Sustainable lifestyle - cheaper or more expensive?
A few weeks ago my partner, who is a chef, was invited for a weekend visit to a sustainable animal farm in the Lake District. In the evening Facetime call, as I was expecting to hear some moaning about how the city boy has been forced to walk around a muddy field in his wellies, I instead received a passionate lecture on sustainability and its importance.
Okay, first of all, I need to shamefully admit that as a couple we are not the most sustainable, as apart from an occasional trip to a charity shop for some books and home decor pieces we definitely do not think about the Planet enough.
As he proceeded with his improvised Ted Talk, I began sharing his passion as well and we found ourselves in a heated conversation about the importance of Climate Change and a sustainable lifestyle. Minimising plastic waste, sustainable fashion, sustainable ways of transportation and a mindful diet, we were discussing how to implement all of it in our daily lives, however… Money. Money, money, money. ABBA has said it all before.
Many people nowadays share the impression that a sustainable lifestyle is mainly for the rich. I mean, have you seen the prices of organic Oat Milk?? According to a study by the Netherlands consulting firm Kearny, green products are 75-85 per cent more expensive than conventional products. This is mainly because of the higher cost of raw materials, business practices of the companies, organic certification fees and many more factors. Even the wages that the companies pay their workers change the price of the end product.
Despite all of that, there are still ways you can be sustainable on a budget and there are ways of sustainable practice that might even save you some money!
Firstly, you need to look into what your community has to offer you and research your area. Zero waste shops and sustainable grocery shops have been becoming increasingly popular around the UK. As opposed to buying eco-friendly options in popular stores, buying products in these specialised shops will most likely even save you some money. For example, no matter how friendly to the planet, every type of package will still only increase the cost of the product and you can see a significant difference when shopping in a zero-waste shop with your own, reusable packaging. It has been found that typically, companies spend 10-40% of the product's retail price on the packaging.
Sustainable fashion can be a tricky one if you are trying to do it on a budget, however, not at all impossible. Of course, it's not going to be as cheap as Shein, however, as brands are increasingly pressured by the growing amount of climate-cautious customers, you can find sustainably certified fashion pieces even within stores like Primark. Furthermore, there is always second-hand clothing. I have recently discovered an amazing app - Vinted. It eliminates the long and tiring process of browsing through the hangers - you can simply use the search option and add filters to always find what you are looking for among millions of items. Furthermore, through Vinted you can also resell your old clothes - this way you are being sustainable and not only saving money but making it.
Upcycling! As two aesthetes who have recently moved into a new flat, we discovered upcycling without necessarily thinking about sustainability first. It was mainly because of how much cheaper it is to buy furniture second-hand and update it by simple spray painting or a few screws!
Every little helps
There are a lot of small things that you can change in your everyday life to help make a difference. Things like taking your own mug to a coffee shop, your own bag to a shop, recycling properly or not grabbing a straw even if you have your lipstick on may sound too small and meaningless to make any change, but it is important to remember that everything does have an impact. If you are constant with choices throughout everyday life and inspire others to do the same, it will have a big impact overall.
Changing your lifestyle overnight is nearly impossible and it will take time to implement sustainable practices in your life. Remember that at the end of the day, as someone who is concerned about the Planet you are already on the right track.
There is a whole section on Mindless with interesting reads on Climate Change and sustainability.