10 Zero-waste swaps that don't cost any money!
It’s no secret that you can expect to pay a premium for items with more eco-friendly credentials, sometimes the markup can even be prohibitively expensive.
These additional expenses can be off putting for budding zero-wasters and can often turn people off becoming more eco-friendly, but it doesn’t have to be this way.
There’s plenty of zero-waste changes you can make that are free and even some that can save (or make) you money! So if you’re keen to be more green but want to remain thrifty this guide is for you.
Tip #1 saying no
“Good manners cost nothing” might seem in conflict to saying no but this 1 simple word can often be the difference between accumulating unwanted trash and living low-waste. Make sure you refuse unwanted disposable items like straws, napkins, plastic carrier bags and excessive packaging when you can.
Saying no to these common pollutants costs you nothing but can significantly reduce your waste.
Tip #2 drink tap water
38 million plastic bottles go landfill every year in the US alone.
Tap water is well regulated in most countries (often more so than bottled) meaning it’s safe to drink and FREE! Make sure you keep your reusable water bottle with you when you’re on the go so you’re not tempted to buy bottled when you’re out and about.
If you don’t like the taste of the water in your area consider using charcoal to filter out any particulates or try a drinks carbonator like a SodaStream to make your water more palatable.
Tip #3 Replace kitchen roll with rags
Kitchen roll is a disposable item that can easily be replaced by scraps of fabrics from old tshirts, socks and pants.
Source: the zero-waste maker
Not only will you be saving on purchasing a disposable item and the associated plastic packaging it comes in but you’ll also be repurposing an item that would otherwise be destined for landfill.
Tip #4 BYO Coffee cup
Bringing your own coffee cup to your favourite coffee shop can save you money with every additional purchase, you also save from another disposable cup from entering the environment or landfill and that’s no bad thing.
“2.5 billion coffee cups are used every year in the UK alone”
Save even more money by making your coffee at home!
Tip #5 Shop secondhand
One of the key principles of living low-waste is to reuse what you have, this principle can carry over to new purchases ensuring you breathe new life into items that might have otherwise been destined for disposal.
Buying this way will also save you money, get familiar with websites such as ebay, facebook marketplace and gumtree to pick up preloved bargains.
Tip #6 Buy/sell clothing
The fashion industry is a particularly wasteful industry with huge amounts of resources required for production of clothes, add to this the poor conditions workers in fast fashion manufacturing work in and clearly those interested in being eco-friendly should avoid purchasing clothes where possible.
Instead consider buying and selling clothes second-hand, websites such as depop and charity shops can be great places to find preloved clothes.
Tip #7 Try homemade cleaners
Cleaning products can be expensive with different products being required for every different cleaning task you could think of, simplify your cleaning by using a few natural, cheap and toxin-free cleaning items. Some of our favourites include:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Castille soap
- Washing soda
Tip #8 Switch to LED bulbs
This may be going against the blog title of not costing any money but they are a money and energy saver over time.
Swapping to an LED bulb can reduce energy consumption 70-90% which can save you £50 over the course of the bulb’s lifespan.
Make sure you continue to implement good energy saving practices by keeping lights switched off whilst not in use to really boost your eco-hero status.
Tip #9 Buy less books
If you’re an avid reader consider paying a visit to your local library or join a book swap club and you could save 100s a year on reading as well as the significant amount of resources required in the production of books.
The payback from an ereader is more complicated, the mix of materials means they are more complex to make and far more complex to dispose of but if you can pick one up second hand this could also be a great option.
Tip #10 Walk more
The petrochemical industry is the most polluting industry globally, the simple act of driving less and walking more could reduce your carbon footprint, boost your fitness and save you money to boot!
For commuting long distances consider switching to public transport if available to significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
There are 10 easy tips you can use to reduce your waste that won’t cost you anything and could even save you money, do you have any more tips for reducing waste whilst on a budget? Drop them below.
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