A person who lives a zero waste lifestyle makes a conscious decision to reduce their carbon footprint by recycling, and limiting the use of plastics and one-time-use products. As you may have guessed, going green creates some excellent opportunities for saving money through a zero waste lifestyle.
If you are anything like me, you care about the planet. You do not want to breathe pollution into your body and live in an environment full of garbage. If you are anything like me, you are also very budget conscious. What if you could help protect the environment AND save money?
Did You Know
Did you know that it takes anywhere from 500 to 1,000 years for plastic to decompose? Styrofoam takes about 500 years to decompose.
Did you know the carbon emission Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) causes sever respiratory issues? This is seriously not good, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.
We living in a world where we want everything as fast, convenient, and cheap as possible but it creates a tremendous strain on the ecosystem. But there is good news, we can all make a conscious decision to save money and save the environment.
Ways to Save
Below are some ways to save money through a zero waste lifestyle. I have personally adopted these routines and found them to be sustainable and impacted my wallet in the best way possible.
Where I live, plastic bags and paper bags cost an extra $0.07 each at the store. Its annoying, but I can’t really complain because the extra cost encourages people to make more environmentally friendly decisions. It certainly encouraged me.
Whenever you go grocery shopping or retail therapy shopping, bring along some reusable bags. Preferably cloth or paper because they are the most eco-friendly.
If you own a car, just store some reusable bags in the trunk so you always have some available when you need them.
If you don’t have a car, this may take some extra thought, but if you get into the routine then it’s totally doable. I live in the city and do not drive so this is the boat I am in.
Straws, whether made of paper, glass, metal, or plastic causes pollution. Really, anything manufactured causes pollution. The best choice for the environment and your wallet is to forego the use of straws.
It is really annoying at first, especially when you want a nice ice cold coffee in the summer while you are wandering around enjoying the beautiful weather. However, like anything in life, understand why you are making the decision, and how this decision impacts your life for the better.
All it takes is some time to adjust but not using straws is definitely a win-win.
Plastic To-Go Containers
Another great way of saving money through a zero waste lifestyle is by dramatically reducing your take-out orders. Yes, this includes the plastic cups from your Starbucks and Dunkin’ runs.
By reducing your take-out orders at restaurants, not only do you save tons of money, you also dramatically reduce your use of plastic containers.
On the rare occasions that I do order take-out (about 1-2 times a year), I notice everything is covered in plastic.
Rather than ordering take-out prepare your meals at home and brew your own iced coffee and iced tea. There are some very reasonably priced glass cold-brew makers you can order online. You can store your cold brew in mason jars that you can take with you wherever you go.
If you bring your lunch to work, instead of using plastic containers, use glass containers. Pyrex has some great glass containers to store food. Storing your food in glass containers instead of plastic is much healthier.
Storing food in plastic containers and heating up those containers is harmful to your health. Harvard Medical School performed a study on plastic and found that chemicals can leak out of the container and into your food.
One-time use paper towels are not environmentally friendly because manufacturing this product causes a lot of pollution. Additionally, since land is required to grow the resources to produce this product, wildlife is often sacrificed.
A better way to save money would be to invest in reusable cloth towels. There are tons of them available and for a very reasonable price.
There is no doubt that paper towels are convenient, but they are more expensive and less eco-friendly than the reusable cloth towels.
We all know staying hydrated and consuming plenty of water is extremely important to our health. However, there is a better way of getting our water than through plastic water bottles.
Purchasing individual plastic water bottles is really bad for the environment (they take 500 years to decompose) and they are more expensive.
Instead, of purchasing water bottles, invest in a reusable water bottle. There are lots of glass and metal options that are very reasonably priced.
If you want to drink filtered water, use a water purifier pitcher that you can fill up with tap water from the sink and put it into the fridge. I have a zero water filter pitcher in my refrigerator which works perfectly. There is nothing better than a nice, fresh, crisp, glass of cold water.
You know when you walk into the grocery store, you see the bulk food section where you measure out exactly the amount you want. Every grocery store that I go to that offers bulk food has plastic bags and ties for you to store your food.
An alternative is to bring your own cloth bags for the bulk food section. Not only will you save a lot more money by shopping in this section rather than the pre-packaged section, but you will also be living a zero waste lifestyle.
As is everything on this list, the first month or so of bringing cloth bags with you to the grocery store is super annoying. However, it does get better, and pretty soon it’s routine.
Speaking of pre-packaged foods, processed foods are really bad for the environment, your health, and your wallet.
You pay a premium for individually wrapped foods. Try to integrate more whole foods into your diet. Yes it requires more work, but I promise, you get use to it.
I love reading a good book. But, buying new books all the time is wasteful for your wallet and causes unnecessary manufacturing that is bad for the environment.
Instead of purchasing new books, go to your local goodwill and try to find the book you are looking for. If it’s not there, then you can get some good deals on used books through Ebay, Mercari, Facebook market place, and countless other platforms.
Library’s also have an amazing selection. If they don’t have the book you are looking for in stock, oftentimes they will order it from another library for you.
If you are lucky, you might be able to get a deal by buying your book on audio (iTunes or Amazon). Not only do audio books reduce waste, they also reduce clutter in your house.
You may not know this, but animal agriculture is the second largest contributor to carbon-emissions and is the number one cause of deforestation, air pollution, biodiversity loss, and water pollution. Yikes!
I’ve done my fair share of research into various diets such as vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian, and traditional American.
When done correctly, I am a firm believer that eating a whole-foods plant-based diet is the best for health and the environment, and your wallet.
You are what you eat.
Think about it this way:
An added benefit to adopting a vegan lifestyle is that you are saving lives.
Adopting a vegan lifestyle is not the easiest thing in the world however, it is a great for saving money through zero waste living.
Another great way for saving money through a zero waste lifestyle is to stop buying trinket souvenirs on your travels. What do I mean by trinket souvenirs? They are the post cards you don’t send, books you don’t read, decorations that collect dust, and jewelry you don’t wear. Basically, trinket souvenirs are just a bunch of clutter.
Trinkets look great in the store next to the area you are just visited, and its fun to have a memory of your travels. However, a better souvenir is a photo of yourself where you visited. You will enjoy the photo a lot more for a lot longer and others will like to see the picture from your trip far more than a bunch of trinkets.
Snap a pic on your phone and call it a day. You can take as many as you want and keep all of them or whatever one where you look the best.
I gave up buying trinket souvenirs a long time ago and have not regretted my decision at all!
I might be in the minority hear, but I love documentation. I like to know how much I spent on what and when. But, I hate clutter and I hate having papers everywhere. Its annoying and gets out of hand quickly.
Fortunately, businesses are more and more ecofriendly. Many business now offer a paper receipt, printed receipt, or both. Emailed receipts is a win-win for both the business and the customer because
- The business saves money on paper and printer ink.
- The customer doesn’t have to worry about finding a place to put the paper receipts or losing the paper receipts.
I prefer email receipts because it goes straight to my email and from there I can organize it on my computer. Opting for email receipts could end up saving you some money if you end up wanting to return an item but misplace your paper receipt somewhere.
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- Comment below on your zero waste lifestyle money saving hacks.
- You don’t need to implement all of these ways to save money through a zero waste lifestyle all at once. Try each of them out, see what ones you like, and stick to those.