Happy Earth day!
Where is one of your favorite spots to relax in nature? I love sitting on the beach and bike riding through the woods. Those are probably my two favorite ways to relax in nature! Here's a scenic picture I took from my last long bike ride of 2019. I can't wait for adventures like this again.
I hope to get my own bike soon so I can get outside and enjoy the simple things even more this year. Speaking of goals for the year, have you ever considered reducing your waste? Earth day is the perfect time to evaluate your impact on the planet and think about ways you can help! In my opinion, going fully zero waste and accumulating only enough trash to fit in a mason jar is unrealistic for the average American. However, adding a few zero and low waste habits into your daily routine will make a big difference and is definitely attainable!
Zero waste and low waste living does not have to be expensive! Anyone can take even just one step to decrease their waste. As someone in their 20s with student debt and other bills to pay, I make a conscious effort to save money where I can and embrace more of a minimalist perspective. I don't buy new clothes all of the time, eat out a lot, or buy to-go coffee on my way to work each day. Instead, I try my best to make things at home, plan ahead, and live as gently as I can in the moment.
Check out these 10 Money Saving Zero Waste Tips to start saving money and living a more gentle lifestyle.
1. Drink tap water
You already pay your water bill so why do you want to pay even more for plastic water bottles? Bottled water is an unnecessary expense when you have your own glass or reusable water bottle to fill up at the sink or fridge! Klean Kanteen is my favorite sustainable brand for reusable water bottles and insulated mugs for coffee or tea!
2. Shop secondhand
Make a wishlist of items you're looking for. Instead of going right to the mall and buying something that day, see if you can find it secondhand first! You can find brand new or lightly used clothing, toys, decor, furniture, and more all secondhand. If you don't have a thrift store nearby, check out Poshmark, Depop, Facebook Marketplace or ThredUp!
3. Use your local library
If you're only going to read a book once, doesn't it make sense to rent it instead of buying it? You can head to your local library and read everything under the sun without building a personal library. You'll save money, support your local community, and probably read more books if you were on a budget before.
4. Drive less or carpool
If you live within walking distance of your local coffee shop or park, consider walking there instead of driving! Driving less in general will also save you money because you'll be using less gas. If nothing is in walking distance of your home, plan out what you really need at the store and make every trip count! If you only need one item wait until you have a full list to make the trip worth it. Carpooling can also be a great way to decrease the resources you use and split costs with a friend.
5. Use reusable food storage containers/bags
Skip the plastic baggies and use your own food storage solutions! Stasher is one of many companies that offers reusable food storage. Buy a few reusable options once and save money over time by crossing off another item you never have to buy again. Ball mason jars are great for storing nuts, seeds, bulk foods, and baking ingredients!
6. Have a zero waste period
The savings here are huge! Feminine products are so expensive and you can go through a box of tampons in one month. Instead of spending money each month on tampons and pads, consider trying some reusable options! A reusable menstrual cup will last you 10+ years and is so cost-effective it's crazy. I use the DivaCup, but Saalt and Dot are also great options! Best $30 I've ever spent!! Period panties from Thinx are also a game changer for me. These are great to wear on the first or last days of your cycle or as a backup to protect against leaks.
7. Use dish/hand towels instead of paper towels
Similar to the reusable food storage, cross paper towels off your shopping list! Use old rags, dish towels, or hand towels you have in your house to dry dishes and dry your hands when working in the kitchen. These are also super absorbent for spills and can be tossed right into your washer. Even if you don't completely give up paper towels for now, using rags for even half of your kitchen needs will decrease how often you need to buy paper towels.
8. Make your own cleaning products
Most of the time we just need a cleaner to freshen up our home so ones with crazy chemicals or expensive green washed products are just silly! Take some vinegar, baking soda, and essential oils and make your own cleaning products. Use these on counter tops, in your sinks, in the bathroom, etc.
9. Buy pantry staples in bulk
Think about what pantry staples you use most. Maybe rice, oats, pasta, lentils, beans, etc. See if these foods are offered in the bulk section at a store near you. I can always find rice and a few other dry goods that are cheaper in the bulk bins.
10. Choose a whole foods instead of bagged snacks
Processed snacks can be pricey! Instead of spending your money on bags of chips, cookies, and crackers each week, lean toward whole foods options. Snack on a banana, apple, carrots and celery, etc. to save money and decrease your waste.
Want even more tips to decrease your waste and become more eco-friendly? Check out these posts for more tips and my advice when it comes to attainable sustainable living.