A guide to zero waste reading + how to read for free!

A couple of years ago, I discovered my local library offers access to ebooks for free. The entire online collection is accessible through an app called Libby. I’m a member of the Montreal library and the BanQ library—both provide access to their online collections through Libby.

Follow these steps to get set up with your local library online:

Decide which device you want to read from

Choose from a tablet, iPad, Kindle, or Kobo. Keep in mind, Libby doesn’t work on Kindle for Canadian libraries, but it is available for American libraries. If you’re in Canada, read a lot, and prefer an e-ink screen, it might be best to choose Kobo.

Become a member of your local library 

If you’re not already a member of your local library, stop by for a visit and sign up! It’s quick and easy and is usually free. You can ask the librarian about their digital collection and learn how to start borrowing books online.

If you live in Quebec, you can subscribe to the BanQ online catalog by filling out this form.

Find out which app your library uses for ebooks and download it to your device

Once you know how to access the library from your device, you can start borrowing right away. I use the Libby app for both my library subscriptions. Once you download the app, you can search for your library and enter your login details:

You can then start placing holds and borrowing books right away! Each library has different limits on holds and loans. Keeping a few books on hold means you’ll always have something lined up. With Libby, if you’re not ready for a book when it becomes available, you can choose to pause the delivery for a few days or weeks.

Other ways to read sustainably: 

  1. Share books among friends and family
  2. Purchase ebooks for your Kindle or Kobo
  3. Purchase used books from your local second-hand book store or Facebook marketplace. I also discovered an option on Amazon to purchase used books (this is also available for many other products!):

Having the entire library available from my device has motivated me to read more than ever, and I hope you will too!

5 ways to enjoy your coffee without the waste

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1. Invest in a reusable coffee cup

Coffee is the most common beverage after water for adults. Coffee is the most popular hot beverage and the number one food service beverage in Canada. 14 billion cups of coffee are consumed in Canada every year, and 35% of coffee is consumed “to go”.

Zero Waste Canada

The number one way you can eliminate coffee waste when you’re on the go is to invest in a reusable cup. There are a lot of stylish reusable coffee mugs available that you can keep by the door and take with you whenever you’re heading out.

These are a few of my favourite cup choices:

2. Make your own coffee

Rather than buying a coffee every day, invest in a coffee maker, buy high-quality coffee beans, and make your coffee from home.

These are some great eco-friendly and affordable coffee maker options:


The Aeropress makes a great-tasting strong cup of coffee. Best of all it’s fast and easy to use. Depending on how you like your coffee, there are various ways you can make it (do a Google search and you will find many methods from devoted Aeropress fans).


The Chemex is a manual pour-over style coffee maker that’s not only beautiful to look at but makes great coffee. It takes a little more time, but the result is oh so satisfying.

French Press

The French Press is a longstanding favourite, it makes a great full-bodied coffee and doesn’t require the paper filters of other manual coffee makers. It’s simple to use and easy to clean.

Moka Espresso Maker

Last but not least the Moka pot! It’s an easy-to-use stovetop espresso maker that doesn’t require any paper filters. Best for people who want a stronger espresso coffee.

3. Use reusable filters

If you are making your coffee from home, it’s possible to purchase reusable cotton filters rather than paper. Most reusable filters are compostable, made from organic cotton, and end up being more economical long term. CoffeeSock makes filters for drip coffee makers, Chemex and Aeropress.

4. Make your own oat milk

Prefer milk in your coffee? Oat milk is a great milk alternative that is simple to make at home. I found this recipe by the Minimalist Baker quick and easy to follow.

5. Package coffee beans in your own containers

Most bulk food stores allow you to bring your own containers so you can purchase your coffee without the packaging waste. Some coffee shops will also allow you to BYO containers. To keep the coffee fresh at home, make sure to package it correctly in an airtight container.

15 books to inspire your sustainable lifestyle

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If you’re aspiring towards a zero-waste lifestyle or you’d just like some tips on how to live a little more sustainably, this reading list is for you!

This post features books focused on creating an overall more sustainable lifestyle. Future posts will list books specific to topics such as gardening, cooking, and parenting.

Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste

By Bea Johnson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.8 stars on Goodreads

In Zero Waste Home, Bea Johnson shares her story and lays out the system by which she and her family have reached and maintained their own Zero Waste goals—a lifestyle that has yielded bigger surprises than they ever dreamed possible. They now have more time together as a family, they have cut their annual spending by a remarkable 40%, and they are healthier than they’ve ever been, both emotionally and physically.

Stylish and completely relatable, Zero Waste Home is a practical, step-by-step guide that gives readers the tools and tips to improve their overall health, save money and time, and achieve a brighter future for their families—and the planet.

An almost Zero Waste Life: Learning how to Embrace Less to Live More

By Megean Weldon

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.9 stars on Goodreads

Focusing on the positive, An Almost Zero Waste Life presents simple ways to reduce waste in every aspect of your life:

  • Cleaning: Recipes for natural cleaners and how to ditch paper towels for good.
  • Meal plans: Weekly menus and recipes for zero waste meals that use bulk pantry staples.
  • Shopping: How to shop zero waste at big chain stores and ways to reduce food packaging.
  • Bathroom: Sustainable beauty routine.
  • Recycling: Ingenious ways to repurpose old clothing and how to recycle small metals, like razor blades.
  • Compost: The basics of composting.

101 Ways to go Zero Waste

By Kathryn Kellogg

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.9 stars on Goodreads

Minimalism meets DIY in an accessible guide to household waste reduction.  

We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.

A Zero Waste Life: In Thirty Days

By Anita Vandyke

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.5 stars on Goodreads

This practical guide shows you how by changing your daily habits you can eliminate plastic from your life in 30 days. A Zero Waste Life is a guide to the small changes you can make to radically reduce your waste, without losing your lifestyle. Based on 30 lifestyle “rules” and handy tips, this practical book offers a fresh “can do” approach to reducing your waste and living a cleaner, kinder life. Isn’t that what we all want—a life of happiness, a life of luxury, a life that isn’t wasted?

Zero Waste: Simple Life Hacks to Drastically Reduce Your Trash

By Shia Su

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.8 stars on Goodreads

Learn how to build your own zero waste kit, prepare real food—the lazy way, make your own DIY household cleaners and toiletries, be zero waste even in the bathroom, and more. The table of contents includes:

  • How to Get Started
  • Where and How to Shop
  • Food Prep and Storage
  • Housekeeping
  • Bathroom Talk
  • Wardrobe and Fashion
  • Paper Waste
  • And much more!

How to Go (Almost) Zero Waste: Over 150 Steps to More Sustainable Living at Home, School, Work, and Beyond

By Rebecca Grace Andrews

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4.2 stars on Goodreads

Learn how to reduce your footprint at your own pace with simple steps like carrying reusable shopping bags, more intermediate steps like mending your own clothes, and major steps like creating a garden-to-cafeteria program at your local schools.

Waste Not Everyday: Simple Zero-Waste Inspiration 365 Days a Year

By Erin Rhoads

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

3.6 stars on Goodreads

Waste Not Everyday is your step-by-step, day-by-day guide to simple, progressive lifestyle changes that will have a big effect on what you throw out, and on the health of our planet. With tips, tricks, recipes, motivation and inspiration, Erin Rhoads, well-known author of Waste Not and passionate waste advocate,takes you on a gentle journey towards zero waste, day by day.

Sustainable Minimalism: Embrace Zero Waste, Build Sustainability Habits That Last, and Become a Minimalist without Sacrificing the Planet

By Stephanie Marie Seferian

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 stars on Goodreads

Read Sustainable Minimalism and its blueprint for sustainability and stress management and learn:

  • How to gain greater mental clarity and increase your free time with fewer possessions
  • Environmentally friendly ways of decluttering and organizing
  • Ways to improve your financial stability, while going green at the same time
  • How to get organized and operate a zero-waste home 

Attainable Sustainable: The Lost Art of Self-Reliant Living

By Kris Bordessa

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4 stars on Goodreads

Packed with delicious recipes, natural remedies, gardening tips, crafts, and more, this indispensable lifestyle reference from the popular blogger makes earth-friendly living fun.

Whether you live in a city, suburb, or the country, this essential guide for the backyard homesteader will help you achieve a homespun life–from starting your own garden and pickling the food you grow to pressing wildflowers, baking sourdough loaves, quilting, raising chickens, and creating your own natural cleaning supplies. 

Sustainable Home: Practical projects, tips and advice for maintaining a more eco-friendly household

By Christine Liu

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.8 stars on Goodreads

Sustainable lifestyle blogger and professional Christine Liu takes you on a tour through the rooms of your home – the living area, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom – offering tips, tricks and 18 step-by-step projects designed to help you lead a more low-impact lifestyle. Whether its by making your own toothpaste, converting to renewable energy sources, reducing your consumption of plastic, growing your own herb garden or upcycling old pieces of furniture, there are numerous ways – both big and small – to make a difference. 

The Sustainable(ish) Living Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Make Small Changes That Make a Big Difference

By Jen Gale

Rating: 4 out of 5.

4.3 stars on Goodreads

If you want to save the planet, but your to-do list is already pretty long and remembering your re-usable coffee cup feels like a Herculean task, then this is the book for you. Covering every aspect of our lives from the stuff we buy and the food we eat, to how we travel, work, and celebrate. This book provides stacks of practical, down to earth ideas to slot into your daily life, alongside a gentle kick up the butt to put your newfound knowledge into action.

Simply Living Well: A Guide to Creating a Natural, Low-Waste Home

By Julia Watkins

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.5 stars on Goodreads

For every area of your household—kitchen, cleaning, wellness, bath, and garden—Julia shows you how to eliminate wasteful packaging, harmful ingredients, and disposable items. Practical checklists outline easy swaps (instead of disposable sponges, opt for biodegradable sponges or Swedish dishcloths; choose a bamboo toothbrush over a plastic one) and sustainable upgrades for common household tools and products. Projects include scrap apple cider vinegar, wool dryer balls, kitchen bowl covers and cloth produce bags, non-toxic dryer sheets, all-purpose citrus cleaner, herbal tinctures and balms, and more, plus recipes for package-free essentials like homemade nut milk, hummus, ketchup, salad dressings, and veggie stock.

Live Green: 52 Steps for a More Sustainable Life

By Jen Chillingsworth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.8 stars on Goodreads

Live Green is a practical guide of 52 sustainable living changes – one for each week of the year – you can make to be more self-sufficient and reduce your impact on the environment. 

Live Green tackles all areas of your life from your cleaning routine, home furnishings, food shopping, fashion choices, natural beauty and Christmas, and has all the ingredients to help you achieve a more sustainable year.

Clean Green: Tips and Recipes for a Naturally Clean, More Sustainable Home

By Jen Chillingsworth

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.9 stars on Goodreads

Cleaning is something we all have to do, whether we enjoy it or not. In supermarkets we are bombarded with the sheer number of plastic products available that clean anything and everything. However, these products contain a cocktail of chemicals that can have a severe effect on our health and the environment we live in.

Clean Green will show you how to tackle each room and cleaning task in a natural way. Featuring a collection of eco-friendly recipes to make your own hand wash, dishwashing liquid, stain remover, toilet cleaner, air freshener, and more. Learn how to create your own products that are safer to use and keep your home sparkling clean.

How to Give Up Plastic: A Guide to Changing the World, One Plastic Bottle at a Time

By Will McCallum

Rating: 4 out of 5.

3.7 stars on Goodreads

This accessible guide, written by the campaigner at the forefront of the anti-plastic movement, will help you make the small changes that make a big difference, from buying a reusable coffee cup to running a clean-up at your local park or beach. Tips on giving up plastic include:

  • Washing your clothes within a wash bag to catch plastic microfibers (the cause of 30% of plastic pollution in the ocean)
  • Replacing your regular shampoo with bar shampoo
  • How to lobby your supermarket to remove unnecessary packaging
  • How to throw a plastic-free birthday party
  • How to convince others to join you in giving up plastic

What other books would you recommend? Reply in the comments below ⬇️

8 zero waste items to pack when you’re on the go

When we’re out and about it’s easy to forget about the waste we accumulate through take-out food, coffee, or shopping trips.

These are our top 8 items you can pack to help curb waste while you’re on the go: 

Produce bags 

These are great when you’re heading to your local Sunday market or off to the grocery store. 

Reusable water bottle

Landfills are overflowing with discarded plastic water bottles which take up to 1000 years to decompose. Keep a reusable water bottle with you whenever you’re heading out the door to avoid adding more plastic bottles to the waste pile. 

Lunch box

If you’re going to meet friends for a picnic in the park, why not pack a lunchbox with your favourite foods to take with you? You could also opt to use your lunchbox to store any food you pick up while you’re out. 

Tote bag

One of the most versatile items! Great to take with you when meeting up with friends, to the grocery store, or folded in your handbag in case you ever need it. 

Bamboo utensils

Keep a set of bamboo utensils in your bag so you can forgo the plastic knife and fork with your next take-out meal. 

Coffee cup

There are so many great options for reusable coffee cups, this is a staple that you can keep by the door so it’s ready whenever you leave the house. 

Reusable straw 

Straws are one of the top contributors to plastic waste around the planet with millions discarded every day. This is another easy item to keep stashed away in your bag, you never know when you might need it. 

Cloth napkin 

Take a pass on the paper napkins and use a cloth napkin instead. These are also handy for cleaning up any unforeseen spills!


Avoid creating any unnecessary waste on your next outing by keeping a small kit ready to go! We also have lots of options available in our store, take a look!

Simple homemade citrus cleaner recipe

If you’re interested in making your own household cleaner, this recipe is for you! Perfect as an all-purpose cleaner and without any of the nasties.

In a spray bottle, combine: 

  • Lemon peels (or any other citrus you have!) 
  • 1 part white vinegar 
  • 1 part water 
  • [Optional] Fresh herbs such as mint, rosemary, sage, etc

Once combined, shake it up and let the citrus infuse for a week before using it.

Note of caution: Don’t use this cleaner on natural stone such as granite, as it will damage to the stone.