This is a collaborative post.
To live a more environmentally friendly, often you don’t have to buy all the new eco-friendly products. It’s great to have all of those available for when you need to buy new things or replace old ones – but let’s be honest making changes cost money. You can avoid this by making simple and frugal eco-friendly swaps, that don’t cost the Earth for you. This way, you can not only spread out the cost but even save some money – short term too, not only on the longer run.
Each new eco-friendly thing you buy should be treated as an investment. They probably cost more, but they are also designed to last longer, that’s the whole idea. And often they can get good offers if you do your research with a lot of retailers. Sign up for offers here. If it doesn’t serve you longer than a regular product – it cannot be really labelled as eco-friendly. There might be some exceptions, but generally this is true.
I have collected a few ideas on eco-friendly swaps in a frugal and environmentally friendly way.
Washcloth Soap Holder
I found this How To Make A Wash Cloth Soap Holder post very useful, could be made of any scrap material. You will need a sewing machine of course or you can buy them – they are very cheap – and this way you can save the soap from getting mushy and they will also last longer. You can cut all the plastic waste out too, plus soaps are normally better for both your skin and the environment too.
That’s right, you can make these too, avoiding the supermarket ones that are normally made out of 100% plastic. This crochet shower puff was a much greener version than the mesh pouf you see in the shops as it can be popped in the washer and used over and over again.
Make up and sanitary pads
This is something you can make at home if you have the skills: cotton scraps for one side and a soft towelling for the other. Here’s a good tutorial for it: How to make reusable make up remover pads. Or, if you ever breastfed and used nursing pads, you can simply keep using them – as a make up remover pad! What a brilliant idea. Just like the make up remover pads, sanitary pads can be made reusable too (I have some and I love them!) Here’s a guide how to make them.
Make your own cleaning product
There are plenty of super simple recipes available if you look on Pinterest. Like this one: how to make a homemade surface cleaner. All the ingredients for various products are cheap. You can buy them in bigger supermarkets, they last long and they are better for you. Did you know, that the chemicals in regular cleaning products are linked to a variety of illnesses from asthma to cancer. Again, you can cut lots of plastic out by making your own. Essential oils don’t just smell wonderful. Many also offer antibacterial properties!
Just like. cleaning products, simple beauty products can be home made too and make good eco-friendly swaps. Plenty of diy recipes available for moisturisers, facial scrubs or bath bombs. They are super simple and contain only natural products, so they are good for your skin. Here’s a good recipe on how to make your own, all natural deodorant.
Instead of buying a new one and throwing away the old one, you can upcycle, refurbish, repurpose or update the old features of an old piece – these are a good way to save money and they definitely require less new material then buying a new that has been produced from scratch using raw materials. Even different kind of object like pallet can be turned into furniture either for indoor or for the garden (and you can often pick those up for free!). Just look at this fantastic TV stand that has been created from reclaimed oak wood:
Or there’s this simple, second hand table turned into a dining table using white paint for its legs and vinyl Moroccan tiles. It’s perfectly durable and cheap solution – especially with little children around. Isn’t it beautiful now:
Children toys cost a fortune and given the trend of miniature, collectible plastic toys, they can easily loose it and they just end up in landfill. Not good at all. Charity shops are an obvious choice when it comes to buying toys second hand, they are cheaper and most of the time you can get them almost as new. Another great idea is to create a toy where they can get involved with their own ideas – or even help! Using an old bookshelf, you can create a dolls house of their dream! They can help to design. So much cheaper – lot of fun.
You can replace paper kitchen towels with cloth ones. These can be made of any crap material. You just need to sew the towelling part on the back. Beeswax food wraps are great too – but they are pricey to buy, right? You can make your own beeswax wrap and it’s surprisingly easy. However, don’t forget that whatever plastic containers and jars you have at home, can be used both for the fridge and for the freezer, so don’t throw them away!
Produce bags can be easily home made too from any kind of scrap material, old clothes and scarves. They require very basic sewing skills too and make for great eco-friendly swaps. A lot of supermarket offer to take your own container and buy fruit and veg without packaging (well, at least they are trying, there’s still a long way to go…). Also bulk buying is also a good idea: buying the largest size means you will have to buy the item less frequently, and therefore will use less packaging in the long run.
Grow your own
Even if you don’t have a garden, not even a balcony, you can grow herbs for example. If you have a garden, use part of it to grow food. This way, you don’t just save money but you save all that packaging. Not to mention the pesticides! You can start growing from your food waste as well. Save the tops of carrots and the roots of onions to use as the re-growth for your new home garden.
Using dried pine needles from a woodland floor, mixed half and half with wood shavings and a few other bits you normaly have at home you can make firelighters with recycled materials.
What are your favourite eco-friendly swaps?