I will be the first to admit that not everyone can live the zero waste lifestyle due to their resources and limited income. Often those that don’t have the means to buy much are the most eco-friendly! If you are one of those looking to make some changes to be less wasteful but don’t have a lot of money to spare, fear not, there are ways you too can make changes without putting a strain on their wallet.
Look to be less wasteful, not zero waste
The best thing you can do for the planet is be less wasteful, so there is no need to run out and purchase all new eco-friendly items. Find ways you can cut down your waste rather than finding items that are completely eco-friendly. Pinterest and Instagram make the zero-waste lifestyle look so glamorous with all the latest eco-friendly products but you don’t have to own those things to make a difference. Start taking note how much you waste in one week, where can you make some changes? Make your coffee in the morning rather than buying? Pack leftovers rather than taking a frozen meal to reduce your plastic? Use some old rags rather than purchasing more paper towels? When you start to notice what you waste you can start exploring what you might want to change in your routine.
Start with your Home
Most people have a lot of the items they need to start being less wasteful in their homes, you just have to utilize them. A free waterbottle or bag from some event you forgot you had. Change up habits like turning off lights in rooms you are not using. This will help with your carbon footprint and your electric bill. Before considering purchasing anything, see what is already at your fingertips.
Build a community
Learn to use resources like family, friends, neighbors, and others around you when possible. Borrowing items you don’t need regularly is a smart and can be less wasteful. Instead of going out to Home Depot to purchase a piece of equipment you might use once if ever again, see if a friend has one you can borrow. Just be sure to return the favor, either with an item or your time. This comes in handy for moving, babysitting, tutoring and other acts of service that doesn’t require things to help out your extended circle.
See if a coworker nearby wants to carpool, take turns driving or help pay for gas. Or you can try taking public transportation. This cuts down on pollution and helps save you both money. These are just a couple of examples, see what you can come up with.
Try free resources like your local library to check out movies, music or books. Take your fitness outside and run a trail or use a local park to workout. Checkout Freecycle.org and see if something you might need is being offered by someone who no longer needs it.
If you are going to purchase something, try shopping used first. This cuts down the cost significantly and gives a second life to something that might have ended up in a landfill. Clothes, kitchenwares, decor, furniture, etc. You name it, you can find a place that sells these items used.
Do It Yourself (DIY)
Most people waste resources and money for convenience. If you just a little time, try looking up just one DIY project that doesn’t require a lot of steps or ingredients/materials to make. This can save you the added price tag of a plastic packaged item. Try easy cleaning recipes or a personal care product. Fix up an old piece of furniture rather than purchasing something brand new. Pinterest and YouTube are free and have a zillion ideas just waiting for you.