Since going zero waste and learning to live a simpler life, my family and I have been enjoying the many benefits. Most important among these are reducing our environmental impact on the world, having more time, and experiencing better health. An extra bonus to our zero waste life is also saving money. Living a zero waste life means buying in bulk as much as possible to avoid packaged products and switching to reusable alternatives for disposable items. So a zero waste lifestyle does not cost lots of money. We also have planted a garden and grow a lot of food. All this of course means that we, in general, buy much less and therefore spend a lot less money.
The list of what we have stop buying since going zero waste is long but here are 10 of our favorite things we stopped buying since going zero waste:
Paper towels—It’s been over 10 years since we bought paper kitchen towels and instead we use reusable kitchen towel roll that is a great alternative for the disposable paper kitchen towels. Another great alternative is to cut up old bath towels, cut up old t-shirts or use cloth dish towels.
New Clothes—Besides socks and underwear, my family do not buy any clothes new in order to not support the fast fashion damaging industry so instead we buy them used.
Prepacked popsicles—My three kids love popsicles, especially during the hot summer months but store-bought popsicles always comes individually packed in plastic so instead I make my own.
Deodorant—These days I make my own and here is my YouTube video showing how I make it
Makeup Remover—Makeup removal: Forget old fashioned makeup remover in bottles and wipes; instead, say hello to super easy DIY makeup remover. First, you can try the old trick of a wash cloth with water and some bulk soap. If that does not work, you can use homemade makeup removal pads. I use this recipe from CoconutMama.com:
Paper Books—We’re a family of big readers of books but instead of paper books we either borrow books from our local library, borrow from friends or use eBooks. It’s so easy to buy an eBook and download it to your computer or IPad these days. If you wish not to spend lots of money on books, then check out BookBub because, there, you can sign up for a free service and select your favorite genres; and you will get an email alerting you to free and discounted bestselling eBooks that can be used on Kindle, Nook, IPad, IPhone, Droid and others as well.
Cleaning Supplies—Dishwasher and laundry detergents, all-purpose window, toilet bowl and tile cleaners are surprisingly expensive; and of course lots of it contains tons of chemicals. They may contain toxins and chemicals harmful to your family and the environment. (Chemical household products enter the environment through the drain.) Instead we replaced the old cleaning products with homemade ones made with common household supplies such as vinegar, baking soda and lemons. White vinegar, for example, costs about $2 and can be used to disinfect, clean and remove stains. Lemon juice and baking soda make a great smelling scrub for cleaning kitchens and bathrooms. They work like magic and smell better, too.
Canned Food—Sure canned food is convenient, but convenience
adds waste. To avoid this, I chop fresh tomatoes rather than use canned tomatoes, and I soak and cook dried beans.
Disposable Menstrual Products—I’m using reusable pads and diva cups, which are better for my health, the planet and my wallet because “normal” products usually are pretty expensive and contain lots of harmful chemicals.
Zip Lock Bags—Instead we use cloth bags for freezing baked bread and goods, we use reusable silicon bags for freezing berries and veggies and for storing food. We used repurposed mason jars also for food storage.
As you can see, going zero waste, practicing green habits, and simply paying attention and making small changes will save you lots of money, money you can use for lots of other fun things. That is a win/win in my mind.