29 Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Home (and Save Money While You're At It)

29 Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Home (and Save Money While You’re At It)


Have you ever thought about ways to reduce waste in your home and how it can save money at the same time? We started coming up with ways after my hubby came home from Costco (one of the only places he enjoys shopping) with a lovely package of rechargeable batteries:

Although we don’t really use that many battery powered gadgets (we prefer items that recharge with a cord and we avoid electronic toys like the plague), we do still need them from time to time.

I’ve just never really thought about it enough to bother with spending the money on rechargeable (because they do cost significantly more upfront), although after having them for a couple of months now, I can already see how much $ we will be saving as well.

So it got me thinking about the old saying “waste not, want not”, and without further ado, here are 29 ways to reduce waste AND save money for every homemaker!

1. Cloth diaper your baby.

2. Buy in bulk whenever possible.

3. Shop with an eye for packaging, and try to buy only products with minimal or recyclable packaging.

4. Compost your kitchen scraps. (Or try worm composting for those in small abodes)

5. Switch to mama cloth (or reusable feminine products).

6. Go paperless in your kitchen.

7. Eat whole foods, not packaged ones.

8. Make your own simple cleaning supplies, or buy ones that are concentrated.

9. Use reusable shopping bags and produce bags.

cloth shopping bags

10. Buy used whenever possible (especially children’s items).

11. Have less stuff (and learn to love it)!

12. Buy reusable water bottles (for your kids, too), rather than buying water in plastic bottles.

13. Learn to creatively re-purpose things you don’t need anymore.

14. Before recycling household paper, turn it into note-sized paper for grocery lists, to-do’s, etc.

15. When something is broken, try to repair it before buying a replacement.

16. If you must use disposables, try sustainable and earth-friendly varieties.

17. Bring your own travel mug to your local coffee shop (and when you’re planning to sit and sip, ask for a mug rather than a paper cup).

18. Use rechargeable batteries.

19. Use a battery operated razor (or at least use razors with replaceable heads, rather than disposables).

dump no waste

20. Choose to have your bills and bank statements sent to you online, instead of by mail.

21. Breastfeed your baby.

22. Have your printer ink cartridges refilled instead of purchasing new ones.

23. Consider your current recycling habits and see if there’s anything else you could add to what you’re already doing.

24. If you need an item for a short time only, see if you can borrow it from someone.

25. Get a reusable coffee filter to replace your paper filters.

26. Use loose leaf teas with a french press instead of tea bags.

27. Save and reuse all gift bags and tissue paper from gifts that you receive.

28. Make your own baby food.

29. Give away or sell things you don’t need.

Is there one thing on this list that you think you could add to what you’re already doing? And by all means, please add to my list!

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  1. Wow! I’m amazed to see that I’m already doing most of the things on the list! I knew I was making efforts to live in a more “earth-friendly” way, but didn’t realize I was doing such a good job. I just need to start composting, and switch to something reusable for my period. Thank you for the encouragement and suggestions!
    .-= Angela´s last blog ..Our Chinese Adoption =-.

  2. Great list! I am already doing most that apply to me. The one that I could change and haven’t is that I don’t use reusable produce bags for getting produce (although I have been using cloth bags for the actual packing of groceries for long before it was popular/expected.) Anyone know of how I can make or otherwise VERY frugally/free get ahold of reusable produce bags? The only things stopping me is the cost right now. But I think I will ask for my birthday if I don’t get a good idea otherwise. I do make sure I don’t put things in bags that don’t need it though.

    One thing that I found great about the cloth bags for doing actual groceries/other shopping is a little bag that folds up tiny and goes right into my purse. I think its called a “betty bag” I was given it…anyways its great since I always remember my bags for groceries but not always going into a different store for just one or two things. I could just carry it but with kids its hard to do that without a bag.

    1. @Nola, I have little bags that I keep in my diaper bag as well. I have three of them, and they fold up pretty small. Without them, I was constantly forgetting to bring bags with me.

      As for produce bags, what about buying some nylon netting from a fabric store and making your own? I bet it would be cheaper!

  3. These are great tips, thank you! I’m doing some of them already but you’ve given me some new ones to think about. Like fill your printer cartridges instead of buying new ones. I am in need of an expensive printer cartridge and I was dreading buying it. I will look for a place to have it refilled instead. Thanks!

  4. Oh, I’m big on #24–asking to borrow things. I used to be so wary and uncomfortable of doing this, especially when it was from friends or acquaintances. But then one of my friends was telling me about how, when her only car broke down, it made her HAVE to ask people for help and how humbling it was to allow herself to rely on others and give them the opportunity to bless her. So then I started trying it in little ways–I asked a friend if I could borrow the centerpieces she used in her wedding the year prior. We borrowed a stud finder from an older couple at our church. We borrow movies from a family in our small group. I’ve learned ever so slowly to let my ego go a bit and lean on this small community of ours!
    .-= carmen @ life blessons´s last blog ..Stovetop Décor with Colorful Cookware =-.

  5. I found some great produce bags at Whole Foods Market. They were about a dollar a piece, but I got a few to use as patterns. They are made from a lightweight netting (Like a bridal veil) and have a twine drawstring. Very lightweight. You could just use a regular plastic produce bag as a pattern for size.

    This list is very good! I’m still unable to go completely paperless in the kitchen, but have cut WAY down…and you reminded me to have my printer cartridges refilled!
    .-= Kimberly Jacobson´s last blog ..Coconut Custard Pie =-.

  6. Wonderful list.

    The only thing I would add…
    -Buy smaller amounts of frutis and vegis. When we first switched over to the Farmers Market-we were so excited that we overbought and threw lots of things away. Now we buy less and try to eat it all within the week.
    .-= Jana @ Weekend Vintage´s last blog ..Womens Dress-McCalls 8795 =-.

  7. Wonderful list! My family eats extremely healthy and I am currently working on getting everyone used to using hydrogen peroxide and baking soda to clean with instead of those awful chemicals from the store! I would really like to plant a vegetable garden and start composting…

  8. Great list, thanks!! Next on my list is to start composting, use reusable produce bags, and one that you didn’t mention – family cloth, using cloth wipes in the bathroom instead of TP. I figure that it can’t be that big of a leap from cloth diapering and using cloth wipes on my baby and potty training preschooler.

    And for produce bags, I have a few net kind of bags that I got citrus fruits in this winter. I kept them wondering if I can use them for produce bags? It would be great if I could, because they were free – besides the cost of the fruit. 🙂

  9. What a great list! I’m doing almost all of these steps, but I’ve been at this for a long time. I know I can keep improving though.
    .-= Laryssa @ Heaven In The Home´s last blog ..Loosing It: Week 4 =-.

  10. Great list! I think we do everythig on your list except refillng the printer ink ( but we have a printer that doesn’t need all the little ink refills either). I can’t think of much that you missed but something we enjoy doing is making envelopes out of old calendars and magazine newspapers and making cards with all sorts of recycled paper products. I love repurposing of all sorts!
    .-= abbi´s last blog ..Spring is for skirts! =-.

  11. What a grea post! I am going to bookmark this for future reference…seems like I say that alot when I visit here. 😉

    Have a wonderful day!
    .-= Camille´s last blog ..Ugliness of Pride =-.

  12. Excellent job. These are just old fashioned things that too large a population has simply forgotten. Way too many people want the government to fix their problems. That doesn’t work.

  13. Question. I use cloth grocery bags, but when I buy poduce, it goes in a plastic bag, & then gets weighed a sticker stuck on in the produce department. How would that work for me to use a reusable? Any suggestions out there? Thanks!

  14. Love it! Thanks for the great reminder!

    I’d like to add walking (or biking/etc) as much as possible instead of driving.
    And if it’s too far for me to walk, I can still park at the market and walk from there to the post office and the bank before I do my shopping.

    And how about line-drying your laundry?
    We live in a place where it’s not realistic to use the clothes line year round, so when the weather doesn’t allow, I hang things to dry in my laundry room adn then throw them in the dryer on the “Fluff” setting (no heat) for 10 minutes just to make them softer. It’s not ideal, but better than drying our daily load in the dryer on full heat for an hour, right?

    Last tip- refashioning old clothing. Sew something new out of your old things or out of re-used ones from the thrift shop. You can find tonnes of inspiration online.

  15. If I am given wrapping paper or bags I do my best to reuse them. But rather than ever buying more new we either paint paper that we received in packing at a store where I volunteer or I have started making cloth bags and wrapping from scraps I have or used cloth I get from thrift stores.

    Cloth bags and wrapping will last much longer than paper and people really enjoy receiving something that is homemade!

  16. For reusable bags, I use those Debbie Green Bags or whatever they are called. Yes, they are made out of plastic, I know, I know, but my mother in-law sent them to us. I don’t think they do darn thing for extending the life of the food I put in them, but they are clear and light weight so they make awesome produce bags and I can just wash them in the dishwasher if they get yucky.

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