10 Waste-Free Changes That Don’t Cost Any Money

Baby steps. That’s all it takes to make less waste. Here are 10 no-to-low cost changes you can start today!

  1. JUST SAY NO– no to plastic straws, no to disposable napkins, no to plastic utensils and bags. Saying no is free, boosts your confidence, and prevents tons and tons of waste!
  2. Say bye to new clothing. Buying new clothing can be incredibly wasteful and environmentally detrimental. Over 25 billion pounds of clothes go to waste every year in the U.S. alone. Using the clothing that you already have in your wardrobe, try switching around where they are in your closet, or invite a friend over to help coordinate new outfits. It’s a great way to recycle pieces you forgot you had and make them new again. Any clothing that you don’t want or don’t wear anymore can be sold at consignment stores for some extra $$$. 
  3. Make your coffee and meals at home. Bring out that inner chef and explore new recipes. Making food and drink at home is a great way to reduce using wasteful takeout containers, and it also ensures that you can eat with real dishes and utensils, can compost any scraps and save the leftovers. More delicious, more healthy, more budget-friendly AND zero waste! 
  4. Do a book trade with your friends. If you’re a big reader, always buying new books can be cost-heavy and wasteful. Get a couple of like-minded friends together and trade books you’ve already read. New reads, zero waste and zero cost.
  5. Avoid plastic grocery bags. Stick some cloth bags in your car or bag, or store them right by your door so you don’t forget them when you hit up the grocery store. 
  6. Forget about paper towels. An easy swap? Your dish rags and dish towels can double as reusable napkins or rags to wipe down messes. Have white washcloths that you used for makeup that are full of mascara? Use them for cleaning and compost them after (if they’re 100% cotton), or send them to textile recycling. Or use old t-shirts that are either too stained or ripped for reselling or donating, cut them up and use them as rags as well. 
  7. Skip plastic water bottles. Staying hydrated is important, so if you don’t have a reusable water bottle, you can easily use empty watertight peanut butter jars, coconut oil jars, etc. that are lying around and use that to bring water and other beverages with you. 
  8. Go au naturale or simplify your beauty routine. Too many times we impulsively buy cheap makeup with plastic packaging, use it a few times, then throw it out because it’s the wrong shade. Imagine the time AND money you would save if you skipped wearing makeup a few days a week, or simply cut some items out of your daily routine. Or try sustainable, natural alternatives like using coconut oil for makeup remover, lotion and lip gloss.
  9. Make your own cleaning products. You probably have very effective cleaning products in your pantry and you don’t even know it! Apple cider or distilled white vinegar, citrus and baking soda all work beautifully to clean your home, saving you a trip to the store. Here’s a great recipe for a homemade all-purpose cleaner
  10. Become one with your trash. Get to know exactly what you’re throwing away. You may find that a lot of what you throw away is compostable or recyclable. From there you can start to be mindful of the waste you can easily swap for sustainable choices.

No matter how much money you make, we can all make simple changes to help the environment. I’d love to hear some no-cost changes you’ve made to live more sustainably!

This article is written by Hannah Harrington.

This article was first published in Trash is Tossers here.



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