zero waste products

How To Go Zero Waste On a Budget

The first thing that many people think about when they hear the term “going zero waste” is the price. It can seem like an impossible feat to do it without spending your entire month’s earnings on just a couple of shops.

But with some planning and creativity, you can live a life of less rubbish! We’ll show will cover how to save money while still living more sustainably. 

From buying in bulk, to making your own cleaners and beauty products, to choosing reusable items over disposable ones; there are plenty of ways to go zero waste on a budget.

Can you go zero waste without spending more?

The simple answer is yes! The key to going zero waste without spending more money is to be realistic. Starting to go zero waste doesn’t just mean buying new products to replace others, it’s also about changing your routines.

Start by assessing what you currently use on a daily basis and then see what can be changed.

For example, if you buy coffee every morning, try bringing your own mug instead of buying one from the coffee shop. You’ll save money on cups and also on the cost of the coffee! Upcycling is another great way to go zero waste on a budget, as it’s free for many people.

It might seem like a daunting task but once you get into it, it’s really easy and feels great knowing that you’ve made a difference.

Once you’ve started changing your habits, there are several ways you can lead a zero waste lifestyle without spending more money.

Use Up Your Existing Items

While it may be tempting to buy all the fancy zero waste and eco-friendly items, it is better to use up what you already have first. This way, you will not end up spending any money.

This includes plastic toothbrush heads, disposable razors, cling film, plastic scarifiers, and other single use items.

Once you’ve used up your items or if they start to break beyond repair then you should start to look at more sustainable alternatives. You’ll find that a lot eco-friendly alternatives already existing, and in many cases, these zero waste swaps last a lot longer too!

Re-use What You Already Own

To live a zero waste life you’ll be needing a lot of containers, bottles and other ways to store your stuff! Living a waste-free lifestyle has got to start somewhere, so reusing your empty plastic shampoo bottles and used jars to store your refillable items is a cheap and easy start.

Unlike glass and aluminium, many plastic containers cannot be recycled, so get creative with how you can reuse your existing packing around your home. There are plenty of ways to upcycle what is seemingly rubbish.

Grow your own food

You don’t need to become a seasoned gardener to be able to grow herbs or vegetables. You can grow commonly used herbs like mint, basil, chives and rosemary in pots. If you have more space in your garden or allotment, there are all sorts of fruit and vegetables that you can grow year round.

All of which will be much cheaper and more environmentally friendly than buying from the supermarket. 

Shop Secondhand

Living a zero waste life doesn’t mean you can’t ever buy anything new ever again. However, when you do have to buy something, try to find the secondhand shops around you. Secondhand shops have a range of benefits: you can often save a significant amount of money and you are buying things that have already been produced so you are lessening your environmental impact.

There are plenty of things you can buy second hand, including clothes, games, furniture, and more. By buying something that has already been produced, you are eliminating more resources to be used to create something new.

Avoid Buying Bottled Water

Tap water here in the UK is amongst the highest quality in world, and is tested millions of times every year to ensure it meets the highest quality standards. In actual fact, bottled water is often taken from the same source as the water from your tap and goes through the same filtering processes, which makes it no better than tap water. 

Buy a reusable water bottle, and try a water filter for your home if you have hard water. This will help you avoid buying plastic bottles and will save you money quickly!

Start Meal Planning

Meal planning simply involves thinking about what you’re going to have for dinner each night of the week, and buying only the ingredients you need for it. Although this is a seemingly obvious task that I’m sure many of you already do, it can be helpful to ensure you don’t buy unnecessary items.

Most importantly, you’ll only be buying the food that you’ll need, which will eliminate or greatly reduce the amount of food waste.

Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle Cheaply

Sustainable living is affordable when you consume less overall. In many ways your lifestyle could become more tricky, depending on your strictness with living zero waste. But ultimately, that is the price that we have to pay to live a more sustainable life. 

Going zero waste is more about changing your lifestyle, rather than limiting it. But your lifestyle, is also heavily influenced by your budget, so prioritise reducing your waste as much as you can afford to do.

Omar Agor-Wood
Omar Agor-Wood

Omar is a digital marketer by day for one of the UK's largest environmental consultancy companies, and is writing like the world depends on it for Pick Ethical at night. He has a passion for hiking, bouldering, and making a fuss of his dog.

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