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Save Money with These Easy Eco-Friendly Product Swaps

I can hardly turn down an idea if it saves me money.

Growing up with one penny-pinching parent and another who twice-over filed for bankruptcy, I knew from a young age the value of every dollar earned and spent.

Being frugal by nature means that over the years, I’ve discovered what eco-friendly household solutions save money and which are a total waste.

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I’m still trying new things, which is the true inspiration behind ecoden’s “save” section, but these are currently my favourite eco-friendly swaps because they’re practical, easy to implement, and don’t require any major lifestyle changes.

Around the house

Save on paper towels by using sponge cloths

Eco-friendly products - sponge clothes
Facebook | Ten & Co.

You can find Canadian-made festive and floral squares from Ten & Co. 

They’re smaller than the average piece of paper towel, but can absorb up to 3/4 cup of liquid. They last around 200 washes, or up to a year of use. Since they’re made from a blend of wood pulp (cellulose) and cotton, you can easily compost them when they’re finished.

Average savings 

At just $6 a square, each one saves you 17 rolls worth of paper towel.

Considering the average cost of one paper towel roll in Canada is $1.39, 17 rolls would normally run you $23.63.

That’s $17.63 in savings for each square, not to mention a lot of waste avoided in the landfills. 

If you’re in a family or a dorm unit that goes through lots of paper towel in cleaning, cooking, or serving, this can really add up over the course of the year, both environmentally and financially.

In the washroom

Forget about the tampon tax and go green with alternative feminine care products

green feminine care products
Facebook | The DivaCup

Women using disposable feminine care products over the life course of their menstrual cycles will toss away approximately 9,600 tampons, pads, and/or liners. In my humble opinion, that’s a pretty conservative estimate at just 20 tampons per cycle, but every woman and their flow is different. 

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No matter the brand, style, or size, disposable feminine hygiene products create unnecessary stress on the environment.

Cotton tampons require large amounts of water, pesticides, and fertilizer to produce and they take about six months to decompose. Plastic applicators and wrappers can take centuries to break down into microplastics—if they don’t end up in a sea animal’s stomach first. Pads may never decompose due to plastic linings. These products pollute our landfills and oceans, not to mention cost a small fortune. 

I mean, why wouldn’t we ditch disposables at this point?

There’s certainly no lack of excellent options for eco-friendly feminine care products. From convenient menstrual cups to sleek “period panties” and linen liners, there’s really no reason to be buying and tossing disposables.

Personally, my favourite products are The DivaCup, which I’ve been loyal to and raving about for years before it was considered cool, and most recently I’ve added a few Knix underwear to my monthly routine.

I love The DivaCup for when I’m out of the house and don’t want to worry about anything period-related. (I was the girl who carried a purse full of tampons and now I’m the woman who ditched both tampons and purses.) Knix underwear is more comfortable than cotton and provides peace of mind while I sleep. Together, they make periods suck a lot less and they’ve already saved me hundreds of dollars. 

Average savings

You can save an estimated $100-150 per year, not to mention put a serious dent in your ecological impact.

In the laundry room

Ditch dryer sheets for wool balls

eco-friendly products - dryer wool balls
Amazon| Smart Sheep

What’s the issue with dryer sheets? Well, they contain toxic chemicals that leech into your dryer’s air vents and into your clothes. They also have added synthetic fragrances that can cause skin irritations and respiratory issues. These chemicals build in your lint screen and reduce the efficiency of your dryer, too. Oh yeah, and they’re totally unnecessary pieces of polyester that we toss immediately after use.

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You can get premium, Canadian-made wool dryer ball packs for around $22. You can also find some at a local farmer’s market or natural aisle and save yourself the shipping cost.

Most sites say the balls last several years and about a thousand loads. I’m in month two of using mine and they seem super durable (and work great). I’m never going back.

Average savings

Based on best-selling, synthetic-fragrance-infused Bounce sheets, the average cost for each sheet is around 3 cents, so a thousand loads would cost around $30.

You can save around $8 per thousand loads while avoiding synthetics and reducing waste.

Not sure how they work?

These natural wool balls absorb moisture and prevent static just the same as disposable sheets. They work efficiently if you toss 3 big or 6 small ones in with your drying load. 

If you miss the synthetic fragrance in dryer sheets, you can go natural and shake a few drops of essential oils on the ball before tossing into the dryer. Lavender works wonderfully as it’s also an antibacterial agent

In the kitchen

Cook with chicken instead of beef 

lower greenhouse recipes - chicken and 
turkey
Pixabay

Sure, swapping animal products for plants will have a greater impact on reducing your overall greenhouse gas emissions, but let’s face it: Most of us still eat meat at least a few times a week. 

And as an ex-vegan, I can honestly say there’s zero judgment—and it is possible to live a sustainable lifestyle and consciously consume animal products…

But beef isn’t green.

Beef production is significantly more damaging to the planet than any other meat, poultry, or dairy product. Like, ten times more damaging, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

Reducing beef consumption is part of saving the planet, and it just so happens to help our wallets, too. 

Average savings

You can substitute beef for chicken in tacos, stirfrys, soups, pastas, and more. Over the course of the month, this can really help reduce your meat bill.

Pound for pound, and brand for brand, ground beef can be double the price of ground chicken.

At Loblaws, you can get a pound of extra lean Canadian ground beef for $8.49.

You can get a pound of Blue Menu extra lean ground chicken for $6.99 or the generic Loblaws extra lean ground chicken for $4.99. Note: Trying to find what warrants the extra 2 bucks per pound on their site was impossible as the info for both reads identically.  

Nevertheless, you save between $1.50 and $3.50 per pound of ground meat. 

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You can save more if you swap your roast beef for roast chicken. Even a cheaper cut like an eye of round Canada AAA from Loblaws is still $8.99 per pound, compared with just $3.49 per pound for the “Free From” whole chicken. 

On the low scale, roast beef costs $5.50 per pound more than roast chicken. If you typically buy more expensive roast cuts, your savings could be even greater. 

These are easy swaps because they don’t require much effort or upfront costs, but don’t worry, we’re not done. There are endless ways to save money around the house—this is just the beginning.

If you have more tried-and-true ways to save money while saving the planet, let’s get the convo going in the comments.

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One comment

  1. […] single sponge cloth is said to replace 17 rolls of paper towel and it’s 100% biodegradable when wear and tear […]

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