I think we can all agree that 2020 was a hard year financially for everyone. So why not try and save money in 2021 while being sustainable at the same time. Below I will list some of my favourite sustainable money-saving hacks that are great for everyday life.
Reusable face masks
This tip is obviously not for medical professionals and essential workers but for the average person. Face masks are one of the most useful ways to combat the novel coronavirus however disposable face masks are creating an unnecessary amount of waste since it is recommended to dispose of them after one day of use, due to this recommendation you would have to buy them frequently. A sustainable and cost-effective alternative to disposable face masks is cloth reusable face masks, these can most likely be bought at your local shopping centre, or you can make them from fabrics scraps using the recommendations from the World Health Organization.
Plastic water bottles
Plastic water bottles are almost 2 000 times the cost of 4,5 litres of tap water. These overpriced plastic bottles do not only hurt your pocket but the environment. Only PET bottles can be recycled which means all the rest are discarded. The best way to avoid plastic water bottles is to get into the habit of carrying a reusable bottle with you.
Look at second-hand stores before buying new, second-hand stores are not only cost-effective but lots of them are non-profit organisations that give back to their local community. You might even find some unique hidden gems, to spice up your wardrobe, house, or book collection. Some of my favourites in Centurion are Irene homes, Centurion Hospice, Daddy Cool Second-Hand Clothing and Lizmar books.
The average shopping bag in South Africa costs anywhere between 55c to 69c per bag, switching to reusable shopping bags is not going to save you a lot of money but it will help the environment. Plastic bags not only release toxic chemicals into the environment but also break down into micro-plastics that harm wildlife. So, switching to reusable bags is a small but very helpful swap you can make for the environment.
Rags, not paper towels
Paper towels are a household staple for most kitchens but there is no good reason to use them. There are multiple reasons not to use paper towels some of these include that they cause pollution (through transportation), they are treated with chemicals, they do not recycle well, etc. A great alternative to paper towels is rags which can be made from any scrap fabric such as t-shirts.