How To Live Sustainably With Low Funds

Helping the environment should be accessible to everyone! Learn how to make eco positive swaps the cheap way!
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Refreshing the life of old or used goods isn't too difficult, with a bit of an open mind and an optimistic attitude you can repurpose endless household items for just about anything. Along with having multipurpose products, getting out of your routine and switching your purchases to more eco-conscious alternatives is an incredible way to slice your single-use waste in half. While the aesthetic of living a low waste life tends to look quite upscale on social media, it doesn't necessarily need to be expensive. 

Here, is how you can merge your current lifestyle with cheap, low waste alternatives to live sustainably.

1. Reuse Old Pasta Jars

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Reusing old pasta jars really brings us back to the basics of repurposing overlooked, yet constantly used, items that normally get tossed in the bin after we're done with them. While pasta sauce jars are the optimum vessel for multipurpose uses, any jar with a lid will serve just as well. After the contents of the jar are gone give it a good wash and soak it in hot soapy water, this will allow you to get that stubborn, sticky label off as easily as possible with just a few scrapes.

You can really get creative with this one. Try filling the jars with dry goods like lentils, beans, pasta, sugar, flour, or spices. Moving outside of the kitchen, you could also use them as glassware, make-up brush cups, toothbrush cups, containers to store leftovers, pretty much anything you can think of!

2. Turn T-Shirts Into Cloth Bags

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Why throw away your old clothes when you can transform them into something actually useful? By recycling old t-shirts into grocery bags or fashion-forward totes we eliminate mountains of waste that would otherwise go to the landfill. Even if you're not the bests seamstress in the world, it's no problem! Below is a super easy-to-follow video on how to create the perfect fabric tote.

3. Baking Soda Instead of Laundry Detergent

baking soda
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Baking soda is one of the most diverse household products, it serves more purposes than the mind could imagine. From being a leavening agent in baking to a whitener in toothpaste, baking soda is just all around an incredible commodity. To clean your clothes with baking soda just add 1/2 a cup of baking soda to one load of laundry, along with your choice of essential oils to liven up the scent. This way, you don't need to worry about contributing to plastic waste, just simply burn or recycle the baking soda box.

4. Look for Glass or Cardboard Packaging

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Buying dry goods in bulk isn't always cheaper or accessible, when you're going up and down the aisles at the grocery shop try to look for packaging that's either glass, cardboard, or tin cans. All of the three alternatives can be recycled in better ways than plastic, each time plastic is burned down to be turned into something else it loses its strength and more additives need to be added to aid in its lasting durability, whereas glass and metal can be continuously melted down to make new canisters.

5. Reuse Your Saved Plastic Bags

plastic bags
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We all know somebody that has a small cabinet dedicated to storing single use plastic bags after grocery shopping. Instead of letting them build up and collect dust, bring a second life to them by taking them along with you whenever you go shopping. Although it's best to not use plastic bags at all, it's good to use what you already have on hand before saving up to purchase something else.

6. Use Stale Water to Feed Plants

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This trick is especially useful if you've got pets in your house. Rather than tossing your stale drinking water down the drain, try getting into the habit of giving it to your plants, because let's be honest we've all killed a plant or two due to forgetting about watering the poor thing. If you really want to shake up your watering sessions, try soaking a banana peel in a jar of stale water for 2-3 days before using it on your plants. The minerals from the banana peel will help them grow lusher than ever!

7. Turn The Tap Off When You're Not Using It

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Did you know the average person wastes 30 gallons of water per day? How insane is that?! It doesn't seem like much in the moment, but all those times the water ran in between brushing your teeth, flushing the toilet after every use, having the tap drip all night, turning the water pressure on the maximum setting while doing dishes, it all adds up over time. Being just a little more thoughtful about how and when you're using fresh water will help you save more in the long run.

8. Utilize All Your Food

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Unfortunately, too many of us have adapted to the life of not utilizing certain parts of our food because we've never been introduced to the idea of eating our food the way it came to us. For example, how often do you eat the stem of broccoli? How about the leaves off of radishes, beets, or cauliflower? Do you always peel your potatoes, yams, and carrots? Why?

If we discontinue doing these routine acts, it will help cut down on an astronomical mountain of food waste. Of course, it goes without saying that monumental food waste stems from chain grocery markets, but we all should do our individual part and try our best not to contribute to throwing away perfectly edible food.

We're so accustomed to the world we've been influenced and molded by that sometimes we don't even bother to ask ourselves why we might be doing the things we do on a day-to-day basis. It's an important part of life to consistently challenge and evolve our thought processes so we can better ourselves and brighten our immediate environment for the future to come. 

By taking the step towards minimizing waste in any capacity, whether it be food, clothing, or frivolous unnecessary purchases, we're collectively and actively pursuing a progressive and proactive eventuality.

Just a 'lil content creator from the Okanagan interested in worldly exploration and self reflection.

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