Not only are there major health and environmental benefits to living a more low-waste lifestyle, but there are monetary benefits to take advantage of as well.
Taking care of our planet is important for many reasons. For example, air pollution has been linked to increases in cases of asthma. Even prenatal exposure to air pollution can increase the child’s risk of developing childhood wheezing and asthma.
Likewise, the benefits of recycling and lowering our wastes are great. It can help our environment, our health, conserve our natural resources, and provide more economic security.
Explore this Article
- What is Recycling
- What is Composting
- What is Greenwashing
- What is Low Waste Living
- All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste
- How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle
But one major benefit to recycling and living a more low waste lifestyle is that it’s also a way to save money in the long run. Instead of buying single-use items once or twice a month, replace these costs with higher quality products that can last you a number of years. And if you need help paying for these higher qualify single-purchase items, you can always take out a Check City Personal Loan to get you started on your low waste journey.
There are everyday expenses that you can reduce or eliminate entirely just by using a few low-waste living tips.
What is Recycling?
In 2017, the US generated over 260 million tons of waste. We recycled about 67 million tons and composted about 27 million tons.
In waste management, there are 2 types of waste disposal—the conventional method, recycling, and composting.
Recycling is a method of waste disposal that takes waste and makes it into other things. Instead of throwing things away, they are used to create new products. Recycling allows materials to continue to have use rather than piling up in landfills.
What is Composting?
Composting is the process used to turn organic waste, like food scraps, into usable compost, which can then be used as fertilizer. Composting gathers organic waste together and lets it decompose until it creates a soil conditioner (fertilizer) that is very rich in nutrients. You can then use this for soil as fertilizer to help plants grow better.
Composting is a great thing to do at home for your garden, flower bed, or herb garden. It is just another way you can help your household become more self-sufficient and help your plants and flowers grow more abundantly.
What is Greenwashing?
If you want to do your part to help the environment and your local community thrive then you’ll want to be aware of greenwashing.
Greenwashing is an advertising method meant to make products look organic or ecofriendly when in reality they aren’t. If a product or company’s ecofriendly claims are really true then they’ll usually tell you all about it—providing evidence, certificates, and details.
If their claims are vague or unspecific, then most likely they are greenwashing their product in the hopes it will help it sell better. When making purchases do your research and don’t be duped by false or shady advertising.
What is Low Waste Living?
Being environmentally minded comes in all kinds of ranges. You can strive to live the zero waste lifestyle or you can simply try and live a more low waste lifestyle. Either way can save you hundreds of dollars every year.
Low Waste Living is when you attempt to make less waste, be more self-sufficient, and buy products that are quality and long lasting rather than single use products you’ll have to buy over and over again.
All the Ways to Save Money Living Low Waste
You might think of low waste living as something crazy and intense people do or something you need to be really committed to in order to pull off. But there are actually plenty of really simple ways to make less waste and save yourself a ton of money along the way.
There are lots of frequent, recurring costs you could replace for a single purchase to you’re your monthly spending and use that money elsewhere. You just have to know what can be replaced.
1. Plastic Water Bottles
Filtered water is just better, and many of us don’t live in areas with great tap water. But we need to drink lots of water every day and the cost of water bottles can really get out of hand. Instead you can buy a water filter pitcher, a really nice water filtration dispenser, or a really nice stainless steel faucet water filter so you don’t have to spend so much money on water bottles ever again.
2. Shop in Bulk
Save up to 83%
You can save a lot of money when you buy in bulk. Find the local stores near you that sell in bulk like Sam’s Club, Costco, and whole food stores where you can get basic foods from barrels.
The key with buying in bulk is that you save big on the price per unit and you buy amounts that can stock up your home and last a lot longer, which saves you gas money and time spent at the store. Some experts estimate that you can save up to 83% on your grocery bill by buying in bulk.
3. Make Homemade Cleaning Products
We want to keep our homes clean and sanitized but the products we need to do so can get really expensive. Instead, you can just make your own homemade cleaning products with these simple homemade cleaning product recipes. You can also buy your favorite squirt bottles to reuse over and over again as well.
4. Reusable Grocery Bags
Save 10 cents per bag
Plastic bags are still free at most grocery stores but this might not always be the case. Many states have already begun banning single-use plastic bags at grocery and retail stores or created minimum 10 cent charges if you want to use plastic bags.
Save yourself the hassle by getting your own awesome reusable grocery shopping bags now that you can keep in your car and use at the grocery store instead of plastic bags.
You can also buy some tote bags to use when you make retail purchases at other stores, so that you can avoid the hassle of plastic bags there as well.
Getting your own shopping bags is also helpful because they won’t rip at the bottom and spill your items everywhere, they won’t squish your items together in small plastic bags, and they can even keep your food cold on the trip home. You can even get specific produce bags with some online shopping.
5. Reusable Straws
Using reusable straws instead of single-use plastic straws can be one of the easiest, and funnest ways to go green. Reusable straws come in all kinds of shapes and colors, and can even come in compact containers that fit on your keychain.
6. Bring Your Own Water Bottle
Water bottles also come in all kinds of creative shapes, sizes, and colors. They can also come with unique functionalities. Instead of using the flimsy paper and plastic cups at restaurants you can use your own bottle instead! This will also keep your drink cold or hot longer and be more comfortable to hold in your hand or travel with you when you leave.
7. Install a Bidet
Save up to $120
The average American spends up to $120 each year on toilet paper alone. While you can’t really get rid of this cost, you can reduce the need by installing a bidet in your bathroom. You’ll save on toilet paper and actually be a cleaner and more hygienic person as well.
8. Start a Compost Bin
A compost bin can be a great way to put all your organic waste to better use. Your compost bin just needs 3 ingredients to function:
- Browns: like dead leaves, branches, twigs
- Greens: like grass, vegetable scraps, fruit scraps, coffee grounds
When you make your own compost you won’t need to spend money on chemical fertilizers and your garden will grow fuller and healthier. So a compost bin can save you money on gardening supplies and on groceries depending on what you decide to grow!
9. Plant a Garden
Save up to $600
Planting your own garden can both save and make you money. By planting your own herbs, vegetables, legumes, and even fruits you can save up to $600 on food costs each year. You could also make extra money each year by selling the produce from your garden at your local farmers market, or to your friends and neighbors.
10. Raise Chickens
Save up to $400
You can take your little farm one step further by getting a few farm animals of your own. Chickens are a good example for beginners and they can save you on the cost of eggs each year. You could even make money selling chicks to other households that would like to start raising their own chickens as well.
11. Make Your Own Clothes
Save up to $1,800
New clothes can be so expensive and with the rise of fast fashion many clothing brands don’t even provide quality clothes anymore. But you can take your wardrobe into your own hands by learning how to sew your own clothes!
12. Replace Paper Towels with Dish Rags
Save over $200
Paper towels can be nice and convenient but they might also be taking up more of your budget than you realize. Instead of spending extra money each month on the convenience of paper towels, buy a couple of kitchen towels for cleaning and wiping your hands.
13. Replace Paper Napkins with Cloth Napkins
Save over $200
You can also replace the paper napkins in your house with cloth napkins instead! Now your set table will look nicer and your family and guests will feel pampered and fancy when they come over for dinner.
14. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues
Save up to $100
For instance, a pack of 4 flat box Kleenex costs about $6 while a pack of 6 basic handkerchiefs can cost $5.00 and last you for years to come. Meanwhile, tissue boxes only last a little while before you need to purchase them all over again.
So instead of buying box after box of tissues every year, just get yourself some nice handkerchiefs instead!
Replacing frequent costs with a single purchase is always the better choice. And handkerchiefs are going to be nicer on your nose, not chaff and dry out your nose the way paper tissues do. They’re also more useful because you can use them as a cloth too! If you need to wipe away some perspiration or wipe your hands throughout the day or anything.
15. Make Foods from Scratch
Save up to $4,109
Learn to make homemade things from scratch instead of instant and boxed foods. For example, two homemade pizza can cost as little as $3.25, while 2 pizzas from a pizza place can easily cost you over $20.
You can also learn to do your own canning and make preservatives. There are many things you can make yourself for less than half the cost it takes to buy it from the store. Here’s a short list of some other things you could learn to make from scratch instead of buying it in stores:
- chicken or vegetable stock
- peanut butter
- macaroni and cheese
- baby food
- spaghetti sauce
- lunch meat
16. Eat More Like a Vegetarian/Vegan
Save up to $700
You don’t have to commit to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle to take advantage of vegetarian and vegan meals. These meals can be tasty, full of nutrients, and cheaper than recipes that use lots of meats and dairy products.
Make some spare change!
Get recycling bins for your home and start recycling! You can actually make money recycling certain items at your local recycling facility.
18. Don’t Waste Freezer Foods
You can create a lot of waste and waste a lot of food by not utilizing your freezer enough. Make foods last longer by storing them correctly in the freezer. You can even create a food expiration calendar for your fridge to help you keep track when you need to eat certain foods.
There are also a surprising number of things you can make with overripe foods, like banana bread. So always check before you toss things whether you can give it a second life somehow.
19. Buy Used Instead of New
Not only does buying used items help recycle things and maintain the environment, but buying used can also save you a lot of money as well! If you need new furniture, you can find great deals on beautiful pieces at antique shops and on the Facebook Marketplace.
20. Support Local Farmers
By shopping at the local farmer’s market for food items instead of big chain grocery stores, you can support your local farmers, reduce consumption, and save money on cheaper and fresher produce.
21. Don’t Waste on Basic Bills
Save up to $2,060
Overdoing it on utilities can put a strain on the environment and your wallet. So take measures to reduce the use of your utilities like heating, cooling, electricity, and water.
For example, you could save your AC by opening windows to keep things cool instead. You could also make some homemade dry shampoo so you don’t have to wash your hair so frequently and conserve water that way. This will also help your shampoo last longer for when you do wash your hair. You could also put less use on your drier by hanging things up to dry instead.
22. Find a Local Tailor
Sometimes we get rid of clothes when they could be fixed! Find a local tailor and have them fix up your old clothes, pants, shoes, or even hats so you don’t have to replace them as often. You’ll also be supporting local businesses which is always a good thing.
23. Replace Plastic Loofahs
Save up to $120
Instead of rebuying plastic loofas over and over again throughout the course of your life find a more permanent solution. You can find bath brushes in all kinds of shapes and brush types and they’ll actually help exfoliate and clean you better than a loofah anyway.
24. Rechargeable Batteries
Save up to $20
Not many things still use batteries but our need for batteries is far from over. But instead of rebuying batteries every time they die, just buy a pack of rechargeable batteries that you can use for life! That way you won’t be throwing away harmful batteries all the time, and you won’t have to buy them all the time either.
25. Make Reusable Gift Bags
Save up to $240
We spend so much on wrapping paper each year for birthdays and holidays. It’s fun to give gifts and being able to open the gift is one of the best parts! But you can keep the surprise while getting rid of wrapping paper costs by crafting together some reusable gift bags or clothes of your own.
26. Ditch Sponges for Brushes
Save up to $40
Sponges are important for helping you wash dishes, but they can get gross and need replacing really fast. Ditch the cost of sponges all together by buying dish brushes instead.
27. Use Public Transit, Walk, or Bike
Save up to $2,000
The average American spends over $2,000 a year on gas. That’s a lot of money that could be going to other parts of your budget. By taking the bus, using a bike, or walking you can greatly reduce this cost and reduce your emissions.
How To Live a Low Waste Lifestyle
The above list doesn’t list all the things you can do to cut down on waste and costs, but just with the tips above you can potentially save up to $13,000 a year by becoming more self-sufficient and replacing single-use purchases with single-purchase items you only have to buy once.
What will you do with all this extra money? You could put it all into a savings account, a checking account, use it to help reach your savings goals, or pay off credit cards, or start an emergency fund. Start saving money today and make your future brighter and more waste free.
These are a lot of really helpful ideas, but most of them boil down to a few key tactics to living a more low waste lifestyle.
- Make things from scratch
- Be self-sufficient
- Support local businesses
- Choose quality over anything else
Now all you have to do is create your own master plan of attack for living the low-waste way and watch how much your budget grows with all those savings!
written by Kimber Severance, Check City Copywriter