Many of us are jumping on the low waste lifestyle bandwagon to do our part and give the planet a lil' hug. Well, with these 5 waste-free changes that don't cost you any money you will be giving yourself a hug, too.
Let's start with the basics, shall we?
Only Buy What You Need
More often than not we buy things that we don't need. Whether it's that fifth pair of jeans or one too many tomatoes at the store which won't get eaten and subsequently rot in the fridge, an easy way to avoid creating waste is to be mindful while shopping. Get in touch with your needs and the things you already own. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to get in-the-know:
- What foods do I want to eat this week?
- Did I remember to make a shopping list before going grocery shopping?
- Is my fridge relatively empty since my last shopping trip?
- Do I wear all of the things I own?
- Is is time to downsize my closet?
- Do I really need this new clothing item right now?
- Do I already own something similar?
- Is this purchase just temporarily filling a void?
FOR OTHER STUFF
- How will owning this new product make me feel?
- Will I be using this product more than once?
- Would this purchase put me in an uncomfortable financial position? (Oh c'mon, we've all been there lol).
This one's fun and easy. Simply take something you are no longer using and alter it for another more practical use (aka: upcycling). Think, mason jar into toothbrush holder or old shoe into flowerpot holder.
For upcycling inspiration, checkout this article by PopSugar which highlights 200+ ideas for upcycling #likeaboss.
Refuse, Refuse, Refuse
If you read our last blog post The 6 R's of Zero Waste, you would know that the very first R is... Refuse. Refusing single-use plastics such as plastic straws, plastic utensils, plastic bags and plastic to-go containers and more. The act of refusing is free, badass, and prevents TONS of waste from being sent to the landfill.
Dine In More
The average American household spends about $3,000 a year dining out, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
While dining out is fun, easy and takes the stress off of having to prepare a meal after a long day at work, dining in can have all of those same characteristics plus save you money if you approach it with the right mindset. Just to give you an idea, the average meal prepared at home costs around $4 for groceries—a $9 savings per person per meal when compared to the average commercially-prepared meal cost of $13. The actual numbers will depend of course on the area you live in, but an area with pricier groceries almost always has pricier-than-usual restaurants, too. Percentage-wise you’ll still save by eating at home. Follow the tips below to have a more fun, easy and less stressful dining-in experience:
- Look up simple, healthy, low-cost recipes. Tailor your search to your eating preferences. For example, if you are a gluten-free vegan, Google "low-cost gluten-free vegan recipes."
- Buy non-perishable items in bulk. New grocery shopping kits coming to the ZWK store soon!
- Create your own versions of prepared and processed foods. Think hummus, granola and even vegetable broth. Not only will you save money and reduce your waste, you will also be eating healthier as you are avoiding added preservatives, sugars, oils and "natural" flavors.
- Pre-cook food for the week. To make meal prepping more enjoyable, do it with friends, neighbors, housemates or family. Simply plan out the meals you will enjoy during the week, and prepare the food accordingly. Choose to do this activity on a day during the week where you have time, such as a Sunday. Lastly, consider trying out a free meal plan template online and or even one of the many meal planning apps out online.
- Go to the farmer's market and buy food locally and seasonally grown. Not only is produce more affordable this way, but you also get to support your local economy, be a part of your community and eat healthier, fresher foods.
- Check out ethnic markets. Ethnic stores often have discounted fruits, produce and even bulk spices, grains and nuts.
- Eat everything you make. A great way to make sure of this is to make foods you actually enjoy eating!
- Cook enough for two or three meals and reheat leftovers! Did you know eating leftovers rather than throwing them out can save you up to $1,000 a year? Cray, we know... and will also be tackling the 1.6 billion-ton global food loss and waste crisis. Win-win.
- Prep your breakfast and lunch the night before if you have an early, rushed morning.
Thanks for tuning in for another blog post on the Zero Waste Kit blog! We hope these 5 waste-free changes that don't cost you a penny help you on your journey to reducing your ecological footprint. If you have any comments or questions, be sure to leave them below. Lastly, don't forget to share this blog post with someone who you think would appreciate it!
Until next time, badasses.