Going green in 2018 requires knowing a laundry-list of different ways to save the planet. Many people, however, find that these eco-solutions are much too impractical to implement for the resources they have available. Sustainably produced personal care products are amazing for the planet, but not a good option for those saving the pennies. Organic foods are better than their chemical or imported counterparts, but they certainly aren’t the cheap option. While you may have no problem with spending a bit extra for the environment, there are many out there that just don’t have the ability to fund being eco-friendly.
Here are 5 green tips for people concerned about their outgoings to try in 2018. They are not only great for the planet, but will help your budget as well.
Taking your vacations local
You may be thinking of going abroad this year – why not try taking a vacation at home instead? The environmental benefits of not taking a flight or making shorter haul drives are clear in reducing emissions and I can guarantee that you’ll have an as good, if not, better time locally than you’re expecting – after all, you’ll be getting in touch with your own roots and finding out things you never knew about your very own home.
The benefits of this are also monetary – you’ll be spending a lot less than you would travelling to some exotic destination on the other side of the globe. So try out taking a ‘staycation’ today – you’ll have a unique experience you never knew was on your doorstep.
Cut down meat, get creative with alternatives!
Baum + Whiteman, the restaurant consultancy, predicted that the number 1 food trend for 2018 would be plant-based, and that’s in line with the growing vegan movement of the last 15 years. Vegans are becoming more numerous, and they certainly aren’t going away.
A big argument to come from the movement is that pastoral farming is terrible for the environment – animals cost land, reduce forest coverage and produce all kinds of environmentally damaging by-products, and what’s worse is that their production is inflating as global meat demand increases. At the same time, meat has become even less cost effective to buy in recent times. Some cuts of chicken pork and beef can be 20%-50% more expensive than meat alternatives like tofu or quorn – clearly the latter is better for an avid budgeteer.
You may be thinking that meat substitutes are just that bit less interesting to cook with. We recommend getting creative with your recipes. Here are two great ideas:
- Tofish – battered and fried fish substitute which uses tofu and nori seaweed to make an authentic battered fish experience
- Vegan Fried Chicken – Good chickeny alternative to a fried classic, using nutritional yeast.
So get out the pots and pans, there are a whole world of environmentally friendly, budget effective recipes just waiting to be tried.
The sharing economy
If you’ve been keeping tabs on the business world, you’ll have noticed a number of different disruptive services coming out all with the same umbrella concept – the sharing economy. Platforms like AirBnB and BlaBlaCar are deliberately underwriting the established markets they’re set up with by using the resources available around their customers more efficiently. A living room to stay in is far more ecologically friendly than hotels with huge carbon footprints and carpooling is much better than taking a drive by yourself.
A new player in the sharing economy, Fat Lama, is instead aiming to make people use equipment more efficiently. The company aims to make the globe a greener and more communal place by allowing people to lend and rent things from each other.
This is reducing the need for quite so much to be produced in factories, overall reducing the climatic impact of the goods industry. So next time you need anything – from a bike to a drone – give Fat Lama a look. You’ll be saving the planet as much as saving yourself some cash.
Reduce the amount of plastic you use
The Guardian came out with some worrying statistics in 2016 that only a third of recyclable plastic packaging was being recycled. Frustration and uncertainty with the recycling process was pointed to as the culprit. With that, here are two ideas for devices that can help you recycle more effectively by reducing the amount of packaging there needs to be recycled.
Proper Coffee Makers
These days, all sorts of technology is associated with making coffee. The absolute worst for the environment has to be those coffee pod machines. Tiny, un-reusable plastic pods which only make one cup may be very convenient, but they are terrible for the planet. Try going retro and buying a cafetiere or a drip filter. There is true joy to be taken from making coffee the real way, and on top of that, it is a lot cheaper and better for the planet than paying for those pod boxes.
A lot of people have the same dilemma with fizzy water and soft drinks – buying the bigger bottles are better for the planet, but lose their fizz. Buying smaller bottles, which keep their fizz end but produce a mountain of plastic waiting to be recycled. Try out a water carbonator like Sodastream. They are cheap, both to buy and in the long term, and produce zero extra packaging – an easy win for the eco-budgeteer!
Investing in smart home systems
You will have noticed with the popularisation of the Amazon and Google home assistants that smart homes are very rapidly going from being Science Fiction to everyday life. With that, the scope for improvements in people’s lives are vast. One such way is with energy automation.
Smart homes are now capable of entirely controlling the lights, power and heating of a person’s home. They can use sensors to detect if someone is in a room, and if they aren’t turn off power to those rooms automatically. They can also schedule effective times in the day to turn on and off the boiler, to maximise the fuel your house is consuming for heating.
The scope for both saving money on your energy bill as well as reducing your impact on the environment this way are huge. It may cost a little to start up, but long term you are looking at making some serious savings, both for the planet and for your wallet.
There you have it, 5 eco-tips suitable for 2018. Give them a try today and rest assured that you are doing your best for the planet while not having to worry about the costs.
Salman is a prolific environmental writer, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. He is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management, sustainability and conservation all over the world.
Salman can be reached on email@example.com.