Zero Waste Hacks

Save the Earth and save money! Heck yeah! I'm in! These zero waste hacks will prolong an item's life and save you money in the process. And how satisfying is it to know you are not only doing good for the world but for your pocketbook too!?

1. EXTRA WATER

Most of us prefer taking warm showers, but that means we have to turn our showers on and let them warm up. Have you ever thought about all that water just flowing down the drain? Instead of letting it go, place a bucket under the faucet and collect water while the shower is warming up. Then you can set this bucket of water aside and use it to water your plants, wash your dishes and/or clean your car! You're paying for that water running down the drain anyway, so why not put it to use. 

2. COFFEE GROUNDS

Do you have a daily cup of coffee? What do you do with your coffee grounds when you are done? Toss them? Well, wait one second before you toss your next batch of used coffee grounds. You can use those used coffee grounds to make a face scrub or body scrub (recipes below). You can also add used coffee grounds to some plants as a natural fertilizer. Coffee grounds are acidic and full of nitrogen, which helps vegetables and plants grow. If using on outdoor plants, used coffee grounds can be used as a natural pesticide deterring snails and slugs that could be harmful to your garden. So before tossing your used coffee grounds, think about all the possibilities there are for them.

  • Honey Coffee Face Scrub
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1 part honey

2 parts coffee grounds

Mix two ingredients together and you have an amazing face scrub. I use this face scrub 1-2 times per week. It helps remove the excess dirt and oils that have built up in my pores and scrubs off any dead skin helping promote new young healthy skin cells. This will leave you with fresh glowing smooth skin. 

  • Coffee Body Scrub

1 part coconut oil

2 parts coffee grounds

Mix the two ingredients together and you have a wonderfully fragrant body scrub for the shower. You could also use this on your face if you would like. I do not because coconut oil is known to have a high comedogenic rating meaning it has a higher chance of clogging your pores (and I already have large pores, so don't need any help with that). However, it is perfect for your body. It always leaves my body feeling silky smooth. 

(Disclaimer: If you have poor drainage in your bath, the coconut oil may clog your drain. Also the coffee grounds will look like dirt in your tub, so make sure to rinse well and you may even need to clean your bath.) 

3. APPLE CORES

Apples are one of my favorite fruits. They are a great snack I can grab on the go and they give me a quick burst of energy perfect for mid-morning or mid-afternoon slums. Since I love apples so much, I find myself accumulating apple cores quite a bit. Did you know you can easily make your own apple cider vinegar at home. Save your apple cores (If you peel your apples, you can use the peels in this too!). I like to keep mine in a glass jar in the freezer until it gets full to prevent the cores from rotting. When the jar is full, I pull it out of the freezer and then I can make my very own apple cider vinegar. 

  • DIY Apple Cider Vinegar

Ratio of sugar to water - 1 tbs sugar to 1 cup water

Add enough water to cover all the apple cores and peels. Then add the correct ratio of sugar. Mix the sugar into the apples and water. Cover with a thin mesh cloth or coffee filter and canning band. Allow the mixture to sit in a warm dark place for about 2 weeks. You should notice bubbles forming. This is good! This means the bacteria is working. After the 2 weeks, remove the cores and peels and compost them. Then cover the apple cider vinegar with your mesh cloth or coffee and canning band once more. Taste the vinegar about once a week until it is to your liking. To stop the fermentation, remove the mesh lid and replace with canning lid and store in refrigerator. 

4. PACKAGING

Sometimes we have to order items online or people send us things or we buy something that comes with extra packaging (against our will). Instead of immediately tossing this into the trash, think if you could use it for another purpose. Did your box come with extra tissue paper? Keep it! You can reuse it for gifts or your own shipping. Did your order come with extra plastic bags? Can you reuse them or recycle them? Use them as a plastic bag for something else. Whatever it may be, check to see if you can give the items another life before they end up in the trash. 

5. GLASS JARS

Glass jars may be my all time favorite staple in my home. And yes I say home because I probably use glass jars in almost every room in my apartment (needless to say there are not that many rooms, but still!). Sometimes it is nearly impossible from bringing waste into your home. When I am at the grocery store, an item I may need is not available package free, but often it is available in a glass jar rather than plastic. This makes me so happy! Because this means once the item is gone, then I have a new glass jar for storing food or for drinks or storing anything else really. I remove the label and clean the jar and it is as good as new. 

  • Simple Label Removal

Clean out your glass jar. Once clean, pour boiling water into the glass jar to cover the top of the label. Let the water sit in the jar about 5-10 minutes to allow the heat to react with the adhesive. Then carefully pull of the labels. Whatever residue is still leftover can be removed with a mixture of baking soda and oil (coconut, grapeseed, olive, whatever you have on hand) to make a paste. Rub the paste on the residue and scrub off. 

6. VEGGIE SCRAPS

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Before tossing your veggie scraps into the compost, you can actually give them one more life. Collect your veggie scraps in a separate bowl from the rest of your compost. I keep mine in a bowl in the freezer until it is full. Once it is full, I pour the veggie scraps into a large stock pot, add some salt and a bay leaf and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stir and cover for about one hour. Strain the veggie scraps from the broth. Compost your veggie scraps and store your broth in glass jars. This will keep in the refrigerator for about 1-2 weeks and in the freezer for several months. When filling glass jars to place in the freezer, make sure to leave room at the top of the jar for the liquid to expand so that your jar does not crack. 

 

These are some of my favorite zero waste hacks that I use the most often. What are some of your favorite zero waste hacks???