1. Buy in bulk. Especially food. By buying in bulk not only do you save on the amount of packaging used, but you also save money!
2. Buy foods with less packaging. I was once lured into buying a box of cute, little penguin cookies. I think I was shopping while I was hungry which is never a good idea, and bought a box of these new cookies that were on sale. Little did I know, each cookie was individually wrapped and then put into a sealed bag AND THEN put into a cardboard box. That’s what I call excessive packaging. I try to avoid things like that now.
3. (For the bean lovers like me!) Buy dried beans. I love my beans; black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, chickpeas, mixed beans… And I love having the convenience of having them at the ready for when I plan my last minute meals. But did you know that buying dried beans is MUCH cheaper than buying them in the can? My husband and I worked it out that dried chickpeas are less than a quarter the price of canned ones. You can also cook them up and throw them into the freezer for the same canned convenience.
4. BYOB – Bring your own bags. The car has become my new storage place for my reusable bags. Once the groceries have been emptied, back out to the car they go!
5. Make your own food. Breads, cookies, salad dressings, baked goods (like these yummy granola bars), are quite simple to whip up but for some reason, we opt for the full of preservatives, bland tasting, store bought alternatives. By making your own, you are using less packaging, saving money (more than you would think!), and eating healthier. You can customize your foods to exactly how you like them. And the excuse that you don’t have time won’t cut it. This bread recipe actually takes 5 minutes to make. I tried it. It’s delicious. You should try it too.
6. Shop Thrift. Before going out to the store for that must have item, well first consider whether it is actually a must have item (do you really need that 10th pair of jeans when you can only wear one pair at a time anyways…). Once that’s been determined, see if you can find it somewhere used instead of buying new. You’d be surprised at how many great, quality things you can find used. Most of the things we got for our baby girl have been used (crib, rocking chair, swing, toys, clothes…) and we have probably saved a fortune. Especially on clothes. She grows out of things so quickly.
7. Invest in reusable containers. I LOVE reusable containers. I put everything into them; leftovers, lunches, loose fruits and veggies that wiggle their way around the fridge. They are a great alternative to plastic baggies, plastic wrap and tin foil. They are also great for school snacks. Instead of buying individually packaged snacks, buy them in bulk (again with the saving money thing…) and put them into small, reusable containers. You get the same serving size with less waste while saving money. Seems pretty logical to me. And it only takes an additional 10 seconds to prepare. I love my reusables… did I mention that already?
8. Reuse things instead of throwing them away. If you have plastic baggies lying around, don’t throw them away! They are very easy to wash and reuse. If you happen to have baby food jars lying around, don’t throw them away either. They are perfect for storing herbs and spices, craft supplies, or they would make cute homemade candle holders. And here’s a link for a ton of neat things you can do with tin cans. Like this:
9. Use cloth napkins instead of paper towels. Paper towels and paper napkins are pretty wasteful. Well, they more often than not end up in the garbage, so yup, pretty wasteful. Cloth napkins are great because they are relatively inexpensive (you could even make your own!) and you can use them again and again. As an alternative to paper towels, you could use old t-shirts. Cut them into paper towel size pieces and voila! Paper towels.
10. Subscribe to e-bills and e-magazines. Almost all companies have the option of having bills delivered via email now. So make sure you sign up! There are many magazine companies that provide their entire magazine online as well. Although this option may cut down on your bathroom reading, the environment will be much happier because of it!
So those are just a few of my ideas to help reduce waste while saving money in your home. What are some of the ways you reduce waste in your home? I’d love to hear them!