Your Complete Zero Waste Guide

Why Reduce Your Waste

  1. The average person in Saudi tosses 1.5-1.8 kg of trash everyday! Well, what happens to all of that garbage? Read about The Waste Problem to know.
  2. Plastic has only been around for about 70 years! So we're just finding out how it impacts our health and our environment. Read Plastic and Human Health to learn more.
  3. Before you say it. No, biodegradable plastic is not the solution. It's a good step in the right direction, but it's pointless when it's not being decomposed correctly. For more, check out The Waste Problem

I teamed up with Alanoud Alsulaiman @noudsulainman to bring you this complete guide to zero waste lifestyle! I've learned so much from here! Check out her Instagram page for simple tips you can adapt in your journey to a more sustainable life.

If you have any questions or extra tips, please leave them in the comment section below.

With that said, let's talk about the big issue we are facing in this beautiful world. Plastic is now everywhere, and I wish I was exaggerating when I say everywhere… It’s in the soil, in the water, and in our bodies. The world is filling up with garbage. The good news is that individuals and governments around the world are becoming cautious about this issue and are taking a stand. 

The zero waste movement is taking place all over the world, it’s beautiful to see individuals from different cultures come together for mother earth. Governments are also taking strong actions such as banning plastic bags in Kenya, Rwanda, Tasmania, Botswana, and different states in India. 

We can no longer keep living this convenient not so convenient lifestyle. The world realizes it now, so be part of the solution and trust me, your bank account and health will thank you. 

Zero waste guide!



 Use only what you need. Say no to single-use waste such as plastic straws, water bottles, and giveaways. 


The best and most guaranteed way to reduce your waste is to REUSE! An easy and organized way to live once you get in the habit of it.


“Up to 40 percent of all food produced in the U.S. intended for consumption is not eaten, which equates to about 20 pounds of food per person each month. Food that gets thrown out ends up in landfills, where it gradually rots and releases methane, a strong greenhouse gas.” 


Get a non-rusting metal garbage bin (Saudi: from Saco) drill holes all around it, the lid, and the bottom. Then simply add equal parts of brown leaves and fruit and vegetable scraps and mix the pile weekly to ensure air circulation. It’s that simple, no smell and no insects. 

For an easier solution, buy a composting machine from Saco or 


  • Start slow. As Lauren Singer always says, when you run out of an item, e.g. deodorant, make your own!
  • Get in the habit of saying NO to single-use items.        



General Tips

  1. Shop in bulk from the old market (Aldeera, Riyadh) & the north market (Grains, nuts, seeds, spices, dried fruits, fruits, and vegetables)
  2. Support your community wherever you live by buying local and reducing the environmental impact since it requires less transportation. 
  3. Buy local fruits and veggies. It's better for your health since the produce will be picked near the ripening stage as opposed to buying fruits from across the world that has been picked a long time before it's ripe.
  4. Eating what’s in season and local is the optimal way to eat. You get the most vitamins and minerals during the time of the year your body needs it the most! Besides, fruits and vegetables taste A LOT better when they’re in season. Pears in October, peaches in May? YES PLEASE.
  5. Buy from small local stores to avoid weight stickers 


  1. Tote bags: Make your own, DIY from old t-shirts, online/Instagram accounts, big supermarkets. Riyadh: Jarir, Draft cafe
  2. Produce bags. Use any old pillow cases, handbag cases, etc or you can get them online
  3. Jars, fro spices, grains, nuts, and seeds. Ask them to weigh the tare weight before filling up your jars. (Tip: put all your jars in the box they came in when you go shopping to keep it organized)
  4. Tupperware/Lunchboxes. The old market in Riyadh  (Aldirah) or from 

Go Homemade

  1. Make your own peanut, almond butter, tahini etc using Magimix food processor (Riyadh: tafola ,30th street, after gazzaz) or a Vitamix 
  2. Buy bread from the bakery directly or bake your own! (Tip: ask when is their baking times to get your bread warm and fresh)
  3. Make your own milk! Please, it’s much cheaper and healthier!


  1. Drinking tap water is healthier than bottled water in most countries including Saudi Arabia.
  2. All you have to do is clean your water tank regularly to make sure it’s free from dust.
  3. Activated Charcoal to purify your water
  4. Ceramic is one of the most natural water filtration humans used for the longest time.
  5. GoPure Pods - perfect when traveling 


  1. Coffee/Tea tumblers 
  2., Saco, 12 cups, Riyadh
  3. Bamboo, glass, or steel straws: Danube or online 


  1. Use cloth tissues and napkins
  2. Utensils 🥄🍴 Wooden or steel - carry them with you in a kitchen towel or a small fabric bag

Garbage bags

  1. Used newspapers at the bottom of the trash then throw your garbage from the trash to the street trash. So it's garbage to garbage, no need to bags!
  2. Use compostable garbage bags and reuse them until you can’t anymore, then compost them.


  1. Buy high quality and buy less often
  2. Buy secondhand clothes (Thrift stores, Asos marketplace, just check the used box)
  3. Throw a swipe party and exchange clothes with your friends!
  4. Most fabrics cannot be recycled since it’s made out of synthesized fabric.
  5. Buy clothes made from cotton, hemp, bamboo, linen, burlap, and tencel.
  6. Avoid fast fashion (watch The True Cost)
  7. Buy organic/fair trade/ ethical.


  1. Shampoo Bar (Lush/Castile Soap/ Ghar soap, olive oil soap) Find what works for your hair!
  2. Soap Bar (Castile Soap, Sappo Hill, Ghar soap, olive oil soap) 
  3. Stainless Steel Razor (Aldeera or
  4. If necessary: lush conditioner bar
  5. Towel: 100% cotton or bamboo
  6. Bamboo hairbrush (the body shop)
  7. Sidr mixed with water - suitable for short hair

Skin Care

  1. Lush Face Lotion.
  2. Rose water in a glass bottle (Aldeera, drugstores).
  3. Homegrown Aloe Vera.
  4. Cleanser (Soap bar).
  5. Makeup remover: oil then soap bar.
  6. Towels for removing makeup ex. instagram.
  7. DIY reusable cotton rounds or buy them online.

Body Care

  1. Scrub: Coffee ground + any oil.
  2. Lush body conditioner bar.
  3. Lush body lotion.
  4. Deodorant(homemade, Schmidt’s Natural deodorant).
  5. Japanese bamboo q-tip Mimikaki (Amazon) or let your body does its thing!
  6. Perfumes: Bassem Alqassem Refillable perfume. Ajmal, refillable container. 

*I know that Lush is not 100% natural or organic but they're the best option for some people.

Oral Care

  1. Bamboo toothbrush
  2. Homemade toothpaste. (2tbsp coconut oil + 1 tbsp baking soda + few drops of peppermint essential oils)
  3. Dental floss in a cardboard box or in a glass. 
  4. Miswak

Cosmetics & Beauty 

  1. Make your own or use package free items.
  2. Buy natural makeup or make your own, beet powder blush or mix it with shea butter to make lipstick.
  3. Bring your kit to the salon.
  4. Buy single eyeshadows instead of a whole palette and put them in cardboard z palette.
  5. Use eyebrow powder instead of pencils (eyeshadow).
  6. Buy only the necessary items (use things for multiple purposes).
  7. Buy bronzer, highlight, blush as pans instead of the whole packaging put them in a cardboard palette.
  8. Embrace your skin!

Cleaning products

  1. Castle soap mixed with water
  2. Clean with vinegar mixed with water (don’t worry, the smell goes away after a few minutes)
  3. Washing soda at 
  4. Bamboo dish scrubber - amazon /
  5. Reusable swifter pads
  6. 100% rubber gloves, instead of disposable gloves-

Dish Washing

  1. Bamboo dish brush/ copper cleaning cloth
  2. Dishwasher: eco dishwasher tablets in cardboard box - Lulu supermarket
  3. Dilute Castile soap with water.


  1. DIY Laundry detergent. (Mix washing soda + baking soda + grated Castile soap)
  2. Natural laundry soap (,


  1. Period panties from 
  2. Reusable pads
  3. Menstrual cup 

Used furniture 

  2. Dirah
  3. Used furniture stores in Riyadh, click here.

To-go kit

  1. Your home utensils/bamboo
  2. Water bottle
  3. Tote bag
  4. Coffee/smoothie jar. (hot coffee: keep cup from 12 cups/cold: mason jar).

School Supplies

  1. Backpack: Re-Kånken made from recycled plastic bottles
  2. STAEDTLER/Faber Castell pencil
  3. Go digital if possible (iPad, laptop)
  4. Metal sharpener
  5. Fountain pens with refillable ink (Jarir bookstore)
  6. All paper notebooks (no wires) - Jarir and Muji
  7. Highlighter pencils (Amazon)
  8. Erasers without plastic packaging 
  9. Borrow books/ buy used books. @Readforless


  1. Pottery barn organic duvet.
  2. Recycle electronics in Apple and other similar stores
  3. Phone cases (Pela case, free shipping).
  4. Use towels and fabric tissues to wipe your nose or hands.
  5. Refuse any junk mail by leaving it at the door / call the number on the flyer and complain.

Online Stores

  5. Bamboo toothbrush reviews

Recycling in Saudi

  1. Recycle plastic Wahat Buniyan (واحة بنيان) They take all types of plastic 
  2. Cardboard boxes drop them to the nearest shop (ask if someone would take them)
  3. Recycle old clothes at H&M
  4. Arab Recycling - Accept drop off and pick up over a ton of recyclables 


  1.  Save a lot of money in the long run
  2. End up buying local healthy and fresh ingredients
  3. Organized kitchen and trips to the grocery store
  4. Take out the trash less often or perhaps never!
  5. Plastic is harmful to the human body. It can cause cancer, birth defects, genetic changes, bronchitis, skin diseases, and indigestion. To learn more, read this!

Easy ways you can help!

  1. Ecosia A search engine that helps grow trees around the world


  1. Food waste 

  2. Banned plastic bags in Rwanda

  3. Ban on free plastic bags in the Netherlands

  4. Tasmania’s ban on plastic bags

  5. Kenya’s ban on plastic bags

  6. Activated charcoal water filter