How To Live A More Sustainable Life—For Next To No $$

Photo: Lyuba Burakova

It’s no secret that since the U.S. government’s controversial decision to stop participating in the Paris Climate Agreement, the topic of climate change has picked up lots of (necessary) momentum. And you don’t need to be a billionaire, expert, scientist, or flower child to help combat it. There are plenty of little ways you can do your part without breaking the bank. Here are a few strategies for going green on the cheap.

1. Start with your closet.

Photo: @Madewell

It’s no wonder so many people have come out in support of the minimalism trend. With its ability to calm the mind and to soothe the bank account, simplifying your life is a way to clear space on many levels. However, with the nearly instant accessibility of online shopping, creating a perfectly curated closet of 20 pieces can be easier said than done. So, what do you do when you realize your dresser is nearly overflowing with jeans you rarely wear? Well, you give them back.

That’s right. Well-known retailers including Madewell, American Eagle, and The North Face provide customers with the opportunity to drop off their worn jeans and sneakers. In addition to earning dollar amount coupons for your charity, you will also get to leave knowing your old boyfriend jeans are being repurposed into things like housing insulation for communities in need.

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2. Make a (small) diet shift.

According to Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, nearly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are due to the production of meat, dairy, and eggs. To help mediate this issue, more than 44 countries are working alongside organizations like Meatless Monday Global to incorporate animal-product-free dishes into their cultural cuisines. Testing out this weekly shift with friends or family is a great way to do your part while checking in on your personal health, too. Plus, individuals often save money by incorporating some meatless meals into their diets.

3. Ditch the top offenders.

Photo: @swellbottle & @alairewaterlust

You’ve likely heard this one before, but it bears repeating: Plastic water bottles are as detrimental to your wallet as they are to the environment. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Americans buy enough plastic water bottles in just one week to circle the earth five times. This not only financially wasteful but also directly contributes to the millions of tons of trash generated each year. Do your part by investing in a one-time reusable water bottle from brands that are committed to giving back like S’well and Liberty Bottles.

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4. Focus on transportation.

Granted, while I may never be able to eliminate the use of my car completely, I have come to truly love jumping on my bike to run certain errands like heading to yoga or picking up breakfast. Getting out of the car and into the fresh air is one of the easiest ways to connect with the environment, enjoy nature, and save on gas money. If walking or biking isn’t an option for you, carpooling is another great alternative.

Remember that every little bit helps, and there is nothing more gratifying than a small change you know will make a difference.

Curious about how to get the most bang for your green buck? Here is a ranking of the lifestyle shifts that are most effective at combating climate change.

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