Fall Into a Zero Waste Habit With These 5 Tips for Autumn

Crunchy leaves, chunky sweaters, and pumpkin-flavored things – is there anything better than fall?  There’s something about the season that reminds us that change is inevitable, but stunning. 

If you are looking for ways to keep a zero-waste mindset for fall, then this post is for you.  

Eat Seasonal Food

Fall is full of beautiful, nutritious foods. At the beginning of fall, a lot of summer produce is still present at the market, with some fall foods making their way in.

As the season goes on, though, the fall produce really stands out and peaks. It’s refreshing to see new produce that lend themselves well to recipes of autumn.

Check your local farmers market and see what’s in season near you. Take your reusable produce bags and tote bags with you to avoid waste, of course. Here are some of the delicious real food options to stock up on:

  • Apples
  • Acorn squash
  • Broccoli
  • Butternut squash
  • Chard
  • Cranberries
  • Figs
  • Grapes
  • Pears
  • Pumpkin (+ pumpkin seeds)
  • Sweet potato
  • Brussels sprouts

These are just some seasonal fall foods you’ll encounter at the farmer's market. Of course, this list varies depending on your location and what your farmers decide to grow. Something can be in season but not sold at your market simply because the farmer doesn’t grow it, so keep that in mind. For example, while cranberries are in season during the fall, their availability will depend on if someone is farming them in your area.

Get pumpkins you can actually eat!

Do research into what’s seasonal to your place. You might be surprised at what you find!

Choose Thrifting Over Brand New Fall Fashion

We all know that fall fashion involves of a few staple items: chunky sweaters, oversized flannels, infinity scarves, and a great pair of booties. Buying second-hand clothing is a great way to avoid fast fashion and reduce waste. Your wallet and the planet will thank you!   

Instead of shopping at the mall, check out a local thrift store to add some of these fall pieces to your wardrobe. You may spend some time digging through the racks, but the hunt is what makes it fun!

Love the thrill of getting a package delivered? Or maybe you are looking to purge some of last fall’s rotation? Check out shopping apps like Poshmark or ThredUP – they are substantial online marketplaces for thrifters looking to sell or buy gently used items. If online shopping is more your thing, seek out environmentally conscious companies to buy from.


Seek Beauty Outdoors

Fall is such a beautiful time to immerse in nature and enjoy the crisp air of the season. It’s a welcome change from the hot, humid summer. Zero waste living promotes a strong connection to nature, and tons of ways are to have low-cost, low-impact activities in the great outdoors.

You could enjoy a weekend camping trip, go hiking with family and friends, and take snaps along the warm hues of fall foliage. You’ll enjoy the view while walking in forest parks, all while getting your daily steps in! 

For those who want a more relaxed time, set up a picnic by the lake. Pack a blanket, a bottle of wine, and some snacks from the farmer’s market and let time roll gently by.

Compost The Foliage

Composting is not just for veggies or paper goods – reduce the amount of yard waste by feeding your compost bin with leaves. This is a fantastic way to add nutrients and create rich garden soil.

It may sound like a small thing, but the composting process can make up a large percentage of food waste scraps utilized through composting. Over 2 million tons of food waste - equal to 4.1% of food waste - was composted in 2018. Something that was supposed to be dumped was used meaningfully in the end!

Aside from contributing to lower waste dumped in landfills, composting brings many benefits to our earth. For instance, compost can be used to rehabilitate contaminated soils exposed to hazardous waste. It’s also a small-scale method of sequestering carbon, which is great in helping reduce your household footprint.

Composting is easy, costs next to nothing, and will make your garden much healthier while reducing trash thrown away. 


Walk When Possible

Car emissions are one of the biggest contributors to the issue of climate change. In fact, the transportation sector generates the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions – at 28.2% in 2018. 


Private vehicles are so inefficient in terms of energy use because usually, there’s only one or two passengers riding at any given time. The world is also experiencing major oil price hikes recently, making car usage costlier than ever.


So in this crisp, cool season, make walking a more frequent activity. Go for a walk (if weather permitting, of course, and you won’t freeze to death outside) instead of hopping into your car for every errand. 


Zero Waste Fall 


Pumpkin-carving and apple-picking aside, these are simple ways to incorporate some sustainable practices into your routine this fall. Remember, whether it’s an old tradition or something new, nothing is worth doing if it will be severely damaging to the environment. So instead of going for a more consumption-centric fall, bring some thrift and zero waste mindset into it.

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