September 24, 2018 1:00 am

5 green-living tips that will save you money

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For the first time ever, Torontonians are being asked to vote on the places and things that make the city one of the greenest in North America.

Through Toronto’s Greenest Choice, residents have the chance to win prizes like an $800 commuter bike and passes to the Royal Ontario Museum while recognizing individuals and businesses committed with reducing their carbon footprint.

But on a personal level, there are things residents can do to make our city a greener place – and save money while doing so.

“Some people think that a green lifestyle is more expensive but that certainly doesn’t have to be the case,” says Nancy Ruscica, outreach and engagement manager at the City of Toronto.

In partnership with Toronto’s Greenest Choice, here are some tips to help you go green.

  1. Save thousands on your commute

Make use of bike share programs and public transportation to get around the city. It can cost up to $10,000 a year to operate a car in Toronto and the average car insurance rate in Ontario is $160 a month.

By comparison, a monthly TTC pass, goes for $146.25 and an annual membership with Bike Share Toronto is only $99.

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  1. Love food, hate waste

Canadians throw out about 170 kilograms of food a year. Much of that food is imported, meaning it travels an average of 2,500 kilometres to get to someone’s table.

Farmers’ markets are a great place to shop for fresh, locally-grown food. Not only will you get a range of the best local goods at a decent price, but the food travels a much shorter distance, reducing the emissions that contribute to climate change.

  1. Save a bundle on clothing

The average Canadian spends over $1,000 on clothing a year but throws out about 36 kilograms of unwanted wares. On top of that, only 28 per cent of Canadians buy used clothes, Value Village notes.

That’s a missed opportunity because there are a huge number of vintage stores across the city that are brimming with unique and designer finds. Stores like H&M and Patagonia also offer discounts when you drop off old textiles for reuse and recycling.

  1. Save on food, grow your own

Herbs and vegetables like basil, dill, tomatoes and eggplant are easy to grow in any sized space. Just remember to give them enough light.

When you think about how much a pint of cherry tomatoes can cost (about $3) versus a pack of seedlings (about $1.50), the decision to grow your own is easy.

  1. Shopping? Make the greenest choice

There are many ways to live a greener life. You can get discounts and deals on hundreds of products and services with the free Live Green Perks app.  The city will plant a tree for every 20 deals you claim in-app.

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“We need to be mindful each day with every decision we make. From the food we eat to the products we buy to the way we get to work and school – keeping the greener choice top of mind is key,” says Ruscica.

“We suggest buying less, [while] repairing, sharing, swapping, donating and recycling more,” she says.  “Some actions may seem small but, if we all do them, we can have a major impact.”

Toronto’s Greenest Choice highlights the many businesses that can help you go green, save money and the environment. Vote today at livegreentoronto.ca

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