Easy Ways to Go Green and Save Money in the Process
Whether or not you’ve made it part of your new year’s resolutions, going green is a real and worthwhile goal. While we would love to opt for a brand new Tesla or, let’s face it, even a first-release Tesla, we don’t necessarily have the bank to afford one. Are there any realistic ways to adapt your day-to-day to be more eco-friendly? Yes! Not only will these suggestions be easy to incorporate into your life, but they’ll also save you money. Who knows, if you save up, you might even get that Tesla one day!
Have you cut back on heating or decided to take public transport to commute to work but would like to get even greener? Review the frequency at which you rely on single-use products. Plastic waste is a hazard in its production and its impact on water sources, wildlife, and even the climate. “Reducing plastic use is the most effective means of avoiding this waste (and the impacts linked to plastic production and use).” – NRDC.org
While you may not be able to 100% avoid everyday single-use items, you can definitely decrease your use of them. It will take you a little preparation and effort to establish new habits, but in the end, you will avoid contributing to waste and be able to save money on the side.
· Plastic Shopping Bags | While many of us have opted for reusable shopping bags, managing to remember to bring them to the store is a whole other story. It’s essential to get in the habit of placing your bags in an easy-to-access place each time you unload your groceries. If you have a hard time remembering, leave them in front of your front door so you will have to bring them out the next time you head to the car.
In addition to the reusable bag, grocery stores have added plastic bins for easy packing, carrying, and unloading. Not only are those bins great for heavy items, but they are also a fantastic way to store your soft reusable bags in the car or at home. While opting for single-use plastic may work in a pinch, the 5-10¢ per bag adds up quicker than you think.
Just ensure that you actually use your reusable bags and bins, resisting the urge to buy new ones every time you shop without them.
· Plastic Produce Bags | Not only are plastic produce bags single-use, but they also tend to be even less favourable when it comes to quality. Some stores have completely removed these handy bags from their stores. Avoid the waste, and the hassle, by using reusable produce bags instead. Whether made from netting, crochet, or otherwise, these little bags are easily transported and stored, washable, and strong enough to withstand even the prickliest pear.
TheSpruce.com dug deep and came out with a list of the best reusable produce bags, deeming the Earthwise Mesh Produce Bags number one! No doubt your local grocery store also has an option on the shelves. You can get extra creative by repurposing old t-shirts or pillowcases; the lighter weight fabric, the better. Not only will you avoid waste twice, but you’ll also be saving money.
· Ziplock Bags & the Like | Ziplocks, or whatever brand of sandwich bag you lean toward, are fantastic. They’re fantastic, that is, until they end up in the garbage. There are so many fun-looking and high-quality reusable options on the market now when it comes to sandwich bags. While they may feel a little pricey, they will save you money in the long run if you ditch the single-use version.
However, if you still have a few freezer bags, why throw them away after only one use? Instead, wash, dry and reuse them. You can save time by turning your freezer bags inside out and throwing them in the dishwasher along with the dishes. Just be sure to place the bags on the top rack, and anchor them securely, so they don’t move around.
· Plastic Food Wrap | Reusable food wrap is one of the most popular eco-friendly household items. Most are made using a combination of natural cotton coated in beeswax and a few other natural ingredients. They are reusable, self-adhering, and washable. You can find instructions online for making your own if you are industrious. Either way you go about it, incorporating the use of these reusable food wraps will save you money in the long run and help save the environment.
· Single-Use Bottles | Many of our day-to-day products come in single-use bottles. Look in your shower, under your sink, in your laundry room, etc. You will find plenty of bottles that head for the trash once you’re out of the product.
Look for stores that allow you to bring your containers and buy the contents in bulk. You can also look for companies that offer refill options so that you can extend the life of the bottle or container. When it comes to body soap and shampoo, opt for soap or shampoo bars. Not only do they leave behind far less
of a carbon footprint, but they are also often more natural and effective than commercial versions.
Purchasing your products without the plastic encasing is eco-friendly and way less expensive. Remember that the cost of the container is built into the total retail price. That said, soap in a bag and box is cheaper to manufacture than plastic or glass.
· Straws | Unless you are a straw user, plastic straws might not seem like that big of a deal. In reality, straw users love their straws, but they rarely hold up long enough to make it through more than one drink. Head online or to your local grocery store or pharmacy for a pack of reusable straws. Silicone or metal – it’s up to you and your personal preference.
· Cups & Bottles | Many of us have adopted this one aspect of going green at home – reusable cups and water bottles. If you haven’t yet, now’s the time. You can get a personalized cup or bottle at the dollar store for as little as $4. You can even find higher-end versions for $10 online. If you are a soda drinker, consider purchasing a soda stream. You’ll have to do the math if you are worried that a soda stream might not save you money. TheSimpleDollar.com has broken it down with tips to save you even more money.
· Coffee Filters |How many disposable coffee filters do you use weekly? A dozen? Maybe more? Why not purchase a filter that is reusable instead? There are many kinds out there, and they are surprisingly inexpensive.
· DIY Cleaning Products |Instead of buying all-purpose cleaners, make your own at a fraction of the cost. You can find DIY cleaning product recipes on the internet. Most use a combination of vinegar and water, to which a few drops of essential oils might be added. If you can’t stand the smell of vinegar, you can find recipes that do without. For example, you could use a mix of castile soap and baking soda.
· Paper Towels | Though paper towels are generally compostable, they are not the eco-friendliest household items as they use a lot of water and energy to make and are one-time use only. If you don’t want to stop buying them altogether, you can at least cut down drastically on the amount you need by using a rag to wipe up liquids and other messes.
· Glass Jars |Don’t get rid of glass food jars. Once they’ve been washed, they can make for convenient storage containers. For example, you can use them to store leftover liquids in the refrigerator or for dry foods in the pantry. You can even use them to sort various small trinkets around the house, thus keeping cupboards and drawers tidy.
These are just a few ways to incorporate healthy, environmentally friendly practices into your home and save money in the long run. If you need a little help with the up-front costs of these single-use alternatives, consider a simple and quick online loan. 24Cash is a Canadian company dedicated to helping hard-working families live their best lives, no matter what life throws them. Avoid debt and seek advice from our well-informed team by contacting us.