Sometimes the thought of going zero waste can be daunting. It’s a whole new lifestyle to get used to.
Then you look on the shelves at eco-friendly products and you just don’t know if it’s worth the money.
You think it’s going to be hard and expensive. But it’s not!
With a few small changes to your life, you can be sporting the eco-friendly lifestyle easily ON THE CHEAP!
You don’t have to spend a lot of money to be eco-friendly. In fact, most of the changes on this list are FREE.
1. Take Shorter Showers
Wasting water is a huge topic when being environmentally friendly. Water is getting wasted for no good reason.
I know you’re already turning off the water while brushing your teeth. I know you’re not disappointing your mama, right?!?
But another way to save water is to take shorter showers. Sometimes taking a long, hot shower feels like a luxurious day at the spa! I know!
But indulging in long showers every day is wasting water! You can clean yourself in as little as 2-8 minutes TOPS!
Yes, I said 2 minutes. I am the queen of hoping in the shower, scrubbing and rubbing, rinsing and getting the heck out of there in 2 minutes.
When I wash my hair, it goes up to around 8-10 minutes. Another idea is to think about taking Navy Showers.
A navy shower is when you only turn on the water as needed. You get wet, then turn off the water to lather up. Then you turn on the water to rinse and turn it off again when done.
So instead of having water running when you are lathering and scrubbing, you can save the water that’s not being used.
2. Reduce Your Electricity Usage
The next thing you can do at this second is to decrease your energy usage. Turn the lights off when you leave the room and unplug things that are not being used.
Energy vampires are things that STILL USE ELECTRICITY even when it’s turned off! For example, your TV is still using power even if it’s turned off.
How? It is waiting to get the command to turn on from a remote control. If it was completely dead, your remote wouldn’t work. So it is constantly using electricity.
Same thing with the toaster, microwave, treadmill, and almost ANYTHING.
Seriously look at this whole list of energy vampires. By keeping these plugged in, you are wasting money.
One option is to unplug everything after using it. Another is to get a smart power strip and use its switch to cut the power off of everything.
After unplugging all the vamps, make a game out of keeping the lights off. See how long you can keep the lights off before needing to turn them on. It’s fun!
3. Cut Down on Fragrances
Fragrances are weird, cost money, totally toxic for you and a big toxin for the environment.
Air fresheners, candles, fabric softeners, detergents, perfumes, and soaps are all examples of products that may have fragrances in them.
Cut back on the excessive use of fragrances. Most of these products are designed to be thrown away and the toxins suck.
The alternatives to these toxic products are almost always cheaper. So you can go green and save green!
You can make your own air fresheners, switch soaps and use a more eco-friendly laundry detergent.
4. Air Dry Your Clothes
Air-drying your clothes is very eco-friendly because you are saving electricity from heating up your dryer.
Using your dryer less will have you seeing a lower electric bill. There are a lot of people who leave their clothes untouched throughout the spring and summer in favor of air-drying their clothes.
If the weather is too cold or wet where you live, you can always air dry them inside. Now they may take a little longer to dry, but the energy savings are the same.
I challenge you to try it out!
5. Ditch Detergent
Speaking of laundry now is the time to start thinking about ditching your laundry detergent.
As mentioned earlier, detergent is a product that may contain harsh chemicals, fragrances, and other toxins. These toxins are doused on your clothes and then rub into your body when you put them on.
Throughout the cleaning process, the toxins are also leached straight into the water system.
The next time you run low or run out of laundry detergent, think about switching to a natural laundry detergent such as soap nuts or making your own.
You can check out my guide to eco-friendly laundry to learn more about soap nuts and to get a good recipe for laundry detergent.
Natural laundry detergent is so much cheaper than the commercial brands, it will blow your mind.
6. Walk or Bike if Possible
Walking, biking or using public transportation are the greenest ways to get around.
It’s not always possible though. For instance, if you live in a totally rural area like in a farm country then you may need to use a car to get from place to place.
Otherwise, you will be walking miles and miles to get to where you need to be. But for a lot of people who live in towns or cities, it is completely possible to get around on foot or on a bike.
It’s actually very eco-friendly and very economical to do so.
Eco-friendly in a sense that you are not upping your carbon footprint by emitting greenhouse gases every time you drive your car. Economical is a sense that you are saving money on gas which also saves fuel.
So by using alternative modes of transportation, you are saving non-renewable resources. You’re the hero that we asked for.
Plus think about all the cash you’ll be saving by walking and biking. Not only the gas but you’ll be prolonging wear and tear, and maintenance costs.
It takes a little bit of an investment to become an avid cyclist but you do not need a high-end bike, expensive gear or outfits. You just need a bike and some maintenance money for inner tubes, tune-ups, oil and maybe an extra set of tires.
Nothing too big, ut definitely a lot cheaper than car tires, oil changes, windshield wipers, transmission maintenance, and other car maintenance costs.
If you don’t like biking, walking is free! Public transportation is cool. And carpooling is the next best bet.
Not everything works for everyone. Take a look at your circumstances and see how to improve it.
7. Eat Less Meat
Another way to go zero waste and save money right now without investing too much into products is to eat less meat.
The next time you go grocery shopping, try to look up some vegetarian or vegan recipes that you would like to try. Then only by ingredients for those recipes.
If you cut down your meat significantly, you don’t have to give it up completely. Sometimes the transition into a meat-free life is HARD.
But just by REDUCING your intake will be greener for the planet and greener for your wallet. Because let’s face it, meat is the most expensive thing in the grocery store.
It takes a lot of Earth’s resources to put meat on your plate not to mention the torture animals go through.
So meatless Mondays and fishless Fridays should be something you should consider!
8. Refuse The Bag
Another free thing you can start doing is to refuse the bag. The next time you’re at a grocery store, bring your own tote bags or reusable shopping bags with you.
Refuse to bags before the cashier scans your items. Say, “oh we don’t need a bag,” or “no bag, please. Thank you!”
Reducing the amount of plastic bags that you consume is more eco-friendly and it’s taking a step towards being zero waste.
Most of the time this doesn’t particularly save you money, but there are some stores that pay you a discount if you bring your own bag. Other stores, like Aldi, force you to bring your own bags or you have to pay for them.
So in that sense, you could save money by bringing your own reusable shopping bags.
9. Ban the Bottle
Banning the bottle is the number one thing and the easiest thing to do when going zero-waste.
Stop buying and using plastic water bottles. Instead, buy a reusable water bottle or use a bottle that you probably already have on hand. A mason jar can be great too!
Why do people waste money on plastic water bottles when they can get free water at home? Convenience shouldn’t be an excuse.
You can get a water filter for your sink for a small investment. Mine was $30. The filters last a long time and the tap water will taste better.
Then you will see the savings! Buying bottled water can be $2+ depending on where you live. If you take a minute to fill a reusable bottle before leaving the house, you can save a lot of money over time.
And you can work towards being more zero waste.
10. Buy used
And last but not least, to be zero waste and to start saving money, try to buy used.
Whenever you’re about to buy something new think twice and look for a used or refurbished option. Buying used helps saves items from going to the landfill, it saves money and you’re helping to give materials an extra chance at life.
There are a lot of ways to go zero waste, but these are some things that you can implement right now to save money by being green.