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5 Easy Tips To Go Zero Waste

environment

Seriously, these are so easy that you’ll never go back!

This year my husband and I made a simple goal of going zero waste. Okay, maybe not simple, per se, but a very attainable goal with some very small changes to our routines. When living on the road you tend to use a lot of plastic, you shop in the sale aisle for food, and you cut a lot of corners when it comes to spending money. A lot of those corners end up in savings but also in a lot of waste. So, my husband and I made some changes and also ended up saving even more money both in the long term and short term (one of our goals is also to pay off debt and save money). So, here are some quick tips on how to go zero waste, help the environment, and save money in the process!

#1: Bring jars when you go grocery shopping.

Whether you are going to the farmers market, the grocery store, or the co-op — bring those jars! When you go to the store have the person in the checkout lane weigh and tare your jars for easy, sustainable, zero-waste shopping. Now, instead of buying packaged grains, pasta, spices, coffee, tea, nuts, dried fruit, flour, and even candy, you can instead buy in the bulk aisle. The bulk aisle is the best kept, money-saving secret in the grocery store. You can get almost anything you buy packaged in the bulk aisle for a way cheaper price and you can purchase and subsequently store in the same jar! I made these super cute ball jar storage options in our RV so that we can always shop sustainably.

Also, if you need something packaged and it’s not in bulk you can find almost always find a bulk alternative. If you’re forgetful, put your jars near your reusable bags or in your car so you don’t forget when you go to the store!

#2: Reusable bags, obviously.

It almost feels dumb mentioning reusable bags but I kind of have to because reusable bags are the easiest zero-waste change in your routine. I bring a bag literally wherever I go and if I forget them I will carry my stuff out and put it in my car loosey-goosey as punishment to myself (seriously, it helps me not forget). Reusable bags are not just for grocery shopping so throw them in your purse. You can use them at the mall, the hardware store, literally wherever you go that requires a bag. I always have multiples in my car and also at least one in my purse.

Also, get these reusable bags for your produce so you don’t use paper or plastic to package your produce at the grocery store.

#3: Stop shopping online.

I know this one is hard but stop shopping online (especially on Amazon, Bezos is seriously the worst). If you absolutely have to shop online shop from sustainable organizations or choose the “limit waste” option that some websites, like Glossier, have when you checkout. Shopping online not only creates waste with packaging but often you spend more money shopping online and you shop for more stuff because it’s so easy to spend more money or get click-happy when online shopping. How many times have you needed one thing but ended up buying ten? I mean, it happens to me whenever I online shop.

Now, I take the extra step to find whatever I need locally and also shop sustainably. Not shopping online is a huge money saver and you’ll definitely make less waste.

#4: Okay, this is for those of you who get periods, invest in a menstrual cup.

Did you know, that the average person who has a period uses approximately 20 pads or tampons per month which equals 240 per year, which over the average lifespan of a menstruating person (about 40 years of periods) gives us the grand total of 9,600 period-products used during one menstruating person’s lifetime? Now multiply that by every menstruating person on the planet and we have a pretty massive amount of avoidable waste.

A menstrual cup is a great alternative to other menstrual products. Also, if you are living on the road, that’s a ton of waste that you really don’t want to be carrying around with you. I use a Diva Cup and it’s been great! I honestly can’t recommend it enough, there are tons of menstrual or moon cups to choose from, here’s a handy list. Also, just as a plus, menstrual cups are way more comfortable and easier to wear than tampons and pads.

#5: Borrow items that you may only need to use once.

Honestly, this is a big one and it’s an easy solution to buying and accumulating things that I had never given too much thought or consideration to. Borrowing items that you may only need to use once is a great alternative to buying. For example, the other day I was sewing some curtains and I needed an iron and I was able to borrow one from my neighbor and return it later in the day. Often, people have the thing you need and truly don’t mind lending it out. Obviously, as a huge plus, borrowing items from your pals also results in you not having to buy that item, so you’re simultaneously saving money!

Bonus tip: If you must buy something, buy it second hand. Almost always the thrift store will have what you need at a cheaper price.

With these five super simple tips I can almost guarantee you that you will be able to save money and easily go zero-waste (or pretty darn close to it) in no time. Going zero waste does not need to be complicated or difficult, and in fact, it can be super easy and it’ll make you feel great about your choices. You’re also making great strides in helping repair the environment by not using plastics or wasteful products. So grab those bags and jars, change those shopping habits, and do some good today!

 

This article was originally published by Alexandra Tsuneta, Medium.com

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