Do you often think of making some more sustainable changes, but are put off by the idea that you need to race out and buy all the shiny new ‘eco’ products you see on Instagram?
I hear you! There seems to be this trendy scene amongst eco influencers that means you must buy all the things and have a certain look. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for eco products if you need a new thingo, but if not, why not just use what you have and save some money at the same time?
There is no need to race out and buy a trendy new bottle or travel cutlery pack when you have everything you need at home. It saves the planet and your money which is awesome. So let me show you a few low-waste habits you can adopt right now that will cost you nothing and even keep a few bucks in your pocket.
- Let’s start with the reusable travel pack that I mentioned. If you are saying no to plastic cutlery, straws, bottles and containers (good on you!), make yourself a kit from what you already have at home and pack it in your bag each day. If you love a straw, you may need to buy a stainless steel or bamboo one to complete your kit or go without. Tip for parents – old baby/kid cutlery makes awesome travel cutlery.
- Don’t waste food! Use up everything you can to avoid food waste (which is a waste of money too). Freeze leftovers to be eaten for work or school lunches. Rejuvenate veggies by placing in cold water in the fridge before eating. Use dodgy looking veg in omelettes to use up. Try to plan meals so make sure you use everything. Do an inventory before heading out to the shops to avoid doubling up or overbuying.
- Grow some food. If you can grow a few herbs, chillies or tomatoes, you are reducing what you have to buy at the shops and you know exactly what’s been put on your food. If you are more ambitious, get a whole veggie garden happening to really cut down on shopping costs.
- Use kitchen waste for good. Set up a compost bin or pit so that you can turn your food waste into lovely compost. Hang on to citrus rinds and use for cleaning (lemon rinds are great to clean sinks and stove tops). Use coffee grounds for skin exfoliation in the shower or to whip up a simple face mask (check out my easy recipe here).
- Only use the dishwasher, washing machine and/or drier if you have full loads. This means you use these machines less often and therefore save yourself some water and energy (good for the planet, good for your pocket).
- Sun dry your washing. I know this is location and season dependent, but if you live in a climate where this is possible, it not only saves you money, but makes your washing smell magnificent! There is also an added bonus that sun kills germs too.
- Still on the washing thing… only wash when things are dirty to reduce how many loads of washing you need to do and to maintain the quality of your clothes. You can wear jeans at least 5 times between washes and some people don’t wash them at all!
- DIY natural cleaning products. There are lots of cleaning products you can make from pantry staples (think bicarbonate soda, lemon juice, citric acid, vinegar…) that are way cheaper than buying store bought products and are better for you and our waterways. I make an all-purpose spray that costs about 80 cents a bottle! Check out my free DIY challenge here or my do-at-your-own-pace Natural, No-toxin Cleaning online course here.
- Reuse everything. Wash and save food containers and jars. Save greeting cards, wrapping paper and gift bags, cardboard, bubble wrap, newspapers, plant pots… everything! These things are great for DIY gift wrapping and cards, growing your food, craft activities and more! The basic rule of thumb is, if it can be reused, save it. You’ll never need to go out and buy new again (probably?)!
- Buy second-hand. Each time you realise you need something, have a think about whether you could get the same thing second-hand or from a ‘buy nothing’ group where people give away or lend items they no longer need. This will definitely save you money and helps you participate in a circular economy which reduces the need for new stuff to be made and therefore, reduces waste.
So there you go. If you aren’t already doing some of these things, give them a go and be pleasantly surprised at how thrifty and green you can be!