Four ways to use less plastic and save money

Filed in Reduce by on November 19, 2015 5 Comments
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reduce plastic waste save money myzerowaste

One of the questions I’m often asked about my zero waste lifestyle is whether it costs more money.

In truth, it costs less.

I’ve shared many tips over the years about keeping money in your pocket and reducing waste in landfill and sometimes it’s good to hear other people’s ideas and suggestions. After all, we all have a different voice and opionion to share.

Laura wrote to me as an ‘aspiring writer’, asking if she could submit an article. Today she’s sharing four ways she believes we can reduce our reliance on plastic while saving money.

Over to Laura…

As we move further into the 21st century, plastic use is becoming more and more of a problem, with ocean and land pollution getting worse every year. In order to help save the planet, there are tons of different changes you can make in your life to reduce your plastic use. Besides cutting down on your environmental impact, moving away from excessive plastic consumption can also save you a lot of money. Read on to find the best ways to cut down on your use of plastic.

Ditch Plastic Water Bottles

One of the biggest plastic-wasters are single-use plastic water bottles. Convenient if you’re on the go, millions of these get chucked every year. These bottles are not only wasteful, but their cost adds up — a plastic bottle of water costs around $2 a pop. If you switch to reusable bottles, however, after the initial cost of the container, refills are practically free, and you don’t have a pile of empty bottles by the end of the week. Having a refillable bottle also encourages you to drink more water throughout the day. And if you use a water treatment system or filter, your water may end up purer than the water you’d get in a single-use bottle.

Buy Reusable Grocery Bags

Single-use plastic bags are a staple in every grocery store, but are the cause of a lot of plastic waste. Instead of adding to your pile of plastic grocery bags, consider buying a few cloth grocery bags. Not only do these hold more groceries, and are much less likely to rip, they help reduce waste and are extremely affordable. Many shops offer them in fun designs and colors, or you can order them online for an even wider selection. You can use these bags for more than just grocery shopping as well — they’re perfect for taking to any store to avoid walking out with a bunch of extra plastic bags you’ll just throw away later.

Turn Down Disposable Straws

Many people give little thought to the plastic straws used in restaurants across the world. Due to the sheer volume used every day, however, straws are a big part of the plastic waste issue. If you aren’t attached to having a

straw to drink out of, just let your waiter or waitress know you won’t need one — same with drive through attendants. If you really like drinking out of a straw, however, there are a few options. Stainless steel reusable straws are an excellent choice, and you can take them with you anywhere. They’re also usable for hot drinks, unlike plastic straws, and you never have to worry about your straw cracking again. Bringing your own straw is also more sanitary — the paper sleeves that plastic straws are wrapped in aren’t a strong barrier against germs.

Get Glass Containers

Besides looking more elegant and keeping your food fresher, glass containers can help cut down on plastic waste as well. Whether you use them at bulk bins in grocery stores instead of the provided plastic bags, or you take them to restaurants to avoid bringing home plastic or styrofoam containers, these are a great way to cut down on your plastic consumption. Plastic Tupperware tends to degrade over time, so replacing your plastic leftover containers with more permanent glass ones will end up saving you money as well as keeping you healthy — plastic containers, when filled with hot food, can sometimes leave trace elements of plastic in the stored food. Glass containers are also all dishwasher-safe and microwaveable, while many plastic ones are not, and will keep your food fresher for longer. They also make it easy to see what leftovers you have in your fridge, helping to keep you organized and stretch your grocery trips a little further.

By using the above tips, it should be easy to start cutting down on some of your plastic waste while not having to change your lifestyle. You can also save some money using these tips, and live a healthier lifestyle in general.

 

Image via Flickr by Holly Williams

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. Hi rachel
    It’s true and false 🙂 I totally agree with you on your 4 tips. Actually in France, if you look more in detail bulk food shop compare to hypermarket, bying food may cost a bit more. Anyway, sustainable life style has no price compare to disease

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hi Ju, thanks for your comment. I agree we need to shift our awareness from looking at just ‘cost’ to the REAL cost – all those things underneath that we do not think about such as the cost to the environment, people’s health, the future etc.

  2. Le-Chat says:

    Those tips almost seem like an open door to me… I have been doing this for at least 30 years now. Yet as long as the shops keep providing these plastic products the general public will continue to use them.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Great to hear these are no-brainers for you, Le-Chat. There is a gradual awakening as more and more people realise we have other options available to us 🙂

  3. Philippa says:

    Straws used to be made out of paper – and you can still find these if you look hard enough. Better than plastic.

    I remember unwinding them as a child… We used to have to amuse ourselves before TV and computer games!

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