Do you want to live a greener, more simple life? These frugal, eco-friendly tips are easy to incorporate into your lifestyle to start reducing waste today.
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Living a more intentional, eco-friendly life can certainly be a challenge at times. Especially when coupled with small children and/or a busy lifestyle. To learn a little more about my family and our busy life, click here. My point is, that it doesn’t take any more time or effort to be eco-friendly. I have found some tips and tricks for a greener life that work for us, and I hope they work for your lifestyles too!
We reuse so many different things around our home, here are some examples of our most frequently reused items:
- Glass jars and bottles: As I’ve mentioned before in other posts, I sort of have an obsession with glass jars or bottles. During the winter months, our basement attracts mice so glass jars are an essential way for us to store food and other goods without mice getting into everything. Glass jars are also great for storing homemade laundry detergent, cupboard items, extra hummingbird nectar, or food leftovers. Instead of using vases, I often display cut flowers in jars as well.
- Sponges: We can’t stand the smell of a dirty sponge. Are you friends with me on that? I found a way to ditch the disposable sponges by using washable/reusable sponges. By using washable sponges, we aren’t producing any waste and the sponges don’t smell! The washable sponges I purchased were great, one side feels like a washcloth while the other side is slightly abrasive. The exact washable sponges pictured above are no longer available, but this one is very similar.
- Old washcloths: Our old washcloths were looking a little rough, and it was time to purchase new ones. So, I moved our old washcloths into our kitchen drawer and they became our paper towel replacement. In the beginning (to get my family used to the idea) I placed a small container of washcloths next to the sink for a few weeks and hid the paper towels to a less-than-convenient area. We still keep paper towels on hand, especially with two toddlers and one old dog, however we don’t use nearly as many paper towels as we once did.
- Old towels: We save old towels of all sizes, especially when they’re not so pretty anymore. Old towels can be used for dusting, shop rags for those DIY projects, cleaning, drying the dog after a bath, you get the idea!
- Dish Rags: Have any dish rags that are looking a little dingy? Use these to dry your produce after washing. My husband and I like to keep an old kitchen towel in our car for a quick dusting or to wipe up drink spills on the go.
- Old blankets or bedding: Having worked in an animal hospital for over a decade, please donate any old bedding or blankets to your local animal shelter or veterinary hospital. Our fur-babies need cozy beds to sleep in when they’re seeking medical treatment.
Say no to single use products
Although sometimes unavoidable, I try my best to reduce the number of single use products in our home. For those items that cannot be avoided, try to find another use for the item before discarding it.
- Plastic bags: I recommend keeping some reusable shopping bags in the car at all times, but if plastic bags need to be used make sure carrying your groceries into your home isn’t their last use. Plastic bags make for great trash bag replacements for small trash cans. It seems silly to spend money on special sized trash bags for small trash cans, just to throw them away! If you find yourself with a surplus of plastic bags, check your local grocery store. Many grocery stores have a plastic bag recycling bin, or the person delivering the groceries to your car can bring them into the building for you! Lately we have been doing a lot of grocery pick-up orders, and I’ve found that Peapod packs groceries in paper bags!
- Produce bags: This is one item that I absolutely cannot wrap my head around. Produce is just fine on it’s own without putting it into a bag, to go in a bag. I’ve seen some reusable produce bags for sale at my local grocery store, but felt like that was another item to remember to bring grocery shopping. Never fear, I’ve broken the produce rule. I hand my produce to the cashier without a bag and have never had a cashier say a word about it.
- Beauty products: There are numerous single-use beauty products on the market. Makeup removing wipes, sheet masks, skin treatment wipes, sample packages … I say no to all of these items. Don’t get me wrong, I love skincare and beauty items, but there are ways to pamper yourself more frugally, and without producing waste. Rather than use makeup removing wipes, try applying your favorite makeup remover to a washcloth instead.
- Straws: We don’t have a single straw in our home with the exception of the reusable straw in each of the kid’s reusable water cups.
Being more eco-friendly and being frugal seem to go hand in hand. Items that you can make yourself in your own home usually tend to be less expensive, and produce less waste. So, for whatever it is that you’re doing ask yourself if you can make it yourself.
These are some daily DIYs that we always stick to in our home:
- Bring your morning brew with you from home rather than purchase coffee on the go.
- Pack food from home, and bring utensils for a zero-waste lunch. Try to cook as many meals from home as possible.
- Feeling thirsty? Be sure to bring a reusable water cup with you. Even our boys always make sure we have our water bottles before heading out the door.
- Try making some DIY skincare recipes using items you already have at home.
- Need to do some cleaning? There are plenty of DIY cleaning recipes out there, and most of them are healthier for you! I have a great recipe for homemade laundry detergent that I’ve been using for many years. Natural cleaners really do work, and they are simple to make. I’ve written an ebook about all of my favorite natural cleaning recipes, and you can snag a free copy of it here.
Composting is a great way to get rid of food waste while also making yourself a great future garden! We compost all food scraps with the exception of meat and citrus. I also keep a bowl out on the counter of food scraps to feed the chickens.
Citrus takes a long time to break down in the compost pile, and our pile is still relatively small so we skip the citrus.
Meat also takes a long time to break down in the compost bin, and can get smelly. We avoid putting meat in our compost pile at this time.
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Looking for more eco-friendly ideas?
Don’t forget to grab a copy of my FREE ebook, Cleaning Naturally. Here, I have written about some of my favorite eco-friendly, all-natural cleaning recipes. Click here for your copy!
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Linked to: Penny’s Passion: Thinking out loud Thursday