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Five ways Zero Waste Week will save you cash

Zero Waste Week is a grassroots campaign that invites people to save money whilst doing their bit for the environment. We asked its organiser Rachelle Strauss to share some of her eco tips that'll also help your finances.

Each year the focus of Zero Waste Week is on a different theme - from food waste to reuse to recycling, there’s something to interest everyone.

One of the biggest myths surrounding a ‘green lifestyle’ is that it costs a lot of money. While investing in an electric car or covering your roof in solar panels is costly, there are many ways reducing landfill waste can save you money.

Here are some of them:

Separate wants from needs

We’re constantly fed ideas that we need to buy new in order to be popular, enjoy more sex or have more fun! The truth is a new purchase might give you an initial hit but when you open your credit call bill your mood will soon deteriorate!

The zero waste lifestyle asks us to consider whether we NEED something or whether we WANT something. A simple idea is to list everything you intend to buy and leave that list somewhere for a fortnight. When you come back to it you might realise you only actually want to buy a small percentage of it. That delayed gratification can do wonders for your bank balance!

Quality over quantity

While it can be tempting to buy the cheapest item, it doesn’t necessarily offer the best value for money. Say you buy your child a cheap rucksack for school – the chances are that zip will be broken before half term arrives. Likewise a cheap laptop may be flimsy and unreliable. Sometimes it IS good to buy cheaper items, for example, some supermarket own lines are just as good as the high end competitors. The bottom line is; it pays to be discerning!

Green cleaning

Do you really need a product to clean floors, another for work surfaces, another to scrub the bath and yet a different product for the shower? If you study the labels you might notice that the ingredients are virtually the same, just with a different colour or fragrance.

Many cleaning products can be replaced with vinegar and bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) which is super cheap and does the job just as effectively!

You can also teach yourself everything you need to know about making your own simple and effective cleaning products.

Shop in your cupboards

The theme for this year’s Zero Waste Week is ‘Use it up!’. What will you find lurking in your cupboards that you could use up instead of buying new? Perhaps you have a hoard of toiletries, cleaning products or a freezer stockpiled with food. By shopping at home for a week or two, you’ll reduce landfill waste and save money.

Reuse what you have

Make Do and Mend is making a comeback and it’s not reserved for sewing and knitting; it can be applied to any area of life. Perhaps some furniture needs an overhaul, the kids paddling pool has sprung a leak or your bicycle tyre needs fixing. You could use zero waste week as an excuse to learn a new skill or sign up for a Restart party. If that sounds like too much hard work, grab an old t-shirt or towel and cut it up into squares to replace kitchen roll – that could save you £70 per year!

This guest post is from Rachelle Strauss and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of the Money Advice Service. You can sign up to the Zero Waste Week mailing list for more information.

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