Zero Waste on a Budget
We have whipped up a quick list below to show you how to go zero waste on a budget!
1. Use what you have
This advice is coming from us who sell zero waste foods online… you don’t need new things! That’s right, you can take steps toward zero waste using things that you already own at home. I am obsessed with my own set of reusables and coffee mugs that I carry in my bag everyday, but listen... You can just as easily use a set of metal cutlery you already own in your kitchen for zero waste lunch on the go. If you don’t have money to spend on a stainless steel lunch box or multiple coffee cups, that’s fine; use what you already have. It will do the job just as well!
2. Simply refuse
As far as straws go, you can also just say no! You are making a positive impact on the planet when you refuse disposable plastic straws, plastic water bottles, disposable coffee cups, etc. No is a powerful word and you ARE an eco legend by saying no to things that harm the planet! There are lots of opportunities to avoid environmentally harmful things and there’s no money involved. Saying no can even save you money on many occasions! For example, avoiding consuming meat a few times per week will reduce your grocery bills. Don’t purchase paper towels anymore; instead, use cloth kitchen rags that you probably already own.
3. Shop second-hand
If you find that you really do need some things for your zero waste experience, see if you can find those products second-hand first. Okay, a toothbrush is probably something you’d want to buy fresh and new 😉 But most things you can probably buy from a friend or marketplace.
4. Make your own
You can easily find all kinds of pre-made zero waste supplies online like deodorant, toothpaste, perfume and cleaning products, etc. But did you know you can make some of these products yourself? There are heaps of DIY recipes that you can find on Pinterest. I personally don’t have a lot of time to experiment with homemade bath products, but if you do and are also looking for something a little more affordable, see if it’s something you could make at home! Since these products are usually natural and organic, the ingredient lists tend to be small. It should be fairly simple to make some of them yourself.
5. Eat whole foods
If you’re wondering how to go zero-waste on a budget when grocery shopping, the key is to stick to whole foods. No, not Whole Foods the grocery store… I’m talking about not processed foods but rather whole, plant-based foods like fruits and veggies. It’s usually the foods that are located around the perimeter of the grocery store that are whole foods, and the processed ones tend to be located in the middle aisles. These types of foods tend to be less expensive in comparison to their processed and plastic packaged counterparts. You can cook with whole, plant-based foods – think soups, stir-fries, roasted veggies, etc.
6. Grow your own
I know this option isn’t feasible for everyone, but if you have the space and time, try growing some foods of your own! Completely plastic and packaging free, and let me tell you - produce in season is WAY more delicious. I have a veggie patch at my house and we grow tomatoes, beans, peas, onions, potatoes, okra, etc. It does require a lot of time to tend to the garden but it’s worth it for the abundance of produce we have every summer. We’ve found that it’s a lot cheaper to grow our own produce rather than purchasing fresh, locally grown veggies and fruits at the farmers' markets.
7. Focus on what you CAN do
I know a lot of people interested in zero waste who just give up after trying for a short time. Sometimes, it seems impossible to reduce household waste, whether that be due to monetary restrictions or accessibility in your town. But try to focus on the things you CAN do rather than the things you can’t. If your shopping cart is still full of plastic packaged goods, remember that you aren’t taking all of those products home in a single-use plastic bag. You ARE making a difference and even the smallest of zero waste changes are helpful and make an impact.
You can do this!