From Packaging to Laundry – Reduce Waste and Save Money

The consumer supply chain is laden with substantial packaging waste. Boxes, bottles, cartons, and plastic wraps are obvious examples, but there are many other sources of waste hidden within our daily habits. Food waste, for example, not only has an impact on the environment, but also places a strain on family budgets. Showers, wash cycles, and inefficient transportation also contribute to the problem. In practice, the pervasive effects of household waste cannot be separated from personal spending, so sustainability solutions go hand in hand with money-saving moves.

Whether you are motivated by compassion for Mother Earth or simply seek ways to cut spending, turning your attention to reducing waste produces desirable results.

Individual Consumers Generate Excess Spending and Waste

Fast-paced modern lifestyles have led to patterns of consumption, which are both unhealthy to the environment and to individual budgets. Reining-in some of your wasteful habits can lead to substantial savings – perhaps thousands each year. And cutting back excess will also reduce your environmental footprint, contributing to sustainability efforts.

If you are committed to spending less and doing your part to preserve the planet, start with these tips, supporting a low waste lifestyle that will save you money:

Address Technology Waste – Technical advances are largely seen as progress – moves in the right direction. But managed irresponsibly, technology can have unintended negative consequences. If you are committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology, you may be generating unnecessary waste and costing yourself thousands every year.

Discarding your mobile phone, in favour of the newest release, for instance, not only renders your old phone obsolete, but it also creates a call for packaging, shipping, and accessorising the new product. All of these related concerns generate unnecessary waste. For more affordable and environmentally friendly outcomes, hold on to your phone longer, skipping a new release or two. And when it is time to replace it, make sure it finds its way to another user, or that its parts all end up in the proper recycling channels. Apply the same approach to other hand-held devices, your telly, computers, and appliances – you’ll feel the savings immediately and cut back on rubbish at the same time.

Get a Grip On Food Waste – Staggering amounts of refuse result from food waste. By some estimates, as much as 40 per cent of the waste leaving homes can be attributed to uneaten food. And that doesn’t even account for the primary and secondary packaging waste generated by food products. There are several ways to reduce this negative environmental trend, saving substantial sums in the process.

Creating a menu for family meals and planning your shop to buy only what you need is a primary defense against food waste. That way, everything you buy is accounted for in a dining plan. And by shopping to a list, you’ll avoid impulse buys, resulting in waste. Shopping for food online is another effective way to restrain irresponsible food shopping. By avoiding the store aisles, you’ll stay focused placing food orders and save money on impulse buys. And if you’re inclined, growing some of your own vegetables and herbs can be a good way to save money and reduce waste; organic waste you’ve composted can then be reintroduced into your garden, furthering a sustainable cycle.

Eliminate the Worst Offenders – A close look at your consumer habits highlights the most problematic areas generating waste. Are you prone to using lots of plastic bags and wrap? Unless you reuse the material, plastic bags represent one of the worst environmental offenders in many households – not to mention the cost of these unsustainable products.

Does your household create unnecessary waste taking-away cardboard coffee cups? If so, making hot beverages at home eliminates spending and waste, without sacrificing the coffee and tea you enjoy. Do you linger too long in the shower? Reduce water use and heating energy by limiting yourself and family members to shorter periods under the hot water. And when laundering clothes, choose shorter wash cycles, to conserve energy and cash.

Reducing consumer waste results in savings you can use to bolster your day to day financial resources or build a nest egg for the future. To serve as a responsible environmental steward and keep more money in your pocket, start by reviewing your wasteful habits and changing your most detrimental ways.

Paul graduated in 2001 with a degree in Finance. Since then he has gone on to work for several of the UK's most well-known financial institutions.

An avid blogger and a huge football fan, Paul is here to guide you through the ins and outs of personal finance and perhaps save you some money in the process!

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