5 Eco-Friendly Swaps Without Spending a Penny

Making eco-friendly choices and going zero waste at first glance can look like an expensive thing, but it doesn’t have to be! You can actually be earth-conscious in a lot of ways that are easy to implement and don’t cost you a penny! Here are just a few that I think might be an easy place to start!

Hint: It doesn’t need to be Pinterest-worthy!

1. Skip The Straw

A lot of zero waste bloggers swear by glass, silicone, or stainless steel straws for various reasons. And if that will make it easier for you to make a change, by all means buy one! They’re not terribly expensive and skipping plastic straws makes a big difference over time. And some drinks (looking at you boba) really do require some kind of straw. But we can all skip having any straw, reusable or not, most of the time. And the best part is, that’s free! Very few people really need a straw to drink soda at a restaurant, but keep in mind that you may need to ask the waiter or cashier ahead of time not to give you one.

2. Reuse Plastic
Takeout Containers

There are so many ways to reuse plastic takeout containers! Personally, I like to use them whenever I send home leftovers with people or bring someone a meal, because they won’t need to worry about returning them. You can also pop them in your bag before you go out to eat somewhere that you tend to have leftovers and pack them up yourself. You also don’t need fancy containers to store leftovers at home, just use takeout containers!

Bonus: You can do the same things with the glass jars that spaghetti sauce and pickles come in!

3. Opt For
Paperless Billing

So many of the documents in your life can be paperless these days. My W-2 and 1099-MISC are digital this year, bank statements are easy to access just from signing into your bank account online, bills can totally skip snail mail… Think how much paper you can save with just a little bit of planning ahead! And here’s the best part: you only need to go paperless with each thing once, then that’ll be paperless forever!

4. Don’t Buy
Bottled Water

Tap water is regulated by the EPA in the US, which means that it’s legally required to be and actually is safe to drink! You can look into the Consumer Confidence Reports that the EPA shares to check on the tap water in your area via their website here.

Skipping the bottled water saves you both the recurring price of the bottles and all of the single-use plastic involved. If you tend to use your bottled water on the go, you can build a new habit of bringing a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. Most people have at least one in their home already. Remember that it doesn’t have to be fancy to make a difference!

5. Bring Your
Own Bags

You may or may not have some of the cute cotton totes that give that beautiful “zero waste aesthetic”, but I bet you’ve at least got paper or plastic bags from your last run to the grocery store. Bring those back next time you go shopping and reuse them until they tear and you can’t use them again. You’ll potentially need to clarify this with your cashier or bagger at the store, but I promise you they aren’t offended if you’re kind!

What are some of your favorite eco-friendly swaps? What have you tried that didn’t work for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Leslie

    I do everything except the paperless billing.

  • Nancy Craker

    I already use my straws I bought from Ocean & Company and sent the extras ones to my grandchildren. My cabinets are full of reusable plastic food containers. If everyone does what I do, we will make a tiny dent in the oceans’ plastic mess.

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