Inexpensive Ways to Live a more Sustainable Lifestyle
Even if you don't live in an area that supports compost pick-up or has a recycling program, there are still ways you can lessen your footprint (which I believe is incorporated into this zero waste lifestyle).
Being zero waste to me isn’t just about cutting down on my trash output, it means trying to not waste the planet's resources. Others may call this a low impact lifestyle, and to me, it all blends together. However you may classify it, I think the most important part is just trying to take care of the planet in any way you can.
Cut down on food waste
Buy only what you need and use all of it. Studies estimate that the average person in the US wastes up to a pound of food a day. “The environmental costs of that wasted food are tremendous: 30 million acres of cropland (about the land area of Pennsylvania), 4.2 trillion gallons of water and nearly 2 billion pounds of fertilizer. Fertilizer contains compounds that can run off farm fields and compromise water quality.” - Washington Post
Food that ends up in the trash becomes compacted by other items. Robbed of the space and oxygen to properly decompose, the food waste creates methane which is 28 times worse for the environment than CO2.
Invest in reusables
Spend a little bit of dough on a water bottle, canvas bags, and thermos to ensure you never have to pay and take their single-use, disposable equivalent. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this if you don’t want to. Shop your local thrift store to find the items you need. I will use a medium sized mason jar for both my water bottle and thermos when traveling to save space.
If you are looking to invest in quality pieces, check out this stainless steel, double insulated water bottle and thermos. I love mine as they keep my drinks hot/cold for a long time. Plus, this company is family-owned, certified B Corporation!
Take shorter showers, save the water from when you're heating up your shower and use it to water household plants, and make sure you're turning the facet off when brushing your teeth!
Don't support fast fashion
Shop at thrift stores instead. Fast fashion (e.g., H&M, Forever 21) exploit overseas workers and produce an enormous, negative impact on the environment through their production and distribution cycles.
Make your own cleaning products
Avoid the toxic chemicals in conventional cleaners, some of which have been linked to cancers and respiratory issues, and opt for natural but effective cleaners. You can make your own simple ones, saving you money and time while ensuring less toxic ingredients end up in our waterways.
Say no to single-use products.
Plastic straws suck and, for the most part, have no real use. If you do need one, consider bringing your own metal, glass, or bamboo one.
Vote with your dollar
Your money is powerful. With demand comes supply, so one of the most effective ways to enact change is to vote with your dollar and support ethical companies whenever possible.
Some of my favorite online companies are EarthHero, LifeWithoutPlastic, and Plaine Products (ps, if you want to try Plaine Product's shampoo, conditioner, body wash, or body lotions, peruse their website and use code 'Pfor20' for 20% off at checkout :)
Pick up trash
It might seem a little gross, but if you're like me you'll get over it. When you're out and about and your stumble upon some litter just lying on the ground, make sure it doesn't end up in our waterways and put it where it belongs (trash or recycling).
Eat less meat
Eat less meat and consume beans. You don’t have to be a vegan or vegetarian but participating in Meatless Monday or making all your weekday lunches vegetarian has a huge positive impact on global carbon emissions created by factory farming.
Discover a low-waste hobby
This one might take some time, but rather than indulging in retail therapy, see if you have a passion that creates something sustainable while being eco-friendly itself. For example, try making candles, lotion, or granola, or see if you love to take care of plants or go for long walks while listening to an audio book.
RELATED: No Hassle Zero Waste Party Ideas
Use your library
Why spend money and resources to buy a new book when there’s probably a well stocked public library near you? If your library is lacking, try ebooks, thrift stores, or book swaps with friends. Libraries also stock other fun things besides books. Most have ebooks and streaming services for movies and tv shows.
Ditch Paper Towels
Easy swap: skip using paper towels and use some rags! You don’t need to spend a lot or even any money on them. Instead, cut up an old t shirt or pair of sheets! Use it to clean up spills, as a napkin,
This one may not be for everyone, but see if you can save some trees by using your tech. Take notes on your computer, get a Kindle Book instead of a new paperback one, or download your plane ticket onto your phone.
Buy your products naked, sans packaging if possible. Instead of getting the stoplight of bell peppers in a plastic bag, grab three loose ones and place them directly in your cart. Instead of a bottle of soap, buy a package free bar kind instead. Easy peasy.
Be a good role model, and without being too ‘naggy’ show people that being good to the environment can be easy and beneficial for themselves too. Multiply your actions with others to create an impactful chain effect.
I made a free ebook on 15 Ways to Live More Sustainably!
If you liked this, check out my free ebook! (It has different ideas so you can add them to your list of cheap ways to live zero waste!)
Hi, I'm Taylor
Amateur adult. Zero waste zealot. Personal finance fiend. Spicy food supporter. I’m an mid 20’s gal living in Denver, Colorado. My love of the outdoors has cultivated my zero waste lifestyle, which inadvertently fueled my passion for personal finance. Cheers to everyone interested in lessening their footprint while growing their wallet!