In our earlier post, we talked about the ethics of going plastic free, and the associated costs. While some plastic swaps will quickly earn back their costs, other items seem to be expensive for no reason whatsoever.
If you’re on a tight budget, or can’t afford to spend any money at all on reducing your plastic waste, here are 5 ways to go plastic free you can make which won’t cost you any money.
Replace Wipes with Rags
The humble rag has gone out of style, with wipes, paper towels, and other single use products taking their place. Although we tend to think of wipes as paper products, they’re actually often made of plastic so they’ll be more durable. The container wipes typically come in is also made of plastic.
All you need is a moist rag to clean up your kids faces, and a little cleaning solution and a rag works just as a good for cleaning off countertops and other surfaces.
Rags can also replace paper towels in most situations, making it good for cutting general waste as well.
Upcycle your glass jars
If you want to shop from the bulk foods section, glass jars are a great way to store what you find. You don’t have to buy those glass jars though, just save your old pickle jars and other glass jars, and reuse those instead.
Plant a Garden
Our commodity based culture makes us think that we need lots of expensive tools to start a garden. Yet, if you are creative you don’t need anything you don’t already have in order to start getting produce.
Save the seeds you would normally throw away from your produce and plant them. You can compost other scraps as fertilizer for your plants, and if you don’t have access to a backyard or other gardening area, use just about anything pot-like to grow them in. Yogurt cups can become seedling trays, an old rice sack can be used to grow potatoes, the list goes on. People have grown plants in all kinds of crazy things, so if you’re short on pots keep an open mind as you throw things away.
Ditch what you don’t need
Your bananas are already in a natural, protective shell. Do you really need to put them in a plastic produce bag and from there into a plastic grocery bag to take home? Is the plastic one you used last time still clean? Bring it and reuse it.
If you don’t care about whether there are straws in your drink or not, say no to them when you’re at a restaurant.
It doesn’t cost any money to be practical about plastic, and refuse to take something if it isn’t going to improve your quality of life any by having it.
Bring your own utensils to work
Chances are you probably have “real” forks, knives and spoons rustling around your house already. Take real utensils to work with you instead of plastic ones. You don’t need a fancy bamboo fork to prove your green. The metal one with the weird little scratch in it is just fine.
It’s very hard to go plastic free in a world that assumes throw away plastic is the norm. Even if you can’t afford a fancy glass straw or reusable produce bags (affiliate links) when the plastic ones are free, you can still help the environment through innovating with what you already have.