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How to be an ethical/sustainable consumer on a tight budget.

Travel Forums Off Topic How to be an ethical/sustainable consumer on a tight budget.


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1. Posted by Clarabell (Travel Guru 1696 posts) 9y

Has anybody got any good tips on how to live a healthy, ethical, and environmentally sustainable life on a VERY tight budget.

Living off an NHS student bursary leaves me with not much money left after the rent and bills are paid.

I am aware that the prices I pay for things in shops does not always reflect the true cost of its production in terms of both farmers/producers and its environmental impact. However, what can you do if you are having to watch your money?

Also....I used to be vegetarian and would still prefer to buy free-range meat, but it is way out of my price range, and pulses are cheap and healthy, so I often try to eat lentils and chickpeas and beany stuff instead, but then it occurs to me that they are not locally produced and so probably flown around the world at some cost to the environment. Is that getting fussy? I would love to be able to buy more Fair Trade stuff, and bio-degradable detergents and so on, but I can't really afford it. All I can afford is the cheap nasty stuff. I walk to the supermarket, re-use bags, and try to be careful about using gas/electricity etc (well I have to - can't afford big bills)

My philosophy on being green, is every little bit helps, and so while nobody lives perfectly, we all have to do what we can....But apart from the things we can do at home like saving energy and recycling, what tips do you have for shopping?

2. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 9y

Mmmm! Great topic! I love that you wrote "lentils".

I am a big fan of ethical and sustainable living, and I don't believe in the argument that it's too costly to do so. Bulk grains and beans are cheap. Vegetables are cheap when compared to meat and dairy products. Cutting back your meat intake to once or twice a month could allow you to make free-range choices. (Although I have reservations towards free-range still).

Toxic cleaning agents are also expensive, that is why one can use the "Guide to Less Toxic Products" - where they list what chemicals and products to avoid and what to use or make yourself even. Such as using vinegar as your main cleaner.

Like you say though, the next stage is locally sourced food and products. Which can be hard when the economy of the world is based on globalisation. But there are local choices albeit less choices. But again, like you say any step helps, so buying sustainable, ethical, and healthy products from around the world is better than buying toxic, unethical, and unsustainable products.

3. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Pulses, beans, lentils and bulk grains?

Sounds delicious

4. Posted by garry moll (Budding Member 348 posts) 9y

not sure how to do it clare.
but why is it all the healthy / free range and line caught fish and the likes alway are the dearer option ?
surely the way forward is to try and lower the price of good natrual products to encurage them being bought.

5. Posted by baluba (Respected Member 407 posts) 9y

Hi Clara,
Do you have farmers markets in your area? There you will get local produce at a reasonable price. Perhaps also seek out people with allotments that grow their own veggies, they often have a surplus and would probably be happy to sell to you. Car boots is another good place to find local produce at a good price. Meat is always going to cost a lot if it is organic as it costs so much more to produce. Best you can do is go to the supermarket late in the day and hopefully get the leftover organic stuff going cheap. Its not easy I know, tried it myself and it cost a fortune. Plus all this 'free range' label is a load of rubbish. It has to be 'soil association free range' to be genuinely free range and this can double the price again. Oh I could rant on for ages!
Also, invest in a little book all about vineger, you can probably throw away the majority of the chemicals you use and replace them with good old cheap vineger!
Alternatively, you could make some extra money giving Garrymoll some spelling lessons. Sorry BM!!!!!!!xx

6. Posted by garry moll (Budding Member 348 posts) 9y

ha so there you are claire....thought you where lost.....cheecky pup wots up wi me spellin

7. Posted by Herr Bert (Moderator 1384 posts) 9y

Did you ever thought about growing you own vegatables? Maybe you have a small garden, or you can use a piece of a garden of a friend or relative?

But it takes some care. last year i found my beans overgrown by weeds, after I returned from my trip to Scandinavia (it weird how fast this stuff grows in 2 weeks time).

Oooh ... and don't plant too much or else you will be eating not but beans (or whatever you seeded) for the rest of the year.

A Belgian TV show compared products found in supermarkets by the amount of carbin it took to place them on the shelves. You could see a big difference. Glass packaging takes a lot of carbin (as the production of glass is done in very hot conditions), but it can be used more times. Also products from your own country, will have needed lower emissions to reach the shelf, because it needs less time on the road.

8. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 9y

Meat-wise, farmers markets are definitely the way to go, its best to learn about what cuts of meat are cheap e.g. pork belly very cheap and tasty. Also game tends to be very reasonably priced at farmers markets.

9. Posted by ikey (Full Member 172 posts) 9y

Quoting baluba

Alternatively, you could make some extra money giving Garrymoll some spelling lessons. Sorry BM!!!!!!!xx

While your pointing out spelling mistakes baluba, how do you spell vinegar in the UK?

10. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Quoting baluba

Alternatively, you could make some extra money giving Garrymoll some spelling lessons. Sorry BM!!!!!!!xx

That's garry moll not "Garrymoll"