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5 Simple Tips To Save Money While Reducing Waste 5

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Check out these smart tips to save money while reducing waste.

This post was written by Emily Folk, the creator of Conservation Folks.

If you've resolved to reduce waste this year, good for you! Only 34 percent of eligible materials actually get recycled, so reducing waste in your shopping choices and habits is another powerful way (in addition to recycling) to reduce your overall waste footprint. It’s also a smart way to save some money and improve quality of life!


Follow these tips to save money while reducing waste this year!


1. Shop Small

Has cleaning out your refrigerator become a weekly event? While nearly everyone knows impulse buying at the grocery store can lead to waste, so can many of our best intentions. Filling our grocery baskets with too much food for a week (or more) worth of meals can often lead to tossing many of our purchases in the rubbish bin.

Some small changes in shopping habits can help: If you can, stop by the grocer's more often and buy for only the next two to three days worth of meals. That way, should an irresistible craving for pizza strike — instead of the pot roast you planned for dinner — you can go ahead and cave to it without fear of your planned meal going bad by the time you get around to preparing it.


2. Bag It Up

You've doubtless heard this before, but by all means take your own reusable cloth bags when you go on a shopping excursion. Bonus: Reusable bags offer greater strength than either paper or plastic bags, so the chance of your just-bought jar of pasta sauce breaking through the bag and shattering on the ground decreases dramatically.


3. Make Like A TV Chef

Contestants on the hit Food Network show Chopped use creativity to combine four crazy ingredients into a gourmet dish. But, you don't need to be Gordon Ramsay to have some fun in the kitchen as you challenge yourself to use leftovers in exciting new ways!

Did you only eat half of that taco platter? While the shells become soft and inedible, scoop out the middle and use the meat, cheese, and tomatoes to top a delightful southwest salad. Everyone knows that leftover fries taste icky, but with the help of a blender or food processor and some milk, you can blend those mushy fries into creamy "mashed" potatoes!


4. Snag A Coffee Discount

If you, like nearly everyone, have developed a daily coffee-shop habit, you can cut your carbon footprint and reduce waste by investing in a reusable coffee mug. In addition to cutting waste and saving energy, you'll save a few pennies as well, as many coffee shops reward with a discount those who bring reusable cups.


5. Compost Food Scraps

Finally, instead of tossing that brown lettuce or those moldy carrots in the garbage to end up as landfill fodder, compost them! Composting helps gardens of any size grow by adding valuable nutrients to the soil.

Educate yourself as to what you can compost. In general, all vegetables make for fine compost, as do egg shells, tea bags, and coffee filters. Avoid composting animal waste as well as any meat or fish scraps.

Likewise, be sure to peel the stickers off your discarded fruits and veggies as those little buggers are not biodegradable.


Everyone shares responsibility for keeping our earth clean. And doing our part to reduce waste has benefits both immediate and long lasting. By becoming more conscientious about what we use and discard, we can actually live better, while helping keep our world clean for generations to come!

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Share your other smart, waste-reducing, money-saving tips in the comments below!

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About the Author
Emily Folk
Emily Folk

Emily Folk covers topics in zero-waste living, sustainability, and eco-friendly lifestyle. She is the creator of Conservation F... more

  • Betty S. 2 days ago
    I still get plastic bags at the grocery store since I use them to line my trash cans. I also keep one in the sink for garbage and dispose of it also in the trash since food scraps are not allowed in our recycling. Our trash is burned by our city. By reusing plastic bags I avoid buying bags to line my trash cans and to collect and dispose of food items such as peelings and other unwanted food items. The stores in our area do not charge for their plastic bags.
  • Sue T. 7 days ago
    Some stores pay you if you bring your own bags. If more stores did that, more people would use them. Other stores charge you for grocery bags and I see people buying them all the time. These same stores have empty product boxes that you can use to pack your groceries. I think a lot of people just don't stop to think about recycling/reusing.
  • Seana F. 10 days ago
    #1 isn't an option for those of us who live 30 miles (one way) from the nearest grocery store. Instead, learn to freeze, dehydrate and can. Keep an inventory and well-organized freezer and cupboards so that you know what you have. Meal plan around what you have and keep a running grocery list of what you need to be able to finish a meal. Once a week, have a leftover night.
  • Mary P. 17 days ago
    I help feed my neighbors chickens.
  • Sue S. 18 days ago
    No waste at my house! I have rescued horses AND dogs!
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