We’re sure you’re familiar with this brunch scenario. Three titas chat by the corner table of a café as they sip on their responsibly produced GMO-free Almond Milk Matcha Lattes (P180/each). They’re waiting for their organic farm-to-table Greek salads (P450, at least) to arrive. Their ethically sourced, abaca-woven handbags (P5,700, without shipping) sit handsomely beside them, and their eco-conscious jackets (price: don’t even ask) hang strategically on the backs of their chairs. All so you could appreciate the colorful embroidery made from upcycled designer fabrics.
You’re thinking, green living never looked this good, and it makes you want to sign up too. But then a burning question enters your mind: can you even afford to care for Mother Earth like they can? You immediately think no way, so you slump back into your seat and move on.

But don’t be fooled! A lot of people give up on going green because there’s this common misconception that it’s expensive. With all these brands charging you extra to practice sustainability, no one can blame you for getting lost in the marketing. But when you get right down to it, budgeting and going green are both simply about lessening your consumption. With a little patience and will, you can save the earth without sacrificing your life savings.

We’re here to debunk the myth that lavish spending is necessary to have an eco-friendly lifestyle. If you’re planning to begin your journey today, fill your cart with these 6 must-haves—get them all for under P2,000!

#1: REUSABLE TOTES

Remember when everyone and their momma started carrying around canvas tote bags with motivational quotes splashed over them? Turns out, it wasn’t just a quirky style fad. In fact, it marked the beginning of our collective decision to put single-use plastic on the blacklist. While we’re glad that major department stores and grocery chains are now offering reusable bags to help you ditch plastic, it’s still best to bring your own for all your errands.

Hats off to reusable totes: they’re cheap, they complement your outfit, and can easily be stowed away when not in use. They’re even more durable than plastic when it comes to carrying a full shopping day’s load!

WE LOVE: Dos Marias Tita Canvas Ecobag, P220

#2: SHAMPOO BARS

Sad fact: it takes at least 450 years for plastic bottle packaging to decompose. Not to put a damper on things, but all those shampoo bottles you only use up for a month and a half? Yeah, they could, theoretically, have a seismic effect on our environment. We know, we know—jeez.

Thankfully, there’s a simple zero-waste solution to tackling that dreadful problem: shampoo bars! Not only do they forgo packaging you don’t need, they also last 2-5x longer than their liquid counterparts. Did we mention that many of them also use all-natural, antibacterial ingredients like apple cider vinegar and lemon to keep your locks healthy? Here’s to squeaky clean, sustainable habits!

WE LOVE: Cocobody Virgin Coconut Shampoo bar 100g, P100

#3: BEESWAX FOOD WRAPS

Here’s the buzz on beeswax food wraps: they offer the same self-cling properties of plastic wrap, minus all the negative environmental impact. You can use them to wrap up sandwiches, rice meals, fruits, and all the snacks your daily diet requires. Their edge over plastic wrap? You can actually reuse them for up to a year, as long as you wash ‘em in cold water (hot water melts the properties, so beware!), air-dry, and store properly after each use.

But does that mean you’ll still have to junk these wax wraps in a year’s time? Nope. They’re also 100% compostable, so you can simply cut them into strips and throw them in your compost heap. And as a fun bonus, you can even use old wraps as fire-starters!

WE LOVE: Milea NatuWrap Beeswax Food Wraps, P435

#4: SANITARY CLOTH PADS

For someone who’s gotten used to disposable sanitary napkins and tampons, switching to cloth pads might seem like a bold move. Why would you want to hold onto anything you put through the ringer during that time, right? Eep!

But the grosser truth is that these disposable sanitary products are just a waste in all forms. It takes a toll on the environment and on your wallet on a monthly basis. So, why not opt for a solution that takes care of both?

Sanitary cloth pads are really no big deal—they just take some getting used to. Simply secure them over your underwear like a regular pad (they snap into place with buttons instead of adhesives!) and change them every 2-6 hours. They’re more absorbent and comfortable than the plastic variety, so they’ve got you covered when you’re on the move. You can even store them in the special carry bag they usually come with until it’s time to get them laundered. It’s that easy! Plus, they’ll last you for up to 5 whole years.

WE LOVE: Ka Nami Pasador Regular Bamboo Charcoal Cloth Pad, P120

#5: MENSTRUAL CUPS

Once you’ve converted to cloth pads, you may want to take it a step further by investing in a menstrual cup. We know: where would you even begin?! Even if most women liken it to a tampon, you’re still gonna need some expert hand-holding to figure it all out. That’s where the beauty of modern-day internet comes in.

If it’s about to be your first time with a menstrual cup, be sure to read up and test it out at your own pace. If you’re feeling anxious about leakage, use the aforementioned cloth pad as double protection. And once you’ve found your menstrual cup groove, you’ll be happy to know you can use them for up to 10 years without wasting a thing.

WE LOVE: Anytime Menstrual Cup (Size 2), P700

#6: ALL-NATURAL FACE MASKS

Of course, after a long day of being an eco-warrior while taking care not to overspend, you should indulge in a little pampering. Not that there’s anything especially heroic about thoughtful consumption, but it is energizing to celebrate the little victories. What better way to do that than with an all-natural face mask that rids your skin of pore-clogging dirt and scrubs all the negativity out of your life?

WE LOVE: Zero Basics 3-in-1 Face Mask, P180

That’s a wrap on your starter kit! Now, remember the #1 rule for going green: your will to change is the world’s best renewable source. Invest in it. It’s for free!

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