Being Green Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

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Earlier this week, eBay Canada released information about a survey they commissioned that shows the majority of Canadians want to lead a greener lifestyle but feel significant challenges in doing so.

The study, which surveyed over 1500 adult Canadians indicated some pretty interesting statistics that, to me, indicate many people don’t realize how simple it can be to start leading a more sustainable lifestyle.

First, a whopping 84% of Canadians believe green products to be more expensive and 64% wish they had more green options when it comes to buying and selling. Likewise 47% wish they had more green shopping options and 2 out of 5 Canadians feel overwhelmed with the amount of green information available.

That last part is definitely understandable. It’s extremely easy to get overwhelmed when you stop and think about all the different ways to become “greener”. The important thing here, however, is to take baby steps. You don’t have to give up everything you know and love, just start with the little things and build from there. Leading a greener lifestyle shouldn’t make you feel crazy, it should make you feel proud of all the small things you do each day to cut down on waste.

I will go so far as to say that leading a greener lifestyle does take a little more effort in some ways. Recycling, for instance, does mean that you need to sort your waste. Here in Toronto we also have a composting program which means I don’t just sort out my recycled goods and have two garbage cans, I also have a third for wet waste that can be used to create new soil for the city. Sure it makes something as simple as throwing garbage away require a little more effort, but it’s a simple and easy thing to do that can have a huge impact.

You can also take baby steps in becoming greener in your lifestyle by carrying around your metal water bottle instead of buying plastic bottles. Likewise, eliminating your morning coffee cup with a reusable one also adds up. Reusable grocery bags are everywhere now and are usually less than a buck to purchase. They also fold up and you can keep one in your messenger bag for spontaneous shopping as well.

As homos, we seem to shy away from used goods. It’s a mindset that I don’t think is going to radically change anytime soon… we like new, shiny things! That said, taking the vintage, pre-owned or even the refurbished route is a huge resource saving practice (and is generally much lighter on your wallet). “Green products” don’t have to be more expensive. In most cases, an object that already exists is a greener option than creating something new. Refurbished items are amazing too because you’re essentially getting a brand new item that had a defect of some sort which has been fixed up by the manufacturer and re-sold at a lower price, rather than just sending it to the dump. Extending the useful life of any item means you’re saving on the resources and materials that would be required to produce a new one- and that can be huge. In some cases, buying a previously owned item can cut down on up to 95% of the carbon emissions necessary to create a new one, let alone the raw materials you’ve saved.

Lastly, be conscious of how and of what an item is made. If you’ve ever worn an article of clothing made from bamboo, I don’t need to tell you that the material is soft, comfortable and way better at wicking away moisture from your skin than cotton. (Cin2 makes underwear out of bamboo as well… just sayin’). Choosing items that are made out of sustainable resources, like organic cotton and bamboo is also another easy way to start being more eco-friendly.

So just remember, nobody is asking you to change the world overnight and nobody expects you to give up all the things you love and become something you’re not. Just start taking the little steps towards being more eco-conscious. Cut down on your waste and look for items that take less from the Earth to start. Simple, easy and effective.