The MEGA List of Zero (Low) Waste Alternatives

These are the list of items we use in our home. Alternatives are what I am aspiring to work towards doing more of.  We need to be more self-conscious about what we are doing to our beautiful Earth. Also, this is a brilliant way to be creative and save more money.

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No packaging/Biodegradable/Reusable

Item
Bath: Bar for body, hair, and handwashing; the moisturizing bar for body
Bath: Cotton fabric rounds
Bath: DIY mouthwash
Bath: Recycled/biodegradable toilet paper wrapped in paper (Tushy) + bidet
Bath: Shhhowercap
Bath (ladies): Thinx period panties and menstrual cup
Cleaning: All-purpose cleaner (make at home in a reusable container)
Cleaning: Compostable bamboo brush heads for dishes
Cleaning: Bar soap for dish soap
Cleaning: Rag towels for cleaning
Clothing: Thrifting clothes
Dog: Flush dog poop down the toilet
Eating: Beeswax wraps instead of cling/aluminum/ziplock
Eating: Cloth napkins
Eating: Pyrex and stainless steel containers for food storage
Eating: Reusable Cinemark popcorn and drink container
Eating: Reusable straws
Food: Bulk hummus, pesto in a mason jar
Food: Flour/sugar/salt from bulk
Food: Compost egg containers
Food: Compost pizza box
Food: Condiments: Make pickled jalapenos
Food: Distilled water made at home
Food: Make juice at home
Food: Make kefir at home
Food: Make own bread/buy a fresh loaf in own bag
Food: Make own ice cream
Food: meat packaging (the butcher paper) in compost (bokashi)
Food: Nuts/dried fruits/spices/chocolate/candy/popcorn from bulk
Food: Oils: Vinegar, olive oil, coconut oil, honey in bulk
Food: Package free produce
Food: Scraps composting (bokashi!)
Laundry: Wool dryer balls
Paper: Books (library + kindle)
Paper: Credit card mailings opt-out
Paper: Digital newspaper
Travel: Boarding passes + tickets in-app
Travel: Hotel toiletries when traveling: bring all from home in reusable containers (shampoo bars, body soap bar, face soap bar, face lotion de-potted, body lotion de-potted)
Travel: Que bottle for water

Aluminum

Item Alternative
Bath: Hair + styling spray* Best option atm
Bath: Shaving cream can Bar shave soap
Bath: Sunscreen spray Best option atm
Dog: Canned food Best option atm
Dog: Toothpaste in a metal tube Best option atm
Food: Baking powder Best option atm
Food: Canned sparkle water Best option atm
Food: Canned veggies, sauces, pantry items Best option atm
Food: Cider* Fill reusable growler
Food: Cooking spray Make at home using a refillable can or don’t buy anymore

Paper

Item Alternative
Dog: Treats Make at home; buy bulk
Food: Baking soda The best option at the moment
Food: Butter; compost paper The best option at the moment
Food: Cereal inbox (plastic liner inside can be recycled) The best option at the moment
Food: Cookies, crackers in a box (but also with plastic at times-not recyclable) Buy in bulk with own bag; make own
Food: Cream cheese wrapper in paper box The best option at the moment
Food: Garlic bread (but also with plastic-not recyclable) Make at home
Food: Milk and cream in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Pasta in a box The best option at the moment
Food: Tea Buy tea in bulk with own bag
Food: Vegetable/chicken broth Make at home using veggie/chicken scraps
Home: Candles Make at home using old jars; buy beeswax candle kits from Etsy; buy soy wax/wicks from Refill Revolution (packaged in the paper)
Laundry: Biodegradable laundry detergent in cardboard The best option at the moment
Paper: Amazon boxes Buy self without packaging; save boxes to re-ship
Paper: Junk mail Contacted to remove self from catalogs and mailings
Paper: Magazines* Digital edition; only get ones you love
Paper: Receipts Email whenever possible

Glass

Item Alternative
Bath: Antiperspirant – European Nivea (husband) The best option at the moment
Bath: Face + body oil Buy bulk from Refill Revolution
Bath: Face wash Bar soap
Bath: Nail polish (8-free)* The best option at the moment
Bath: Natural deodorant – Meow Meow Tweet (me) The best option at the moment
Food: Condiments (siracha, pastes. ketchup, mustard, hot sauce, bread yeast, jam) Make at home (too much work); reuse glass containers for storage
Food: Pasta sauce Make at home using canned tomato
Food: Peanut butter Buy bulk
Food: Salad dressing Make at home
Food: Vanilla extract Best option atm
Food: Yogurt Reuse glass container for storage
Home: Essential oils Buy from Refill Revolution and mail back bottle
Home: A room spray Make at home

Recyclable Plastics

Item Alternative
Bath: Face sunscreen, moisturizer, masks Find in glass; no pump; Return to Origins
Bath: Haircare products Use aluminum or glass container; Return to Origins
Bath: Medications No other option
Bath: Nail polish remover Switch to a non-toxic formula in a glass bottle
Bath: Toothpaste TerraCycle; metal tube
Cleaning: Dishwasher Packets Biodegradeable dishwasher detergent in cardboard
Cleaning: Shower + toilet cleaner Make at home
Dog: Teeth spray TerraCycle
Food: Baking sprinkles* Find in a glass jar or packaged in paper
Food: Berries Buy from farmers market; bulk pick at berry farm once/year
Food: Plastic container lids Lids are generally small and fall off the recycling conveyor belts. Always make sure that a plastic lid is attached to a plastic container so that it gets through the system.
Food: Granola Buy in bulk; TerraCycle current bags
Food: Salad box Buy in bulk? (difficult to find)
Home: Ant killer/household chemicals Get from city’s chemical reuse facility for free/reusing
Laundry: Dry cleaning bags Don’t dry clean?
Paper: Amazon boxes interior packaging Buy at the store without packaging; buy bulk orders; save packaging for re-use

Landfill

Item Alternative
Bath: Beauty product pumps Stop getting things with pumps; Return to Origins, TerraCycle
Bath: Brush heads/toothbrushes TerraCycle; Switch to bamboo brushes
Bath: Floss container TerraCycle; water flosser + dental lace
Bath: Floss picks (Meera) and floss (AJ) Biodegradeable floss
Bath: Hair elastics Eco-friendly version
Bath: Makeup products* Buy products that containers can be returned to the maker or recycled; Return to Origins
Bath: Razor blades Safety razor
Bath: Tissues Hand kerchief
Cleaning: Trash bags Find biodegradable
Dog: Dog food bag (split with canned) Best option atm
Eating: Wax paper Stop using it!
Food: Cheese wrap Buy in bulk and ask to put in beeswax wrap
Food: Chips/snack bag On TerraCycle waitlist
Food: Frozen fruits/veggies Buy fresh and freeze at home
Food: Take out containers/styrofoam Bring your own takeout container;  stop using this (it can’t REALLY be recycled!)
Home: Air filter Reusable air filter
Home: Pens Refillable pens using ink in glass jars (use up existing first); donate old to Pen Guy Art
Home: Water filter Ship back to recycle (for a fee)
Laundry: Lint roller Ever lint
Paper: Gift cards Online only cards
Paper: Label stickers No avoiding this
Paper: Tape Use washi tape when possible; get a boxed tape with refillable dispenser

SAVE ON CLEANING SUPPLIES WITH THESE DIY PRODUCTS

An American family spends an average of $504 per year on cleaning supplies. That’s a lot of money, especially toward products that are made mostly of water! In the spirit of saving, Sparkle® paper towels brings you a way to seriously scrub down your cleaning budget: homemade household products. If you cut 75 percent of your cleaning-supply spending (which many of the following ideas do), you could save up to $378 a year. That could cover 2.5 weeks of groceries, 10 months of air-conditioning, or 47 movie tickets. Pick your jaw up off the floor and get ready to DIY!

  • ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

  • This cleaner is the solution to so many messes — in the kitchen, bathroom and the dinner table where your little one (perpetually) spills some milk. Vinegar is a homemade cleaning heavyweight and the star of this potion, with disinfecting properties thanks to its acidity. A batch of this miracle worker cost its inventor 52 cents, or a sixth of what leading cleaners sell for.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 part water
    • 1 part vinegar
    • 10-15 drops essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Pour all three ingredients into the spray bottle, shake, and bam – you are done creating your all-purpose cleaner! Make sure to shake before each use to ensure ingredients are well mixed.

  • GLASS CLEANER

  • Save lots with this easy-to-make glass cleaner. It’s as simple as vinegar + rubbing alcohol + water — three ingredients already in your house! The gamechanging ingredient in this concoction is rubbing alcohol, which works to dissolve dirt and oil and dries quickly for a streak-free finish.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ½ cup rubbing alcohol
    • ½ cup white/distilled vinegar
    • Water (Clean tap water is fine for short-term use. Use distilled or boiled and cooled water for long-term use.)
    • Essential oils of choice (optional)
    • 16 oz. glass spray bottle
  • Add the alcohol and vinegar to the spray bottle first. Then added water into the bottle until it is full. If you do not care for the vinegar scent (which goes away when the surface dries), add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. When using, spray the cleaner on windows and mirrors, then wipe with a microfiber cloth. Store spray bottle at room temperature when not in use.

  • FABRIC SOFTENER

  • It’s worth repeating, vinegar is the cleaning superhero that conquers all. This recipe for fabric softener uses it as a softening agent and static cling fighter, while a measure of conditioner incorporates your favorite scent. And at as low as $2 per batch, the price can’t be beat.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 12 oz. container of hair conditioner
    • 1 ½ cups distilled white vinegar
    • 3 cups warm water
    • Whisk
    • Mixing bowl
    • Storage container
  • Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl and whisk together. Pour ingredients into a storage container (e.g. glass jar with a lid), and that is it! You are ready to use your homemade fabric softener.

  • FABRIC REFRESHER

  • This DIY makes use of the simple ingredients to fight unwelcome odors. Baking soda acts as a deodorizer, while essential oils add your favorite scent. Essential oils are another concentrated ingredient; a little will go a long way. Mix the ingredients and place in a small jar to make this easy room freshener. Perfect for bathrooms, your pet’s favorite chair and teenager’s bedrooms everywhere.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 TBSP of baking soda
    • 2 cups warm water
    • Essential oils of choice
    • Spray bottle
  • Start by adding the baking soda to the spray bottle, followed by adding in the 2 cups of water. Put the lid on the spray bottle and shake well. Once the baking soda has dissolved, take off the lid. Add 10 drops of essential oil. Shake all ingredients together, and you are ready to deodorize your house. Spray your chemical-free refresher on fabrics or in the air to leave your house smelling…refreshed!

  • WOOD POLISH

  • This two-ingredient furniture polish employs olive oil for shine and lemon juice to help remove any buildup or stains. Leaving your furniture shiny and lemony-fresh will only cost you $1.55 per bottle, a fraction of leading commercial wood polishes.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 2 parts olive oil
    • 1 part lemon juice
    • Spray bottle or empty jar
  • In an empty spray bottle or jar, mix 2 parts olive oil with 1 part lemon juice. Shake well! Now you have yourself some natural, chemical-free wood polish. Spray or pour sparingly onto wood and in circular motions, rub the polish into the wood until it is well buffed with a soft cloth.

  • OVEN CLEANER

  • Cleaning out the oven is not for the faint of heart. Between the crouching, scrubbing and nauseating fumes, we tend to avoid it for as long as possible. This oven cleaner is nontoxic and fume-free, and budget-friendly. Just mix baking soda and salt for ultimate grease-cutting, scouring power. Let it sit and work its magic!

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • ¼ cup castile soap or concentrated dish detergent
    • 1 cup baking soda
    • ½ cup coarse sea salt or kosher salt
    • Warm water
    • Distilled white vinegar
    • Sponge or scrubbing brush
    • Spray bottle
    • Mixing bowl
  • First, mix the soap, baking soda, and salt, adding a little water, if needed to make a paste. Then apply your paste the interior of the oven and let sit for several hours, preferably overnight. When ready, dip a sponge or scrubbing brush into the warm water and wash the interior clean. Spray interior with some distilled white vinegar to rinse away any excess paste residue.

  • BLEACH PEN

  • Bleach pens are the laundry room sidekick we can’t live without. But they’re a little pricey! This homemade bleach pen will cost you a minuscule 25 cents. That’s not a typo. Cornstarch, water, bleach and a little bit of stovetop magic make for a household product that’s cheaper than anything we can remember buying … ever.

  • HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:

    • 1 cup cold water
    • 5 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 5 tablespoons regular bleach
    • Medium sized sauce pan
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Container of choice (e.g condiment bottles)
    • Whisk
  • Mix cold water and cornstarch and whisk together in a medium sized saucepan. It’s important that the water is cold so that the cornstarch doesn’t cause any lumps in the gel. Over medium high heat, stir the mixture continuously until it is very thick and pasty. Remove from heat and let cool completely. Add the bleach to the gel and blend well. Carefully pour the gel mixture into container of choice like an empty glue bottle or condiment bottle. Bada bing! You have your own gel bleach pen. Use the same way you would a regular bleach pen on dirty areas like grout. Also, when working with bleach it might be a good idea to use gloves!

Side hustles haven’t worked for me!

I always see various posts about side hustles and how they make quite a bit of cash in doing different side jobs, etc. I’ve read articles about doing online surveys, participating in data entry for a couple hours, shopping for other people.. I have tried a few things and I haven’t had any success, so far.

I am feeling a bit overwhelmed today due to the fact that it seems nothing thus far has worked. I should probably make a list of the things I’ve tried and perhaps come up with some idea of why I failed.

First thing was Amazon Turk. I’ve done a few things on there and it is worth nothing. Literally just pennies. I feel I’d be paid more to pick up change outside of a fast food restaurant. I think what was frustrating is it seemed I took time and quite a bit of it to do these little assignments and it just was a huge loss of time and I really didn’t gain anything.

Second thing I tried is REV. I posted on this awhile back. I got in and really was excited. I did get paid a bit, this does take time, and quite a lot of it especially if you’re new like I am. You have to score a certain amount after being accepted to move on to make more money as a real “REVVER” My scores were great. Except, the last one I did I received 2 points lower than normal. So unfortunately I was let go. It caused the score to drop at 3.8? I think. It needed to be 4.0. (It was a couple months ago) I could be a bit off about the scoring but nevertheless you get the idea. It is automatic and there’s no one to talk to about it. So I suppose I’ll just try again.

The third side hustle I tried was/is Poshmark. I’m still trying to figure it out. I just joined last month. I’ve not made any money yet but I’m trying to be positive about it and give it time. The women on that site are really great. They’re so kind and they share and like and comment. Super sweet ladies and I’m glad to be there even just for that. I’d like to figure it out better to make some sales.

I also tried survey websites. I didn’t really get ahead on those at all. Not sure if I’m not on the correct site or if those are really just a joke. Let me know if you have a better site to make a little cash from!

I do want to find something on the side. I’m a stay at home Mom and I’d love to make a little extra for some weekend fun with the kids.

Do you have a side hustle? Give me some tips!

3 Easy Tips for Saving More Money

I wanted to share these money saving tips with you this morning.  I read a great article on Motley Fool this morning, here. So I thought I’d make 3 easy tips for you on how to save money. 

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Saving money isn’t the easiest thing to do, and this is why Americans would be more financially secure. However, the fact of the matter is that 75% of U.S. adults are living check to check and the reason boils down to a lack of savings, as previously mentions 65% of Americans have little to no savings! Are you ready to stop the insanity?  Do you want to break that cycle?  You’ll need to train yourself to be more responsible with your money. Here are a few easy ways to get yourself to save.

1. Sticking to a budget:

It’s difficult to save money when you have no idea what you spend your paychecks on. If you’re eager to start banking some cash, make a budget that works so you get a sense of where your money goes month after month. To do so, go through your bank account statements and credit card bills, list your monthly expenses and what you typically spend on each, and see how your total monthly spending compares to your take-home pay. Then, start going through that list and figure out which expenses to slash.

You might choose to tackle a really major expense, like downsizing to a smaller home or getting rid of a car with a costly monthly payment. Or, you might trim a series of smaller expenses (think to downgrade your cable package and cutting back on store-bought lunches).  Having a budget will help you better understand where you have room to cut corners.

2. Don’t buy in the spur of the moment

Have you ever walked into a store in search of a few basic items, only to come out with a high-tech gadget you never planned on purchasing? It’s easy to fall victim to buying just because it’s staring you right in the face, so much so that a whopping 84% of Americans do so on the regular. But if you force yourself to follow things like the 

The rule goes like this: The next time you’re tempted to buy an item you weren’t planning to purchase at that moment, force yourself to wait a full 24 hours before moving forward. If, after a day’s time, you still really want that item, or are convinced that you need it, then by all means, move forward. If not, save your money for something more important (like retirement).

3. Eat at home

Food restaurants are famous for charging huge markups on the items they serve. So, you might find that replacing even one restaurant or takeout meal each week could put a huge amount of cash back in your pocket over the course of a year. 

Imagine you currently spend $40, on average, each time you eat dinner prepared outside your home, and that you do so three times a week. If you cut out one of those meals and make the equivalent dinner at home, you’ll save yourself a good $30 a pop. Over the course of a year, that’s $1,560 in savings.

You don’t need to be a personal finance hero to be a good saver you just need to make some smart decisions and get rid of the temptation to spend. Follow these tips, and with some time you’ll see and feel the difference. 

Really we’ve gone through these separately so I thought I’d put a top 3 list together of big ones. Did you see those staggering numbers? Wow.

What do you think?  What is the one thing you would like to get better doing?