How to do fall things zero waste style

We’re hitting the cold weather hard! But panic, not. You can still indulge in your favorite Fall things without taking you off course on your zero waste journey.

If you don’t love fall, I get it. Beach weather is over and I have to wear pants again… it’s a sad tradition. But I can’t fight the smells of warm spices and views of fall foliage! It gets me psyched for pumpkin spice lattes, corn mazes, and all the apple cider things.

But fall things can be wasteful if you’re not prepared. Here are some ideas on how to make your fall a great one, without making a lot of trash.

Enjoy your favorite fall drinks in a reusable cup

Whether you’re apple picking or at a fall festival, the opportunity for apple cider is just everywhere! Don’t leave the house without a reusable cup and you’ll never have to refuse your favorite seasonal drinks… no matter how basic it makes you feel. You shouldn’t have to refuse the joy of fall because of single-use plastics.

bamboo cup
Reusable cup made of bamboo fibers. Received in greenUP box

Bring your own bag to the apple orchard

I always love hitting an orchard come apple picking season. These apples go from tree to table. No refrigeration in between! It’s also a ton of fun, especially with children. Not my own… I can usually grab a loaner from a cousin. Not to mention, supporting local business is always great.

Make sure you find an apple orchard that charges by the pound. Ones that do “fill as much as you can in a bag” usually have a hard time accommodating. Bring your own bag and when it comes time to weigh, either empty your apples onto the scale or have them subtract the tare weight of the bag.

Make your own fall foods and drinks

Making your own pumpkin spice is easy! Mix these dry spices in equal parts:

  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger
  • Cloves

Add this to your coffee and baked goods. You can also bring some apples home from the orchard and make your own apple cider, using the same spices. Here’s a great recipe.

Don’t waste the pumpkin

Halloween carries the great tradition of carving pumpkins, but many of those end up crushed on the street by local teenagers or in the trash. It is such a shame! Because there are so many ways to extend a jack o lantern’s life.

  1. Keep the seeds. Toast them in a skillet with no oil until crispy.
  2. Save your pumpkin guts and include them in your next veggie stock.
  3. Once Halloween is over, skin your jack o Lantern and cook the meat either in the oven or in boiling water. You can eat as is, make soup, or make a puree to use in your favorite baked goods.
  4. Compost the skin.

Stay active and enjoy the smell of dead leaves

I’m #blessed to live in New England in the USA so I’m in a prime foliage spot! I love the dead leaf smell so like to ride my bike on top of them. It’s a nice way to remain active too (and prep for Thanksgiving food). It is so easy to cocoon at home watching Netflix. Instead, take a hike, go on a walk or go on a bike ride. All these things are free and waste free. 

There was a ratty old bike left on the side of the road to be tossed, so I grabbed it to refurbish. Just because I’m “Not Trashy” doesn’t mean I don’t love trash! Making something old, new again is a great feeling – especially if it means saving something from landfills.

Enjoy the foliage with a picnic

Bring a flannel blanket to the park and enjoy the crisp air of fall. Pack your favorite bulk snacks, drinks, and soup (maybe pumpkin soup from leftover jack o lantern?). I find that insulated food containers do a good job at keeping your drinks and food hot (this one is my fav). Mulled wine, warm apple cider or hot chocolate can go in boiling and be consumed hot. Don’t forget a snuggle buddy 😉

Most wineries allow you to pack a lunch too! You could pack yourself a whole charcuterie board. The great thing about wineries too, is that they don’t use plastic to serve you… at least the good ones don’t. For those who aren’t into wine, most breweries are also BYOF.


Grab your food containers and go local

Y’all, this is why fall is a popular season. Get out and just do the local events around town like haunted houses, fall festivals and corn mazes. Where I live, there’s a fall festival in every town! The activities, however vary – All very low waste if you bring your reusables. Anytime there are food trucks, you’ll want to grab to go containers and ask them to put your food in there. Also, bring your own utensils, cups, etc.

Haunted houses, same. If you’re over 21 years old, bring some booze in a flask while you wait in line to calm your nerves and keep you warm. Don’t drink and drive, kids.

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