What does living sustainably mean to you?
For many of us, living sustainably is recycling when we remember to, bringing along a reusable water bottle, and declining a plastic straw to save the earth. While these are definitely great places to start, there’s much more we can do, and should be doing.
Learning to live more sustainably can feel quite intimidating, especially if you’re on a budget, but one of the best things about living sustainably is that it can actually help you save money. Yep, you heard us.
It’s easy to believe that opting for eco-friendly products comes at a cost, but in reality, living more sustainably focuses on reduction and repurposing. Do you really need to buy something? What do you already have that you can reuse and repurpose?
Let’s take a look at some of the budget-friendly ways we can live more sustainably.
Using what you already have might sound obvious, but as humans, we always want something shiny and new. How about we make use of what we already have instead?
Don’t just throw out your current products just because they aren’t sustainable. This only adds to waste and defeats the object of sustainable living. Instead, finish up your products before buying sustainable alternatives. Better yet, get creative and repurpose the empty product!
Not to nag, but switch off the lights when you leave the room. We promise it’s for a good reason. Turning off the lights and unplugging devices when you’re not using them helps save energy while saving you money on your bills. Why not swap your bulbs for energy-saving ones? They last longer, so you don’t need to keep buying bulbs and they use much less power. Now, there’s a bright idea!
Sorry to keep nagging, but how about taking shorter showers? We know how good it feels to sing in the shower, starting the day squeaky clean, but taking shorter showers with cooler water is another sustainable way to save energy and plenty of pennies. If you can, take fewer showers in general, as we don’t actually need to shower every day to be clean. Maybe dedicate a longer shower for hair washing, and take quick showers a couple of times for the rest of the week.
Shop Second-hand Clothing
Shopping second-hand can pretty much apply to anything, but in this case, we’re talking about clothes. There are so many clothes already in circulation, there’s plenty to go around without needing to buy brand new. The fashion industry is the third-largest industry, causing pollution, releasing 10% of the world’s greenhouse gases, so this is an important one.
Instead of buying brand new, choose to shop at vintage and charity shops or online fashion marketplaces. This keeps clothing circulating rather than ending up in landfills, giving them a new life, while you get the perks of having an updated wardrobe. But don’t let us stop you at clothing. You can buy pretty much anything second-hand like furniture, books and electronics.
When it’s time to wash your new second-hand wardrobe, make sure to put your washing machine on a cooler setting. This will save you energy and money, while your clothes still come out dazzling.
The next step is drying the clothes. If you haven’t already, get yourself a drying rack or if you have a garden, a washing line. These are game changers for drying your clothes, as there’s no need to waste energy with a tumble dryer, and once again will help with those pesky bills.
Now, let’s head to the kitchen. To be more sustainable, it’s better to buy your fruit and veg as seasonal as possible. This is because food that’s grown in season costs less to harvest and saves time between arrival to the shops. It also limits the demand for food that comes with high environmental consequences, such as the destruction of land and water, and transportation. Extra points if you can buy them without the plastic packaging.
To live more sustainably (and cheaply), cutting down your meat intake can help decrease your carbon footprint. Meat is an expensive source of food, so start by adding more vegetarian and vegan meals into your mealtimes, saving the animals, the planet, and your money. There are plenty of tasty options to choose from.
Another way to cut costs and decrease your carbon footprint is by swapping your energy provider to a 100% green one. Green energy uses renewable energy sources like wind and solar energy instead of fossil fuels. The UK already has a good selection of providers to choose from, like Ecotricity and Octopus Energy.
We couldn’t talk about sustainable living without mentioning Frecycle. Recycling helps reduce waste, enabling new things to be manufactured from it, and it costs nothing! Start your budget-friendly sustainability journey and become a Frecycler today.