The word “economize” comes from the word “economy.”
The market naturally constantly strives to do more with less.
You can’t know whether you’re doing that without a market and a price mechanism.
For example, recycling is not usually a profitable industry without government intervention (there is a market for scrap metal but it does well only when the central bank monetary policy is so loose that basic metal prices are inflated). What that means is that it is not actually a net saver of resources. You have extra labor collecting the cans, the bottles, the newspapers, driving extra trucks, bringing them back to the depot, which is itself a resource — land, unlike the landfill, out in Queens rather than further away thus less valuable. You have other labor and machines sorting. You have yet more labor and more machines grinding it all down. The way to know whether that process conserves resources on a NET basis relative to just burying it in a far off landfill to be topped off with a soccer field and making new glass out of sand, new cans out of aluminum, new plastic out of oil, and new paper out of trees (you see the pattern here — resources that are plentiful or in the case of paper renewable), is by measuring the relative prices of all of those resources, and evaluating which approach saves more money. Money is the accounting system for resources — that is one of the functions it was created to serve.
What we need is more people who have even a basic understanding of economics.