Five ways you can be more eco-friendly without breaking the bank

Lots of us want to live in a more environmentally friendly way. But often the options available to us can seem out of reach. Solar panels? Brilliant but expensive. Electric car? Better dig into those savings. 

If you’re looking to live an eco-friendlier lifestyle but you’re on a budget, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for our top recommendations that won’t break the bank.

1) Be conscious of your shopping choices

Becoming more eco-friendly could be as simple as taking a look at your shopping choices and how you could improve them for the better. From choosing to shop at supermarkets that have pledged to reduce or eliminate plasticto using refillable cartonsand finding zero waste grocers, the opportunities to go green when shopping are endless and don’t have to cost any more than a regular shop.

2) Watch out for greenwashing

Buying from brands who champion sustainability is a great way to feel like you’re making an impact. And from fashion to food, there have been a huge number of brands giving their customers eco-friendlier options that don’t sacrifice their current lifestyles (think H&M’s Conscious collection or Amazon’s Shipment Zero).

But there is something to watch out for: the phenomenon of greenwashing. Business News Daily defines this as “when a company or organisation spends more time and money on marketing themselves as environmentally friendly than on minimising their environmental impact. It is a deceitful advertising gimmick intended to mislead consumers who prefer to buy from environmentally conscious brands.”

So the next time you’re about to buy into something as part of a more ‘sustainable’ lifestyle, it’s worth checking if the company has facts and figures to back themselves up (this spin on ‘the world’s most sustainable phone’ is a great example). This article has some helpful hints on what to look out for.

3) Give your old items a second chance

Whether you’re getting rid of clothes that you no longer want or parting with an old phone that has been lurking in your kitchen drawer, a great eco-friendly action is to give them a second lease of life.

There is a tonne of ‘second hand’ sites that can help you to get rid of, quite literally, anything. There is Facebook Marketplacefor any item under the sun, Recycle Your Electricalsfor unused gadgets and Thrift+for unwanted clothes. All of these are great options if you want to earn some extra cash, too.

As one of the greatest burdens on our environment is waste, helping to alleviate this by giving your old items another chance rather than throwing them away is a great place to start. And it might seem like a small act, but it’s the small acts that make the biggest difference when we club them together.

4) Rethink brand new

When it comes to the world of tech, we’re all guilty of wanting to upgrade to a newer, sleeker and shinier device. Especially when our current one is on its last legs and we know there is a better one out there.

Often, though, buying a new device comes with a hefty price tag. And whether you decide to pay upfront or go for a monthly contract, it’ll still cost you.

So, what gives? Well, getting a secondhand phone is a great way to do your bit for the planet by using a phone that’s already in circulation – and it’ll cost you less than a brand new one, too. Choosing a phone that has been refurbished means that you’ll be getting your hands on a phone that is in ‘as good as new’ condition and will last far longer than a used phone that hasn’t been restored.

Be careful, though. We’d only recommend buying a secondhand phone from a trusted retailer who has professionally restored the phone to its top working condition. There is a lot of tricky marketing out there, but equally there is a lot of advicethat can help you to cut through the noise and make an informed choice.

5) Consider leasing

Leasing is another way to be more eco-friendly while saving money. Much like the idea of Netflix for films and TV, leasing means that you aren’t physically buying a product; you’re simply paying to use it. And without the price tag of ownership attached, you’ll find that leasing is a great cost saver while being eco-friendly.

It might sound like an odd concept but leasing your tech products can help you to curb the global appetite for brand new tech, which will in turn help the world’s e-waste problem. Take what London-based tech startup Raylo does. As the market leader for phone leasing, they make sure that each iPhone they lease is used for its full lifespan (approximately 6 years instead of the average 2.5 years).

For every iPhone that they lease to a customer, they will collect it at the end of the 12 or 24 month term, refurbish it and make sure it lands in another pair of hands. Which is why they offer both new and refurbished iPhones. Discover how they’re working to make the smartphone industry more sustainable.