Minimal Waste Consumerism Tips That Won’t Bust Your Budget

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Less waste and being less consumeristic often go hand in hand. But unless you live on your own acreage, off the grid homestead, it’s often impossible to never buy anything every again. So what do you do when it’s time to buy, and how do you do so while keeping to your minimal waste ideologies?

I’m not going to lie, it’s not always easy, but I’ve compiled a few tips that I have learned that do make it possible. Sometimes you just have to be a little creative, patient, and be willing to do a little bit of research.

Buy Used:

When you buy something used you are not only saving a garment from the landfill but you are also saving energy. The more you buy second hand makes the energy used to make your clothing go farther. Buying used is also good for your budget, because second hand clothing often comes with a big discount. I try to find second hand items from good quality brands that will last me for years to come.

Buy Once:

There are some items like bras and panties that I just don’t want to buy used, period. With items like these I choose the buy once mentality. I am willing to pay more money once for an item that will last me years. Sure those 14.99 bras from Target and Wal-Mart are tempting, but when they fall apart in six months it makes them not very practical for my budget or the planet. I have yet to find a bra that is both long lasting and eco friendly, so long lasting wins on this one. I’m still on the hunt, but for now Victoria’s Secret has me in their pocket. I had one bra last through six years and two pregnancies so I’d say they are definitely worth their money although they do have some questionable ethics issues.

Buy With Green in Mind:

Whether I am buying used or new I first try to buy with green in mind. As often as I can I try to buy pieces that are made with 100% biodegradable materials such as cotton, silk, linen, or bamboo. So when I am done with these items years down the road (after I’m done wearing them, and if they are not in a condition where I can donate them, I turn them into rags) I can throw them directly into the compost.  Buy buying with green in mind I am able to send a lot less items to the landfill from my closet.

Be Picky:

At 28 years old I think I am just now starting to figure out this style thing. I’ve stopped looking at what is in right now, and I’m focused more on me. What I like, what looks good on me, what feels comfortable and still looks halfway decent while I’m chasing around three kids each day.  I’ve also found certain brands and styles that both fit my ethics and the way I want to dress. While I’m open to trying out other brands, I won’t settle for less than what my favorites give me. Like my J.crew tee’s that are made with 100% linen or cotton (so I can compost them when I am done) and provide me with a great fit. But at 39.50 brand new they don’t really fit well into my budget.

Which brings me to my last tip…

Patience Is a Virtue:

Ah patience, definitely not a virtue that I was born with. That being said, there’s definitely something to say about it though. Now don’t get me wrong, I will always feel the urge to buy that cute cardigan at Target, but I’ve learned to be patient and wait. If after a few days I still really want the sweater I’ll search thrift stores for a similar item, and then Poshmark and eBay if I can’t it locally. It doesn’t always happen instantly, but if I check weekly I can usually find the items I am wanting fairly soon. Nine times out of ten I can find a similar item of great quality (sometimes even better) gently used for at least half off.

Both my budget, and the planet thank me for it.

Minimal Waste School Supplies Must Haves

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With fall just around the corner and school years getting under way it is easy to get into a frenzy of school supplies shopping and allow thoughts of minimal waste to be put on the back burner. But going minimal waste while back to school is a lot easier than you think! Here are a few items I found that will both help our planet, and help your little scholar fill their brain.

Pencils do not have to be made with metal ends and eraser tips. These Sprout pencils, for example, can be completely zero waste and actually turn into plants when you are done using them. Of course you will still need an eraser, no one is perfect. Go for a latex free eraser to help minimize it’s impact on your planet while also keeping your pages clean.

 

Highlighters are important for taking notes, but they don’t have to be incased in plastic. Pencil highlighters are an actual thing, and won’t bleed through your paper.

Art supplies are always tricky. You can buy colored pencils made out of reforested wood, and I am dying to try out these earth paints with the littles this fall. But for crayons I will almost always go with Crayola (come on, you know they are the best and they are at least non-toxic, we cut down on waste by melting them down to reuse) and I have not yet found a plastic free marker set, but crayola has an awesome program where you can recycle markers made by them and others. Maybe you could get your child’s teacher involved to collect all the used up markers throughout the year to send to be recycled!

For older kids I am in love with these Decomposition Books, made from 100% recycled paper and chlorine free. To keep it all together I don’t think anything would last longer than an aluminum binder, but you could also choose a ReBinder made from recycled chip board. The rings even easily unscrew for easy recycling.

To carry lunch for your hungry scholars the PlanetBox is a popular option, but honestly it’s not in my budget. I am eyeing this stainless steel LunchBots box for Addi’s lunch on co-op days this year. It’s three compartments keep food separate, and it’s small enough to fit in her lunch bag easily. I’m also planning to grab a few reusable sandwich bags to hold treats and snacks for recess time.

And last, but certainly not least, no school supplies list is complete without something to carry it all in. While I have yet to find a 100% waste free backpack, I feel like JanSport is a good second option. They’re lifetime warranty on packs, bags, and luggage make them a safer bet for the environment and your budget.

Back to school can be stressful, especially as a parent. But it does not have to pack a huge punch to the planet. With a little planning and extra thought, you can easily have an earth friendly school year this year.

Oh and speaking of planning, don’t forget to check out this list to see if your state participates in tax free weekend or even a tax free week for additional school supplies savings this school year, because keeping our budget in mind is important too!