I cut my trash output down to 1 bag per week. Imagine the savings! No longer paying for massive amounts of bags and trash services. No more smelly cans living in your home. No more pets getting into the trash! Being less wasteful has so many benefits and is a way that you can make an actual impact on the world. Here's how I did it, and some quick tips to help you be less wasteful and save money.
1. Avoid Packaging
Did you know that plastic bags cannot be recycled at normal recycling facilities? This includes shopping bags, product packaging, and plastic bags and wrappings, of any sort. There are a lot of useful ways in which to reduce your footprint and become less wasteful. I find that this one is the most important and most under-sold. If you avoid packaging in the first place, you don't need to worry about what to do with it after the product has been used. How does one avoid packaging? Shop at your local Co-Op, health food, or bulk store. Bring your own bags when shopping. Opt to fill mason jars or canisters with flour, sugar, etc rather than buying pre-packaged items. This will also help you save money!
This one is a no-brainer, lots of people recycle but most people under-recycle! There are so many items you can recycle through your local zero-sort program. This includes paper, cardboard, plastic, metal and glass! All those jars, cardboard boxes, chip bags, bottles, cans, and way more can just be rinsed (if needed) and tossed in! You can massively reduce the amount of garbage you pay for/need to dispose of by recycling. Like I said before, I reduced my trash output to 1 bag per week! My recycling bin is always full.
There are many ways you can compost. There are a few DIY compost methods, as well as communal compost programs, and community garden compost piles. Composting is easy and cuts down on food waste. Plus, your garbage can won't stink from spoiled food! If you have the luxury of building your own outdoor compost pile, there are many articles online about how to do so. You can also sign up for a local compost program or bring your food scraps to a compost pile at your community garden. Just keep a container inside to put your food scraps into and bring it out as necessary. Plus you'll have amazingly fertile soil to use in any gardening endeavors!
Reuse is one of the 3 Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) that people often forget. Tons of items can be reused including (but not limited to); glass jars, glass containers, cans, soda bottles, gallon jugs, newspaper, magazines, paper bags, clothes, towels, bedding, dryer lint, plastic bags, toothbrushes and toothpaste containers, broken dishes and old furniture. These items can make great water bottles, miscellaneous containers, bird feeders, woven paper baskets, paper to feed your fire or woodstove, rags, fire-starter, pet cleanup bags, small area scrubbers, icing bags, arts/crafts, and mosaic tile. The options are limitless! When you reuse something, you've avoided spending money on items that are free, and saved space in a landfill.
This one is important too! Plastic is cluttering up our oceans, highways, cities, streams, atmosphere and more. We need to start transitioning out of plastic if we want a to live on a safe planet. Refuse plastic straws, plastic bags, and anything you don't need when offered. Bring your own mug to the coffee shop, buy a stainless steel reusable straw, get a water filter rather than buying plastic water bottles.
6. Buy In Bulk
This one is mentioned in #1 as well, but it is very important. Buying your items in bulk saves money in the long run. It can also encourage healthy meal planning and buying local. Bring some jar to your local health food store, you'll be surprised at the selection, quality, and price of items you can buy in bulk.
7. Cloth Over Paper
Got paper? If yes, then you probably have too much paper! Unless it's for writing, most paper products can be replaced with cloth. Use cloth napkins, cloth rags, and even cloth handkerchiefs (your nose will thank you). Reducing the amount of paper used everyday not only saves money, but also reduces the amount of trees cut down. If you like the Amazon, paperless is the way to go.
8. Walk Or Bike
Walking/Biking has so many advantages over driving. If you're only going a short distance, opt to walk/bike rather than drive. You save gas (which saves money and fossil fuels), you reduce the miles driven in your vehicle (which can prolong it's life), and you exercise! It may even become your favorite part of the day!
9. Switch It Off
When you leave a room switch off your lights. This will help you save money on your electric bill. Did you know that leaving things plugged in still uses electricity, even when they aren't plugged in! So remember to unplug it the item isn't in use.
Cleaning out your wardrobe or cabinets? Donate what you don't need any more! This can help your fellow human and help you declutter your living space.
There you have it! 10 ways to reduce your waste and save money. Enjoy the savings and feel-good endorphins you'll get from making a positive change! Check out this video of a girl who went zero-waste!