You don’t have to consider yourself a die-hard tree-hugger to do your part for the health of our planet. Despite what the latest marketing gimmick may have you believe, you really can go eco-friendly on the cheap. Leading an environmentally responsible lifestyle doesn’t require replacing your entire wardrobe or completely overhauling your eating habits. Keep reading for a few tips you can implement in various aspects of your daily life.
Save while you scrub
There are an endless number of supposedly “green” cleaning products. However, you can easily do most of your basic house-cleaning using simple ingredients including baking soda, plain vinegar and lemon juice. You probably already even have these items in your home. Baking soda, for one, is extremely versatile. Its uses vary from removing rust and laundry stains to cleaning silver. Plus, since you won’t be buying commercial cleaning products, you’ll reduce your consumption of plastics. Additionally, swap out paper towels and single-use Swiffer pads for rags and a mop. Sometimes, keeping things “old school” is the simplest way to go green!
Take a bite out of food waste
Did you know that one third of all the food in the world is wasted? It’s well-documented that industrial agriculture has large-scale negative environmental implications. Therefore, limiting your food waste is a great way to reduce your environmental footprint. There are an endless number of ways to the nutrition gained from the food you buy.
For starters, keep your vegetable scraps like carrot peels and onion tips in a bag in your freezer. Simply simmer them for a few hours to make your own soup stock instead of buying the boxed version. Too many leftovers? Try repurposing them for another meal. For instance, use up leftover rice in a casserole or rice pudding or toss extra vegetables into a quiche. Keep track of the perishables in your fridge so you eat them before they spoil. Furthermore, don’t be afraid to alter a recipe to make the most of what you already have.
Overhaul your transportation choices
Are you one of the many people who drive to work every day? If so, consider taking public transit if it is available. Add up your gas receipts every month to see if you could save money by getting a bus pass. If you must drive, create a ripple effect by starting a rideshare and carpooling notice board at work. Are you hard-pressed to squeeze in enough exercise into your daily routine? Leave your car at home and walk or bike to the grocery store instead! If your lifestyle requires a lot of driving, you may want to invest in an electric vehicle.
DIY on a budget
Making or growing something yourself can add up to considerable savings. Think about how much you spend on items like fresh herbs or artisanal condiments. You can reduce such expenses considerably through simple choices. Try buying a pot of herbs you can snip from regularly instead of buying the cut and packaged version. Have you ever tried making your own pesto? Freeze it in ice cube trays and you’re all set for a quick weeknight pasta dinner!
A great method for reducing your eco-footprint outside your home is to compost. This way, you’re really going full-circle. First, you’re “recycling” nutrients from your food waste which will boost your garden productivity. Additionally, making your own compost means fewer plastic bags.
No matter which areas of your life you choose to make more sustainable, remember: start small and keep it simple! This increases the chance you’ll stick with the habit, thereby boosting your savings.