Does sustainable living have to come at a cost?
To put it simply, no.
Unfortunately, most of the things we see online that advertise a sustainable lifestyle seem a little on the pricey side. Eco living has definitely become more popular and a choice that many more people are wanting to make, but why should helping the plant have to come at a cost?
With the rise of ecophobia and anxiety about the environment, it’s more important than ever to discuss the cost of living ecologically sound. There’s no need to re-evaluate your finances just to live sustainably. Small changes can make a big difference and they certainly don’t have to cost the earth.
In the modern world, we simply need ‘things’. It’s not always feasible to completely cut items out of our lives just because we didn’t use them 100 years ago. Society has adapted to the modern life and has become reliant on objects and materials that are readily available. There are many eco alternatives to a lot of these things, but they often come with a hefty price tag. You are probably asking why they must be so expensive, right? Well, it can be because of factors like fair-trade, fair pay and the fact that they are sustainably made. If you can afford the initial pay out for these products, it will definitely be worth it in the long run as most sustainable alternatives will last much longer than their non-eco counterparts. However, I have five top tips and tricks that can save your pennies as well as your planet:
1. Do what you can
Now, if you’re anything like me, you are an all or nothing kind of person, but when it comes to making the decision to live more sustainably, it’s not always that easy.
Wanting to make a change is the first step. Don’t rush into changing every aspect of your life straight away. Have a plan in mind and start small. Doing something is better than nothing.
2. Eat responsibly
Changing your eating habits is one of the easiest changes to make. The UK produces the highest amount of food waste in Europe, so why not try reducing the amount of food you throw away.
An easy way to do this is by shopping for fresh and local produce. Even though buying your fruit and veg at your local green grocers or farmers market may be slightly more expensive, it will most likely encourage you to buy less and therefore waste less.
If you don’t mind getting your hands dirty, growing your own food is another really simple way to cut down on costs. Garden or no garden, you can still grow what you eat and like always, start small and go from there.
3. Use what you have
Making the decision to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle can be exciting, and you may be tempted to change everything at once, but it’s important to remember what living sustainably actually means.
Sustainable living means using what you have. So, if you haven’t emptied your bottle of shampoo yet, don’t switch it out for your eco alternative straight away. Use it up first. You could even take the empty bottle to your local eco shop and use it as a refill container for your new shampoo.
4. Use your legs
Sometimes getting from A to B is only possible by car, but where you can, try to walk or cycle. Not only will this save you money, but it’s also really beneficial to your health and the health of our planet.
5. Roll up your sleeves
Fast-fashion is an issue that has been at the forefront of the media for some time now, so you are most likely aware of the damage that it causes to our planet. Not only is it damaging to earth, but it can also cause quite a large hole in your pocket.
Keeping up with the latest trends can be expensive, so why not try adapting the clothes that you already have? Dust off your sewing machine, watch some YouTube videos and make yourself a new outfit out of the clothes you no longer wear.
Shopping second hand is another fun and inexpensive way to stay fashionable. Most new trends are just old ones coming back around, so you might be surprised at what gems you can find in your local charity shop.
So, you see, sustainably isn’t just for the fat cats. You can help the planet without being out of pocket. And remember, small changes can make a big difference.
Hannah Whitehead, Cohort 31, Junior Creative Designer at Rocketer