How to Save Money by Going Zero Waste ($600/Year)
Written by Micaela Sauve
A large misconception by many people is that zero waste living is expensive. Contrary to what many people believe, living a zero-waste lifestyle is not nearly as expensive as you might believe it to be. In fact, if you do it properly and with moderation, it can actually save you money over time.
Here are 3 easy ways you can help our planet and your wallet too:
1. Invest in reusables:
Swap single use water bottles for a reusable bottle
According to Statistics Canada, three out of 10 Canadian households drink bottled water at home. Bottled water not only has a massive impact on the environment, but it can also have a large impact on your wallet. Bottled water could cost anywhere from about eight cents per 500 ml bottle bought in bulk at a large chain store to $2.50 for a vending machine bottle.
Based on the recommended average for individual consumption of 8 cups of water a day, the monthly cost of bottled water if you went the cheapest route (bulk, large chain store) would roughly be $9.75. Making the yearly cost is nearly $120 for one person when it could be nearly free.
A cute reusable water bottle costs about $29.99 and a reused jar is free. Both can last a lifetime if it is well taken care of.
Swap disposable plastic bags for reusable ones.
I am sure you’ve heard of this swap before, so I’ll make this quick. The average person uses 540 plastic baggies a year which makes up one pound of plastic! This is roughly equivalent to 40 or 50 plastic bottles, and that’s just in plastic baggies.
Financially, a single use disposable baggie costs around $0.26/bag which comes out to $140 per person per year. A set of reusable baggies only costs around $29.99 so not only are you saving our ocean from 1lb of plastic but you’re saving your wallet too.
Swap paper towels for reusable cloths.
The average family uses two rolls of paper towels per week, and at the approximate cost of $14 for an 8-pack you could be spending on average $180 a year just for convenience. When stored properly, reusable kitchen cloths can be just as convenient, costing only around $19.99 and lasting years!
We like to have a set of cloths set aside solely for the purpose of cleaning in our kitchen and a basket under our sink to toss dirty ones in. You really should find a technique that works best for you.
2. Reduce food waste:
While food waste isn’t necessarily going to waste thanks to compost, food production is a large contributor to the eutrophication of our waters, desertification of our soils and greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, we should try to avoid it when we can.
A 2019 report from Environment and Climate Change Canada, found that Canadians waste 174 pounds of household food, per person, per year. That’s a total of 3.24 million US tons of household food waste per year. That’s a lot of money down the drain!
How does this happen, you ask?
Well, let’s say you go to the grocery store and buy two cartons of organic strawberries for $8 each. But you forget about them in the back of the fridge, and they get moldy. Well, that’s $16 you just tossed into the trash.
There really is no way for us to show you just how much money you’re saving by reducing your groceries to what you actually eat. Everyone's eating and wasting habits are different, but the same idea applies to everyone:
Less wasted food = Less food needed = Smaller grocery bills
3. DIY your cleaning routine:
Swapping toxic cleaners for homemade ones can save you money and make your cleaning routine a whole lot safer.
A portion of the cost of household products is their packaging and branding, so when you decide to go zero-waste and make your own, you’ll automatically save. Making your own cleaning products is not as tedious as you might think, and they can be made with a small handful of ingredients that some people probably already have in their household like:
- Baking Soda⠀
- Castile Soap/ Marseille Soap⠀⠀
- Hydrogen Peroxide
- Sal Suds⠀
All kinds of cleaning products recipes can be found online. Green cleaning comes easy when you use simple, effective ingredients.
By just revamping these 3 areas of your life you could be saving more than $600 per year (depending on the size of your household) and that doesn’t have to be the end of it. There are all kinds of eco-swaps, some more advanced than others that can be made that will not only help our planet but potentially your pocket too.
So, what’s stopping you?
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