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The Cheap Girl’s Guide to Going Green

 

I’ve been vegetarian for a long time now due to the impacts of the meat industry on the environment. Recently I’ve been trying to switch to a more plant based diet (cut out some dairy products) and while doing my research, I came across the “zero waste club.” Now I had seen so many videos online and on TV about families who go “zero waste” and I always thought they were a little radical. But after doing my own research and becoming more passionate about environmentalism I decided to convert and honestly, it’s been a super fun time. Here’s a list of tips if you’re considering starting the journey to a greener lifestyle… or you’re just curious about how I brush my teeth.

I make basically everything.

Dish washer soap? Laundry detergent? Dry shampoo? Toothpaste? Deodorant? Yeah there’s a Pinterest recipe for that. You would be absolutely shocked at how many different recipes there are for normal household cleaning products and cosmetics. I personally find making all these things to be a de-stressor each day. If you want to see the recipes I use check out my Pinterest page! Bonus: it’s normally way cheaper to just DIY anyway.

Pack your lunches ahead of time.

I used to spend so much money buying my lunches at Coffman… and basically all of them came in plastic wrap or containers that I would just immediately throw away. I always pack a lunch ahead of time (in a reusable container of course) as a nice way to save money and use less plastic each day! Extra bonus if you bring re-usable utensils, napkins, and a water bottle.

Buy bamboo.

Bamboo grows extremely fast and is easier to replenish than lots of other wood material and plastic. My toothbrush right now? Yeah a panda could eat it. It may seem a little weird at first, but bamboo is sturdy and also has a trendy look to it. By switching out plastic household items like cooking utensils and cutlery for bamboo versions the earth will thank you in the long run.

Jars.

That jar of salsa you just bought? Save the jar! So many items come in glass jars that can be reused for storage (maybe for your DIY laundry detergent?) or cooking. Who needs plastic Tupperware when you have a jar that held your pasta sauce at one point. Perks: they can also finally put an end to your daily battle with the plastic wrap box.

Reuse… everything.

If I have any clothes that are too worn out to donate they get cut and sewn into rags and dishcloths. By reusing cloth I don’t have to worry about purchasing paper towels or napkins. Less money spent equals less problems am I right?

Coconut oil is your best friend.

Toothpaste, moisturizer, chapstick, makeup remover, hair detangler, door un-squeaker. There’s really nothing coconut oil can’t do.

Buy local or in bulk.

Farmers markets are my best friend because all the produce comes without packaging and I can put it in reusable bags and containers when I get home. No farmers market around? There are TONS of Co-ops in the cities that have bulk sections for your produce that basically never grows old (rice, quinoa, flour, sugar). I store all my groceries in Mason Jars — nice aesthetic AND zero waste! Hooray!

When it comes down to it though, even the tiniest step to go waste free can make a difference long term for our environment. Maybe you’re not ready to start making your own toothpaste yet, but that’s totally okay. Just know that each time you make an effort to cut out waste, the earth and your bank account will thank you.

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