This week we want to talk about our favourite tips to include zero waste on your budget. It’s a large misconception that a zero waste lifestyle is more expensive. In fact, many people seem to think that buying all the reusable options out there is essential to be zero waste. However, we are here to tell you, that you need very little to become less wasteful.
What does it mean to be zero waste?
Yes, that’s an easy one. Living a zero waste lifestyle means producing zero waste.
It’s not really groundbreaking. It’s how it has always been until the industrial revolution. You grow what you eat, and the waste goes back into the land that provides the food. There are no plastics in your life, and everything is organic.
No, we are not suggesting to go back in time, nor to idealize it. Those good old days were very problematic, and not ideal at all. However, we can learn a lot from them!
Why it’s so hard to be zero waste?
It’s basically a rebranding issue. 50 years ago you would only buy what you needed, and grow your own food, because that was your only option. Having a beautiful house full of shiny things was for the 1%. However, after the industrial revolution everyone could have a beautiful house full of shiny things! Even though they are half as valuable, and need to be replaced every other year, we could finally eat brioche.
If you close your eyes, and think about your dream house, how does it look? Probably double what you need, and full of things. And that’s ok. We have been told the same story for centuries, princesses don’t tend to live modestly. Well, this is where the rebranding comes in handy.
That’s why seeing movements like veganism and zero waste become trendy is so exciting! It takes the shame that capitalism put on not owing enough, and makes it sexy! However, we want to make sure those trends don’t get taken off context. It’s easy to turn zero waste into a business because we are looking for reusable items. In one way that’s great! On the other hand, it can be an excuse to keep our unhealthy consumption habits.
"We can’t build a better world while, deep down, we still think that what we own defines us"
Tips to include zero waste on your budget:
Easy and accessible. Just stop buying. It will help you save money and really understand what you need. This is actually a trending subject on youtube!
No-buy month or even year challenges have helped people pay off debt and be forced to look inside and revaluate their lives. Yes, if you thought this wasn’t going to be emotional, think again. We have feelings attached to things. We see our own value through our things. How crazy is that?
We can’t build a better world while, deep down, we still think that what we own defines us. A no-buy time, how long you want to make it, is a great way to start. The worst thing that can happen is an increase in your savings, and who doesn’t love more money?
Do you know what money is? It’s freedom. Feeling free is relaxing. Relaxed humans don’t tend to need to blow off steam on a buying spree. What happens when people aren’t dealing with their feelings through shopping? They consume less, therefore, they produce less toxic waste.
You see why dealing with feelings is important? It can change the world in so many ways!
Buy only what you need
Of course we have to buy some things to live comfortably. So what we do is a list of what we need before going shopping. Always having a list helps to keep us focused on what we really want. Shopping malls and supermarkets are designed to make you consume more than you need. If you go in ready to go directly where you want, you will get out, waste-free. Or almost.
The devil wears plastic
And everything it eats is probably wrapped around it too. Plastic in food can be hard to avoid. Everything is wrapped these days, even fruits! Saying no to single use plastics is essential to our future. Even eating out can be hard if you want to avoid plastic.
That’s why we recommend always being prepared! Know your restaurants and your supermarkets. Going food shopping? Reuse those annoying plastic bags! And if you can, local bio-organic markets are the best. Most of these places still sell food that is not packaged!
Home cooked meals
Taking your own lunch to work will save you money, and will probably be more nurturing. When cooking at home we have more control over how healthy our food is. Not only that, but we know how much plastic isn’t involved. Even the best places need single use plastics to prove their hygiene. Therefore, buying lunch on the go always involves buying plastic. Even if you have to buy a thermos, it will save you money and time in the long run!
Give your car a rest
Another easy way to reduce your waste is to consider your transportation choices. Public transports are the bright future, but not the present. Even though they are getting better, many people still depend on having a car to get to work. Car pools are a great solution for that. Find out if you have a co-worker that lives nearby, and give her a ride! You would both save money on gas, and help the environment!
For short distances, what about getting a bicycle? Going shopping is much more fun in central Europe since big baskets in bicycles are so common! It can be a great workout too.
However, bicycles can be much more than a shopping ally. They can be the best companion for adventures in the city or in the wild Nature. Go for a ride and enjoy the fresh air and the exercise!
More Vegan meals
Meat is not only more expensive than vegetables, but is also more polluting. Therefore, less meat, equals more money in your wallet. And dare we say, it will improve your health! What can be a better tip than one that tackles your own health, your wallet and the planet?
Reuse, repurpose & 2nd hand
So before you go out and buy all the reusable options, use the ones you already own. That’s right, we know how tempting it is to buy beautiful new products in the name of the environment. But the truth is you probably already have everything you need at home. Maybe some repurposing is in order? This is where your creativity can help! Before buying anything make sure you can’t really recycle or upcycle something you already own.
And if indeed you need to buy something, what about looking for it in 2nd hand stores? There are so many people selling things they barely used!
The premise is always the same: to stop mass consumption and start consuming mindfully. This always saves you money and the environment.