World Environment Day, led by the United Nations Environment programme is globally celebrated today, the 5th of June every year.

The United Nation tries and creates awareness about the importance of environmental protection and ecological sustainability. In 2019, China would be hosting the global World Environment Day celebrations based on the theme ‘Air Pollution’.

Let us do our bit for Mother Nature by becoming eco-warriors and proactively making eco-friendly choices, which might even be financially rewarding in the long run. The need of the hour is to change our attitude and mindset towards environmental issues, which will go a long way in making a safe future for all.

There is lot of talk about adopting the minimalist lifestyle i.e. living with less. It would make sense to add another dimension to this trend -the ecological aspect. There is an economic as well as ecological cost involved to the rampant material consumption.

The following are some of the eco-friendly measures by which one can save the planet as well as one’s wallet.

1.Recycle

This is a no brainer. There are many industries where this could result in huge cost savings along with drastic reduction in carbon emissions. Its important to think out of the box and devise innovative methods to recycle and use.

  • E-Waste

Take e-waste for example. Discarding old gadgets often results in hazardous chemicals entering the soil, which ultimately enter the food stream by way of plants and seeds.

It would be prudent to recycle unwanted electronic devices. One can also earn money in the process of upto 30-50% of the cost of the original device.

The earnings are higher if the product is in a working condition and sold in the electronic market for spare parts rather than scrap. Another idea would be to buy refurbished products.

Generally, the largest amount of emission in electronic goods is in the manufacturing process. Thus one can eliminate this pollution by buying lower cost refurbished items.

  • Plastic

Another industry is plastic containers. Companies can arrange for collection of old plastic bottles used in the cosmetics and foods industry.

Plastic is largely a non-biodegradable waste, which pollutes the environment. Companies would be able to save huge sums of money in the process, rather than buying new plastic to fulfill their packaging requirement.

  • Waste to Wealth Approach

With research, it is possible to convert many forms of garbage into fuel that can be utilized for energy generation. A small step can have a huge impact in terms of monetary savings and reducing carbon footprint.

Food wastage and other waste from agro products can be converted and used as a biofuel.

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  • Being Fuel Conscious

India is a huge importer of oil. Thus, by initiatives like car-pooling, remote working etc, one can contribute towards reduced fuel consumption by way of petrol, diesel savings. The following chart gives the breakup of petrol costs in major Indian cities:

Assuming one was to consume 1 litre of petrol for every 17km travelled, imagine the fuel savings from minimizing vehicle travel. The tables below give an approximate estimate of the costs involved on a per day basis assuming a distance travelled daily of 51km.

Petrol prices As of 4 June 2019
Bangalore Mumbai Chennai Delhi Kolkata
Rs per litre 73.47 76.91 74.01 71.23 73.47
Source: Economic Times
km/litre Daily distance travelled(km) petrol consumed (litres)
17 51 3

 

Cities (Petrol) Bangalore Mumbai Chennai Delhi Kolkata
Approx. Daily cost 220.41 230.73 222.03 213.69 220.41
Approx. monthly cost* 5510.25 5768.25 5550.75 5342.25 5510.25

* Assuming 25 days travelled in a month

One of the major problems of urban cities is air pollution, which is largely caused from vehicular traffic. Thus, one can drastically cut down on pollution by opting for lower spending on fuel.

It would be better to opt for eco friendly fuel options like CNG which have a lower outgo of Rs 45.70/kg and higher mileage of 22km/kg.

Let’s now consider the cost savings from the CNG variant vehicles:

Cost (Rs/kg) Mileage (km/kg) Daily km travelled Daily consumption (kg)
CNG 45.7 22 51 2.32

 

Approx. Daily cost 105.94
Approx. monthly cost 2648.52

* Assuming 25 days travelled in a month

2. Go paperless

The paper industry involves cutting down of trees, several stages in the manufacture and often discharge huge amounts of waste.

Thus, adoption of e-writing methods, digital signature and other digital notebook options can help save trees. Opt for online banking for fund transfer rather than traditional paper based banking methods like cheque issue.

2.Sustainability as a Branding Exercise

With rise of consumer activism, consumers often select products that have a brand strategy that aligns with their core beliefs.

For example, Lee won positive response from many quarters for their innovative recycling of jeans. Instead of corporates spending lakhs of money on marketing and branding exercise, it would make economic sense to adopt ecologically sustainable solutions to win over consumers.

This would also translate into increased mindshare and wallet share in the long run.

3.Adopt Clean Tech

Natural energy like solar and energy efficient options like LED can reduce monthly electricity bills as well as help the environment.

One can also buy electronic appliances that have higher energy efficiency ratings i.e. 5 stars rated. This results in lower power consumption and savings in monthly electricity bills.

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Most importantly, one must conserve energy by switching off unwanted lights and fans, opting for the stairs rather than the lift, and turning off other electrical appliances when not in use.

4.Advantage of LED 

It is believed that LED is 50% more energy efficient than CFL bulbs and 88% more productive in comparison to incandescent bulbs.

In the recent 2019-20 Budget presented in Feb 2019, the Finance Minister revealed that by providing 143 crore LED bulbs to Indian households, India had saved a whopping upto Rs 50,000 crore in electricity bills.

5. Solar Is the Key

India has the unique distinction of being the lowest cost producer of solar power of $793 per KW as per a recent report by IRENA.

With the vast availability and abundance of sunlight, it would be best for India to adopt solar energy as a reliable power source. One can buy solar PV systems and install them at home as a source of power supply.

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Simple DIY daily ways to go green:
Only buy what you need and when you need. Do not hoard. Plan in advance and use a shopping list. Stick to the list to avoid binge shopping.
Use varied public transport available-Metro, trains, bus etc. Opt for company services like car pooling etc
Conserve water. It is believed that future world wars would be fought because of water! Shut off unused taps and repair leaking taps.when not in use.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refurbish wherever possible. This saves energy and helps conserve the environment.
Encourage and buy eco-friendly products – biodegradable, recyclable or compostable
Save electricity by switching off unused lights and gadgets. Use energy efficient lighting and appliances
Plant a tree or sapling today.
Throw garbage only in dustbins. Refrain from littering.
Have separate garbage disposal methods for bio-degradable and non-bio-degradable
Carry your own bag when shopping. Avoid plastic bags.
Turn off your car engines when the traffic signal turns red. Ensure your vehicle is PUC complaint.
Dispose electronic waste properly.

The above indicative tips can truly be win-win situation-not only would one derive monetary savings but one would also be a more responsible citizen of the planet by saving the planet.

Thus, a double advantage of feeling good from doing good for the environment as well as oneself benefitting in the process.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are that of the author and not those of Groww