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How many of us aspire to environmentally responsible, sustainable lives, only to find that our bank account just doesn't appreciate our vision? But it doesn't have to be expensive.
Often the alternatives to these eco-ideals are not only cheaper, they're also better for the environment. There are plenty of ways to go green without going into the red. Here are 10 ideas:
1. You want solar hot water at up to $6,000 > Try water saving showerheads for $20
While a solar water heater is a top way to cut back on your electricity consumption and reduce your greenhouse footprint, it can cost anywhere from $1,500 to $6,000, plus $350 to $1,000 for installation.
A cheaper and simpler way to reduce your hot water demand is to install a AAA-rated shower head for between $20 and $120. Instead of swallowing a whopping 20 to 30 L of hot water a minute, you'll only need 9 L per minute. Your skin won't know the difference, but your electricity bill will.
2. You want organic meat for every meal > Try a few vegetarian nights a week
Organic meat can cost around $13 to $35 per kg for a rump steak, $20 to $38 per kg for chicken breast fillet and $15 to $19 per kg for an organic leg of lamb. But A 2006 United Nations report declared the livestock sector "one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems."
Cattle generate 18 per cent more greenhouse gas emissions than transport, so by giving up beef for just a few nights a week, you're making a real difference to climate change. Tofu costs around $5 to $15 per kg, gourmet vegetarian sausages $12 to $20 per kg, red lentils around $5 per kg and chickpeas $4 per kg.
You'll save enough money to afford organic meat occasionally, and with plenty of research showing that vegetarians are healthier, your body will thank you too.
3. You want organic vegetables > Try growing your own
Organic potatoes cost around $3.50 per kg, pumpkin $2 to $4 per kg, broccoli $8 to $10 per kg and mushrooms anywhere from $20 to $40 per kg . But why wear out your feet and patience trawling through the markets for expensive organic fruit and vegetables when you can grow your own organically in the fresh air, warm sun and from the comfort of your own home?
A packet of organic vegetable seeds including carrots, beans, eggplant and tomatoes costs $33.30 plus $6 postage from The Digger's Club. Enjoy the freshest, best-tasting fruit and vegetables for a fraction of the price.
4. You want a hybrid car from $32,990 > Try a small fuel efficient car from $15,190
Hybrid cars have been launched amid much fanfare around the world, but they have a hefty price tag. Toyota Prius from $37,400, Honda Civic Hybrid from $32,990 and Lexus Hybrid SUV from $97,545. And despite all the technology, at this stage you still can't beat a small car for fuel efficiency.
The Fiat 500 1.3 JTD ($22,990) has the lowest fuel consumption of any car sold in Australia with an average figure of 4.2 L per 100 km. The Toyota Prius achieves an impressive 4.4 L per 100 km but for a lot more money. Try also a Toyota Yaris from $15,190 and VW Polo from $16,990.