hate me back). But that's also because I only use them a few times a year. In the rare cases where I have to print a contract or just a page or two, I use that of a relative. If I have a big print job, I'll take him to Staples.

22. Do not print unless it is absolutely necessary

The big postscript to the above tip is to simply avoid printing whenever possible. As I mentioned earlier, I hate printing, so this is not a big sacrifice. About once per book I have to see my words on the page to work them properly, but mostly I edit them on the computer or on my Kindle.

If I do to print I need an "eco" font like Spranq Eco Sansthat consumes less ink than regular fonts. I also downsize the font as much as possible to reduce ink and paper usage.

23. Play downloaded music instead of streaming it

Everything that happens on our devices and / or on the Internet often seems to be "zero waste". However, it is important to keep in mind that data is stored on a physical disk that is powered by electricity. In short, everything we do on the computer requires physical resources.

It's so easy to play music on Pandora, YouTube or Spotify instead of removing it from the hard drive. But Playing music that you've downloaded once requires less resources than music (or videos) that you're constantly streaming, I try to buy music that I like (either a digital download or a used CD), put it on my devices and play the hard drive instead of streaming it. This is by no means a hard and fast rule for me, but I try to be aware of it.


Of course, this list is far from exhaustive. It's just an inventory of the things I am doing or trying to observe to make the lifestyle choices that are best for me and everyone else on the planet. I hope these ideas will inspire you to turn your Home Office into a waste-free paradise or to refine it!

Wordplayer, tell me your opinion! Have you tried a zero waste office at home? Do you have tips that you can add? Tell me in the comments!

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