Do you want to start helping reduce your environmental impact but don’t feel like spending any additional money? Seems impossible, right? Well, here are 7 things that are zero cost & zero waste.
Put a recycling bin in your bathroom
It can be hard to remember to bring the empty lotion or shampoo bottles downstairs to the recycling bin (most likely in the kitchen) and so those shampoo / conditioner and lotion bottles often just end up in the trash. I’ve been there, but those are actually good recyclable (#1 or #2) plastics so definitely worth the effort to recycle. Don’t forget to add the toilet paper rolls and tissue boxes to the bin. We just use a cardboard box for our bathroom recycling so we didn’t buy another plastic waste bin.
Skip or Reuse Produce Bags in the Grocery Store
I once used plastic bags for everything in the produce section but now simply put fruits and vegetables directly into my grocery cart. I mean, c’mon, they already have a natural wrapper on them and were outside laying in dirt before they were in the store! So avocados, bananas, oranges, lemons, limes, mangoes etc. all go bagless until checkout. I use my own cloth produce bags for most everything else but if I don’t have those with me or run out, I will just throw food like apples or broccoli into the cart. I always give them a good rinse with a gentle organic soap before we eat anyways! If you want to keep them contained and don’t have your own produce or grocery bags with you just go ahead and grab a paper bag from checkout to use while shopping. Paper bags are way more recyclable than the plastic produce bags!
Buy What you Can in Jars or Plastic Containers Instead of Packets
Packets are one of the worst offenders in terms of their recyclability. Skip the applesauce, baby food or yogurt pouches and buy in a glass jar (first choice) or in a plastic container. I have yet to find yogurt in a glass jar but if you have a grocery store that carries it, lucky you for that eco win! There are also sotres that carry bulk yogurt, so you can fill your own jars up. You can pack the applesauce and yogurt in a small glass mason jar with a spoon for your child’s lunch or directly into a bento box. As a bonus, your child will get extra fine motor skill development from using a spoon versus a pouch.
Buy in Bulk
Whether that means going to the bulk section of a local store or to Costco, the more you can get within one plastic package the better. Don’t feel bad if you don’t have a bulk store nearby. In reality, the items that get put into the bulk bins at stores like Whole Foods don’t come in that large of a plastic bag so sometimes Costco isn’t that much worse of an option depending on what you buy. If purchasing from Costco, I try to find the items that are in one large package versus a big package of lots of little packages.
Ditch Disposable Snack Bags and Make Your Own
Whether that means reusing glass or plastic packages you already have or buying Stasher bags or metal snack containers, try and avoid purchasing those big boxes of snack bags. The extra effort to go to your pantry and put food in a small package for you or your child for lunch matters.
Say No to the Straw
It’s not an actual drinking necessity! If you think it is though, you can purchase your own. I’m a straw chewer (if you know, you know) so the ones with silicone on the end are game changers.
BYO On the Go
Remember to pack your own to-go cup, bag and cutlery. You can get a fancy to go cup or are just bring an old mason jar or coffee cup you already own. The same goes for cutlery. You can purchase a sleek bag with bamboo cutlery inside or simply throw silverware that you already own wrapped in a napkin into your bag. And I know you already own at least one canvas grocery bag that you can pack, but if you don’t sign up for ours here!
What are some zero cost, zero waste switches you have made?