How to Reduce Waste, Help the Environment and Save Money

In the new year I began looking into reducing excess waste. I started following more bloggers that promoted this change and also people on instagram who I could start getting ideas from. I then started to swap a few products in my life over to those of a more sustainable nature. 

Originally I thought It would be more expensive to buy these products but very soon after I realized that the initial cost of some of them were more expensive upfront because you are not ever replacing them (or very rarely).

If you are wondering what the movement of reducing waste or zero waste even means it is simply that you are lowering the amount of what you dispose of. There is a lot more that goes into it but the purpose of this blog post is to simply share with you what products I have found helpful and things that I do to slow the consumption of garbage so that you can do it too!!

What is the reason to reduce the amount of waste we produce?

  1. It reduces emissions. Meaning that if there is less plastic being made to package our products/food/etc then there will be less toxic chemicals being released into the air during their production.

  2. It puts less garbage into our already overcrowded landfills.

  3. For health reasons it stops your from buying "junk" food or anything that has been processed (since all junk and processed foods come in either plastic wraps or boxes.

  4. It can help financially. Buying things in bulk or buying produce without packaging can be much, much cheaper.

Knowing that you can help not only your finances but also the environment and your health, I give you a list of what you can do to start making a difference. ​

1.SAFETY RAZOR This is my favourite change I have made. I ordered this off of amazon for 57 dollars. You can buy 10 additional razor blades for 10 dollars. The reason I love this product so much is the fact that I am still on my first razor blade and I have been using this new razor for a full 3 months now. The razor does sadly come in a plastic box but you will never have to buy a new razor again since the only thing you need to replace are the blades.  SAFETY RAZOR LINK

2.REFILLABLE HOME PRODUCTS I have changed over to using a refillable system for all things that usually come in plastic containers. This includes shampoo and conditioner, laundry detergent, hand soap, dish soap, toothpaste, body wash, all purpose cleaner, hand/body lotions and all types of face care. What this refillable system means is that I buy the original product in the bottle it comes in and once it becomes empty I just wash it and bring it back to the store to be filled up again. Making me never have to continuously throw out plastic bottles. If you live in Winnipeg this is available to do at Generation Green, it is called the refill station. You save 1 dollar off each bottle you refill as well!! GENERATION GREEN LINK

3.KITCHEN JARS This is the absolute best way to save money on food. All you have to do is buy jars from the dollar store in any sizes you like. Once you have these jars all cleaned and dried you can bring them to a store that does a refillable system. In Winnipeg we have BULK BARN. All you have to do is bring in the jars and get them weighed before you shop.  The reason I love this so much is because 1. You can find all types of dried foods here for a fraction of the price in store. 2. You are not using any plastic which is a even more amazing. You can find anything almost everything there like beans, lentils, all types of seeds and nuts, quinoa, rice, all types of flours, dates, dried fruits, oats, nut butters, oils, spices, coffee, tea, all types of pastas and much much more. BULK BARN JAR PROGRAM LINK

4.PRODUCE AND SHOPPING BAGS These products have made such a difference in buying items when at the grocery store. I make sure to have two to three shopping bags in my car at all times so that way I never forget them when I get to the store. I also have invested in mesh food bags so that way I never have to use the little plastic bags to put my produce into. A lot of foods come pre packages in the grocery store but you can get out of buying this way if if you go to your local grocer. Places in Winnipeg such as Vita Health offer produce without it being wrapped, If you buy seasonally, the prices are not expensive either!! ECO PRODUCE BAGS LINK

5. MAKING YOUR OWN STAPLES AT HOME This includes things you would usually buy in plastic at the store. Examples are milks, hummus or dips, broths, packaged snacks, etc.  You can save SO much more money by making all of these at home. Plus you won't be throwing any containers or plastics away! ALMOND MILK RECIPE LINK

6.BUY USED CLOTHING This is an great option because 1. It saves you money 2. It is a recyclable system so it helps the community and 3. It is sustainable (if you reuse clothing it means less water and chemicals to be used to make new ones, plus reusing clothing means less clothing that ends up in the landfills)

7.MAKE UP REMOVER There are ways to remove your make up without using a wipe that you up throw out after one use. One option is using coconut oil so if you have this already lingering around your house then this is a cheap alternative to use. The second option is buying a microfibre removing cloth. I love it option because all you have to do is wet the cloth and take off your make up!! THATS IT! Then you just hang it up to dry for your next use. These last a long time and are much less expensive then buying the disposable wipes MAKE UP REMOVER LINK

8.BAMBOO TOOTHBRUSH It takes 400 years for a plastic toothbrush to decompose. That is literally crazy!! Just imagine how many toothbrushes we use a year and throw out. Where do they go?? Into land fills and they remain there forever just releasing chemicals into the air. That is why the switch to a natural bamboo toothbrush is the best as they are biodegradable and a natural substance. TOOTHBRUSH LINK

9.MENSTRUAL CUP This one is something I am just in the process of changing into but I really wanted to include it in this list because of how much you can save from it. You can save anywhere between 70-140 dollars a year switching over from pads/tampons to a cup. If you take good care of your cup it should last you at least 5-10 years, Plus it is not leaking any toxins into your body like a normal pad/tampon would. CUP 1 CUP 2 CUP 3

Other things you can do to reduce waste and live more sustainably is making your own makeup. There are a lot of DIY tutorials out there on how to make things at home rather than buying them at the store. Bringing your own coffee mugs to coffee shops are a great idea since most places allow you to fill up in your own cup rather than the disposable ones. Also if you do a lot of baking or cooking you can buy silicone baking trays from amazon and they work wonders for roasting your veggies on (making you not waste foil or parchment paper).

Hopefully this gives an idea of some changes you can make to help live a more sustainable and healthy life. 

Namaste, Ashley.