12 Simple Tips Reduce Waste // Zero Waste Tips For Beginners
Intentional Living,  Minimalism

12 Simple Tips Reduce Waste // Zero Waste Tips For Beginners

Want to reduce waste and save some money while doing it? Do you have a lot of clutter in your life? What if you could reduce waste to help save money and kill two birds with one stone?

That’s what today’s post is all about: reduce waste in your life and save money at the same time!

1. Don’t Throw Food Away

I am personally guilty of this, especially with produce. To reduce waste with groceries I have made it a mission to simply make more frequent grocery trips. If throwing away produce is a problem for you as well, try and load up on frozen veggies which are healthier than canned and last a good, long time.

Eat what you have before you go to the store.

Really dig into that pantry and get creative. I bet you will love the way those shelves look uncluttered, too.

2. Borrow, Lend, Give and Receive

I have been guilty of simply throwing things away when I don’t have the energy to donate. This is pretty lazy and speaks to our disposable attitude as a society. People would rather throw things away than put energy into fixing or giving away. I am now part of an online Facebook group of moms who can post to give items away to be picked up.

Moms can also post when they are in need, maybe of random furniture or even diapers when money is tight. This community attitude of sharing and giving helps reduce waste and saves money and time for everyone who participates. It’ a great deal for everyone.

3. Turn Off The Lights

We’re all adults now.

It was easy to leave all the lights on as a kid…

Why does my mom care so much if the lights are on anyway?

Because it saves money!

Oh my goodness, now I know!

Reduce peak energy use, keep the ac low or off when you’re not home, turn off the lights when not in use, unplug and turn off other appliances when not in use. Overhead ceiling fans use 80% less power than central AC and can really work well to cool the room down.

You can also switch bulbs to more energy efficient lighting to reduce energy waste and save money.

4. Rely on Reusable Container

Using reusable containers is essential in cutting down on plastic, but it can also help save you money.

You can buy some items in bulk in your own containers to save money and reduce waste.

5. Re-purpose Paper and Plastic When Possible

Use the front and backside of paper to reduce usage and waste.

When I purchase things in plastic containers I try to reuse the containers to take lunch to work and get extra use out of them instead of throwing them away immediately. This can help save on sandwich bags by reusing items.

6. Compost

If you like gardening or have ever had to purchase soil for outdoor projects, you can save money and reduce waste by composting your organic waste and turning into high quality, nutrient dense soil.

Simply put up some chicken wire, add your clippings and waste, add some organic material on occasion (like raked leaves from the yard) and make sure to stir it up on occasion.

In a few months you’ll have the best soil money can’t buy at the bottom of your compost heap.

7. Buy Used Closing

Instead of buying new clothing when you need something, consider buying used clothing on sites like Poshmark and Threadup.

After ordering from both sites, I personally prefer Poshmark. I found more brands and options for brands I like (primarily Old Navy, Ann Taylor Loft and Express) and had a great experience all three times I ordered.

After going through my minimalism challenge and simplifying my wardrobe, I figured out I only like wearing a small range of styles. I was able to go on Poshmark and find exactly the clothing I like, cheap and used, in my newer (bigger) size.

The Ann Taylor Loft shirts I like are $59 brand new, and I found barely worn replacements on Poshmark for $7 and $15 respectively. Win!

8. Eat Whole Foods

I used to order a LOT of Uber Eats for lunch when I came to work unprepared. That stuff adds up! I knew when I ordered that I paid too much money to eat lunch on my own, but it took me a while before finding a new routine.

I also experienced a phase when I only ate frozen meals for lunch. Not only was it expensive, but it also came with a lot of added trash AND it wasn’t filling at all.

I found that bringing more whole foods to lunch not only saved money and reduced waste, but also made me feel more satisfied.

9. Do Your Own Manicures and Pedicures

I love when my nails look nice, but the cost definitely adds up! As much as I like doing my nails, when I decluttered last year during the minimalism challenge, I donated 95% of my nail polish. Not only that, but I made a conscious decision not to do my nails anymore unless it was for social reasons or an occasion. (Although, bare nails are just fine for every occasion if they’re well kept).

I kept a few polishes because I truly enjoy doing my nails when I have time, but I definitely won’t be visiting a nail salon any time soon.

10. Use Reusable Household Paper Products

Last year, my husband and I decided to no longer buy paper towels. We have a ton of wash cloths and dish cloths, and we were burning through paper towels like wildfire! I’d spend $20, wouldn’t remember using a SINGLE one and they’d be gone. (Seriously…who was using all the paper towels? I have no idea.)

When we decided to use only wash cloths for dishes, it was the least painful decision I’ve ever made. The extra load of laundry doesn’t bother us one bit, and its one less thing I purchase.

Additionally, I began using reusable eye makeup removers. They are washable and come with two bags: one for storing, and one for washing! They work just like a cotton swab, and again–one less thing I purchase!

Lastly, I decided not to buy tissues any more. The dish rags work fine as handkerchiefs (sorry if this grosses you out). So for the occasions I need to blow my nose or wipe my face, I simply use a cloth and throw it in the wash.

11. Simplify Your Makeup and Beauty Routine

Speaking of makeup…another way to reduce waste and ultimately save money involves simplifying your beauty and makeup routine.

I realized when I decluttered that *most* of my makeup includes items I never gravitate towards. In other words…I do my makeup the exact same way every day, with few exceptions. Obviously, the best way to reduce waste is to stop using makeup in general, but I honestly don’t see myself doing that anytime soon.

Instead, I simplified my routine and my collection. I donated what could be safely donated, had to throw some away, and will keep the rest until it spoils or I run out.

Now that I know exactly what I use over and over, I can often get discounts at the drugstore by buying multiples at a time.

12. Don’t Succumb To Sales

The last suggestion I have for reducing waste and saving money is to stop succumbing to sales.

I know how easy it is to fall into the trap of purchasing items because of a sale, but if I’m being really honest with myself, buying items during a sale results in buying additional things I don’t need 100% of the time.

There IS a time to buy during a sale. If you’ve bee planning to replace your TV for a while and want to wait for Black Friday, go for it. But if you get an email from Old Navy for a big summer sale…be honest with yourself. Do you need more summer clothes? If so, go for it and buy what you need. But otherwise…consider unsubscribing from the marketing emails 🙂

Summing It Up: Reduce Waste = Save Money

When I hear the phrase “zero waste”, I feel a little overwhelmed. I take my trash out a couple times a week like most people, and I’m not ready to commit to a zero waste life. That said, I AM willing to make a few changes to reduce the waste I accumulate.

The minimalism challenge really helped me focus and pair down, and was the start to my personal journey of reducing the amount of trash I produce. These tips are simple things any beginner who wants to save money and reduce waste can start with relatively little effort and no time to waste.

Want to learn more about the minimalism challenge? Click below to read all about it and download the worksheet.

minimalism challenge - download worksheets

Follow me around:

Comments or questions?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.