I’ve recently noticed that the more effort I make to live in an eco-friendly way, the more my expenses decrease. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is eating a plant-based diet, which can be extremely cheap if based around vegetables, fruit, grains and legumes.
It applies to transportation too – getting the bus is cheaper and more eco-friendly than driving, and walking or cycling is cheaper and more eco-friendly than getting the bus.
Likewise, using fewer toiletries saves you money and means fewer harmful substances are released into the environment. It also creates less waste in the form of plastic bottles.
Buying things in bulk reduces packaging waste and usually works out cheaper – many people do this solely because they’re on a tight budget. The same can be said for cooking from scratch instead of relying on pre-packaged foods, drinking tap water rather than buying bottled and saving leftovers to eat the next day. There’s a lot of truth in the saying ‘Waste not, want not’.
Borrowing things rather than buying your own, either from a friend or from a service like the library, means fewer resources used and more money saved. Replacing disposable items with zero-waste alternatives is another example – using menstrual cups, hankies, and metal straws for instance. The same goes for using less electricity.
There are countless more examples I could list. When you think about it, this all makes a lot of sense – something which uses fewer resources is logically going to be both cheaper and better for the environment.
But there are exceptions – for example, compostable toothbrushes are expensive. And plant milks are usually dearer than cows’ milk, despite being better for the environment. However, this is likely because the demand for these products isn’t yet high enough for economies of scale to really come into play, something which will change in the future. Also, animal products are currently heavily subsidised to make them affordable to the public.
Of course, if the environmental costs of products were taken into account when determining the price, those which were better for the environment would always be cheaper. It would be nice to see a world where this was the case. Until then, I’ll take comfort in the fact that being on a budget doesn’t have to mean harming the planet.