Condo Blues: 10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

Sunday, April 18, 2021

10 Zero Waste Craft Projects that also Save Money

I recently read an article claiming that zero waste living doesn’t have to be expensive.

That immediately said to an interviewed college student who said that they couldn’t afford a $20 zero waste made from adopted unicorn tears deodorant that the student just needs to change their attitude because they are buying better and more expensive stuff. 

Because apparently the superior feeling of spending more money on low waste deodorant outweighs the reality of the starving student   having enough money for school books, tuition, food, and shelter I guess?

The author also said that no one who wants to go low waste (which is a more accurate description than the search engine friendly term zero waste) does it to save money.  It really burns my cookies that when confronted with the reality of price, a zero waste expert ignores it and tells you to buy it anyway when they are claiming zero waste living doesn't have to be expensive. That's how zero and low waste living gets the (wrong) perception that its only for the privileged!

10 ways to make zero waste save money

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My family is practically debt free because we don’t waste things. As we started switching from disposables to reusables the amount of trash we make plummeted and extra dollars accumulated in the bank.

For example it cost zero dollars to stop using plastic zipper baggies and plastic wrap for sandwiches and leftovers and start using the containers with lids (many repurposed) I already had. I had no idea how much money we wasted on that stuff until we didn’t need to buy it anymore - and you could see a serious dent in how much landfill trash it kept out of our bin.

Another one was replacing paper towels and disposable cleaning cloths with with old bath towels I cut down and sewed a straight stitch around the sides so they wouldn’t fray. (I didn't like how my first attempt of just cutting the towels to size. The towels eventually frayed too much after washing) Again another zero dollar project I do here and there when towels go thin that definitely saves me a good chunk of cash while that author would probably insist you buy overpriced unpaper towels that snap together on a roll like paper towels from a charitable narwhal collective and zero waste store. It's cool if you want to and can, but low waste living doesn't require it.

what to do with old towels

Also I don’t have time to snap together unpaper towels onto a roll. Most days, I’m lucky if I pull the clean cloths from the dryer and put them in the basket under each sink in the house on the same day. The label on the towel box is an inside joke between my husband and I.

I like options not absolutes. I try to balance low waste, price, and effectiveness. That's not to say I'm a miser. I have a handcrafted soap habit that allows me to support local businesses and reduce waste but that's my choice. Not because someone guilted me into it. But before that, I bought (and sometimes still do) buy conventional bar soap in a box and liquid soap/body wash in large refill containers to save on price and waste. Zero waste living is really all about doing what works for you, not peer pressure into something that doesn't.

Ten One Time Only Zero Waste Craft Projects

I make a lot of our reusable zero waste living tools mostly because I like to unwind with a project in the evening. I also really hate wasting leftover craft supplies (Truthfully I might want to use them up to make room for something else but that doesn’t sound as lofty to our author above.) 

I’ve also bought the same version when I haven’t had the time or materials to make it or I want to see if the purchased item works better. For example, I have some dollar store kitchen wash cloths I bought to see if the scrubber back could replace scrubby sponges. They couldn’t and were pretty terrible dish cloths compared to the set my Mother in Law crocheted for me. I stuck the dollar store cloths in with the cloth "paper" towels I made and where they work better for me. That’s why I’m giving you both a DIY and Buy option. This isn’t a post about zero waste living perfection. It’s a list of doing what you can when you can low waste living ideas.  

If you don’t have a reusable shopping bag to take to the store to cut down on disposable shopping bag clutter  How to Make a Tote Bag from a T shirt from Crafty Mom is a very easy no sew way (or you can sew the bottom seam) to make a shopping totebag from a t shirt you may already have. You can also repurpose a backpack, tote, or shopping bag you already have. Rather buy than DIY? Check out these heavy duty Earthwise Reusable Grocery Shopping Bags here. (Disclosure: I am including affiliate links for your convenience.) 


how to make a shopping tote bag
Photo courtesy of Crafty Mom

Skip the disposable plastic wrap and  Make Elastic Bowl Covers to Save Food from Beginner Sewing Projects or repurpose a container with a lid you already have. Putting a plate on top of round bowl works too. If you’d rather buy than DIY, these reusable cloth elastic bowl covers are an option.

DIY reusable elastic food bowl covers
Photo courtesy of Beginner Sewing Projects

Or this reusable form fitting beeswax wrap  from The DIY Mommy - How to Make Beeswax Wraps to Help Reduce Single Use Plastic . If you’d rather buy than DIY, this set of 5 beeswax food wraps has several sizes included.

DIY reusable beeswax food wraps
Photo courtesy of The DIY Mommy
Instead of using disposable pads or wipes to clean your face you can make your own! I personally used my tutorials How to Sew Super Soft Flannel Cloth Makeup Remover Pads and How to Make Terry Cloth Makeup Remover Pads to make the reusable cloth rounds I use to this day. I put them in a mesh lingerie laundry bag like this one after I use them and toss them in the washing machine when the bag is full. Another alternative is to wash your face using a washcloth. Rather buy than DIY? Check out these Greenzla Organic Bamboo Cotton Reusable Makeup Remover Pads (they come with a laundry bag and in cardboard!) here.

How to Sew Super Soft Flannel Cloth Makeup Remover Pads


You an replace disposable Swiffer type mop covers to fit any mop with DIY Reusable Swiffer Mop Pads (Wet or Dry) from Hello Sewing. Personally I like using cloth because it is more absorbent. If you’re rather buy than DIY – or you need a mop first – I recommend the mop I use day in and day out this exact O Cedar Spray Mop. The thing I like most is it allows you to use your favorite cleaner in it.

DIY reusable swiffer mop pad

Photo courtesy of Hello Sewing 


Instead of using a disposable dish sponge consider using a dish cloth like one of these 12 Knit and Crochet Dishcloth, Washcloth, and Scrubby Patterns Rather buy than DIY? Consider these No Odor Cotton Dish Cloths.


DIY crochet dish cloth

Textured Crochet Dishcloth Pattern courtesy of Petals to Picots


I absolutely love this DIY Zero Waste Kitchen Sponge from Happiest Camper to replace disposable scrubby sponges. Pure Genius! If you’d rather buy than DIY, I use these exact washable and reusable Paperless Kitchen Scrub Sponges and like them a lot!


DIY reusable and washable kitchen sponge

Photo courtesy of Happiest Camper

Bottle brushes are insanely useful tools but regularly have to be replaced frequently due to bacteria build up just like disposable kitchen sponges. Lazy Budget Chef teaches you How to Make a Reusable Bottle Brush for Dishes, Pots, Pans, and Bottles with washable heads. Rather buy than DIY? consider this washable silicone bottle brush cleaner.


DIY washable bottle cleaning brush sponge

 Photo courtesy of Lazy Budget Chef


If you garden and want to put your food and yard waste to good reuse, you can turn them into gardeners gold fertilizer using my How to Make a Compost Bin Out of a Plastic Storage Tub tutorial. After getting good results with a DIY compost bin we upgraded to a tumbling compost bin similar to this one.


Compost is Gardener's Gold!

 After you have a batch of compost and aren’t sure what to do with it (or you have a larger area that needs fertilizer than you have ready compost) you can use it to make my DIY Compost Tea Fertilizer Tutorial. If you’d rather buy than DIY you can buy compost here and buy compost tea concentrate here. 


Looking for more affordable zero and low waste living ideas that save money? Check out the following options – and more! – below


1 comment :

Richella Parham said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate this post. I just hate it when measures that would be kind to the environment are presented as only the purview of those who can afford special equipment or devices. Many are actually money-saving as well as planet-saving!

Thanks so much for joining the Grace at Home party at Imparting Grace. I'm featuring you this week!

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