Money Mondays: 7 Ways to Use Less Plastic and Save Money

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This post is by Bernie Carr,

I was reading an article that mentioned the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a huge swath of plastic debris floating along the Pacific Ocean. This plastic is not biodegradable, is harmful to marine life and ultimately increases pollution. Well, some people may say, not my problem, it doesn’t affect me personally. It might not now, but it’ll affect everyone’s as well as our children’s future. Single use plastics are not only a big problem for the environment, they cost you money too.

What can you do to use less plastic and save money?

Stop buying bottled water and use a filter system

As many readers know, I use my Berkey water filtration system on a daily basis, not just during emergencies. That’s because I lived in an area that had brownish tap water. For a while I was buying gallon containers of purified water. But when I discovered the Berkey, I started filling it with tap water and the resulting water was completely clear and good-tasting. The Berkey system paid for itself in a matter of months. And I still have it in case of emergencies.

Use a refillable water bottle

I bring my purified water with me to work, the gym and everywhere else by carrying a stainless steel water bottle. It is insulated so it also keeps drinks hot or cold. It helps me avoid plastic, and refilling it with water is free.

Brew your own coffee in a coffee maker or pour-over

Those coffee pods create a lot of trash and are expensive. I brew my own coffee using a pour-over coffee maker. I switched to a metal filter so I never have to buy coffee filters.

While you’re at it, bring your own reusable coffee cup even when buying coffee from a shop. Many coffee chains offer discounts or deals when you bring your own cup.

Reusable food wraps

I always felt like rewashing plastic bags or wraps but they usually tear while washing. Now I avoid disposable food wraps and switched to reusable food wraps.

Make your own consumables

Avoid buying items that come in plastic containers such as yogurt, granola etc. by making your own. I have some easy instructions on how to make yogurt.  I also make my own moisturizing salves and reuse the containers.

Try making your own cleaning supplies to avoid having to buy cleaning supplies at the store.

Make your own soda

We used to buy soda in two-liter bottles. Now we just make soda at home. You control what’s in it and you avoid using more plastic.

Buy in bulk

If you buy the larger container, the unit price is likely to be lower. Since your supply will last longer, you use it for a longer time and with less packaging.  You still save money in the long run.

Bonus: Bring your own eating utensils

This one doesn’t really save cash but does help the environment so I threw it in as a bonus.  My cousin gave us the entire family reusable utensils for Christmas and they come in very handy. Primarily meant for camping or hiking, you take also them with you wherever you go and use them instead of plastic utensils.

Reduce, reuse and recycle

I realize I am not able to completely avoid plastic, but remembering to reduce, reuse and recycle is a big step toward reducing usage. I try to keep useful plastic containers and re-purpose them. I washed the Parmesan container and repurposed it as a baking soda dispenser. Now I can easily use it for cleaning.

Since getting involved in preparedness and self-sufficiency, I’ve learned the value of being good stewards of our possessions as well as our blessings. Living more sustainably not only benefits the environment, it also helps us stretch our dollars.



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