With so much plastic on the planet, it can be hard to stay frugal without contributing (in one way or another) to environmental degradation. This was a massive concern for one Reddit user who got scared after reading an article on plastic consumption. He was concerned that frugality and sustainability goals are in conflict unless something is done.
He wanted to know what other Reddit users thought of this and their ideas on how people can stay frugal while being environmentally conscious.
Here are some of the best responses from this conversation.
Be Mindful of Your Purchase
Think about the environment when making your purchases, “I’m working towards being more environmentally friendly (in an inexpensive way). For me, it generally means being more mindful about my purchases and trying to find ways to reuse waste that would otherwise go into the trash.”
Gardening is a frugal way to get food and take care of the environment, “Gardening is a great skill to develop to grow your own food or flowers, and can help cut down your environmental impact by lessening the number of products you buy at the grocery store (or florist). You can also start a compost pile and use it to recycle food scraps to turn them into fertilizer.”
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Use the three Rs of sustainability, “The three R’s of sustainability are reduce, reuse, recycle in that order. The same applies to frugality, in my opinion. The less you buy, the better. What you do have, use until it has lived out its life. Once it’s done, maybe it can be used as something else, and if not, recycle it where possible.”
Recycle for a Purpose
Encourage people to recycle for a purpose, “We live in a rural area with no trash pick up service and haul ours to a county transfer station. They have recycle bins for anything and everything recyclable. Participation was not very good initially, but then the county made a policy change and posted it prominently- “Money from all recyclables will be used to support county animal shelters.” It made a huge difference in participation.”
Compost kitchen scrap and avoid aerosol, “Kitchen waste goes to critters or compost piles. We never buy anything that is canned aerosol. We garden and produce a lot of our own food, so a canning jar can (barring accidents) last many years. We’ve had many of them last more than 30 years.”
Make Things From Scratch
“I enjoy making things from scratch, but that doesn’t prevent me from taking “help from the store” when I need to. Some things were easy for me, like rarely buying bottled water (I carry a stainless steel water bottle), but that’s not for everyone. It took a while to build the habit of taking empty reusable totes when I go shopping, but it’s become a habit now and isn’t really much effort or cost (especially since there’s a tax here now on plastic shopping bags: they’re no longer free),” explains another user.
Use Steel Cans for Packaged Goods
These are easy to recycle, “Whenever I do buy packaged food, I go for steel cans. They can be recycled infinitely (unlike plastic, which degrades in recycling), and if it does end up in the ocean, it will rust away to nothing, and the dissolved iron in the water will be a nutrient for marine life.”
Be a Minimalist
Embrace a minimalist lifestyle and declutter, “I’ve tried really embracing a more minimalistic lifestyle, which encompasses both frugality and being environmentally friendly because I hardly ever go shopping for non-consumables anymore. When I do, it’s almost always at Goodwill/thrift shops, and I donate or try to use up whatever I’m not using.”
This is a good way to get good deals and declutter as well, “Thrifting is very frugal. Save stuff from the dump! I also get a lot of use out of Facebook selling groups and similar apps. I buy and sell multiple items a week. Great way to declutter while also getting some extra cash!”
Reduce the Number of Flights
This will reduce the carbon imprints; according to one user, “Taking one less flight per year can have a hugely beneficial impact. A study was recently done by some Swedish researchers, and flying less, living car-free, and having fewer children were at the top of the list.”
Use Washable Wipes
Making reusable wipes from fabric can also be a great way to save the environment while being frugal, “For those who wear makeup, try making your own reusable/washable makeup wipes out of scrap fabric (I use scrap flannel from my other sewing projects) or old soft clothing. Coconut oil can be used to actually remove makeup, or you can google other alternatives.”
Do Everything With the Environment in Mind
One user takes this to a whole new level, “I find the opposite. Many of the things I do to be frugal are GREAT for the environment. I don’t buy any kind of bottled water. I gave up soda entirely. That means less bottles going into the environment. I mainly drink water, coffee, and iced tea. I make my own coffee and iced tea. That means much less Styrofoam goes to the junkyards. I go I only plan to eat out once a week. That doesn’t just save money it saves me gas, wear and tear, and less emission from my car. I make my own beer, so I am reusing the glass bottles. In the summer, my AC doesn’t go under 75, and in winter, my heater is set to 64. All good things for the environment. The only canned product I buy is tomatoes. I make soups, stew, stir-fry, and chilies from scratch. I even use dry beans. I try to make meals that last many days to save time and energy.”
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.