In this modern world, sustainability and ethics are trendy terms. This is great as it means that we are starting to think about the impacts of our contemporary consumerist lifestyles on the natural environment and on developing societies.
However, there’s a cost that comes with products or services that meet ‘ethical’ and/or ‘sustainable’ criteria. This additional cost can be a deterrent, particularly to those of us that are trying to be frugal to save our pennies.
This has been an internal conflict for me in my quest for financial freedom through frugality. However, at my core is a conscience that reminds me of my duty to reduce my environmental and social impact where I can.
Consequently, I have set rules for myself. These are the 5 items that I cannot bring myself to sacrifice, despite how much cheaper the alternative is!
1. Free-range eggs
If you’ve ever seen how battery hens are kept, it’s almost impossible to buy cage eggs. Free range aren’t perfect either, but a hell of a lot better than the cheaper alternative.
I try to opt for free range with a hen to hectare ratio of 1500… But, free range can be up to 10,000 per hectare.
Alternatively, you could have your own chooks and have better control over their conditions. It is a future aim of mine!
This handy guide from Choice explains all about what free range eggs really means.
2. Australian seafood
As a piscetarian, I don’t have to worry about the living conditions of terrestrial animals farmed for their meat so much. But, I do need to worry about where my seafood comes from and what it is.
I try to follow the Sustainable Seafood Guide as much as possible and make sure I only buy local Australian seafood despite the price.
Buying Australian ensures that the fish I get are regulated for sustainability and also helps support Australian commercial fishing industry jobs.
3. Milk that pays the farmers a reasonable price per litre
As someone from a farming background, the sustainability of agricultural industries is an important issue to me.
Milk at $1 a litre is just not sustainable for the industry in the long run. This major grocery chain instigated pricing just doesn’t allow for a reasonable (if any) profit for the farmer.
Additionally, I like to shop local when I can. Living in Brisbane, I’m lucky enough to be within range of Maleny Dairies, which is a local producer and pays its farmers a reasonable farm to gate price for milk.
It also happens to run tours of its dairy and factory as well. My beloved and I went on one of these tours a few months back and it was excellent.
If you want to know how you can make a difference as a consumer, click here.
4. Recycled toilet paper
I will admit that this one is my biggest sticking point. I just can’t understand why we cut down perfectly good forests just to wipe our butts.
I know recycled toilet paper has its own set of environmental impacts… But, still, less than deforestation.
According to Worldwatch and the University of Colorado Environmental Centre, 909 kilograms of recycled toilet paper saves 1682 kgs of lumber and 90,849 litres of water; and uses 64 % less energy and 50% less water to produce.
To summarise… It just makes sense to me!
5. Recycled paper towel
Like recycled toilet paper, recycled paper towel is not compromisable for me. Sure, it would be best to use reusable clothes instead… But, my cat has a problem.
My *darling sweetheart* cat is fussy. She refuses to go to the toilet outside, in a box of kitty litter, or in an empty box. She does however go on paper towel in a box. Hence the need for paper towel.
Much like toilet paper, recycled paper towel is better than other paper towel options. Therefore, I only buy recycled paper towel despite the difference in cost… I just stock up when it’s on special!