Thrift saves money, but it saves many resources, too. Reducing waste and maximizing use of resources can be a strong motivation in developing frugal daily habits. A few ways in which I consider our household reduces the national waste average are:
Reducing food waste: The planning begins when shopping – are the fresh ingredients in the cart enough but not too much for the coming week? Once home, I cook most vegetables in advance – this saves weeknight time while cooking the vegetables at maximum freshness. When we do eat out, I plan ahead by taking a container and an ice pack.
Buying less new stuff: Manufacturing plants provide jobs, but they also use fossil fuels, water, and raw materials that have in some way been harvested from the planet. Shipping new items is also energy-intensive. Plenty of new items still enter our house, but I view any reduction as a positive.
Buying less packaging: Many new items are contained within single-use packaging. It seems silly that so many things are still sold in boxes or, worse, those hard plastic shells that must be cut open and discarded.
Reusing and upcycling: There is a challenge in finding new purposes for things that would otherwise be discarded. Old sweaters yield one-of-a-kind hats and mittens. Worn-out sheets and cardboard shipping boxes become weed barriers under mulch. Retail food packaging containers are often sturdier than purchased food storage containers. Before discarding, ask the question: What else could this be?