Being eco-friendly is genuinely difficult, especially if you’re on a budget. Although countless upper and middle class people may disagree, being eco-friendly isn’t always affordable!
With wellness, and green-living being marketed mainly to the upper-middle class it can feel more than a bit discouraging at times. Sure, us poors could subsist off of purely rice, beans, and the grass we fucking grow- but that’s miserable. (and also would lead to being malnourished). So, I’m going to explain how I’m eco-friendly on a budget, or a least try to be.
Okay so everyone knows about recycling, what makes a difference is actually taking it seriously. All local councils in England offer free general, garden waste, and food recycling. Aka, if you don’t have a recycling bin you can get one for free!
To step your recycling game up make sure to recycle literally everything you can. Personally I sort all of my paper/cardboard into one large cardboard box, then put all of my plastics into a plastic bag. I don’t have a food waste bin yet but I’ll hopefully be getting one soon.
If you live somewhere where recycling at home is difficult you can store up all of your recyclables and take them to your local recycling center. This can be a bit of a hassle but it’s free and is definitely worth it in the long run.
Organic is hard to buy on a budget. No matter how many middle class people tell me that it isn’t, it just is. Like on an actual budget, not a ‘I only spend £40 a week on food’ budget.
If you’re on a budget you can still buy organic, it’s just harder. Local corner shops and markets pretty much always sell unpacked organic fruit and veg- sometimes it’s cheaper than supermarkets and sometimes its not. But if it is, go for it! Supermarkets themselves usually sell ‘wonky’ or other cutesy named organic produce. By ‘wonky’ they typically mean that it doesn’t have to live up to the GMO standards of flat peaches.
why do flat peaches exist?!
If you live near a local allotment or farm they’ll often sell fruit or veg cheaply, at it can be a tad pricey but at least you know where it was grown, and know that it doesn’t have 4000 air miles.
Lower Your Plastic Use
This one is easier said than done, but gets easier as time goes on. Start by just monitoring how much disposable plastic you use in a week. Every plastic item that I’d usually throw out I put into a bin (which I have dubbed the Plastics Bin). Before doing this I never truly realised how much single-use plastic I go through in a week. Once you’re aware of your use you can start cutting down.
If you don’t already, avoid buying food packaged in plastic. Things like fruit and veg definitely do not need to be wrapped in plastic. Most supermarkets now offer fruit that’s not in plastic so go for that! When it comes to meats you can buy from butchers if possible, they often let you take your own containers and you get the exact amount you want.
In addition to rejecting plastics you can reuse. All plastic water bottles have an expiry date on them, so if you ever find yourself out and absolutely need to buy a bottle of water – keep the bottle! It will be good to reuse for months if not years. I have a personal grievance with every reuseable metal bottle I’ve bought (they always leak without fail) so stick to reusing plastic bottles. Once every couple of months I’ll buy a new one if needed.
It’s not only bottles that you can reuse though, pretty much all plastic containers that food is packed in can be washed and reused in various ways. Also if you don’t have a cupboard full of empty takeaway contains nows the time to start. Pro tip; they’re great to use if you do meal prepping!
Use Public Transport
This one is super dependant on where you live, as a lot of places have terrible public transport. If you live somewhere where this isn’t an option you could try carpooling!
Public transport is the holy grail of being more eco-friendly. Sure it’s not the same as biking everywhere, but I’m convinced that only a maniac would be willing to ride a bike in the middle of London. That’s where public transport comes in- it’s quick (sometimes), easy, and cheaper than having a car.
I don’t have much more to add to this, but I suppose it’s to make you feel a sense of pride whilst sitting on your packed commute on the bus. It might not be cute, and you might not have a good radio signal on the tube, but it gets you from A-B without much hassle.
And you get to save the world a tiny bit!