I have been having a lot of conversations with my family and friends about leading a ‘sustainable’ lifestyle. The general opinion amongst them is that being sustainable is expensive in comparison to our normal way of living. For the longest time I had the same opinion because a lot of brands charge a premium from customers for sustainable products. Here are my recommendations for how to be sustainable on the cheap-
- Wastage reduction – The easiest step towards being sustainable is to be mindful of wastage – waste less water, electricity, food etc. This is not only good for the climate but is also good for your pocket.
- Vegan vs Vegetarian vs Non-Vegetarian lifestyle – I agree that vegan milk/cheese/tofu/cream are all more expensive than their dairy equivalents. A vegetarian lifestyle on the other hand is in general cheaper unless you want to have guacamole and berry smoothie everyday (avocados and blueberries are expensive in India!). While I don’t know the costs of meat & vegetables across countries but for a basic comparison when you go to eat out and you pick between a veggie and a non-veg pasta – the veggie one is always cheaper!
- Reusable cutlery & mugs – Instead of opting for a Starbucks one-time-use-take-away mug, why not carry a mug from home and use that instead. Instead of using a plastic straw provided by the cafe carry your own metal straw. Carry your own metal/glass bottle from home instead of purchasing a plastic bottle of water. Metal straws, mugs, metal bottle etc. are inexpensive and can be reused for years! This is a very easy way to be sustainable which isn’t pocket heavy at all!
- Sustainable fashion – I usually end up shopping for a few new pieces of clothing/jewelry every month. But sustainable fashion means buying lesser and more meaningful clothes. Doing this is both pocket friendly and reduces wastage! I have written a blog on sustainable fashion, check that out for more ideas!
- Recycle – recycle & DIY old items to re-purpose them into something new. DIY old clothes to make new outfits, recycle old wine bottles to make room decor – there are a lot of such ideas on the internet and they’re all really easy to do!
- Make an “Exchange Circle” – I personally believe this is quite exciting – make an exchange circle with a group of friends and exchange items with each other. If you’re bored of a pair of blue denims exchange it with your friend for her boots that she’s bored of wearing! This gives you access to A LOT of other things without spending any money. This also ensures that the items you’ve bought are properly used till the end of their lifecycle.
- Donate – instead of just throwing out old items – try to donate the ones that can be used again to someone who might need it or can re-purpose it and use it. Again, this will ensure that the product you’ve bought is used thoroughly!
- Reduce usage of wipes/cotton pads – instead of one time usage wipes/cotton pads move to microfiber cloth to clean your face and remove your make up. Microfiber cloth is very reasonable and can again be used for long so is cheaper in the long run!
- Lesser usage of pads/tampons – This is something that even I haven’t been able to incorporate yet since I’m still researching on it. But mensuration cups & period panties are reasonably priced, easily available and way more economical than pads & tampons. While I am sure heavier flow days may make you want to use a pad or a tampon but even if we can reduce our usage by 50%, its a great first step!
- Be conscious – as a consumer and as an occupant of our planet. As a consumer – do a little research about the products & the companies you are investing in. Support companies that are are sustainable in their ways or atleast contribute back to the environment. Be conscious of the carbon footprint you are leaving behind. This costs nothing and is definitely THE first step towards being sustainable!
These are just some starting steps to take towards a sustainable lifestyle. These steps will not cost you money and will definitely save you money in the long run. If we all decided to be even 50% more sustainable in our ways – we’ll be leaving a much healthier planet for our next generation!
Stay safe and be sustainable! ❤
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