Easy-ish Ways to Help The Planet For Free or Cheap
I’m aiming to make sure everything on this list is either free, very cheap or saves you money in the long run. I also don’t want to include anything that requires owning a house because this is 2017 and we’re all millennials here
You’ve heard this one before but if you menstruate, buy reusable products. The average person uses tens of thousands of pads and tampons in their menstruating life, which is not only wasteful but expensive.
If you wear makeup, use cloth pads instead of disposable wipes. You can even make your own makeup remover using olive or coconut oil and water.
The same goes for cleaning supplies: use washable cloths and for extra brownie points buy non toxic or eco cleaning supplies such as Ecover brand supplies or castille soap.
Buy bar soaps in paper instead of gels in plastic bottles. It’s usually as cheap if not cheaper, although it’s harder to find bar face soaps.
Support local small businesses!
Try indulging your online shopping cravings and/or doing some groceries on EthicalSuperstore.com or EthicalShop.org if you’re in the british isles. If anyone knows any equivalents in the USA or anywhere else please add it below!
If you have bulk stores nearby, bring your own containers and buy unpackaged bulk items.
If you can use public transport to get somewhere, always choose this over using your car. Try to nurture a ‘driving is my last resort’ mentality.
If you’re planning a holiday (lucky you!) consider exploring the beauty spots in your own country instead of going abroad to avoid air travel. I know you want to be ‘cultured’, but why not get to know your own culture a little better? Plus, the tourist industry can often be really damaging to some beautiful countries.
Buy a stainless steel reusable water bottle and stop buying bottled water if your tap water is drinkable. If it isn’t, look into filters.
Replace some of your meat with meat-free alternatives and/or try to eat less meat. Regardless of your stance on animal rights, livestock farming is bad for climate change.
Loan $25 to small business owners struggling with poverty all over the world with Kiva.com. Not only is a $25 microloan fairly affordable when it comes to potentially pulling someone out of poverty, but if and when they start earning, they’ll pay you back! And the site pays your second loan for free! Plus you can claim to be an investor on your CV. Look out for causes where a lender is matching your donations to make maximum impact.
Watch documentaries (legally) to support people who are spreading the word/doing something about issues, and to educate yourself and get more ideas on how to help.
Stop buying new clothes and start buying vintage or second-hand. I’ll let you off for shoes an underwear.
Look for products in glass or metal not plastic. Not only are you more likely to reuse them, but they’re much easier to recycle and are more often made from recycled materials.
Buy metal safety razors and razorblades instead of disposable plastic ones.
Set Ecosia as your homepage and default search engine. It’s a search engine that uses its profits to plant trees! You plant about one tree every forty searches
For both the planet and the people, go to GreaterGood.com and click a button to donate to a different cause on each tab. You can do it once a day.
Recycle. Even if they don’t have home collection where you live, there should at least be a collection point you can go to.
Don’t throw away empty jars and bottles. Use them to fill with other things, especially homemade food, drink and toiletries.
Use your vote to support politicians, locally and nationally, who prioritise the environment.
Share your eco-doings on social media. Give local small businesses a shout-out by by posting pics of your delicious meal or pretty soap and tagging them, or let people know that you took your old furniture to the recycling place at [address].
Get new furniture from Freecycle or similar sites to save money, prevent those things from going to landfill, and avoid using up new resources on new furniture. Also, donate your own old stuff.
If you have free time, try volunteering. If you can’t commit to a regular shift, look for local beach cleans or similar events.
Watch YouTube videos by people living zero waste, low energy or eco-food lifestyles. You’re not only supporting them and spreading their message, you can pick up some tips. You don’t have to go vegan or zero waste or whatever, but just one or two changes can help. I recommend trashisfortossers especially as a starting point!
Stick seeds or roots of your vegetables into pots and grow your own vegetables from it. Some of these are super easy, some might need a bit more effort. Celery really takes off.
If you have the confidence, ask your boss if you can pitch some ideas on making your workplace/company more sustainable. If you hint that it could save money, they’ll probably go for it.
Turn the heat settings on your heating and hot water down. You don’t need your water scalding, and if it’s coming out cooler from the boiler, you need less cold water from the cold water tap.
Get wildflower seeds for free from Grow Wild and sprinkle them anywhere, be it your garden or a roadside verge (out of a car window, don’t walk on roadside verges).
Support your local park, library and other services that provide free stuff for the public. Libraries = less books being bought while still supporting writers, and parks = green spaces.
That’s all I can think of right now - I’ll add more if I think of more. Add your tips below!