Sustainability for the Budget-Minded

We all know we should be living more sustainable lives, but at times the barrage of messages and greenwashing can make it seem a Sisyphean task.

So we’ve compiled a list of the best ten thing you can do to kick-start a more sustainable lifestyle. These ten tips are both easy and they’ll save you money, so what’s stopping you?

1. Ditch the plastic – cut single-use disposable plastic out. Every piece of plastic ever produced still remains somewhere on the earth today. So get rid of it, starting with these

  • Use a refillable water bottle. You can back up your promise not to use disposable bottles by taking the Sydney Water Tap Pledge (and arm yourself with a few facts that will help keep your resolve).
  • Get a re-useable coffee cup like a Keep Cup or one of the many other varieties available.
  • Stop using plastic shopping bags (‘I’m going to reuse them’ is not an adequate justification – they will still end up in landfill).
  • Refuse straws. Surprised to see this one? The amount of straws used daily in the United States (500 million) would fill 127 school buses. Every day.

2. Organise your grocery shop – Plan your meals and write a shopping list, then buy only the items on your list. Each Australian household throws away one in every five bags of groceries bought. That’s literally throwing money down the drain.

3. Eliminate ghost standby power suck – turn standby electricity items off at the wall or get a power board where you can turn each gadget off individually.

4. Hit up an Op Shop – It’s great to donate your unwanted clothes and goods at an op shop but have you tried buying stuff from one recently? Buying second hand means less resources are used to create new ‘stuff’ and it keeps good items out of landfill for longer.

5. Lights out when you’re not about – It’s obvious! You remember that myth about how it takes more energy to turn a light on than switching it off when not in use? Busted. Switch them off.

6. Shop at local farmers markets – the produce has a smaller footprint as it has only travelled from up the road, plus you get to meet the grower, buy healthy food that’s in season, and often nab a bargain. If you think this conflicts with point #2, think again. Most recipe websites these days have meals organised by seasonal vegetables, and you can always look up the seasonal section of the Taste recipe dictionary.

7. Be your own farmer – Even a pot of basil on your windowsill makes a little difference to your eco-footprint and a big difference to your budget. If you’ve got the space and time, you could try growing some basic veggies in your garden.

8. Unleash the power of vinegar and bi-carb soda – for cleaning. It’s super cheap, easy, and you know there are no toxic chemicals involved.

9. Buy from loose product shops – don’t pay for a kilo of buckwheat when you only wanted 200g! By shopping from the loose product bins you only get what you need, saving cash and food waste. You can also take your own containers (and remember your reusable bags) for extra sustainability points.

10. Walk, ride or PT it – it will save $ on petrol and parking. There are a plethora of great public transport apps available now that have real-time updates and use your location to tell you the quickest and easiest route from A to B. Google Maps has an easy and universal option, and depending on where you live there are often free public transport planning apps you can get

Thanks to Earth Carers for the original post which inspired this list.

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