Yesterday was Earth Day, and even though it’s a little late, I wanted to share some of the frugal things my family and I do that also are eco-friendly.
Being frugal and being eco-conscious often work hand-in-hand. Here are some cheap and affordable ways to be a little more eco-conscious.
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Affordable and easy ways to save the earth
The more use we get out of items, the more we save money, and the more we reduce our footprint on the earth. Less garbage, less energy when getting new items, less waste. All these things go hand-in-hand.
Doing my part to reduce consumption.
I am not what you would call a super eco-friendly person. For example, I use many plastic dishes and silverware, even though it is something that I try to cut down on. Going zero-waste or plastic-free is not really in the cards right now, but it is something I can aspire to at one point! Of course, being able to make choices like that is a privilege in of itself. I do try to do my part to save the earth and save money at the same time.
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7 ways to be frugal and eco-friendly
- Craft Box. Cheap, easy, and sustainable. I have an old milk crate (I honestly have no clue where I got it from- possibly from my husband’s previous job) that I fill with all the old papers, leaflets, boxes, etc., that we receive. Plastic packaging, things that we get in the mail, toilet paper rolls, all get dumped into the box. I have also put in some crayons, markers, tape, glue, and safety scissors. My child can sit and play with it for hours. I am always throwing in new materials, so there is something new to play with. My kids can sit and create tons of stuff from all the “junk” in there. They rarely get new, white paper to color with. If I have to print out papers for something- the extras and mess-ups get put in as well. Think school notices, old worksheets, etc. They have nice clear backs for the kids to color and stick stickers on. The papers from the stickers get colored on or cut when the stickers are gone as well. While many of these will still end up in the trash eventually, it still gives us a whole entirely new use to it.
- Homemade Crayons. Speaking of crafts, are my kids the only ones who destroy crayons constantly? Every so often, I go through the crayons and collect all the small and broken pieces. These get saved until we have a nice amount. We then put them into muffin tins (I actually have some silicon muffin cups) and melt them to create new crayons. It gives them a new life and is an exciting activity as well. Even when things seem to have finished their usefulness, there is still something you can do with them!
- Hand me downs. I save my kid’s clothes and try to use them as hand me downs as much as possible. Even if you are very particular about dressing your kids nicely or following strict gender norms out of the house, there is no reason why pajamas or play clothes can’t be the “wrong color” or a little faded or out of date. Many of the clothes actually remain in great condition, so they are perfectly able to be used from kid to kid. White shirts are particularly able to be passed down as they are easy to bleach and keep clean.
- Hanging Clothes. Speaking of clothes lasting- I try as much as possible not to use a dryer. I hang all my clothes. (I do dry towels, socks, and underwear). This reduces the number of dryer loads I have to do (save on electricity), and the clothes last much longer when hung to dry rather than put in the dryer. Light clothing, in particular, stays shinier and fresh when hang to dry in the sun. of course, in the winter, when there is minimal sunlight, this does force us to be more on top of the laundry so that things dry in time for when we need them.
- Repurpose Clothes. Clothes that are beyond repair, ripped, or otherwise dead get cut up into rags. I have a drawer full of rags of various sizes and materials. I can cut my paper towel supply significantly using the rags I have in my house. Old undershirts and pajamas work particularly well for this, as do kids’ t-shirts.
- Plastic containers. As I said, I do buy stuff in plastic. Since many spices and other items come in plastic jars, I try to reuse them as much as possible. I use them for other food or for toys or to organize the junk drawer. If I can’t find a good use for them, I give them to my kids to play with. They can play kitchen or use them for dirt or for water pouring activities. I also sometimes give them old shampoo bottles to use as bath toys.
- Freeze food. I wrote about this before, but it’s worth re-mentioning. I take fruits and vegetables that are going bad and put them in the freezer for smoothies, pies, or stock. If you save vegetable scraps, like peels or tops and bottoms of vegetables, you can combine it with chicken bones and scraps to make a delicious chicken stock to be used as a base for chicken soup or for other chicken recipes.
What are things that you do in your home that are both eco-friendly and frugal? When you live a life of frugality and are intentional with your items and your material needs, then I think you are naturally going to be eco-friendly. It is okay if your intentions are not to be eco-friendly or save the earth and be eco-conscious. It’s ok to do these things only to save money because you are poor or otherwise frugal.
There are so many things that naturally frugal people do that are also eco-friendly. Think about things like using reusable water bottles so as not to waste plastic bottles. You may do that because of money, but it is also eco-friendly.
What do you think? Are you both frugal and eco-friendly?