Zero Waste can save and make you money this holiday season!

By November 22, 2011 No Comments



Long before I ever heard about the term, businesses adopted Zero Waste to make their processes more efficient and financially wise.

Graphics by Leo Johnson

In the home the same is true. I have mentioned the monetary benefits that this lifestyle has afforded my household before, but I want to go into specifics, on how it can save money, and even make a profit this holiday season! This time of the year can be a source of financial stress during these trying economic times, but ZeroWaste can afford relief. Here are concepts that I introduced in earlier posts and how they translate to holiday savings and potential revenue.


Zero Waste will save you money this holiday season by:

  • Curbing consumption: Using what you have is obvious, but I know how tempting the holidays can be! The best waste prevention is not spending at all, and not spending at all offers instant savings! Use a potted plant as a Christmas tree, and yard clippings or edibles as table decorations. You probably do not need new ornaments either…
  • Focusing on activities vs. stuff: You can offer your expertise or services (i.e., your time) as gifts. Usually older people need a hand, more than they need stuff. Hold on to your dollars and offer your creativity, cooking, manual skills, mobility or time instead. Offering repairs or beauty care will please the elderly, for example.
  • Buying used (if you must buy): Thrift stores, rummage sales and online secondhand markets (Ebay, Etsy, Craigslist) undeniably offer affordable gifts and decorations.
  • Buying groceries in bulk: Since bulk is generally cheaper, celebratory meals for company will cost you less.
  • Eliminating disposables (keep your money out of the landfill): Reusable gift bags and Furoshiki squares offer cumulative savings over the years. No need for wrapping paper or tape.
  • Turning your waste into useful gifts: You can make lemon bars, marmalade, lemoncello with excess lemon harvest, turn junk-mail or kids artwork into stationery, melt bits of old candles, soap or crayons into new shapes, use corks for a bath mat and sew rags (i.e., worn-out clothing) into gift bags. I will be making the latter for family and friends.
  • Reducing activities that support consumption: Avoiding the mall and decreasing media exposure (tv, and magazines) will ease the shopping temptations and spending binges as well.
  • Reducing your paper output: E-mailing your Holiday card or video you’ll be saving material, shipping, and printing costs. This year, our kids will be “elfing” themselves for a comic custom video.


Zero Waste can even make you a profit by:

  • Participating in collaborative consumption, i.e., sharing seldom used assets: You can rent your dwelling (through VRBO or Airbnb) and car (through Getaround or Relayrides) this holiday season and make a profit. We take full advantage of this aspect as mentioned here and on Twitter. The process is evidently easier once you have decluttered, but the potential revenue is HUGE!
  • Sharing unused resources with others (see post on decluttering): It offers an opportunity to not only re-gift (instead of buying new) but also, and preferably, sell these items for a profit. And the holiday season, is the best time to do so, since Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist can bring you many more buyers than the rest of the year. Green shoppers looking to buy used hope to find your unused items in the secondhand market!
  • Recycling and composting: The holiday season also usually means more consumable consumption, which increases recycling in the home. Why not save your recyclables, and take them to the recycling center for redemption after the holidays instead of throwing them in the curbside recycling bin? Instead of costing you money, recycling could make you money!
  • Controlling clutter: If you get a gift that does not fit your needs, relieve yourself from the gift guilt. Don’t let anything that you do not need or love, take root in your home, let others use it: Sell it!
ZeroWaste has taken the financial stress out of my holidays. It did not remedy my anxieties overnight, rather over a couple of years as we slowly implemented and understood the full advantages of the lifestyle, but today it engages my creativity and pays back! Now that’s one advantage we did not foresee when getting into this.Can you think of other ways that Zero Waste will save you money this holiday season?
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