Money News is a segment which takes you behind the new stories about money to analyse what’s behind the headline. This week, we look at Jason Mamoa’s 4 tips to save the planet and explain how these tips will also save you money.
As someone who spends most of his time in the water, you’d expect Aquaman to care about our oceans. And Jason Mamoa who plays Aquaman is no different. A brilliant actor, Jason is passionate about the environment and sustainability. He even addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the topic in 2019.
Our focus for this article is a recent interview Jason did with InStyle, covering his tips to help save the planet. There is no shortage of celebrities who preach to us about being environmentally friendly whilst they fly around the world in private jets and have large homes that take incredible amounts of energy and resources to maintain, from which they film videos telling us off like naughty schoolchildren for driving to work.
However, Jason Mamoa has a way of speaking about environmentalism that makes you want to be part of the solution:
“We’re all working at it, you don’t have to kill yourself over it. It’s little tiny things and I’m always learning because we’re not perfect, far from it.”
Alongside the quote above, Jason gives his four tips in the interview on how we can save the planet. Many of these tips can also save you money and that will be our focus. We will look through those four tips, how achievable are they and assess which ones are both friendly for the environment and your budget.
This video appeared on the InStyle YouTube channel on 10 November 2020. Let’s go through the story and dissect the facts behind it.
Tip 1: No more single-use plastics.
“An absolute ban on single-use plastics. Water bottles, straws, plastic forks, I try to do the best I can with packaging, try to bring my own glass, aluminium or steel, Tupperware and things like that but just trying to eliminate packaging.”
Plastic is everywhere in our society. It’s also impossible to avoid if you indulge in takeaway food delivery services like UberEATS, where everything is COVERED in plastic wrap, boxes or cutlery. The solution is to think ahead, cook for yourself or go out to restaurants to avoid takeaway plastic.
Cutting out plastic means becoming conscious of it in your daily routine. It means taking responsibility for your choices and changing them over time.
- Do you have takeaway coffee with a plastic lid? Bring your own cup.
- Do you use plastic single-use water bottles? Buy a reusable water bottle.
- Do you need to drink from a straw? Buy a reusable version, many of which come with a hygiene friendly carrying case.
I haven’t used single-use plastic bottles in years and I don’t miss them. I have multiple reusable water bottles at work and home so I never forget them, it’s an easy switch and will make a huge impact over time.
Save money: You will absolutely save money by ditching plastic. A single-use plastic water bottle costs around $3 from a convenience store. If you buy one bottle of water every day for a year, it’ll cost you $1,095. Instead, you could spend $30 on a reusable water bottle and fill it for free during the day, saving $1,000 in a single year.
If you enjoy your morning coffee, you might get a discount for ditching plastic. Many coffee shops will offer you a discount if you bring your own coffee cup. If you get coffee twice a day, a discount of 50 cents will save you $365 a year.
Tip 2: Meatless Mondays.
“I have many vices but the one that I need to work on is meat. I’m a carnivore, I am a savage but I need to cut back not only for myself but for the environment. I care very much about our environment so I am 100% in on Meatless Monday. Producing a quarter pound of meat requires 1,850 gallons of water. That’s insane. If everyone in the US ate just one vegetarian meal per week, it could save 36 trillion gallons of water. If everyone in the world reduced meat consumption by 15%, it would be like taking 250 million cars off the road each year.”
As a former vegetarian, I can’t imagine someone eating meat every day. But meat is a key component of many diets, whether it’s a bacon roll for breakfast, chicken in your lunchtime salad, or a burger for dinner.
The idea of Meatless Monday is not new. Essentially, you reduce your meat intake by not eating meat each Monday. The idea came from reducing consumption during World War I to help the war effort before it was revived as a health campaign in 2003.
Meatless Monday can be a great way for people to start a plant-based diet. Monday is a fresh start to the week to help kickstart new habits. Switching to a plant-based diet can result in health benefits including improved heart health, decreased risk of diabetes and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Save money: Meat generally costs more than carbohydrates like bread or pasta. Fresh vegetables in most countries cost even less. If you save $10 on your grocery bill by cutting back on your meat consumption, you’ll end up saving $520 each year.
Tip 3: Consider energy-efficient transport.
“I obviously am a big fan of riding old Harleys but I try to keep it down to a dull roar. I’m now switching two of my cars over because I can afford to do that. I wanted to keep my old cars so I’m switching them over to Tesla swaps but if not, then hybrid.”
So, Jason and I have this in common. My first ever vehicle was not a car – it was a scooter. I wanted to get to work but couldn’t afford a car and the scooter was my answer. And why not? It’s energy-efficient, costs less than $10 a time to fill up and you don’t pay parking fees.
If jumping on a scooter is not for you, give public transport a go. Taking the train or bus has the added benefit of giving you time to read or catch up on emails to make the most of the free time you’ve got on your hands.
But if you want the most efficient form of transport? Buy a bicycle. Bicycles are so energy efficient for humans, that us riding them has been compared to birds flying, fish swimming and animals running. It’s also a great way to increase your fitness, by building exercise into your daily routine.
Save money: Cars are one of the most expensive assets you can buy. Most cars decline in value over time, to extent that you lose 10 to 15% of what you paid for it as soon as you drive it away from the dealership.
A scooter has more benefits including reduced registration fees and reduced insurance costs. You’ll not pay for parking either, which adds up. If you spend $10 on car parking fees every day you go to work, you’ll spend $10 x 5 days a week x 50 weeks of work per year, totalling $2,500 per year. That’s an instant $2,500 saving for picking a scooter instead of a car.
But the most cost-efficient transport? It’s the bicycle! An upfront cost of under $500 is a one-off cost that you’ll never need to pay again. All you have to do is keep the tyres pumped up and oil the wheel every so often. No parking fees, no insurance costs, no registration fees…I’m convinced to the extend that I’ve just bought a bicycle.
Tip 4: Consider solar power at home.
“I’ve taken my house and put everything off the grid for solar. We’re all working at it.”
Going off the grid is an idea many of us are attracted to. But how can it be done?
Solar power is something you may have heard of before. It uses the power of the sun to power your home and devices by putting panels on your roof. It’s becoming considerably cheaper to buy solar panels and they can a great way for you to reduce your power bills.
Before you buy solar panels, remember that the amount of sunlight your home gets will affect how much power you receive. Check the direction your roof faces, available sunlight hours at different times of the year and the position of the panels. Your local council can also be a source of advice on what panels other people have tried recently in your area, as well as what government support is available to you.
Act now: Buy a solar charger for your phone to start moving towards solar. If you want to buy solar panels for your whole house, it’ll cost you much more. The average price in Australia for a solar panel system is $5,000. It will take time but that is within reach. If you can cut down on your costs or take on a side hustle to save $100 a week, you can save $5,000 within a year.
Save money: Solar panels will cost you money to buy and install. That initial cost can often be subsidised by the government incentives or offset by payback schemes. The payback scheme is when the government pays for your excess solar energy, which can mean in Australia that your solar system pays for itself within 2 to 7 years. Check your government information for country-specific details, including subsidies available to you.
“I think the best thing you can do is the local things that are happening in your town because that’s where it starts, it starts in the home and it starts in your local town. It’s really healing your home and healing your community, that’s the most important”
No one wants to live in a community where smog reigns supreme. Making small changes to your life, including the 4 tips listed here, are a great starting point. And they will have the added benefit in most cases of saving you money. What other changes can you make to reduce your consumption to save money and energy?