Over the past decade, there has been a major shift in thought toward the environment and how we can preserve it. More and more people are making conscious decisions about how they can reduce their carbon footprint. However, some people are hesitant to join the green movement because of the costs versus the benefits—going green isn’t always the cheapest route. Take a look at these five eco-friendly investments that are actually worth the money.
Buying Energy-Efficient Appliances
Energy-efficient appliances consume less power than standard model appliances. They are a good investment because they reduce your monthly power bill. They’re becoming so popular that it’s hard to find an appliance that does not have a high ENERGY-STAR rating anymore, which makes it easier to make the green choice. Plus, the government still gives a tax credit to people who buy them. Energy-efficient appliances are definitely worth the money and they are a good place to start if you’re wondering how to go green.
Driving Hybrid Vehicles
Hybrid vehicles are an excellent choice for environmentally conscious consumers. Hybrids use less gasoline than regular vehicles, which means that you save money at the gas station over the life of your vehicle. Some hybrids boast fuel economy of more than 50 miles per gallon. In terms of costs, hybrids do not cost a lot more than standard vehicles and the cost difference is usually made up at the pump. If you’re looking for a new car, consider a hybrid because it is the greener choice and a smart investment.
Planting a Garden
Another green investment that is worth the money is planting a garden. If you start your garden from seeds in the spring, you can spend under $20 and still have a respectable garden by summer. Some families who maintain gardens save more than $1,500 per year on groceries. Gardening is easy, too. Essentially all you have to do is water your plants, and fruits and vegetables will grow.
You don’t have to plant a big garden to see the benefits. Even a small herb garden will help you save money while also reducing your environmental impact. If you have never tended a garden before, start small with a few pots and then branch out when you feel more comfortable with the process. If you’re a hardcore gardener looking for even more ways to save money, you can build a rain-water barrel to reduce your water bill, too.
Investing in Solar Panels for Your Home
The price of solar panels has gone down considerably over the past several years. That means now is a great time to get solar panels installed for your home. When you use solar panels, you don’t have to pay as much for power because you are generating your own. Some utilities even have programs that let you sell your excess power back to the grid. Solar panels do come with an initial cost, but there are also long-term loans, leases, and power purchase agreements to make it easy to afford solar power. And over the years, you will make your money back and maybe even earn more than you originally spent.
Using Eco-Friendly Cleaning Supplies
Chemicals are not good for the environment. When you clean your house with harsh chemicals, they go down the drain and can contaminate the water supply. Plus, the fumes can be dangerous. Instead of buying harsh cleaning supplies, invest in eco-friendly cleaning products. For instance, a steam mop is great because it doesn’t use chemicals and is not very expensive. You can also learn how to make your own cleaning supplies that are safer for the environment and cheaper than what you can find at the store.
As you can see, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to join the green movement. A lot of the time you will see a cost savings for making the more eco-friendly choice. Choose one of these eco-friendly investments and make the change today. It’s important for everyone to reduce their environmental impact. This is not a trend, but rather a new standard for the way to live your life.
As a consumer, you have a responsibility to make eco friendly decisions about what you wear and where you shop. Sustainability starts with you, because whatever you choose to do now will have an environmental impact in the future.
Here’s how to make your closet fashionably eco-friendly:
Buy domestic. Try to find brands that have domestic factories who manufacture 100% of their products using sustainable materials sourced locally. You’ll be buying products that have a lower carbon footprint because the materials weren’t shipped and assembled in another country, only to have the finished product shipped back to be sold locally.
Shop at local, private shops. Don’t buy clothes in the mall and say NO to the fast fashion industry. Local shops usually have eclectic collections from local designers which are not mass produced by the thousands. You’re getting an original, unique item and you’re helping local designers grow their brand.
Only buy clothes when you need to. Don’t buy clothes every week or every month! Be smarter with your wardrobe selection, have a few of each and always mix and match. It’s easier on your brain to have less clothes anyway, because decision fatigue saps most of your brain power just by deciding what tie to wear.
Quality over quantity. When your budget permits, choose high quality products because these tend to last longer and you’ll be more motivated to take good care of it or cycle it’s use.
Don’t buy Knockoffs. Cheap, fake products are more likely to fail earlier and get thrown out, crowding the already full landfill even more. Counterfeit items are also known to fund child labor, drugs and terrorists. Think about it every time you feel the itch to buy a luxury ripoff.
Buy Online. If your favorite local or domestic shop has an online store, try shopping online. You’ll be saving fuel on and transportation costs by staying home. You can buy shoes, jewelry, jeans and even browse designer eyeglasses online
Support small business. Need a suit or a dress? Don’t buy a ready made one. Visit your local tailor or seamstress and have one custom made for you. The quality is better than ready to wear alternatives, and you can choose what fabric you want. Plus, the fit on you can’t be beat.
Buy shoes and clothing that can be repaired. Assess the damage first and try to do a little repairs. If it’s minor and you have the tools and the skills, go for it. For shoes, you can have it looked at by a professional shoe repair shop.
Buy Used. Used clothing is an excellent way to nail luxury brands for cheap. Just be careful what you buy and always inspect the item before buying. The fact that used clothes and shoes are still sellable is a testament to their durability and quality.
There’s a movement that champions more eco-friendly fashion, and companies are turning to more sustainable materials and design practices to accomplish this goal. Recycled polyester, organic cotton and other biodegradable materials are being used by brands to appeal to the more environmentally conscious consumer.
This is good news, but it still doesn’t highlight the fact that they’re still manufacturing products in excess, and any gains that were made by using sustainable materials goes out the window because of high production rates. Plus, there’s the issue of unsafe labor practices. Many big names have taken a bad rap due to the use of unethical labor.
In order to be truly be sustainable, manufacturers should:
Make less products. Fast fashion brands are notorious for mass producing products. In order to be truly sustainable, this model should change to a more moderate production approach.
Use sustainable materials on everything. Most brands have lines that are labeled as “green” and are mostly made out of 100% sustainable materials. If they can make products that help the planet, why not make all their products sustainable?
Fair treatment of workers. Unfair and unethical labor practices have to stop. Boycott any company that is found to use sweatshops.
What does your present wardrobe look like? Do you buy from fast fashion stores and practice unsustainable shopping habits? Let us know!
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