Corporations, marketing officers and even well-intentioned ‘eco’ influencers are promoting ways for you to go green – but it usually comes with a price. What isn’t being promoted is that you don’t need to spend any money, and especially money you don’t have, on ‘going green’. There are many things you can do to live more sustainably that don’t cost any money. Here are eight sustainable lifestyle choices you can make today that won’t cost you a cent:
1. Bring your reusables.
If you’re leaving the house today, make sure to take your reusables with you. By now, many folks will have at least a reusable bottle, reusable coffee cup and tote bags in their possession. Taking reusables with you greatly reduces the chances of you buying or accepting single-use plastic bottles and other items. Not sure if you have any reusables fit for purpose? Look in your kitchen first before buying any reusables you think you need. Metal cutlery can serve as travel cutlery. Old food jars make great food containers. Tea towels make great on-the-road napkins. Even disposable plastic bottles can be reused as a water bottle before throwing in a recycling bin.
2. Cook up leftovers.
Do an audit of your fridge and freezer and make sure to eat any leftovers that are in there. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organisation, one-third of all food produced globally is wasted and if food waste were a country, it would be the third-largest emitting country in the world. Reducing food waste each day is one simple way you can reduce your impact on the planet.
Related Post: 12 Easy Ways to Reduce Household Food Waste (and Save Money)
3. Learn to repair your clothing.
Thanks to fast fashion, it is now cheaper to buy new fashion than it is to repair it but this disposable attitude to our garments is having a detrimental effect on the health and well-being of communities and the natural environment. One way to reduce your fashion footprint is to learn to repair your own clothing. YouTube has a plethora of videos that will help you to hem trousers, repair a hole in a t-shirt and how to fix a broken zipper.
4. Enrol in a free ‘eco’ course.
Want to top up your knowledge about climate change, food security, or even fashion sustainability? There are countless free online courses on sites such as FutureLearn covering these subjects. Check out this post which provides a comprehensive list of online courses that you can enrol in that explores sustainability, ethical fashion and permaculture – and they’re all free!
5. Borrow a book on sustainability.
There are plenty of books being published on the topics of zero waste, climate change, sustainability and ethical fashion every passing year, and instead of buying them, why not borrow them? Borrowing from your local library or from a friend saves you money, reduces clutter and frees up shelf space in your home. Not sure what to read first? Our post ‘9 Top Environmental Books to Learn About Climate Science and Sustainability‘ offers some great recommendations to help you get started.
6. Regrow from food scraps.
Extend the life of the produce you buy by regrowing food from the scraps. Onions, garlic, potatoes, bok choy, spring onion, lettuce, leeks, basil, ginger and even avocado can all be regrown. The illustration below provides a step-by-step guide on how you can regrow food from kitchen scraps.
7. Shop your own closet.
The fashion industry is responsible for causing many social and environmental problems, from unfair pay, forced and child labor right through to environmental pollution and high carbon emissions. In addition, textile waste is the fastest growing waste stream across the world. Australians throw out 6,000 kgs of clothing and textiles every 10 minutes. In the US, around 85% of all textiles is either dumped into landfill or burned. By 2030, the total level of textile waste is expected to be 148 million tons a year. One way to mitigate these issues is to shop your own closet and wear the clothes already own. By being creative and learning to mix and match wardrobe items instead of going out and buying yet another item, you’ll help to reduce the need for raw materials and limit the fashion waste you generate.
8. Spend time in nature.
For those who were permitted to leave their homes during COVID-19, many sought to escape into nature for stress and anxiety relief. The author of the bestselling book “The Last Child in the Woods” Richard Louv says, “Staying close to nature improves physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It makes us feel alive from the inside, and we should not compromise it for recent developments like urbanisation, technology, or social media.” So today, enjoy the healing power of nature by spend some time at a local park, enjoy a forest bathe or simply spend some time in your own gardens.
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Cover image by Ann Nekr.