Sustainable Tips for Montreal Consumerists



Small-scale sustainable habits can pave the way to large-scale sustainable living. Individuals are often overwhelmed by the idea of going green, but the transition is not as hard as it seems. Little actions taking place in our daily lives can have a great impact when considered by large audiences. Interested in using your money more sustainably? This list will give you a quick overview of elements to consider to use your money in an efficient budget-friendly and eco-friendly manner.

First, a few basics.

1. Don't buy what you don't need - We live in a consumerist society in which cleverly marketed spending options are everywhere. Keep an eye out for frivolous spending. Do you really need that thingamajig? Wouldn't you rather save your money for something that's more advantageous? Save money you'd usually spend on 'not so useful things', save for a trip or something that would really improve your quality of life or offer a truly meaningful life experience.

2. Borrow instead of buy - Why buy objects that might simply pile up unused after one or two uses? Rent or borrow things you might not need on a regular basis. Whether it is entertainment obtained at your local library, sports gear rented from Mountain Equipment Coop, construction or party components from Lou-Tec, there are many enterprises that can accommodate your needs, and alleviate your spending (and unneeded materialism!).

3. Connect with your Community - Social media allows us to connect easily with our community. It is possible to easily exchange goods or services via social media, classified advertisement platforms and other social network services. Kijiji, facebook groups and Freecycle are examples of such websites.


Now, here is where the effort kicks in...

4. Buy what you ethically approve - A major step in sustainable money-use is to take the extra step to (only) support morally well-founded enterprises. As a consumer, be in the know. The money you use supports enterprises that might not follow ethical principles you'd like to stand up for, such as cruelty-free standards, or fair trade. Know your opinion matters. Companies welcome client concerns and many have changed their ways to adapt to morally conscious consumers.

5. Buy locally produced food and goods when you can - By doing this, you stimulate the local economy, and stand up to limiting unneeded import-export, and the environmental impact that goes along with it. You can support local farmers by participating in a cooperative, for example. For a fixed price, you will be able to pick up a crate of freshly harvested vegetables every week. Also, be aware of the different markets found around Montreal. Enterprises such as Lufa Farms also offer locally produced food.

6. Buy in bulk - Consumerism comes with packaging. But are you buying the product or the brand by doing this? More and more enterprises are allowing you to buy in bulk, often for cheaper than branded, pre-packaged options. Bulk Barn, Vrac en Folie, La Maison Verte are different options. Cost-efficient choices are often found via food cooperatives. By buying bulk, you end up generating less waste, and saving money.


Simple shifts, big differences

7. Switch to Sustainable Everyday Products - Many DIY options can be found on the internet to eliminate spending. Take cleaning products as example. Mixes of vinegar, lemon juice or baking soda in water can efficiently replace the use of toxic goods. Not ready to go that far? Produits Lemieux, a Montreal-based company, allows customers to fill their own recycled containers with eco-friendly detergents and cleaning products for clothes, dishes, home and body.

8. Transportation - Can't walk or bike there? Public transport via the STM is always an option, a much less costly one than having a car. Enterprises such as communauto allow you to rent a vehicle short term if need be. Better for the environment... and your wallet does not have gas, car payments, insurance and eventual repairs to take care of!

9. Recycling and Composting - Minimize your impact on landfills, pollute less by sorting out your trash, recycling what you can, safely disposing toxic goods (Eco-Centres are available for this purpose), and using a compost bin to gather organic matter, which makes grounds more fertile for future plant growth. Compost Montreal offers compost management services if you do not wish to deal with the process yourself. They bring a batch of fresh compost to residential areas in the spring, just in time for gardening.



This is a great article :) I really enjoyed the opening lines, the placements of the comic strips and the inclusion of hyperlinks- since it doesn't mean extra researching.

These are good tips! I'm absolutely going to try a more sustainable cleaning solution (especially since I've got an animal at home--good for me, her, and the environment).

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