In this article, we are talking numbers and logic, in an attempt to convince you that living low waste and actively loving our planet isn’t expensive at all.
Note : None of the products I mention are sponsored. I’m just talking about what I personally use, after many years of trial and error.
The backstory :
A while ago, a girl sent me a message, expressing her concern about the financial cost of a low waste lifestyle. Of course, this is something I hear very often from people who want to take responsibility for the environment, but are hesitant because of the misconception that it is expensive.
“This water bottle is too expensive!”
“Plant-based eating habbits and veganism break the bank, huh?”
“I just bought 5 t-shirts for just 2,90 from Str*******us and a super cute pair of jeans for just 9,90 from Z**a!”
Here, I will try to address all these thoughts and hesitations. In this article, we will focus on ways to avoid waste and some body care tips. We will focus on vegetarianism and ethical fashion in a seperate article.
Let’s face it …
Bad habit No. 1: We don’t think long term
We prefer to spend a little bit of money here and there for the rest of our lives, rather than investing in something of quality that we will keep forever.
Bad habit No2: Selective stinginess
We are reluctant to invest 200 euros in items that will help us not product less waste, like as a reusable water bottle or metal straws, while holding a mobile phone that costs 900 euros. Not always, not everyone.
Bad habit No. 3: We think it’s none of our concern
It is somewhat self-evident that the pollution of the environment by excessive garbage affects us directly. Here’s a quick example. A plastic straw is not recycled and ends up thrown in the trash or even worse, on the street or in a hidden part of a beach (a nightmare). Sooner or later, it ends up in the ocean. As the years go by, the straw breaks up into small pieces of plastic. A fish swimming carelessly in the sea, sees a piece of plastic and mistakes it for food. The fish eats the plastic. And after the fish digests the microplastic it just ate, a fisherman fishes it. A polite waiter, serves it you with joy and you eat it. And with that, you eat the microplastics that are now in the fish’s body.
Therefore, if taking care of our environment sounds like a secondary need, then let’s think about taking care of our health.
By showing love to the environment, we show love to ourselves.
“Yes, but I do not have that much money! Ecology seems like a luxury to me!”
Action Plan Step 1: Redefining your priorities
I’m sure you’re interested in the environment and you want to live more sustainably, otherwise you would not be reading this article. If you love nature but still haven’t found a way to actively show it by changing some habits of your daily life, then you need to reevaluate some things. Each and every one of us tries to organize their life in balance, staying true to their values. So if we say we love nature, then our life should express just that. And at the point we see that thoughts don’t go hand in hand with our actions, it is then we must restart and reorganizing our priorities.
This way, we will definitely manage the money in our disposal a little differently and start investing in this way of life.
Of course, this applies to many other things, such as dressing sustainably, or traveling. It is all a matter of priorities and … management!
Action Plan Step 2: Save money and organize
A good-quality water bottle costs around 30 euros. But it seems very expensive. How about trying to avoid buying a plastic water bottle for about 3 months? This way, you will save exactly the amount you need to buy a water bottle in your favorite color!
For 2 months, try to saving money by avoiding unnecessary shopping and expenses. Find a piggy bank and write : “To save the planet” on the outside. Once it is full, you can invest this money in gadgets and items that will help you make less garbage but also take care of your health, such as a set of cloth sanitary pads.
Math time :
Let’s do a little bit of math, to prove to you that in some cases, low waste is much more advantageous. The main thing with most reusable items, is that they are reusable (!) And that means we buy them once and keep them FOREVER. They are not consumable, we do not buy them again and again, they do not spoil.
Bottled water :
Assumption : An average person in Greece, we will call him A, buys about 200 bottles of water a year. 50 cents * 200 makes100 euros a year, every year.
A sturdy water bottle costs 30 euros and will be bought once, once and for all, by B.
In the long run, say in 5 years, A will have spent 500 euros while B will have spent 30 euros. I rest my case.
* If you do not like the taste of tap water, you can use an activated carbon filter.
< Carbon filter >
Sanitary pads :
Miss A buys 2 packs of conventional sanitary pads every month. This costs 3 euros per month, so 36 euros per year.
Miss B uses a period cup, that she bought once and it cost her 29 euros. She wears it every month, and sanitizes it well with special soap that costs 9.90 and lasts 1.5 years.
The period cup doesn’t work for Miss C, since she finds it comfortable and uses cloth sanitary pads. She bought 10 and that cost her 79 euros. She washes them by hand or in the washing machine with green soap.
Miss D isn’t comfortable with any sustainable alternative, but wants to do her best for the environment, so she uses thesesanitary pads that cost her 72 euros a year.
In 5 years,Miss A has spent 180 ευρώ, Miss Dhas spent 360 ευρώ, Miss Bhas spent 62 ευρώ and Miss Chas spent 79 ευρώ. Who are the winners?
What do I use?
I combined fabric sanitary pads and those of case D.
Plastic bags :
A goes to the supermarket and shops for the whole week, gets 5 plastic bags to carry everything and is charged 0.09 cents each. In 1 month he has spent about 1.80 euros for the bags and in 1 year he has spent 21.60.
B has bought 10 canvas bags and has crafted 3 more with old pillowcases. The bags he bought cost him about 10 euros.
In 5 years, A spends about 108 euros while causing the death of numerous birds and fish, andB spends 10 euros and sleeps peacefully. Who’s the winner, besides nature?
Garbage bags :
A who shopped in the previous story, kept the bags to throw away his garbage and collect his dog’s feces. This has the financial cost of about 21.60 euros per year.
B buys biodegradable starch bags to dispose of his rubbish, toilet paper and his dog’s feces. He buys 1 kilo of bags every 6 months, which costs him 10.80 euros.
In 1 year, A spends those 21.60 euros in the supermarket, while B spends an additional 10.80 to buy the biodegradable garbage bags.
So, regarding bags and their usefulness in everyday life, A spends 108 euroswhile B spends 118 euros. The 10 euro difference isn’t that important to say that it’s not worth sacrificing for nature, right?
< The biodegradable bags I use. >
Plastic straws :
In this category, the financial comparison doesn’t make much sense, since the plastic straws are available for free in cafes, takeaway and delivery.
However, having our own metal straw only costs 3 euros and I think this amount is quite manageable for most people.
What I would suggest is to find what works for you and the drinks you consume often and go with it. It is important to choose a good quality straw, so that you don’t have to re-buy it very soon.
Instagram Qs :
And now, I let’s go over some things you sent me on Instagram that are bothering you! Let me remind you that we will focus on the issues of clothing and nutrition in another article.
Tissues / paper towels :
A uses conventional tissues that cost 0.20 minutes per package and consumes about 45 packages per year that cost 9 euros.
B found an old pillowcase, cut it into 15 * 15 cm squares and uses them while eating, but also when he is on the go and wants to wipe something or even blow his nose. Then, he washes them in the washing machine with his clothes, of course with green soap!
In 5 years, A spends about 45 euros, while B spends nothing.
Dental hygiene :
Mr. A brushes his teeth with a standard 2 euro toothbrush and replaces it every 3 months, so he spends 8 euros in 1 year.
Mr. B brushes his teeth with abamboo toothbrushthat costs around 3 euros and replaces it every 3 months so he spends 12 euros a year.
Mr. C brushes his teeth with a toothbrush made of bioplastic that costs 5.90 euros. Every 6 months, he replaces the heads of the toothbrush and this costs him 4.50 euros. In 1 year, he spends 10.35 euros and an extra 4.45 euros for the spare part.
In 5 years, Mr. B spends 60 euros, Mr. C spends 45.95 and Mr. A spends 40 euros. Mr. A only saves 6 euros, but has contributed to the pollution of the planet to a great extent. Is it worth it?
In this category of personal body care, there are many alternatives available regarding washing our body, hydration and more, like even the toilet paper or oral hygiene I mentioned earlier. Of course, in some cases the eco-friendly alternative costs more money than conventional products on the market. For example, the deodorant I use costs 8.50 euros as opposed to a cheap deodorant that costs 2.50 euros. But this ismy body I want to take care of and not burden with harmful toxic elements.
Did you know that conventional deodorants contain heavy metals that are absorbed by the body once and for all?
In this article you can learn alla about my non-toxic body care routine.
This article has already reached 1748 words and I feel like have to finish with an epilogue. I tried to address the main points of a low waste lifestyle,the parts that it’s important for all of us to change.
Water, bags, straws and all these everyday consumables pollute the planet irreparably. As you may have read in my other articles likethis, that the 3 basic elements that are NECESSARY to eliminate from our daily lives are
- bottled water,
- plastic bags and
- plastic straws.
By avoiding the use of these three elements and replacing them with viable alternatives, not only do we live more sustainably, but we also save some money! Take, for example, Mr. A and Mr. B, as a whole.
Mr. A, who hasn’t started his own effort for a greener life yet , wasted 608 euros in 5 years, while Mr. B, who fills his water bottle, uses canvas bags, a metal straw and buys biodegradable bags, spent 151 euros in 5 years.
So if you want to save 457 euros in your piggy bank, follow my tips! 🙂
See you soon,