Making Do: Aiming for Zero Waste Living

So we’ve moved into our house for a month already, and here’s some of the ways I’m trying to incorporate minimalism and zero waste living.

Accepting What We’ve Been Given

There are quite a few things I’d like to change if possible, such as the tons of cups that we got, the soap bars and bottles we’ve been given, the mop etc., but I also know that they came from a place of love, and it’s better to use it than just throwing it out and getting new stuff. I do use a lot of the stuff quite regularly, like the soaps etc., but try to use zero waste options wherever possible.


Banana bread made with almond flour. Loaf pan courtesy of my mum.

To minimise the amount we’re spending on our home, and groceries, I’ve taken to borrowing things from my mum, such as the teapot with infuser that has been discoloured. I managed to wash the infuser and return it mostly to its normal colour, but the outside of the teapot remains a strange shade of blue.

I’ve also borrowed a loaf tin for the banana bread I just made, as well as the geese measuring cups and yellow spoons to do the necessary measurements for all the recipes I’ve been making. This helps me track all the calories in MyFitnessPal for the fertility diet I’m on.

Cleaning House

We have a mop, a broom, a vacuum cleaner, and a Magiclean wiper. I usually use the vacuum cleaner and if I need to mop the house (which I haven’t been doing for the longest time), I take a microfiber cloth, put floor cleaner on it, and then affix the cloth to the wiper and go around the house. I started doing this mainly because the first time we mopped the house with the usual mop, it left water stains everywhere (which led me to my OCD cleaning paint off tiles adventure).

I haven’t made my own cleaners, as I previously said I might, but I got some non-toxic, eco-friendly cleaning products and the quintessential baking soda and vinegar–as well as bamboo toilet paper, which I seem to be using up pretty fast. We have sponges for dishes, and a toilet brush.

Grocery Shopping

The “bulk” section in the grocery store near me.

I usually take a huge orange NTUC reusable bag with me to go grocery shopping, or a black foldable bag, depending on how much I think I might be buying (which would usually be a lot if my husband doesn’t rein me in). This made our plastic bag collection (for throwing out the trash) dwindle fairly quickly, but RedMart recently replenished our stock with biodegradable bags that don’t produce any methane as they break down, which is pretty cool.

I also discovered a pseudo bulk aisle in the Cold Storage around my area, which is basically where you can scoop out nuts and quinoa etc in your own bags. I’ve never brought the smaller bags with me, so I haven’t fully taken advantage of this.

Making Do

We still have a lot of things that we “need” for our home, like a measuring jug, a microwave, a rolling pin (which I’m currently ordering from RedMart as we speak), a rug etc., but we’re making do. It was worse when we had little to no furniture (although it made cleaning the rooms a breeze). I use the measuring set from my mum to measure both liquids and flour (after washing them of course), and before that I used the Cuisinart blender.

Refusing Straws

Borrowing stuff in action: The KeepCup is from my sister and the teapot from my mum.

My best friend recently got me two metal straws, but I hardly bring them out or use them. What I do instead is 1) order a hot drink, so that reduces the need for the straw in most instances, and also greatly reduces the chances of me drinking something with sugar. I usually get a hot tea, either black or green, or Korean tea. Unfortunately I have yet to bring my own cups along and ask fast food chains to put the drink inside. Of course, once I typed this out, I had to get out my Keep Cup (taken from my sister, who didn’t want hers anymore) and brew a pot of tea, hence the image above.

Saving Water


Our toilet comes attached with a tap and sink above the cistern. It freaks out a lot of the guests we’ve had (mainly my in-laws so far) and they all want to know how to turn it off. You can’t. It’ll just keep running till the cistern is filled.

Some days I find this annoying, because there’s no additional space to stack stuff, while other days I see it as helpful to conserve water. What I usually do is put the soap bar near the toilet, and then use the water that flows out to wash my hands. I’ve also used that water to clean the menstrual cup, and for brushing my teeth (although I’ve never spat into it).

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