By now, most people know about the evils of single-use plastic. Many restaurants have started using paper straws, brands like Lush are attempting to minimize plastic packaging, and we're all much more aware of the plastic in our lives. But what you may not know is that taking conscious steps to reduce or even completely erase your use of single use plastics can actually save you money. Who knew helping the earth could be good for your wallet, too? Here's a list of our top three tips to reduce plastic and save money.

1. Make More of Your Own Food

Say you're out getting a smoothie, and, low and behold, after ordering, you realize your smoothie has come in a single-use plastic cup. But, if you make that smoothie yourself instead, you not only skip the expense, you eliminate that extra plastic. Of course, you may think that there are certain things that come in plastic unavoidably, like Ketchup, for example. But you'd be surprised how easily and cheaply you can make many of your favorite condiments and marinades.

2. Minimize Your Cleaning Products

Think about that bin of cleaning products under your sink or maybe tucked away in the laundry room. Odds are that it's brimming with plastic. Luckily, zero waste expert Lauren Singer says, "For cleaning the kitchen, you need three things: one is a liquid Castile soap, two is baking soda, and three is white vinegar." It's possible to get all of these products without plastic packaging and think of all the money you'll save reducing your products so significantly.

3. Carry Your Own Reusable Receptacles

Plastic water bottles and grocery bags are a major source of excess waste, and they're also expensive, with most single-use water bottles costing at least 2 dollars and many states now taxing plastic bags. Instead, carry your own reusable water bottle and canvas tote for groceries and watch the savings roll in.

BONUS: Cosmetics

Shampoo, conditioner, and body wash bottles are a major source of plastic waste, but there are plenty of alternatives out there, such as shampoo bars. If you wear makeup, finding non-plastic packaging may be a little trickier, but lists like this one offer lots of choices for plastic-free makeup.

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