Reducing our carbon footprint to save the planet does not have to be expensive.
We don’t need to buy expensive sustainable clothing to feel good about our relationship with our environment.
There are numerous cheap purchases that we can integrate into our day-to-day lives to help save our planet, one purchase at a time.
The easiest way to introduce changes in our lives is by doing so in increments. If you watched a documentary or listened to a podcast that has opened your eyes to climate change, it’s very tempting to overhaul your lifestyle.
For most people, overhauling their lifestyle is not sustainable. It’s a decision taken in the heat of the moment. After a couple of days, it’s very likely they will revert back to old habits and systems.
That’s why I would suggest picking only one or two of these purchases that I will talk about next. Don’t try to purchase all these at once, and then overhaul your day-to-day life.
Instead, pick one that won’t disrupt your existing lifestyle, and then incorporate the others weeks down the road if you want to.
Reusable Water Bottle
One of the cheapest purchases that will have a hugely positive impact on the environment is a humble reusable water bottle.
When you are out and about, it’s very easy to buy plastic water bottles whenever you are exhausted or dining out.
Here in Canada, I have noticed, if you are eating in food courts, you have to buy plastic water bottles. Even if you ask for a cup, most likely you will get a plastic cup.
Instead, carry a water bottle with you at all times. Whenever you are thirsty, just fill it up at a water station.
Metal or Glass Straws
Most plastic straws cannot be recycled. They end up in landfills, or worse, in our seas and oceans where it makes the lives of fish and other sea creatures miserable.
Many coffee shops and restaurants have adopted straws that are recyclable or biodegradable. However, you will have to be careful when disposing of them and make sure you are throwing them in the correct trash can.
Also, you are making the assumption that the recycling and trash management system is functioning correctly. That’s a big assumption in lots of cities.
Instead, buy some metal or glass straws. They are very cheap and can last you a very long time.
I like keeping a few in my apartment and a few in my car to cover most scenarios.
Reusable Grocery and Shopping Bags
If you have read some of my other blogs, you know that I preach a lifestyle of low consumption.
If you already have such a lifestyle, then most probably you are not shopping too much. Hence, buying a reusable shopping bag might not make a ton of sense.
However, it’s very difficult to cut down on trips to grocery stores. That’s where a reusable grocery bag comes in.
Some grocery stores still use plastic bags. Others are a little better and use recyclable ones. Still, you will have to correctly dispose of them to be recycled.
The easier option is to just buy a grocery bag. It’s cheap and easy to carry around. If you have a few extra dollars to spare, buy an insulated one for greater convenience.
Travel Cutlery Set
If you find yourself eating out in food courts or grabbing something to go, odds are you are using a ton of plastic forks, spoons, and knives.
Even if you are going out on picnics with friends and families, it’s very common to just buy a set of disposable plastic cutlery.
Instead, spend a few dollars buying a travel kit. You can buy wooden, plastic, or metal ones — anything but plastic.
Carry them around if you are taking food to an office or going to eat in places where they offer plastic ones.
This one applies to both eating out and eating in.
When eating out, it’s typical to have leftovers. You ask the restaurant to give you a container, you put the food in, and then you need to dispose of it the next day when you are done.
These containers tend to be disposable, however, it requires you to dispose of them correctly.
You can avoid the trash altogether if you carry a small glass container with you when going out.
If you cook more often than eating out, a glass container is still a better alternative than plastic ones.
They will last you longer and you will reduce the amount of trash you create.
Swapping out anything plastic that you buy often with its equivalent reusable counterpart is one of the best things you can do for the environment.
I admit these five purchases might be cheap, but it’s difficult to integrate these into your lifestyle.
That’s why I suggest picking one and getting used to it before deciding if you want to incorporate more of it.
I hope you found this blog post valuable. If you did, please consider clapping on the story, following me on Medium, and if you want to go an extra step, become a Medium member using my referral link below.