By Victoria Prima
Going environmental-conscious and litterless, unfortunately, still often means you’d have to spend extra. A big chunk of eco-friendly products are sold at smaller shops, come from artisan and smaller size manufacturers who can’t afford lowering their prices.
For me, mix & match is a way to go. Namely, I’d buy bamboo toothbrush that costs about $1.5 more than its plastic, non-degradable relative but I’d DIY my own fabric softener that only takes about 15 seconds to make and costs a few cents per load. This is to say, you don’t have to break a bank nor turn into a full time stay-at-home-DIY-er in order to be a bit more mindful about the world around us.
Here are five ways you can reduce plastic waste from packaging and save money.
1. DIY Your Hair Styling Products.
The below DIY recipe works like a styling gel but costs about $0.40-$0.65 cents per a jar, same size as a styling gel you’d buy at a pharmacy for $3.00-$4.59. More over, this DIY gel moisturizes your hair, conditions it, adds healthy doze of shine and smells amazing.
- Mix 5 table spoons of aloe vera gel (just scoop it out from the fresh leaf) with 6-10 drops of lavender or other essential oil of your choice.
- Pour the mix into a blender.
- Blend till there is no chunks of any size left and aloe gel becomes liquid.
- Pour into a glass jar, I like to re-use jam jars.
- Style as usual. Shelf life would depend on your aloe vera leaf’s age–how long did it spend in a supermarket before you bought it and brought home and how long it spent in a commute to supermarket before that. Up to a week is normally not a problem to store at a room temperature, but you can always just store it a fridge.
2. Take #1 one step further and plant aloe in your home.
Aloe is a great moisturizer for your skin and hair, proven to purify air in your room and can also be added to your drinks and smoothies. Aloe grows quite fast and doesn’t require much attention from you. By having just one aloe plant at home you’ll be able to DIY literally hundreds of various recipes. To sum up: Glowing skin, shiny hair and no grocery shop trip, no packaging to throw away.
3. Use waxed cotton fabric instead of zip lock plastic bags.
You’ll need some wax and a piece of cotton fabric, you can upcycle your old pillow covers or even a t-shirt for this project. On a square piece of cotton, spread shaved wax or small pieces of wax evenly, in a thin layer. I use wax from cheese rounds–further reducing waste and saving money. Melt the wax using a hair drier. As the wax melts, cotton will absorb it. Now you have water resistant, eco-friendly, reusable cloth. You can wrap your sandwiches, cheese, etc. in it.
4. You can step #3 up a notch by sewing lined with waxed clothes zippered bags and pack your lunches to go.
5. Eat out just one time a week less and reduce the amount of wasteful takeout containers and utensils you use by over 20 lb a year!
Eating out costs more and that’s not some big secret. Go creative and explore new recipes. Making your food at home is a great way to save money, eat healthier, introduce a wider variety to your diet and boost own confidence–yes, that was me who made this amazing…
If you have kids, involve them in the process. Depending on their age, let kids choose the recipes they’d like to make and help along. My now 14 year old son bakes amazing organic Irish scones and my 10 year old son whips up fluffy waffles from scratch. When we’re in a grocery store I never hear them asking to buy some frozen waffles, pancakes or scones.