There is often a misconception that buying sustainable & ethical products, living an eco-friendly lifestyle, and being conscious comes at a higher cost. It CAN be more expensive….depending what you’re doing. But in a lot of ways sustainable living can not only be good for the planet, but also good for your wallet. Yes, you can actually save money by living sustainably. Check out these tips on living sustainably and saving money.
1.Use Beeswax Wrap & never spend money on plastic wrap again.
Beeswax wrap is an easy way to start your sustainable kitchen journey. This nifty wrap is a reusable eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. And it works GREAT. Seriously, I use all the time. Beeswax warp is washable & reusable. Great for the planet because it cuts back on that plastic wrap that gets sent to landfills. AND wonderful for your wallet because thats an item you can take off your grocery store list…forever! Beeswax wrap is great for keeping cheese, vegetables, fruits, covering bowls with leftovers, & more. Learn more on using beeswax in our How to Use Beeswax Wrap guide.
2. Take shorter showers & lower your water bill.
Yes, yes, we all love our steamy long showers. I’m guilty of this too! According to Boston University, the average shower uses about 5 gallons of water per minute. If individuals shorten their shower by 2 minutes, each person can cut water use by 10 gallons. Wow! Two minutes isn’t much at all. And think how shorter showers could impact your water bill? Save money & the planet! It’s a win, win.
3. Buy THINX & never purchase pads again.
I’ve been using THINX period panties for about four years now and I love them. Instead of throwing away plastic tampon applicators & sending pads to the landfill consider investing in period panties. Yes, these are panties you can wear on your period, wash, & rewear. So no more purchasing pads. While period panties may appear to be expensive, this is an investment that will pay off because think of all the money you’re spending on pads each month. THINX is the socially responsible brand of period panties I wear. They have an excellent give back program donating period products to people in need and educating communities.
4. It’s time to rethink the single serve coffee.
It’s no secret that the convenience of single serve coffee machines, like the Keurig, are perfect for people who live alone or are always on the go. But did you know that according to NPR since 2015 sixty billion K-Cups had gone into landfills? Pretty crazy! I’m not telling you to give up your Keurig because I have one and adore the convenience of making a single cup. But there are a few different products you can invest in to reduce your environmental impact of sending those k-cups to the landfill. Consider purchasing Reusable K-Cups which allows you to put your own coffee grounds in, wash, & reuse. This can actually save you money since you can buy your coffee in bulk and not have to actually purchase the coffee pods every time. It’s an affordable switch too. These Reusable K-Cups are just $10 for a set of four. Another alternative that’s a bit more pricey is finding a brand that sells compostable or recyclable k-cups. One of my personal favorite recyclable k-cups include the fair trade brand of coffee Singing Rooster.
5. Buy Less & Buy Thoughtfully
Our purchase power has a huge impact. We have the choice to purchase, or to not. Obviously the most sustainable option is to not purchase. But I love to support small businesses and businesses working to change the world. So I encourage people to remember that it’s our responsibility to support brands that share our values, value the planet, and value other people. Before purchasing make sure the item you’re buying is something you actually need such as food or if the item will bring you joy for many years to come. By questioning your own purchase power this reduces the amount of impulse buys. In the long run you’re more likely to save money and purchase less.
6. Reusable Snack Bags
Ditch the plastic snack bags and food savers! Invest in reusable snack bags to keep your food fres and for those packed lunchesh. This an an affordable swap that's easy! I’m obsessed with these adorable plant themed reusable snack bags.
7. Wash Less & Use Cold Water
Wear and rewear your clothes before throwing washing them. As long as you didn’t go to the gym in them or get them dirty, your clothes can be worn. Re-use your towels multiple times before throwing them in the washer. Doing less laundry uses less water + energy and is better for the planet and better for your water/electric bill. Laundry is the chore I don’t like, so I tell myself I’m saving the environment as an excuse. When you do laundry try to use cold water. This uses less energy due to the energy it takes to heat the water.
8. Swap Clothes
Instead of heading to the mall when your closet has you feeling uninspired considering swapping clothes with those in your community. This keeps clothes out of the landfill, freshens up your wardrobe, and doesn’t do any harm to your wallet.
9. Ugly Produce
Consider buying ugly produce. Unfortunately there is a lot of produce that ends up in landfills simply because of how it looks. Imperfect Produce reports that 20% of produce doesn't even leave U.S. farms based on how it looks. Grocery stores tend to want those picture perfect fruits. However, ugly produce is usually still edible. There are multiple programs that allow consumers to purchase ugly produce at a discount rate which keeps produce out of landfills and allows the consumer to save money. I’ve used Imperfect Produce a few times and have really enjoyed it. Use this link to get $10 off your first Imperfect Produce box!
10. Shop Secondhand
Shopping secondhand is a sustainable alternative that encourages the circular economy. The more we shop secondhand, the less demand there is for NEW products which can eventually have a positive impact on the environment if we focus on products and materials that are already here instead of creating new.
11. Reusable Water Bottles
I’m still shocked at how many people still buy plastic water bottles. I’ll admit it I’m guilty of forgetting my reusable water bottle every once in a while and have to resort to that, but it’s so easy to invest in a high quality reusable water bottle and then you can cross off plastic water bottles from your grocery list, woohoo! My go-to water bottle is my Yuhme. Yuhme creates sustainable, plastic free water bottles made from sugarcane. These plant based water bottles are still dishwasher safe, durable, and light weight. I’ve had mine for four years and am still loving it. Plus each water bottle sold provides six months of clean water for communities in the Central African Republic through Yuhme’s partnership with the non-profit Water for Good.
12. Invest in Quality Products
When you do decide to buy things such furniture for your home or clothing invest in high quality goods. Products that will last. If you choose to invest in a high quality fair trade $50 shirt over that $5 fast fashion shirt, the $50 shirt will definitely outlive the $5 shirt. I’m not saying higher prices always guarantee better quality, but with a lot of ethical clothing brands they will definitely outlive your fast fashion apparel. Therefore, you don’t have to replace those $5 shirts over and over again because instead you invested in a quality garment that will last for years to come.
13. Ditch the Dryer
I’m a huge advocate for line drying clothes. I’ve been doing it for years because it keeps the fibers in tact and makes my clothes last longer. If that in itself isn’t enough to encourage you to air dry your clothes, Green Cleaning Magazine reports that electric dryers account for approximately six percent of total household electricity use, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Ditch the dryer and you can save at least $70 to $100 off your electricity bill every year. Over 32 million metric tons of carbon dioxide, 43 billion kWh, and 443 million therms of natural gas are emitted every year in the U.S. from electric dryers (according to the Environmental Protection Agency). Air-drying can reduce a household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year. CRAZY.
14. Reusable Straws
This one is pretty simple and popular. Knock the plastic straws off your grocery list forever by purchasing reusable straws. In our home we use stainless steel straws that are great and dishwasher safe. Investing in these straws will prevent you from having to buy plastic straws ever again. Such an easy swap and EarthHero has some great options.
15. Reusable Utensils
Packing lunches for your kids or heading to work? Invest in a quality pair of reusable utensils so you can ditch the plastic wear. Never buy plastic utensils again if you just keep a reusable set of utensils in your desk. Check out the selections from EarthHero here.