5 Times Sustainability Saved Us Money
Updated: Aug 3, 2020
You might have heard that going green is only affordable if you’ve got the cash to spare. In some cases, that may be true; research in China showed that 58% of surveyed consumers indicated they are willing to pay more for ethical brands. Sometimes, this may unfortunately result in greenwashing (products falsely marketed as green). Other times, the premium prices of green products only begin to account for the hidden costs of ethical and fair trade.
Yet, this understanding still doesn’t empower those of us on a budget to do their part for the environment, as this Guardian article laments. While we hope that green consumerism can one day be attainable for everyone, we want to point out that going green doesn’t always mean going broke – here are 5 instances where saving the earth also means a little (or large) saving for your wallet.
We said it all in a recent article about plant-based eating - contrary to the popular belief that a vegan lifestyle is financially lofty, going plant-based could instead save you up to $750 a year if you cook at home often! While animal products have become 40% more expensive in the last decade, plant staples remain cheaper and healthier. Unfortunately, plant-based options when you dine out are often only marginally cheaper or comparable to meat-based options to account for labor & service costs. Still, these savings add up. Furthermore, the healthcare bills you could save in the long-run are invaluable – there is evidence that processed meat consumption is strongly associated with chronic cardiovascular diseases, cancers and type 2 diabetes.
Investing in energy-saving utilities
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a typical household can save up to 25% on utility bills when energy efficiency measures in place – that is almost $2,200 annually! Many energy-saving products or upgrades may cost more upfront, but they usually help save more in the long run due to their lower operating costs and longer lifespans. In general, the more extensive the appliance, the greater the savings over time. For example, one LED light bulb costs around $8 and results in around $28 savings from your utility bills a year, easily offsetting the original cost of purchase. There are many different kinds of energy-saving options, be they lighting, heating, air-conditioning, or electrical consumption – check out this article for a more detailed breakdown of electrical sustainable savings.
Making the switch to Reusables
You’ve probably heard enough about the reusable versus plastic bottle battle, so let’s talk about reusable batteries. Similarly to light bulbs, rechargeable batteries and their chargers might cost about $40 offhand, but they can last up to 1000 charges, saving you about $80 a year on average. However, a note of caution - as with the debate for most other types of reusables, they are only better for the environment when they are used to their full potential – studies show that a rechargeable battery should be recharged at least 50 times to be environmentally beneficial, otherwise you might be better off using a regular battery.
Opting for greener modes of travel
This can refer to a variety of instances – from the time you walked or cycled to a nearby destination, to the time you took the train or bus instead of calling a Grab. According to a report by the EU, opting out of car ownership would save you about 1.5 out of the 8 hours you typically work a day, and 15% of your household expenditures on travel! This takes into account parking, washing and all other forms of maintenance you would need to pay for owning a car. If owning a car still makes more sense for you, try going electric - depending on the city, you would save an average of $800 a year in fuel costs alone, and not to mention lower maintenance costs and more.
Shopping for preloved clothing
It goes without saying that thrifting and buying secondhand clothing is something we can all get on board with – because it is so much cheaper and possibly even trendier. Fast fashion has led to environmental pollution on all fronts caused by the textile industry alone; almost 20% of pesticide used worldwide is for use on cotton plants, contaminating soil and water supplies. Today, you are likely to buy 4 times as much clothing than people used to but are spending 17% less. Thankfully, we see the rise of many new business models that encourage rental fashion, even for higher-end designer products - definitely a cooler and cheaper way to spice up your wardrobe.
Want to find out how much you’re saving the planet too? Check out our app Capture - we can help you calculate your monthly guideline allowance, based on recommendations from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, then balance emissions at the end of each month through verified nature-based offsets. Simply search 'carbon footprint and CO2 tracker' to find us in your app store.