The zero-waste movement can seem daunting and often elite — only holding a place for the privileged with lots of disposable income to purchase the fancy swaps displayed on social media, but as a college student who knows all about having a tight budget, living a low-waste lifestyle doesn’t have to be expensive.
The movement isn’t about the fancy “tools”, it’s about being resourceful with what you already have. When I began my journey, I started with making small changes in my day to day life with things I already owned. I didn’t start off with buying all the cool swaps all the gurus advertise.
If you’ve been interested in this lifestyle, but feel like you have no place to start, then this is the post for you! Here are five easy ways to begin incorporating low-waste habits into your day to day life.
Save and reuse jars
Sauce jars, jelly jars, cosmetic jars, candle jars — you name it, save them! Jars are versatile when it comes to storing homemade sauces, knick knacks and do-it-yourself projects.
When I lived in my college dorm, I used to save the Starbucks coffee and Tazo tea glasses I got from the market and used them for an assortment of things. I would remove the label, wash them out and use them as holding jars for my silverware, storage for my lemon water, or for a place to put my DIY body scrubs and cleaners.
Bring your coffee mug when getting coffee
Do you know how many plastic straws and cups you save from going to the landfill just by bringing your own cup everytime you grab coffee? LOTS!
This is a super easy way to cut down on plastic consumption. Also, many coffee shops offer a small discount to customers who bring their own cup, so you’re saving some coins while saving the planet.
Bring silverware from home when going out or traveling
A lot of people feel the need to purchase the trendy bamboo utensil kit to carry around with them when they’re eating out or traveling to avoid plastic silverware, but what most people fail to realize is that they have a perfectly good set of silverware in their kitchen waiting to be used.
Bring your tupperware when dining out or traveling
Similar to the silverware, people feel the need to buy steel storage containers when they have perfectly good tupperware in their cabinets. When going out to eat or traveling, bringing a few small containers to serve as your to-go box is a sustainable way to reduce plastic going to waste. So, save your money and use what you already have in your kitchen.
Invest in a reusable water bottle
One of the easiest and most often recommended way to reduce plastic consumption is to use a reusable water bottle. This small switch cuts down on thousands of potential plastic bottles going into landfills and contaminating our oceans. If you don’t already own one, there are plenty of affordable reusable water bottles in stores that you can easily find.