Environmental movements have been touted as movements for the rich and elite throughout history. This misconception has persisted through to modern environmental movements, and because of this, many think that the zero waste movement is for those who are rich enough to afford it- which isn’t true. Living zero waste won’t only reduce your waste and overall impact on the planet, but it will save you money, too. Here’s 5 ways that going zero waste could save you money.
A zero waste lifestyle parallels with minimalistic principles because a big component of the lifestyle is just generally buying less. Buying less means you’re demanding less products to be made, meaning less resources and energy is demanded to make products. By demanding less resources, you’re reducing emissions related to product production and transport, as well as resource extraction. So, when you buy less, you’re helping the earth and spending less money at the same time. It’s a win-win.
Thrifting is a big aspect of a zero waste lifestyle, not only because it lessens your environmental impact, but also because it’s so cheap. Thrifting means you aren’t demanding any more new products to be made, so you’re saving resources and emissions. You can also buy a dress at thrift shop for less than half the price as a new one. By buying used you also aren’t supporting the fast fashion industry- one of the most wasteful, unethical, and polluting industries in the world. Thrifting will save you money, save the earth, and it’s a fun way to find some unique clothes.
Buying bulk foods not only cuts down on food packaging waste, but it can also save you money. When you buy from bulk bins, you don’t have to account for the cost of packaging, meaning the products are (generally) cheaper. You also only have to buy what you need, so you won’t waste any money on food you don’t need. This also cuts down on food waste.
If you buy produce locally from the farmers market, you’re probably getting some of the best organic produce around at one of the best prices available. Produce at a farmers market doesn’t have to be transported as far as most of the produce you’ll find in a traditional grocery store, so that cost is cut out of the product. One study showed that organic produce is around 40% cheaper at farmers markets than at traditional grocery stores.
Don’t Buy Single Use
The zero waste lifestyle contains little single-use, disposable products, and instead favors reusable products made out of materials like cloth, metal, and wood. While reusable products are generally a bigger investment upfront, they can save you a ton of money in the long run. Switching plastic water bottles for a reusable water bottle can save the average family $6,000 over 5 years, and similar savings can be found by switching from disposable paper products like napkins and paper towels to reusable cloths.
How has zero waste saved you money?
Is the blog manager for Zero Waste Club, combining her love for writing with her passion for all things environmental sustainability. She is currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill where she is studying journalism, environmental studies, and food studies in hopes of building a career in environmental activism. You can find her on Instagram as @kaylaguilliams.