So, we’re still all stuck at home. Some places are finally letting us use our reusable shopping bags again in stores even though most are still prohibited and 1000’s of pounds of food are being trashed due to their “unsellable” labeling. Through all this, carbon emissions are falling sharply and some states of wildlife have been slowly restored, we have all found that our average lifestyle is filled to the brim with consumption, each hour of the day. All of this extra time has made us really start thinking about the actions we used to perform that would contribute to pilling up a landfill. Now, with a bit less to do, we have spent some of our time thinking about how much further we could push “low-waste” into our lifestyle. How we can make an impact from wherever we are shut-in. At the same time, money has now taken a different value in so many people’s lives. Thinking about how money that we can save to feed ourselves, but also how the bit of extra cash we can feed someone else too or help a small business struggling during this time.
This list of 6 practices can aid you to start helping you save your money and your environment.
Save Your Cardboard Boxes
Since the beginning of the quarantine, online purchasing has skyrocketed. But, the price of the materials needed to make our products, shipping them in between facilities, the gas needed to get to and from these places, all puts a burden on our environment. But, online shopping is the safest option in terms of getting the items you need. Limiting the number of packages you order will help the environment but things are always going to be needed. Luckily for us though, we all get an extra present with every purchase we make: a box!
We are sure we all have our box filled with our other boxes, or have them feverishly crammed into recycling bins. But use can be found for all of our new box roommates. They can be used primarily for storage obviously and we would say that would be their best use. They can also be turned into makeshift shelving, canvases or structures for art projects, set up as pet mazes, covers for killing weeds, or floor mats for painting projects. Get creative with how you can make them more than just a garage ornament.
Make Your Own Toiletries
You won’t need to be conscious of reducing your online purchases for your perishable items if you can just make them yourself! It’s far cheaper, and you’ll run low far slower. Recipes on how to make your own toothpaste, shampoo, soap, and deodorant can be found everywhere on the internet, and being homemade means they can be customized to your perfect flavor combination. Obviously, most people don’t have lye lying around their home ready to be made into soap, so research sustainable companies to buy in bulk from! Local is best!
Make Food Lists
Making lists of the food you have on hand will help you keep track so food doesn’t seemingly go missing in the back of your fridge. It will also save food from being boredom-victims by allowing you to utilize the ingredients you have to make more satisfying meals. Keeping track of your food will also reduce the number of times you’ll need to go out to a grocery store, especially if the food is planned out for day-to-day during the week. Visually seeing the components to your dishes can also make it easier to create new and interesting meals. Consider even using this time to start an herb garden or to grow your own favorite vegetables to especially minimize the impact your food makes on the environment. If growing vegetables isn’t your thing or you simply don’t have the space for a garden, farmer’s markets are opening back up and it’s a great way to support local businesses while saving a couple of bucks!
Sort Through Your Closet
Spend some of your new free time to find value in what you already have. Sort through your closet and make certain articles seasonal to make them feel more special. Learn to mend the holes in your coat rather than buy a new one. The clothes you find to be un-mendable can be made into blankets, pillow covers, or washing rags to reduce the number of paper towels used in a day. And save the clothes that do not suit you any longer to donate to shelters!
Reduce Water & Electricity Use
With all of your new food lists laying around, making “one-pot” meals can help you ease up on the number of dishes you’ll need to clean at the end of the day. Obviously, as well, the number of dishes you use will go down if you focus on using only one plate or cup throughout the entirety of the day. Cut back on unneeded showers (obviously none of us really have anywhere to be), and shower with someone else if possible!
To save electricity resources, make scheduled screen time to limit unlimited access to our electronics. Not only will you save on your electric bill, but it will also create the counter-parted time for self-care we just don’t have while we’re idly consuming. Use the weather around you too! Use the warmth and light of the sun to keep your house lit and warm. Keep your air conditioner or lights off until absolutely necessary to keep your costs and personal emissions, down to a minimum.
Educate Your Household on Your Local Trash Regulations
Learn what you can and cannot recycle together to keep recyclables valuable in facilities. See if composting is an option for you! In Portland, food waste and paper towels can go into the compost, saving you the trash space. Or see if you can benefit from keeping a composting bin for yourself! Education is the most important part of helping those who have an active part in impacting our environment.
Living a low-waste lifestyle is all about saving. Saving our environment while also saving our money. Though we are all still confined in our homes, the small actions we make now will help when we begin to settle back into a “normal” state. And there you have it, folks.. 6 practices to start helping you save your money and your environment. Now get to it!
Written by Drew Valentine