There is a common perception that choosing sustainable or eco options is the more expensive way of doing things. While this can be the case, it is not always so. And as a bonus, with some sustainable thinking and sustainable actions, it is even possible to save money! This money saved can be put towards travel later. Win-win!
While we may not be able to travel during the current Covi-19 restrictions, we still have the capability of living more sustainably which can actually work towards a savings of money, money which can be put towards use in future travel.
How does sustainable thinking save money?
Sustainable thinking, in and of itself is simply a mindset of making more sustainable decisions regarding everyday life. Sustainability is defined by the cambridge dictionary as ‘the quality of being able to continue over a period of time’ or as in an environmental standpoint ‘the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time’. As this pertains to an individual’s sustainable actions in everyday life, items such as clothing and machinery are purchased for quality not quantity, and are made, mended or repaired to extend the lifespan of the product for as long as possible. Using this as an example, by extending the lifespan of the product, the individual is able to reduce the amount of waste produced by not disposing of the items and purchasing new ones, reduce the amount of manufacturing pollution produced by not purchasing unnecessary items as well as saving all of the money one would otherwise spend on the unnecessary items. This simple decision to use products for as long as possible can reap a 3-fold reward in sustainable standards within one’s own lifestyle.
Simple everyday sustainable actions that can help to save money
- Extend the lifespan of products by mending and repairing. Not having to replace the items will save money that can later be used for travel.
- Purchase selectively. Long-lasting, high-quality over quantity. The quality items will last much longer, eliminating the need to buy new items, thus saving money.
- Using reusable items such as shopping bags, water bottles and flatware, as opposed to generating single-use plastics waste will reduce household waste. Not needing to continually purchase single use plastic items, will save a surprising amount of money over the long term.
- Utilising window space or outdoor space for growing herbs or edible greens will save money at the market and provide fresh greens or herbs.
- Wearing clothing items more than once before washing will drastically reduce water and electricity waste as well as extend the lifespan of the garment. This in turn will lead to lower electricity and water bills.
- Turn off the lights when leaving a room. This action alone will show a worthy savings on the electric bill.
- Consider food waste. Make the effort to eat leftovers and when cooking, think first that will the amount being cooked be the amount eaten, or could some of it be kept back before being prepared. Thoughtful food consumption will overall save a surprising amount on the food shop bill.
Once these actions based on these sustainable thinking become habitual, and the individual is saving money, once it is allowed to travel again these sustainable actions can be applied in travel as well
Some sustainable actions for before/during travel
- When researching the trip and associated activities, look for certified ecotours. One can be certain that those monies will be directed back into the small and local communities which need them, as opposed to being directed to large tourism corporations profit indices.
- Pack lightly. Light packing contributes to less fuel usage on the aeroplane as well as less for the traveller to deal with.
- Make use of reusable travel containers for water bottles or toiletry items when travelling to prevent waste. Some sustainable accommodations are known for having bottle refilling stations and this savings of not having to purchase single-use items will add up over time.
- Use fabric or reusable shopping bags. These bags can be reused for a plethora of activities, including visiting the beach or taking a day trip and the accumulated savings from not purchasing single use plastic bags will make your wallet happy, as well as the environment.
- Always take note of any water restrictions at the destination, and please consider the frequency of requested linen washes.
- Utilise the services of a local ranger when touring in nature areas. Not only do they know all the good places, but they have a firm grasp on local history and culture and are happy to share!
- Purchase locally made souvenirs. Perhaps it is time to shift one’s thinking from purchasing many small cheap souvenirs to purchasing just a few high quality or locally produced souvenirs such as handicraft items or locally grown teas or coffees. These items will last better with their quality, thus preventing waste in the long term.
- Eat locally in the destination. Locally sourced food products directly help small communities to make a living wage and can also be a more affordable option for the traveller.
- Remember the phrase ‘Take nothing but photos, leave nothing but footprints’. Simple but profound!
Sustainability is more about making things last, making the earth and all things associated with our existence here, last. In reality, when considering sustainable actions, our products last longer, we need not replace them and when our natural areas are better preserved, we are able to enjoy them longer. Being able to enjoy a better preserved nature for longer, gives us the possibility for being able to enjoy our days in nature without spending money. Just be…and enjoy!
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