As many cities across the U.S. see a heatwave, and as citizens deal with rising inflation and energy costs, it’s as good a time as any to discuss ways to reduce your environmental impact and save money. There are so many of them; the two seem almost to go hand-in-hand.
People are scared off by the initial costs of living a sustainable life. They shouldn’t be, because sustainability can extend to your wallet. When you waste less, you pay less, and so does our environment. These are things you can do easily in your everyday life.
Shopping From The Right Place
Because grocery shopping is one of the main areas we think about the money we spend and how it impacts the environment, buying right can be tricky. So many natural or organic products seem ridiculously priced. However, you could argue that it’s because of where you pick them up from or what products you buy.
While there is some debate as to whether fresh vs. frozen food, in general, is cheaper, one thing is for sure, pre-packaged, frozen meals are not cost-effective or environmentally friendly. Just looking at the per-ounce prices of the raw materials vs. the per-ounce price of the pre-packaged meal can tell you that, plus, even recyclable packaging isn’t guaranteed to avoid the landfill. If you prepare your own meals, you’ll save money, and you can offset your labor by meal-prepping.
While staying out of specific grocery aisles, the store you buy from is important. Walmart specializes in the lowest prices for everyday items, so the cost of high-quality, ethically sourced items is high. On the other hand, places like Trader Joe’s, Sprouts, and local farmers offer all-natural and organic meat and produce at lower prices. In addition, they often go below the cost of certain “high-end” processed brands.
Picking Up Extra Trash
If you can get over yourself, picking up more than your fair share is a great way to help the environment. We can all do our part daily by recycling and not littering; however, it doesn’t take much to go above and beyond. Taking it upon yourself to pick up someone else’s litter is something you can do as you go about your day, and it’s an easy way to know you’re doing your part. Plus, bottles, cans, and a number of things people throw out on the road, give away for free, or simply forget about and don’t come back for can be sold for materials, as they are, or used as a donation.
Reusing, Repurposing, and Recycling
These three R’s are an excellent example of how there are boundless things that are good for the environment and make some impact, however small, on increasing the size of your wallet. The more you can reuse something within safe and sanitary means, the more value you get from your purchase and the less stress you put on the environment. The same goes for repurposing, as you could save money on new items altogether. With recycling, the financial incentives are built in through cheaper pricing and outright purchasing of recycled materials.
Aside from those giving money for bottles and cans, every state has recycling services where you can get rid of items in exchange for cash. For most people, this would just be a good way to get something out of broken appliances, cars, or aluminum waste over a long period. However, those in certain professions could make this a consistent revenue stream.
Limiting Food Waste
With 30-40% of the United States’ food supply being wasted, it seems obvious, but it needs to be repeated again and again that you shouldn’t waste food and that you will save money if you don’t. Cleaning your plate, eating leftovers, and beating expiration dates can help you spend less money on food and get all of what you paid for. Plus, it saves the world the extra energy it takes to process food that’s thrown in the trash or that’s overproduced to make up for what we waste.
While grocery stores need to do better with their overall waste, one way that some of them have helped clean up their act is by dealing with discount grocers. These grocers buy overstock, near expiration date items, things with packaging defects, and good in a variety of situations that eventually result in food waste. If you’re lucky, there could be a discount grocer near you, where prices are a fraction of the regular price. While they may not be in the category of a discount grocer, Aldi is maybe the most popular store that uses some of these practices.
Save Some Money By Helping the Environment
Being environmentally friendly isn’t that big of a task if you just work it into your everyday life. A commitment to these things will help you budget, eat, and live better overall. More involved decision making, bending over once or twice a day, and a little ingenuity as you go about things is all it takes.
Prewriting Process: In my prewriting, I started off from my own knowledge base as far as how things impact the environment and how some of these practices can be a financial gain while being fit into your day-to-day, and then I went to make sure there were supporting links for my points. However, I went a little too broad in my outline so I didn’t get into the more specific details that were covered by some of the research I did pre-outline. I could probably do a healthy-sized blog about each of these subtopics so I’ll look to reel that in with future prewriting.