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Every year, 8 million tons of plastic pollution are dumped into our oceans, a good chunk of which are single-use plastics, such as plastic baggies, with an average “working life” of 15 minutes. But plastic isn’t the only culprit in destroying the earth and its inhabitants. The fashion industry produces millions of tons of landfill waste per year AND is the second-biggest consumer of water. Surprised? I was too.
But today, ladies and gentleman, we are killing two birds with one stone. Not only will these simple lifestyle adjustments reduce your overall impact on the planet, but your wallet will thank you too! Saving money is a lot more fun when you know it’s contributing toward a greater good, and these hacks are easily adaptable by anyone. Let’s get into it.
1. Invest in a reusable water bottle.
I usually don’t like to include the obvious tips, but this one is huge. Rather than buying a single-use plastic water bottle every time you get thirsty, costing you around $1,000 annually, invest in a fun reusable one that you can fill up wherever you go. What are you waiting for?
2. Buy second-hand clothes.
I was shocked to find out that the textile industry emits more greenhouse gases than international shipping and aviation combined, in addition to polluting water with toxic chemicals.
I don’t care how much money you have – no one is too good for thrifting! Sites like Thredup.com and Poshmark.com sell designer brands for up to 90% off, and your local thrift store is always an awesome place to look for comfy sweatshirts or a t-shirt to crop. Another great option is to buy clothes from your friends! Closet swaps are SO much fun, and if you’re in Greek life or another gender-based club, suggest making a Facebook page to buy and sell unwanted clothes. I’ve bought TONS of my clothes this way!
3. Clean and reuse your plastic baggies.
I used to be notorious for storing my lunch in a plastic bag and immediately chucking it in the trash right after. But just think about how much money you could save – not to mention the environmental benefits – if you rinsed and dried that same bag for later? Try it out next time you use one!
4. Repurpose glass jars/ containers.
Peanut butter, salsa, salad dressings and so much more are all sold in glass jars that most of us dump after the contents are gone. But why not throw those food jars into the dishwasher and keep using them for storage? These are some of my favorite jars to make overnight oats in, in addition to storing anything from cooked quinoa to homemade protein balls. And they add a nice little aesthetic to your kitchen and fridge!
5. Make your own portable snacks.
We all know how it goes. You’re out and about and your stomach starts growling. Without a snack in hand, you feel the hanger rising, so you run into the nearest store and grab a bag of chips or a pre-packaged meal. Boom – crisis averted… at least from a hunger standpoint.
In 2015, nearly 78,000 tons of food packaging were produced and only HALF of that was recycled. The rest was dumped into landfills. Let’s steer clear of this environmentally damaging behavior AND save ourselves a couple bucks by packing your own portable snacks! I just whipped up a batch of peanut butter oat balls that I can throw in my bag and run out the door. This ensures that I can satisfy my impending hunger while also saving the environment and my budget.
6. Use coffee grounds.
You guys, it’s 2019. We all know that 1.) K-cups SUCK for the environment and 2.) treating yourself to a customized latte four days a week is slowly drilling a hole into your wallet.
The easy solution? Make your favorite Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks drink at home by buying a giant bag of coffee grounds or beans every couple of weeks. Two scoops in your coffee maker and Voila – you’ve got yourself a gorgeous cup of coffee without the excessive price tag or pollutant guilt. You can even buy these in bulk online and cut down the cost even more!