This post contains affiliate links.
Many of my friends and followers always seem to be asking me the same questions.
How expensive it is to live the zero waste home lifestyle, and what money-saving things can I do to offset my startup costs?
This is why I wrote the ultimate money-saving guide for the zero waste home.
Zero Waste Home Tips – Where To Start?
What Are Your Local Options
The first thing you can do to help you on your money-saving zero waste journey is to get educated.
Go online and see what your local area has to offer.
Start by looking for bulk stores, recycling facilities, composting programs, local groups, and thrift shops.
Just knowing what help and support are out there will save you a lot of time, money, and ultimately, frustration.
Plus, from a zero-waste perspective, you really need to know the latest information about what you can recycle and the condition it needs to be in.
Examine Your Trash
To move to a zero-waste home saving money lifestyle, you must first understand where you are generating your waste.
Examining your trash will give you several clues and lots of information about your current lifestyle.
Please read 37 genius ways to reduce your trash levels at home.
From this information, you can see where your first money-saving improvements can be made.
For example, if the most waste comes from packaging, you can investigate how to shop for and store your goods loose.
Buying your goods loose is an instant 15% saving on the packaging!
However, if the waste is mostly uneaten food, you will need to plan your meals and shop to a list.
Make reducing your trash can waste the first zero-waste project that you tackle.
Reducing this waste may happen quite naturally when you implement some of my tips, so don’t worry; it is doable.
I promise you, as this wastage reduces, so will your overall expenses.
Quick fact: The average American produces 1,704 pounds of garbage per year, roughly three times the global average, according to a new report by the research firm Verisk Maplecroft.
Imagine how much money would be saved if we reduced this waste.
Zero Waste – Electricity Tips
Switch To A Renewable Energy Supplier
Switching energy suppliers often encourages them to reduce you to a lower tariff and therefore saves you money.
But, apart from money, there are also environmental considerations to be made from a zero-waste perspective.
You no longer need to choose an electricity supplier who only uses nuclear or fossil fuel power stations.
Instead, electricity can now be sourced from suppliers prioritizing power generation from 100% renewable sources.
These sources could include solar power, hydroelectricity, bio generation, and wind power.
This may be a small change for you but could have a large impact on the goal of zero waste.
Suppliers prioritizing power generation from 100% renewable sources are:
- NextEra Energy Resources
- Avangrid Renewables
- Cypress Creek Renewables
- Acciona Energia
- EDP Renewables North America
- Pattern Energy
- MidAmerican Energy
Generate Your Own Power
Personally, I don’t like solar panels on homes as I am concerned about the heavy resources mined to manufacture them.
Nor do I like the fact that they are largely unrecyclable. Suffice to say, they are not for me.
However, the jury is still out on this one, and I need to investigate it further.
Therefore if you want solar panels, they can reduce your energy bills.
You can install solar “or wind” power to your home at a relatively cheap cost to eventually save money on your electricity bills.
Furthermore, any excess power can be sold directly to participating energy companies.
This will further reduce your energy bills and shorten your time to recoup your initial outlay for the equipment.
I have my own bias, but you should investigate the advantages in your area for potential money-saving possibilities.
Think of your home as a large heat collector and look for ways to insulate it to make it more energy-efficient.
This does not need to be expensive, as just a few small changes can insulate your home and save you money.
Large projects could be insulating the walls and roof and replacing the double glazing.
Smaller projects could include putting rugs down on hardwood floors or fitting draft excluders to doors.
Blackout or thick curtains hung across the windows are an excellent way to keep the heat either in or out of the house.
Install Smart Meters
Water and electricity companies will quite often do this for free as it is their interest and yours.
Smart meters can be programmed and are a must for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint and decrease their energy consumption/bills.
Please note, however, that if you are a large household, it may be cheaper not to be on a smart water meter.
There are some products that still pull an electric current even when they are turned off.
Try turning off all your appliances and then listen for the telltale buzz of the electricity in your house.
Eliminate this by unplugging them individually or put them on a fused power strip.
This will be more convenient as there will be only one plug that needs to be removed.
Be aware that unplugging products on standby will also save you money over time.
This is because the power drop for items left on standby is quite often less dramatic than we think.
Also, consider the cost of those electrical items left switched on when not in use, such as radios and TV boxes.
If you really want to save money and reduce power wastage, consider this:
In the Uk comparison site, MoneySuperMarket found that a TV box such as Sky or Virgin-Media can be a big energy drain.
If these products are switched on but the TV is switched off, they can still cost the household over £27 or $33 a year.
Change To Rechargeable Batteries
Rechargeable batteries almost always last longer, cost less in the long run, and reduce waste compared to single-use batteries.
So, if you must use batteries, here is the argument for choosing rechargeable.
In a 2012 report from the California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery, about 4 billion disposable batteries are shipped to the US each year.
That equates to about 47 batteries per household per year.
Given the average rechargeable battery’s lifespan, you could replace those 47 single-use batteries with just 12 rechargeable batteries every 4 years.
Again, think of the vast savings in resources and landfill requirements.
On this evidence, they are guaranteed to save you money.
Change To Energy-Efficient Light Bulbs
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, residential LEDs — especially ENERGY STAR-rated products — use at least 75% less energy and last 25 times longer than incandescent lighting.
Therefore, not only do energy-efficient light bulbs save on electricity costs, but they also last longer.
As a build on this, some can even be programmed!
Use Solar Chargers
Solar chargers are a great money-saving source of power for your small electronics.
Use them to charge your Apple products and smartphones, plus many other items you may own.
A single smartphone charger plugged in but not charging still costs about 13 cents a year!
Turn Off The Ice Maker
Did you know that ice makers have their own little motor inside them, which drops the ice into the tray?
This motor has its own little heater to stop it from freezing up in its cold environment.
This heater is always on and increases energy consumption by between 12% and 20%.
That’s a lot of energy for something which is really a gimmick.
So save yourself some money, invest in an ice tray or two, and save the power drain.
Keep The Freezer Full
A well-stocked freezer runs far more efficiently than an empty one.
It is also the perfect place to store foods that have been bought in season or cooked in bulk.
Line – Dry Whenever Possible
If you must use a dryer, then constantly clean the filter to reduce the electricity cost.
However, line drying is best, and your clothes will last longer if you do.
Try planting lavender near the washing line for a free uplifting fragrance boost while they dry.
Use Cold Water When Washing Clothes
Hot water can sometimes set stains that cold water will deal with.
Grandma used cold water for clothes washing, and it was fine.
Using cold water will cut fuel costs dramatically.
However, failing this reduce the temperature of the wash as it helps to reduce costs.
Run The washing Machine And Dishwasher At Night
Run these machines at night during your electric company’s off-peak hours.
As a result, you will be saving money and reducing the energy demand on the grid at the same time.
With this single step, you will be surprised at just how much money you can save over a year!
Turn your thermostat down by a couple of degrees in the winter and up by a couple of degrees in the summer.
Plus, check the time and duration that it is on as you may be able to make significant energy savings here.
Use A Pressure Cooker
It’s considered a bit old-fashioned these days, but a pressure cooker can reduce cooking times by up to 70%.
This means quite a saving on energy bills and a sizable gain in quality time with your loved ones.
Plan Your Baking
When using the oven, plan to bake/cook several different recipes on the same day.
You can then benefit from lower running costs due to the oven already being hot and just maintaining temperature.
The extra meals can then be chilled or frozen for use on another day.
This will bring down your meal costs and save time in preparation.
Just think of them as fully nutritious home-cooked ready meals.
Shorten Your Showers
I tried cold showers for a month, and it was a step too far for me.
I love zero waste, but I also want to enjoy life, so this makes a good compromise.
It not only saves water but cuts down on that all-important electricity bill.
While you’re at it, you could install a water-saving showerhead and double your pleasure!
Zero Waste – Entertainment Tips
Stream For Free
There is no longer a need to buy and store DVDs, records, etc. anymore.
There are many streaming services that can provide you with good quality entertainment.
Not to mention the TV and radio, which are both free!
Join A Library
You can pick up board games from your local thrift shop, or join a library to read a book for free.
However, libraries offer much more than just books these days.
They are also a meeting point for many social groups and activities.
Many libraries also offer coffee, pleasant seating areas, free internet, and are much cheaper than coffee shops.
If you want to save some money on books, DVDs, home heating bills, and a coffee, then join a library!
Limit Screen Time (All Electronics)
If you do this, you will save on some time, electricity, and data usage costs for sure.
However, it’s the environmental saving which is the big one here.
A large proportion of our electronics are now connected to data centers, which consume vast amounts of energy.
Do you know that some Microsoft data centers are sunk deep in the ocean to keep them cool?
All this energy is provided by power stations that may be consuming fossil fuels, so turn it off if you want to reduce the power outage.
Anyway, for a better, happier life, stop wasting your precious time on screens and spend it with loved ones instead.
Zero Waste – Shopping And Storing Tips
Shopping locally puts money into the local economy and allows you to buy the quantities of food you require.
Unfortunately, the larger retail markets often package their “perfect” produce in pack sizes larger than you actually need.
The leftover food is then wasted and potentially finds its way to a landfill.
According to the U.S. government environment agency, discarded food is the biggest single component of U.S. landfills and incinerators. Source
Buy buying local you support and sustain the market for growing fresh good quality homegrown produce of which none will be wasted.
Farming can then return to growing what we need and no longer be under the big multinationals’ pull.
Shopping locally is one of those zero-waste tips that can have a massive impact on the environment.
Moreover, it will improve our society and our everyday lives. I, for one, would love to see the return to the growth of my own hometown.
Start Collecting Glass Jars
Glass jars are the must-have essential for all zero wasters and will be needed when you shop.
Reclaiming and reusing glass jars will also mean not having to buy plastic cups or containers and will, therefore, save you money.
Another bonus is that glass is also 100% recyclable, whereas plastic is not.
This means that by changing to glass, you can have a positive environmental impact at zero cost to you.
Shop With A Zero Waste Grocery Kit
When shopping, you will be replacing disposable for reusable, so your shopping kit should be reflective of that.
No plastic bags are allowed here.
You should have your plan, i.e., a shopping list, so that you can plan where to shop and what to carry it back in.
I will assume that you have found a bulk or refill store near you from your online search.
This is what you need in your grocery kit:
- Containers for liquid – narrow-necked jars for vinegar, oil, and large-mouthed jars for meat, butter.
- Bags for containing produce – cotton, mesh, or even pillowcase bags for fruit and vegetables.
- Containers for dry goods – Glass jars of various sizes or cotton bags will do depending on the product.
- Egg boxes – these might be supplied depending on the store.
- Cloth bags for frozen foods – pillowcases are great for this task.
- Tote bags to bring it all home in.
It is best practice for me to place tote bags in the car’s boot and by the door as I go out.
I also always keep a small selection of the above in the car for unplanned shopping opportunities.
Save Money And Buy In Bulk
Ditch all the packaging waste by buying in bulk and change the plastic bags for reusable containers.
Dry goods will require reusable bags, wet items will need sealable jars, and liquids will need sealable bottles.
Save your egg boxes for eggs (naturally) and any small baskets for wild fruit and berry collecting/ purchasing.
Imagine how much packaging and, therefore, waste will be saved by moving into this new style of shopping.
Another zero waste tip is to invent new recipes for the bits left in jars or the small leftovers from previous meals.
With a little inventive and fun thinking, you can reduce your food waste down to zero.
Don’t Buy Processed Foods
Processed foods are low on nutritional content and are generally high in sugars, salts, and hidden additives.
Add to that the plastic wrap and increased cost compared to fresh foods, and their appeal is somewhat reduced.
You can save a lot of money by ignoring these foods and opting for a fresh diet instead.
You might even see your health bills reduced as you reap the benefits of eating fresh, nutritious ingredients.
Not to mention all that packaging that would end up in the ocean or landfill if you encouraged its production.
Imagine, if you would, a world with no plastic-wrapped processed food or styrofoam containers!
Shop With A Plan
Avoid impulse buying and always buy only what you need. If you feel an impulse purchase coming on, then give yourself time to evaluate the purchase.
That time might be from a few hours to a month, depending on the factors involved.
To ensure you save money, always stick to this one rule, never purchase on credit. Your motto should be; If I can’t afford it, I can’t have it!
Think about these things when considering an impulse purchase:
- Does the item fulfill an actual need or just an emotion
- Will the item enhance my life
- If it’s clothing, then can it be worn in many combinations with my existing wardrobe?
- Could I purchase the same or similar item as a pre-loved item
Say No To Disposable Single-Use Items
When you are at a party or an event and are offered a single-use item, just say no and ask for an alternative.
For example, some people take their own eating and drinking utensils, but they may not always be allowed in.
However, packaging and single-use items form a large proportion of the plastic litter leaking into our oceans.
Therefore, when you say yes to a disposable item, you effectively make a positive vote for more of these items to be created.
By saying “NO” and asking for a sustainable alternative, you are voting for zero waste.
You are forcing manufacturers to fund the science to develop new alternative materials that can replace single-use disposable products.
This is the power that you have in your vote, so use it wisely.
- Growing sustainable packaging
- Manufacturing textiles with milk
- Leather-like material called Mirum
- Edible Cutlery
- Plates and bowls made from leaves
Ditch The Plastic Bin Liners
There are some things in the house that we use only out of habit and convenience.
Bin liners are one of these products.
Save money and excess wastage by ditching these superfluous items and going back to basics.
If you are composting your food scraps, have stopped buying plastic-wrapped junk foods, and are recycling, then you won’t have much actual waste anyway.
This means that you probably won’t need a bin liner.
Just wash the bin out once a week. Job done!
Swop Paper Products For Reusables
There is no room for single-use paper products in a zero-waste lifestyle.
Paper towels, napkins, plates, cups, etc., can all be replaced with a reusable alternative.
Bamboo is favored for the cups and plates at the moment, while cloth replaces the napkins and towels.
Napkins are super easy to make with minimal needlework skills!
There should be no material shortage, as old or worn-out clothing/bed linen can be saved and then repurposed.
I Keep a box of rags cut into squares for use as paper towels and informal napkins.
Borrow Not Buy
Instead of buying new items for rare occasions, consider borrowing or hiring them.
This could apply to camping holidays, for example, or trips to the coast.
How often do you buy stuff that you only use a couple of times then watch it rot away?
It might be nice to have new stuff but ask yourself, “do I really need it”?
If the answer is no, then just think how much money and resources you have just saved.
If you can’t borrow what you need, check out the thrift stores and free ads first.
These are great places to save money by buying first-class products at knock-down prices.
As a bonus, you prevent them from going to the landfill and make their previous owner very happy!
Less wastage, no methane created, repurposed, or recycled products; it’s the free ultimate in zero waste.
Zero Waste – Gift Giving Tips
Tit For Tat Gifts
I spent many years locked into the cycle of giving because I was receiving.
You know what I mean; it’s Christmas, and you know someone will buy you something, so you have to buy them something.
This can cost a lot of money, and you end up with loads of stuff you just don’t want!
Well, now I have stopped all that.
I had a conversation with my friends and family and agreed that this was both unnecessary and fruitless.
I agreed with them to give me only 1 present.
For this, my preference would be a homemade or an experience present of a pre-agreed top limit spend.
The result was a drastic reduction in waste, very relieved friends, and lots of extra cash in the pocket.
I now get home-produced jams, honey, baked goods, and experience vouchers, and I love them all.
The initial conversation can be a little hard to start, but believe me, it’s probably the best one you will ever have.
Buy An Experience Not A Product
This relates to those times of the year when you are only giving, not receiving.
Here the cost of a gift can be jointly shared by many people, not just the one.
At this time, you can club together for an experience day out, buy vouchers or donate to the recipient’s favorite charity.
This will make sure that the recipient gets a high-value gift that will be used and cherished.
Quite often, smaller gifts are overpriced, unwanted, and end up in landfill sites or incinerators.
However, by buying a joint present, you can save money on cards, wrapping paper, accessories, postage, and buy to budget. Everybody wins!
If you are the recipient, ask family and friends not to buy you individual gifts as it does not suit your zero waste lifestyle.
Make them aware that the best gifts are those which create memories, not dust.
To prevent waste, never buy souvenirs but take pictures instead and store them in the cloud.
The memory of shared family experiences is worth far more than cheap and tasteless mugs anyway.
Gift Wrapping The Furoshiki Way
Gifts should be given out of love, so why not wrap them that way.
You can make a gift really special by wrapping them using the furoshiki method.
This entails wrapping them in cloth which can be part of your gift.
Examples of the types of cloth to use could be clothing, a handkerchief, a headscarf, a napkin, etc.
In addition, the gifts may include consumable gifts given in recyclable or reusable packaging, such as a heavy glass mason jar.
Think of cookies in a metal tin or pet treats in a sealed-up cardboard tube.
You might even get creative and give a secret message in a bottle or jar.
Exactly what the message is; I will leave it to your imagination!
These make for cheap money-saving gifts but are incredibly well-received due to the wrapping and thought evident in them.
Save Your Gift Wrapping
Failing the cloth method, you could also cut down your wrapping waste in other ways.
For example, think of brown paper or paper and accessories saved from other presents given throughout the year.
Or maybe don’t use any paper at all and hide your gifts around the house.
You can now write little clues and send the recipient off on a little treasure hunt.
Your imagination is the only limiter here!
Zero Waste – Fashion Tips
Limit Your New Wardrobe
The fashion industry currently produces massive amounts of waste that negatively impacts the environment.
A portion of this comes from textile scraps, leftover fabric, excess threads, dyes, inks, and paper waste.
Each year, they change the designs and ask us to buy a whole new wardrobe, contributing to this wastage.
So now is your time to stop.
Get off the money-consuming waste wagon and onto the zero waste money and waste saving crusade.
Save Money By Buying Pre-Loved Fashion
The fashion industry has brainwashed us into thinking that we need lots of different clothes and shoes.
Not only that but they must be changed according to their fashion seasons!
The truth is that we only really need as many clothes and shoes as we can fit into an airplane carry-on bag.
Anything more than that is a waste.
Plus, the resources required by the fashion industry to make new fashion products are insanely enormous.
Asides from the extraction, purification, and non-ethical manufacturing of these resources, you should also think of the toxins used.
On the whole, slimming down your wardrobe and donating to and purchasing from a thrift store is an environmental zero-waste must.
By following some simple zero waste tips, you can get out of this fashion merry-go-round.
In this way, you can have a huge positive impact on the environment and save a ton of money by not buying unnecessary fashion.
Follow these zero-waste fashion tips to save money and help the environment:
- Stop buying new and only buy from thrift stores
- Mend, redesign or repurpose clothes as much as possible
- Upcycle clothes were possible, for example, jeans into a fashion handbag
- Never throw away any unwanted clothing. Donate them to charity or friends who can salvage the materials
- Wash less. Jeans, for instance, don’t require frequent washing, which will save on water, cleaning products, and electricity.
- If you must buy new, then say no to excess packaging. It should be from hanger to bag; there is no need for tissue, boxes, or plastic wrap!
- Buy quality over quantity. A good piece can last for many years.
- Purchase eco-friendly, ethically made fabrics such as hemp, organic cotton, or biodegradable material.
- Only purchase a good-fit item that can mix and match with your existing wardrobe.
- Air or line dry your clothing. It’s better for them and doesn’t cost a thing.
Zero Waste – Personal Hygiene Swop Tips
Eco-Friendly Personal Hygiene Swops
There are many beauty products out there, and the manufacturers have convinced us that we need every one of them.
However, the truth is that we don’t, and you can make almost everything that you need.
Thinking about it logically, humankind has used 100% natural ingredients since before year one, so why is today any different?
To live a zero-waste lifestyle, you will eventually need to make and use some of these natural products.
This is because very few personal hygiene products are supplied with eco-friendly packaging.
However, on a good note, once you have created a natural product, they become incredibly cheap to use and will inevitably save you money.
Here are a few examples of personal hygiene swops:
- Natural shampoo liquid or bars from a bulk store (saponified oils)
- Replace store toothpaste for homemade toothpaste (baking soda, coconut oil, and essential oil)
- Wood or bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic
- Silk threads from silk material scraps instead of dental floss
- A simple rag or reusable bamboo pads for makeup remover
- Use coconut oil as a hair conditioner
- Lemon and water in a spray bottle to use as hairspray
- Baking soda as a deodorant
- Metal safety razor in place of the disposable or electric shaver
- Use white vinegar as shampoo ( I prefer not to )
- Block soap from the bulk store or homemade for head to toe washing
- Menstrual cup instead of disposable feminine products
- Recycled and unbleached paper-wrapped toilet paper
- Use cucumbers for eyelid relief and moisturization
Zero Waste – Natural Cleaning Tips
Save Money With Natural Cleaning
Making the switch to non-toxic natural cleaning will drastically cut down waste and will improve the environment.
It also works out to be cheaper and healthier for all members of the family than standard cleaning.
You probably have up to 30 or more different cleaning products in your cleaning arsenal at home, not including tools.
However, that list can be dropped down to as low as 4 non-toxic cleaners.
Making your own cleaning products is a sure way to save money and help the environment with very little initial outlay.
The 4 cleaning products you will ever need are:
- Distilled white vinegar
- Baking Soda
- Castile soap
- Olive oil
You can see that making your own cleaning products from these 4 products will considerably cut your waste and costs.
In addition, you don’t need many tools, and the various cleaning solutions, once made up, will stay fresh for many months.
Let’s take a quick look at just one of the 4 natural cleaning products to see the advantages.
I will follow this with links to natural cleaning recipes using these 4 basic ingredients and some other recipes.
Cleaning With Vinegar
Vinegar is an extremely versatile and affordable cleaner and is also a mild disinfectant.
It can be used on a wide variety of surfaces both inside and outside of the home.
It can also be taken internally and used on the body externally for health reasons.
It is more eco-friendly than bleach and will kill a wide variety of bacterias and mold.
To start you off, here are a few cleaning recipes;
1 part white vinegar to 1 part water
Put this mixture into a spray bottle and use it as you would any other general-purpose cleaner.
The vinegar smell will dissipate after a few hours, or you could add 15 drops of essential oils for a more pleasant aroma.
Stainless Steel Cleaner
100% white vinegar
You cannot use vinegar on black stainless steel, but it works very well on normal stainless steel.
Pour a little vinegar onto a clean cloth and work in the direction of the grain.
Chopping Board Cleaner
100% white vinegar
Wipe down chopping boards with the vinegar to cut down grease, kill bacteria and deodorize strong smells such as onions.
There are many more cleaning recipes and uses for vinegar, soap, olive oil, and baking soda than I can mention here.
For a full list of natural cleaning tips, recipes, and the common tools required, please read:
- 23 Reader suggested natural cleaning recipes that actually work.
- 35 Uses For Bicarbonate Of Soda In The Kitchen
- 16 cleaning uses for bicarbonate of soda in the bathroom
However, there are some occasions when vinegar is not the most suitable product to use.
To find out more, please read:
- 15 Things You Should Never Clean With Vinegar And Why
- 5 Things You Should Never Mix With Vinegar When Cleaning
Zero Waste – Food Tips
Adopt Meatless Monday
According to the Earth Day Network, eating one less burger a week for a year has the same environmental impact as taking a car off the road for 320 miles.
I can’t prove that to be a fact, but it is thought-provoking.
So if you adopt Meatless Monday, You can make a massive impact on the world, save money and reduce wastage through indirect means.
Food Waste Equals Compost Gain
The general rule of thumb is that if it was once alive (except bone), it could be rotted down into compost.
Therefore I would encourage everyone to compost their waste.
Try this great link to WellGardening.Com for fantastic advice on all things composting if you have a useable outside space.
However, please do not send your food waste out to landfills thinking it will be composted.
Food waste buried in landfill sites breaks down anaerobically due to the lack of oxygen and increased pressure.
This anaerobic decomposition generates a significant amount of methane gas which is harmful to the environment.
Composted waste breaks down aerobically (in the presence of oxygen).
So by composting, you can have a dramatic effect on reducing methane gas emissions. Source
You can also feed the planet instead of poisoning it!
Grow your Own
Growing your own fruit and veg gives you a sense of purpose, an enormous feeling of wellbeing, and keeps you on the zero waste high.
It will cut down your carbon footprint in many ways, save you money, and can even be done indoors.
There are even foods that you can regrow from the kitchen scraps and foods that can grow in buckets.
From a garden to a small apartment, you now have no excuse not to grow your own.
From herbs to potatoes, it can all be grown with a little imagination and regular tending.
The best thing is, none of it will be wasted, and it’s a cheap pastime that can be shared with others.
If you have the room, consider raising chickens or goats.
Goats milk is very nutritious, good for dogs, and is the most consumed milk in the world!
Chickens provide you with good nutrient-rich eggs and are extremely easy to keep.
Think about much fun you could have and how much money you could save by keeping a few chickens and a goat!
Save Money And Limit The Portion Size
We have very little control over the portion sizes when eating out, but in the home, it’s different.
When making meals remember that we can snack on fruit and home-cooked foods if we absolutely need to.
So don’t make too much food that has to be then discarded.
Remember, Feed the family, not the compost!
Whilst we are on the subject of making meals and unnecessary waste, there is very little need to peel most vegetables.
In fact, you shouldn’t do. Most vitamins, minerals, and fiber are in the peels and are essential to good health.
Carry A Food Container and cutlery With You
If you are out and go to a restaurant or cafe and don’t finish everything, having a container is useful.
You can reduce the waste by asking them to fill the container and then eat it later.
This may save you money on snacks for your teenager!
Similarly, if you are out and the only cutlery is disposable, you will have your own conveniently placed.
This may occur at a party, social event, or family gathering.
A small foldable spork is perfect for this.
Ditch The Disposable Plastic Water Bottle
According to an article written for The Water Project:
- “In the United States, bottled water costs between $0.25 and $2 per bottle while tap water costs less than a penny.
- Plastic water bottles take over 1,000 years to bio-degrade
- Only PET bottles can be recycled, and all other bottles are discarded
- In the U.S., there are 2 million tons of discarded water bottles on landfill sites
- Only 1 in 5 bottles are sent to the recycle bin
- It is estimated that it takes 3 liters of water to package 1 liter of bottled water.
Given this information, it makes sense to ditch the plastic water bottle for a refillable double-skinned water bottle.
The cost savings to you over a year can be significant, and to the planet, it’s priceless! Enough said.
Zero Waste – Save Money On Your Water Bills
Flushing excess water down the toilet is quite literally flushing money down the drain.
If you put a house brick in the cistern, it will lessen the amount of water flushed every time.
Less water used will save you money in your water bills and help the environment in water conservation.
If you already have the ability for a half flush on your toilet cistern, then use it for the same results.
Other quick wins to save water are:
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Install a water-saving showerhead
- Take more showers and fewer baths
- Use garden mulch to conserve water during dry weather
- Purchase drought-resistant plants which won’t wither in dry conditions
Zero Waste – And Your Family Dog
Check out this article to find out all you need to know about raising a zero-waste family dog.
Some quick money-saving wins are:
Buy only quality essentials made of natural materials. We are talking about collars, leads, harnesses, bowls, etc. In this way, you will only need to buy them once as they last a lifetime and have little impact on the environment.
Make your own dog kennel from reclaimed wood. If you have kids (and a dog), this is an easy beautiful bonding project for everyone.
Buy secondhand from the local shelter first, as this is a win-win for both of you, and your kids will love you for it. Then, if you can’t buy from here, try the thrift stores or free ads. Just make sure everything is scent-free.
Avoid using essential oils or plastic bottled shampoos on your dog, as plain old soap and water are just as good. In addition, some essential oils can be dangerous to dogs, so be careful in your choices.
Food For Thought – (Final Tips For The Zero Waste Home)
These zero waste tips are not just about how much money you can save or about the wastage you can prevent.
They are also intended to stir your mind into thinking about what external resources you can save by doing things a little differently.
Here is the thinking that I would encourage you to apply to your zero waste lifestyle to maximize your effectiveness.
Always Question every decision you make using the 5 Rs as your guide.
The 5Rs are:
- Refuse – just because it’s free does not mean that you have to accept it.
- Reduce – Resist impulse buying; give yourself a minimum of 48 hours of thinking time.
- Reuse – Ditch disposable for reusable and plastic for natural and repair items before replacing them.
- Recycle – Wash and sort your waste into its recyclable elements, metal, wood, cardboard for collection. Try to repurpose or upcycle products such as fashion jeans made into a fashion handbag.
- Rot – Everything else rots down into compost to rejuvenate the soil.
An Example Of Advanced Zero Waste Thinking
A good example of advanced thinking is evident in collecting rainwater for use in your garden.
Water is a natural resource, but it has to go through some very high energy costing systems to get it to your home.
So firstly, all these systems need to be built. This entails resources being mined, refined, altered and shipped.
Secondly, the infrastructure is designed, put in place, maintained, manned, and operated, which is a constant drain on other resources.
You will immediately slow the drain on those natural resources by collecting and using natural rainfall in your garden.
In this way, you are cutting down on unnecessary wastage, and your little action has a massive effect.
Do you know this fascinating fact?
Depending on how well you condition your soil, how sheltered your plants are, and how water-hungry your type of plant is, they may need anywhere from 6-20 liters of water per day per square meter.
This is in addition to the natural rainfall in mid-Summer.
That’s a massive saving on natural resources just by collecting and using rainwater.
So I encourage you to read this article and don’t just think of zero waste as being limited to changing plastic for pot!
Always remember that when our individual choices are taken together, it creates a better, more sustainable world for us all.
So the most important thing is to stop procrastinating and take action.
Remember, we must be the change that we wish to see in the world.