Staying Active in Isolation: Zero Waste Activities and Craft Ideas

Updated 4/6: keep checking back! This page will be updated daily as the shut-in period continues!

Need a little distraction or entertainment during the shut-in? I sure did!

In the first 7 days of isolation, I kept busy with some tried-and-true zero waste activities – like making ginger beer, re-growing produce, and candle making.

But I also experimented with some new projects, like making an apron out of a broken grocery bag. building a flower bed to grow some cucumbers and corn, and set up a small table on my street to give away some extra supplies I have accumulated to anyone in need.

Since fresh produce is scarce, it seemed like a good idea to increase the amount of produce I grew at home. I also tried to bake with as many bulk dry ingredients as possible, saving the fresh produce for meals. I baked savory carrot muffins using frozen shredded carrots I had saved from the last batch, a few loves of bread – sourdough, wheat, and some spent beer grains, homemade pizza from homemade dough, salty/spicy seed bars, macadamia nut cookies, and probably other things I am forgetting.

It’s important to keep your mind and body active to stay healthy and sane. So don’t just sit in front of Netflix with a tub of ice cream waiting for this to end. Swap out the ice cream for a frozen smoothie packed with leafy greens and vitamin c. (Did you know you can make your own Vitamin C powder? Here’s an easy recipe using oranges!)

Eat extra servings of fruits and vegetables whenever possible and don’t forget to exercise!

Now, for some isolation-friendly activity ideas:

isolation creations, if you will.

Paint Rock Mandalas


Painting rock mandalas is a great way to relax, improve your focus, and create some beautiful designs! This easter, consider painting rocks instead of eggs with your kids!

More instructions here.


Grow a Victory Garden!

Victory gardens were born out of necessity during WWII when families were encouraged to grow their own produce to support themselves during rationing. Growing your own produce is not only great for your family, it actually helps the environment.

More Instructions: Grow a Victory Garden!


It might feel nice to sit in front of the TV for a little while, but don’t get too complacent! It’s just as important to keep your mind stimulated as well as your body. Since the gyms are closed and the government recommends reducing your exposure outdoors, do what you can to stay in shape and healthy.

You can still go for a walk around the block, and I’m sure your dog would appreciate going as well! But if that doesn’t sound ideal, there are plenty of stretches you can do at home.

Here is an easy 10 minute yoga routine for beginners:

I do a similar routine every morning and it feels great! If I forget, I notice around lunch time that my back feels tight. Yoga makes a big, positive difference in my life.


Make Your Own Ginger Beer:

Stores out of ginger beer? Looking for something to do that will take more than a few days? This might be the perfect project for you.

For video instructions, check out our recipe on

Zero Waste TV:

Or read the full instructions/recipe here.




now isn’t an ideal time to go out and find candle wax, but if you already have some mostly used up candles home, you can accumulate the wax and make a brand new candle. Tiny wax crayon nubs can be melted down as well. I’ve ever heard of someone making candles from red, wax Babybel cheese casings.

More instructions.

Make your own Kombucha


Just like ginger beer, Kombucha can be made at home with just a little effort and a decent amount of time. Something I have a lot of right now. You can pretty much make your own SCOBY, too. You don’t need to get one from a friend. Just take a bottle of store bought kombucha, and follow these instructions. You’ll be serving up delicious, homemade kombucha flavored just the way you like!

More instructions.


Re-Grow Produce 


Why compost produce when you can regrow it? Unfortunately this isn’t true for every type of fruit or vegetable, but certainly for quite a few, like celery, onions, potatoes, and even some herb cuttings!

This is a fun, easy activity that teaches kids and adults about gardening and the result? Delicious, pesticide-free food!

More instructions. 

Make and Apron from a Grocery Bag

coming soon

This was a happy accident. After wondering what I would do with this flimsy, broken grocery bag Ivan bought me in Hawaii, it finally dawned on me. I’ve always wanted an apron, and making one out of a grocery bag required surprisingly few alterations! I’m no seamstress, but I think it came out great! Here’s how I made it:


Clear out your inbox



This might not be the most fun activity in the world, but it certainly is helpful! How? Storing  unnecessary e-mails can actually impact your carbon footprint. So spend a couple minutes clearing out your inbox, your spam filter, and unsubscribing from any e-mail subscriptions you don’t need – don’t worry, the company won’t really be offended.

For more info, click here.



More ideas:

How to upcycle an old denim jacket

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