In this time when many people have given up on living an eco-friendly life, you can still take the initiative and do your small part in it. Now more than ever, the blame for environmental degradation has shifted to celebrities flying in jets or big corporations’ wastes.
But this does not mean that you cannot do your part. You can be one of the few people who embrace an eco-friendly life.
While it will be a win for the planet, if you leverage it well, your wallet will also like it.
Looking for sustainable and frugal living practices to embrace in your eco-friendliness journey?
These 15 tips would be great for you.
1. Zero-Waste Grocery Shopping
Buying small items packed in plastic bags produces a lot of waste. Buying in bulk is not only good for the planet; it is great for your pocket.
You also want to bring a reusable shopping bag to the grocery store. This way, you will not have to buy plastic bags every other time.
You may also try and see if there are any zero-waste grocery stores near you. These stores stock everyday foods, but not packed in individual plastic packets.
Lastly, you want to steer clear of products that do excessive packaging.
2. Cloth Diapers and Reusable Wipes
According to Pampers, newborns use up to 10 diapers per day. By the end of the first year, many parents would have used 2500-3000 diapers on their child.
Unfortunately, many diaper brands are not biodegradable. They are made of materials that take hundreds of years to decompose.
They are also not cheap; parents spend an average of $70 per month and $840 per year buying diapers. This cost may as well go into thousands if wipes are factored in.
Deciding to get reusable diapers and wipes will not only cut down this cost significantly, it will help reduce the masses in landfills.
3. Thrift Store and Swap Finds
With the rise of fast fashion, it has become a trend for people to buy tens of clothing every other month. With new pieces being released every other day and the old ones wearing out after a single wash, it quickly becomes a race to buy more and more.
The thing is that this trend keeps digging deeper into people’s pockets and filling landfills.
It is also important to note that many sustainable brands can be expensive. Yes, you are better off buying these good quality items once and for all …but what if you want to save some money?
This is where thrift shopping comes in. Buying second-hand items, not just clothes, will save you money. It is also a second chance you are giving to an item that would have ended up in a landfill.
Besides, before you dispose of that item, you sure want to check if someone else can make good use of it by swapping or selling it to them.
4. Minimalist Wardrobe
Whether buying new sustainable items or second-hand clothes, you should aim at buying versatile and timeless items.
A great minimalist wardrobe is one where everything goes with everything. You would have cracked the minimalist wardrobe code if every top could be worn with every bottom in your wardrobe.
Learn how to assemble a capsule wardrobe, and you will forget the cost of buying every other trendy piece that hits the market.
5. DIY Natural Cleaners
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, many commercial cleaning products are made of chemicals that biodegrade very slowly or into even more persistent and toxic chemicals, all which are harmful to aquatic life.
If you would like to reduce the strong effect of the phosphorus and nitrogen commonly found in commercial cleaning products, you may want to consider making your own DIY home cleaning products.
It is a sure way to save hundreds of dollars per year while reducing the amount of toxic chemicals that find their way into water bodies.
6. Composting System
Food waste and remains make up most of what ends up in our trash and eventually in landfills. While they may be biodegradable, there is still much you can do to cut costs and make them decompose faster.
You can create a compost bin in your yard and decompose your food waste and yard clippings. This will save you from the charges of trash pick up.
Besides, composting food waste creates soil viable for growing crops. You can stack it in crates, sack it, and grow your food and fruits. This can save you the cost of buying soil to grow your own produce.
7. Meatless Meals
No doubt, eating less meat can significantly cut your costs. To live a frugal life, start by embracing a plant-based diet.
According to CNET, you could save over $1196 annually by dropping meat from your diet. On top of this, you could reduce the heavy pressure put on the ecosystems to nurture the animals for meat production. Rearing animals for meat production increases soil degradation, deforestation, and emission of greenhouse gasses.
The pesticides used may also be harmful to the environment and aquatic life.
8. Upcycled Home Decor
A lot of home decor is made from plastic and other synthetic materials. The production process is unfriendly to the environment and causes pollution.
Instead of buying rags, vases, tables, wall decors, and organizers, consider using what you have to make what you want.
For instance, you can redecorate bottles to make flower vases, repurpose tires into coffee tables, and make floor mats from old shawls.
9. Renewable Energy Sources
Shifting from non-renewable energy sources to renewable sources will save you a lot of money. For instance, installing a home solar system today will cost you some good money upfront, but the investment will save you much more money in the years to come.
Depending on how electricity is produced, many harmful gasses are released. Shifting to solar energy is a great strategy for your pocket and the environment.
You may also want to air dry your clothes instead of tumble drying them, use air source heat pumps, and analyze the possibility of incorporating wind energy (yes, it can be done on a small scale too).
10. Bike or Walk for Transportation
Transportation is the second highest expense for most American families. If you find ways to cut it down, you will do your financial life a great justice.
Instead of driving to work, consider using your bike. A study on people who quit driving to work and started using public transport found that they saved an average of $812 per month.
This shows that you can save much more if you bike or walk around.
And it is not just about saving; you will help reduce greenhouse gasses and pollutants emitted by cars.
11. Repair Before Replacing
Always repair your appliances before thinking of getting a new one.
The cost of buying new appliances will always be higher than repairing them. The good thing about repairing is that you can learn to do it yourself and save on costs.
Also, repairing keeps that appliance from finding its way into landfills. You know the kind of materials they are made of; there is no way they would decompose in hundreds of years to come.
12. Rainwater Harvesting
Harvesting rainwater and using it to run your household can save you up to half of what you spend on water. It does not stop there; rainwater makes it much cheaper to clean your house, as it works effectively with small amounts of cleaning products.
Using rainwater cuts the electricity used to pump and distribute water to houses. Besides, if you harvest water, you reduce erosion caused by forcefully running rainwater that destroys ecosystems.
13. Community Sharing and Borrowing
Community sharing and borrowing items will save you from frequently buying items you do not use. For instance, sharing items such as camping gear and tools with your neighbors will save you the costs of everyone buying their own.
Reduced acquisition of products means less of it is manufactured. Manufacturing processes are typically invasive to the environment, so reducing them is an excellent step toward sustainability.
14. Local and Seasonal Eating
Buying produce that is in season will always be cheaper. The item is typically abundant, and according to the principles of demand and supply, the costs will drop.
Also, if the item is locally produced, it means it takes a shorter distance to get shipped to stores and markets, which results in less air pollution from the shipping process.
We get it; there is always a strong urge to buy “exotic” and out-of-season fruits, which have likely been shipped from across the world. If it is out of season, it is expensive.
They have been shipped from other countries and have heavy preservatives used on them. All this makes them so expensive, but still at the cost of the environment.
Find out local and seasonal produce to save the environment and money.
15. Reduce Single-Use Plastics
Avoid single-use plastics such as coffee cups, shopping bags, water bottles, cling film, and fridge containers.
Buying reusable items may cost you a little more upfront but will save you much more in the long run.
For example, using reusable bags reduces plastic waste and saves at least $75 per year. The amount can go even higher with other products such as water bottles and fridge containers.
Sustainability aligns very well with frugality. They all are excellent at reducing consumption and costs, reusing items, reducing waste, and repurposing items.
If you want to be part of the environmental conversation and save money while at it, consider adding sustainable and frugal living tips to your lifestyle.
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This article was produced and syndicated by A Dime Saved.