We all want the environment to be a safe and healthy place for our children and our children’s children. We want to be sure they have the best air quality, the healthiest foods and a nontoxic living environment. Sometimes it feels like you need to spend a lot of money to achieve these goals, but I’m here to tell you that’s not the case and give you five ways to save the environment on a budget.
1. Make your own cleaning supplies.
This not only saves you money, but it is a healthier way to clean. You are avoiding all the mysterious, sometimes toxic ingredients in typical store-bought cleaners while making sure your family, pets and the environment are staying away from unhealthy products. I basically make most of my cleaning supplies with white vinegar, baking soda, liquid castile soap and filtered water.
One of my favorite scrubs for the sink, bathtub or shower is a fresh lemon and some baking soda. Just cut a lemon in half, sprinkle it with baking soda and scrub your tub. Rinse when done, and your tub is clean. No fumes, just the natural smell of lemon.
READ MORE: 6 Simple DIY Cleaning Solution Recipes
2. Grow your own produce.
Growing your own produce is a great option to save money on your grocery list, especially if you’re reaching for the organic options. Even if you don’t have a lot of space, you can make container gardens to grow lettuce and herbs. And when you grow your own food, you’re less likely to let anything go to waste.
If you can’t grow a garden in your space, check the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) 2017 Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce to see what produce you should be buying organic.
3. Buy gently used.
Giving an item a second life reduces the waste from the production, packaging and shipping of a new product while saving you money. When buying new, be sure to put quality over quantity, which will also save you cash in the long run. Buying one quality natural fiber shirt that lasts for years versus one cheap synthetic shirt that doesn’t last through its first wash is better for your wallet and for the environment.
4. Buy reusable, not disposable.
Buying items that can be reused may cost more on the front end but will save you money — and benefit the planet — in the long run. Think cloth napkins, soft cloths for cleaning, reusable straws and so on. If you need to buy disposable, make sure to find more-sustainable options like paper napkins with recycled content.
5. Drink filtered tap water.
Stop buying soda, juices and bottled water. Soda is bad for your teeth, your bones, your waistline and the planet. Drinking filtered water from your tap is healthier for your family and will reduce your carbon footprint.
If you want a real eye-opener, check out Authority Nutrition’s “13 Ways That Sugary Soda Is Bad for Your Health.” (And if you were thinking that fruit juice is a better option, you’ll want to take a peek at “Fruit Juice Is Just as Unhealthy as a Sugary Drink.”)
Be sure to invest in a good filter; check out EWG’s helpful Water Filter Buying Guide to find a filter to fit your needs and your budget.
Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. —Carl Sagan
What are some of your other favorite wallet-friendly ways to save the earth?