Most people associate “going green” with buying expensive products like organic vegetables, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and electric cars. However, there are some really simple techniques you can use to go green without spending much money. In fact, some of these techniques can even help you save money! Without further ado, here are ten simple ways to go green on a budget.
- Reduce your plastic use
Plastic is one of the most dangerous pollutants on the planet, affecting our beaches, oceans, coastlines, inland waterways, and land. Most plastics will never biodegrade, which means they will continue to pollute our planet for thousands of years.
Plastics damage our natural environment by leaching toxins into the ground and water. Those toxins enter the food chain and kill millions of animals each year. Plastic waste has quickly become one of the greatest environmental threats in human history.
You can take easily action by reducing the amount of plastic you use. Here are a few simple ways to reduce your use of plastic:
- Use your own cloth shopping bags instead of plastic bags
- Don’t buy bottled water
- Use cardboard boxes when they are available instead of plastic
- Don’t use drinking straws
- Stop using disposable razors
- Store food in containers instead of plastic bags
- Stop using products that contain microplastics
- Reuse fast food containers
- Use matches instead of a lighter
Some of these actions will even save you money. For example, using your own stainless steel water bottle instead of purchasing water in plastic bottles can save you hundreds of dollars per year!
- Avoid driving your car whenever you can
Fossil fuels remain a leading cause of environmental destruction. The act of extracting fossil fuels is environmentally damaging and the emissions that vehicles produce contribute to climate change.
Look for other transportation options whenever you can, including public transport, walking, and cycling. If you must use a car to get to work, make sure it is full of people by organizing a carpool. You will save money by using your car less and you will even improve your health if you decide to walk or ride a bike instead.
- Eat less meat
Researchers have already discovered that excessive meat consumption is linked to diseases like obesity, cancer and heart disease. But did you know that meat consumption also has a significant environmental impact?
Animals bred for food generate a large amount of carbon emissions. In fact, the world’s cows, pigs, and chickens generate more emissions than all of the world’s automobiles combined. Animals also consume a huge amount of resources including land, food, and water.
You don’t have to completely eliminate meat from your diet, but if you can reduce your consumption, you will help the environment. An additional benefit gained by reducing the amount of meat that you eat is that you will save money. Vegetables, fruit, lentils, kidney beans, tofu and legumes are usually much cheaper than meat.
- Use less water
Water is a precious resource that we require for survival. Unfortunately, many parts of the world are experiencing a water shortage and mankind is removing a substantial amount of water from the natural environment.
You can help by reducing your water usage. Purchase a low-flow shower head to reduce the amount of water used when showering. Make sure your dishwasher and washing machine are water efficient. Use water-wise plants in your garden instead of a water-hungry lawn. This tip will save you money on your water bills.
- Start using online banking to pay your bills
Online banking has made it much easier to pay bills and manage your money. It is also a simple way to go green without spending any money. Using online banking means you can opt-out of receiving paper bills and bank statements. This means that you won’t be wasting the resources needed to send a piece of paper to your home. That includes tree pulp, water, and fossil fuels. The best part of doing banking online is that you will pay less bank fees. You can save money while saving the environment!
- Recycle e-waste responsibly
Consumers are just starting to realize how dangerous electronic waste (also called e-waste), can be. It is the discarded electronic devices that households throw out, including computers, mobile phones, laptops, and tablets.
Many of these devices contain dangerous materials like lead, mercury, brominated flame retardants, PVC plastic, and beryllium. These toxic substances need to be carefully processed and cannot be simply discarded into landfill.
Instead of throwing your e-waste into a garbage bin, take it to an e-waste recycling facility — where it can be broken down into separate components and handled correctly.
- Use less electricity
Most developed countries still generate most of their electricity from burning coal and natural gas. These energy sources pollute the environment and contribute to climate change.
You can reduce your environmental impact by using less electricity around the home. Turn off devices that are on standby, switch to low energy LED globes, limit the use of air conditioning, and turn off unnecessary lights. Not only will this tip help the environment — it will save you money.
- Buy food from the local farmers market
Buying food that is produced locally is a fantastic way to go green on a budget. By buying locally, you will reduce the distance that the food has been transported — reducing the amount of fossil fuels that have been consumed. As an added bonus, you will be supporting your local community and gaining access to delicious produce at an affordable price.
- Use reusable containers
When people make an effort to go green, they often turn buy recycled aluminium foil or recycled plastic sandwich bags. Unfortunately, these items cost more than normal aluminium or plastic items and they end up in landfill once you have finished using them.
A better option is to invest in a set of high quality Tupperware that you can reuse for many years. Imagine how much aluminium foil or plastic you could save in a year if you no longer used it to wrap you meals?
- Use homemade cleaning products
There are many environmentally friendly cleaning products you can purchase at the supermarket. However, they are often more expensive than a standard cleaning product.
If you want to stick your budget, consider making your own cleaning products using natural ingredients. You can use items like baking soda, white vinegar, tea tree oil, natural soap, and olive oil to make cleaning products capable of almost anything. This website has some excellent recipes that you can use. These products are environmentally friendly and very cheap to make!