Going Green For a Greener World – Save Money and The Planet

By Raine St. Claire

Living sustainably is more than just a passing trend; it is a lifestyle shift that contributes to a cleaner and more sustainable environment. As custodians of this beautiful planet, it is our responsibility to protect the Earth and conserve its precious resources, ensuring that future generations inherit a world of abundance, not scarcity. While policymakers work on implementing environmental protection measures at national and global levels, individuals and families can play their part by adopting greener practices at home. Going green offers numerous benefits, impacting both the environment and your finances. How we use energy, water, and manage waste are all important considerations to make for positive environmental and financial changes.

Environmental Benefits of Going Green

Going green yields several environmental advantages, including improved air quality, enhanced overall health, and reduced waste. Recycling and the use of eco-friendly materials in construction and daily life significantly decrease landfill waste, especially given the substantial threat non-biodegradable materials like plastic pose to aquatic and animal life. The burning of plastic further exacerbates air pollution.

Individual Actions For Reducing Carbon Footprint

According to a carbon footprint study, the most effective actions include having fewer children, adopting a car-free lifestyle, reducing transatlantic flights, embracing green energy, and adopting a plant-based diet. While drastically reducing your carbon footprint might seem overwhelming, do not become discouraged; implementing changes can be straightforward and easier than you think.

Practical Steps for Transforming Your Lifestyle In The Kitchen

The kitchen serves as a hub for cooking, waste generation, and cleaning, making it a significant environmental impact zone. You can make a difference with these steps:

  1.  Pay attention to the kettle – Avoid filling the kettle with more water than is needed. Never fill the kettle all the way to the top if all you need is a single cup of coffee or tea.
  2.  Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products – Utilise environmentally friendly cleaning products available from stores or make your own using simple ingredients like baking soda and vinegar. These alternatives are effective and free from toxic fumes.
  3. Choose local, in-season, and organic produce – Reduce your food’s carbon footprint by purchasing locally sourced, in-season, and organic produce. Supporting local farmers and shortening supply chains can decrease carbon emissions.
  4.  Minimise processed foods – Eliminate processed foods from your diet, benefiting both your health and the environment.
  5.  Reduce meat consumption – South Africa’s meat consumption, particularly beef, contributes significantly to the carbon footprint. Commit to reducing meat consumption, even by a few meals per week, as part of a broader shift towards more sustainable diets.
  6.  Prevent food waste – Plan your meals to prevent food waste. Organise your kitchen to use older items first, make meal plans that utilise all ingredients, and keep track of what you have to avoid spoilage and save money.
  7.  Composting – Compost organic waste from your kitchen using a bin and activated bokashi bran to minimise waste and produce nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
  8.  Buy misshapen foods – Support efforts to reduce food waste by purchasing misshapen food, fruits, and vegetables that are often rejected by supermarkets due to their appearance.

In Your Wardrobe

The fashion industry’s rapid trend cycles and disposability have rendered clothing habits unsustainable. Consider these steps:

  1. Invest in quality clothing – Opt for high-quality clothing, whether new or secondhand, and take better care of your garments.
  2. Extend clothing lifespan – Avoid fast fashion and extend the life of your clothing by using and maintaining it for longer periods. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but also saves you money.
  3. Clothing swaps – Organise clothing swaps with friends and colleagues or participate in local barter, trading or swapping events to update your wardrobe without buying new items. 
  4. Learn to mend and repair – Acquire basic mending and repair skills to prolong the life of your clothing.
In The Bathroom

The bathroom is a significant source of water consumption and plastic waste. There are many amazing eco-friendly choices:

1. Use eco-friendly beauty products – Opt for eco-friendly face and beauty products, including sunscreens that do not contain harmful chemicals such as oxybenzone, which contribute to coral bleaching.

2. Switch to bar soap and shampoo – Transition to eco-friendly bar soap and shampoo, which simplifies your routine, reduces waste, and saves you money.

3. Reduce shower time – Take shorter showers to conserve water and reduce your carbon footprint, especially if your hot water is generated using fossil fuels.

Source: Source: Curious Earth | The Talking Democrat | Treehugger

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