Many people think that living an eco friendly lifestyle costs more money in comparison to what we might currently think of as some the most popular ways of living right now. However, there are many ways in which we can help to reduce our waste and our impact on the environment, which can save us money. One of them is by reusing some of the packaging that some of the products we might buy may be packaged in. Here are some examples:
1. Reuse cardboard for writing notes
During my supermarket shop I often buy products which come packaged in a cardboard box – from breakfast cereals to chocolate bars to potato waffles to name a few. I tend to put these boxes to one side, and cut them into smaller pieces. I then write my weekly shopping list on the back of them before putting them in the recycling bin.
This saves me from having to purchase notepads for this purpose. Great for my pocket and better for the environment!
2. Make cardboard boxes into gift boxes
Again, I tend to save the cardboard boxes from my supermarket shop. I wrap them in paper gift wrap or patterned paper, and use paper tape to stick it all together as a way of avoiding the plastic. Not only is it reusing what we already have for another purpose, it also takes away the need to buy gift boxes, which can sometimes be quite expensive.
3. Keep paper receipts for putting into gift boxes
This links to no. 2 above. Every time I’m given a receipt for a purchase I’ve made in a shop, I save it. When I’ve got a good amount of receipts that I no longer need, and I need to wrap something in a gift box as a present for someone, I shred them, and use them in the gift box as padding for the item.
If you’d like to try out this idea, please note that receipts aren’t recyclable since they contain BPA. It’s not ideal, but I believe it’s still a good idea to try to make some changes where we can, as small changes can add up to bigger ones.
4. Reuse newspaper or toilet roll tubes for planting seeds in
They’re great for sowing seeds indoors, and allowing them to germinate before either moving them outdoors once the weather permits, or for growing on the windowsill.
Even if you don’t have a garden, there are things that you can do. For example, I’ve reused both rolled up newspaper and toilet roll tubes for growing lettuce and rocket leaves, chilli plants, and herbs on my windowsill. Not only is this great for avoiding unnecessary packaging, both newspaper and toilet roll tubes will naturally compost in the soil, which makes them a good eco friendly option.
5. Save empty plastic bottles for refilling
In recent months, a zero waste supermarket has opened near to where I live. There are now a growing number of zero waste supermarkets across a number of towns and cities in the UK. A list of them can be found below.
The zero waste supermarket near me sells refills of shampoo, washing up liquid, toilet cleaner, and laundry liquid, where the customer can take their empty bottles to be refilled in store.
If you’re located in a number of other countries such as the USA or Australia, you may have a bulk buy or zero waste store nearby, where a similar scheme may be in place.
6. Save glass jars for homemade items
There are many swaps which we can make to ensure we reduce our consumption of plastic waste. For example, instead of buying food items such as passata in a carton, or a tin of chopped tomatoes, how about buying some fresh tomatoes loose, and putting them in the blender to make a tomato base for a pizza or a spaghetti bolognese? This can be done in bulk without taking up very much time at all, and the glass jars can then be used to freeze the homemade passata.