Today, our founder is answering one simple question: can more eco-friendly alternatives actually save you money?
Her answer: YES!
Hi, I am Sabina and I chose to live more consciously – to think about the impact of my actions on the environment and thus on the life of those whose life is just starting. In today’s story, I will tell you about the five easiest swaps you could make even today if you want to take your first steps towards a better tomorrow. I call these “save money while saving the Earth” because they actually turned out to be cheaper alternatives.
#1 Reusable Bottles
One of the very first changes I made some years ago was buying reusable bottles as I used to consume 3 to 5 bottles of water per week, meaning about 208 bottles per year. If each costs a dollar or a pound, this means that I save the Earth from more than 200 plastic bottles a year and I also save about USD 200.
#2 Reusable Coffee Cups
The second very easy alternative I committed to is buying a reusable coffee cup. Did you know that the world throws away more than 16 billion disposable coffee cups and that on average an office worker throws away 500 coffee cups per year (maybe even more if you are an investment banker). These are some huge numbers.
I, personally, used to throw away about 3 cups per week or 156 per year. Now that I got a reusable cup, I take advantage of the fact that some coffee companies give discounts to people who bring their own cups. From this only I save the planet from 156 cups per year and I save myself more than 15 dollars per year.
#3 Reusable Shopping Bag
The third sustainable option that I believe saves me money is always bringing a reusable shopping bag. Let’s put it straight – I go shopping for food usually once a week and I need 5 shopping bags. Plus, sometimes I need to buy other stuff, so let’s say a total of 7 plastic bags per week. This means about 360 bags per year. It was estimated that we consume more than 5 trillion plastic bags per year, meaning over 700 per person, so I think I am a bit below the average but still, 360 plastic bags sounds a lot.
A plastic bag in stores costs between $0.10 and $0.20 and I bought my reusable bags for 3 dollars each and I have been using them for 2 years already. So up until now, I saved about $90 but these bags could survive for more years, so I could say saving at least $50 dollars and saving the planet from more than 360 plastic bags.
#5 Reusable Food Containers
Then comes a habit I adopted when I used to work in an office every day. I liked bringing my own food not because I was great at cooking but because I sucked at it and wanted to improve my skills (if it was even possible). Initially, I used plastic containers which though looked very cool and colourful but were very fragile and worn out quite easily. On average, I had to buy new ones every two months so about six per year. They cost on average $2-$3 meaning about $18 per year. The glass ones I bought can last for years and I bought a set of 4 for $26, or $6-$7 per piece. The biggest advantage of glass containers, however, is that you can use those for years. So in year one, I saved the Earth from six of my plastic containers and I spent $ dollars more. In year two, though, I saved the planet again six plastic containers and I saved myself $18.
#6 Reusable Kitchen Towels
And the final alternative is actually the one from which I saved the mos just by swapping paper towels for reusable ones. I know it is so convenient to grab some paper towels and clean up messes around the house but this convenience comes from the fact we are so used to this. Personally, I calculated that this simple switch saves me about $5 per week or about $260 dollars per year. At the same time, I save the planet from about 52 rolls of used paper towels.
Let’s make a final calculation. From these simple sustainable swaps, I save the earth from 200 plastic bottles, 156 disposable coffee cups, 360 plastic bags, 6 plastic food containers and 52 rolls of used paper towels. At the same time, I save about $540 dollars, so on average, one simple conscious swap saves me more than $100 dollars. Of course, these numbers depend on my lifestyle and will for sure be different for you.
What is the main lesson? Every small act matters and makes a difference. Sometimes, it could make a difference for you while also making a difference for someone or something else like the environment, for instance.