Friday, October 19th, 2018

Sustainability & ME: The Eco-Friendly Investment

Posted on March 02, 2015 in Perspectives
By USM Free Press

As a college student, it’s hard to imagine that sustainable investment opportunities exist for you to pursue. In reality, a great investment is one that maximizes profit from the least possible input.

To be clear, an “investment” is the allocation of current resources (things like money, energy, or time) from which profit or material result can be later received. A good example is a college education. Students invest time, money and energy into a degree that can help them to achieve higher paying positions, after they graduate. Being that most of our resources are wrapped up in an education as students, it’s very important that we find ways to optimize the little we have left.

For instance: I’m crazy about lattes and I can imagine that you feel the same. Unfortunately for us, they aren’t all that cheap. A small latte from your favorite coffee place can set you back as much as five bucks! If you’re like me, the problem is that you’re going to need three or four of these double shot bad-boys before noon. But how are you supposed to function without the ten yummy lattes that you are so accustomed to drinking? The answer is that you shouldn’t have to. Grabbing coffees from a café is convenient, sure, but at what cost? Consider investing in one of these sick alternative espresso-makers (below). These little guys are about the same price as 3 lattes or so, and the coffee they make is totally off the hook. Cute too, aren’t they? With this one small investment, you can stop completely emptying your wallet to get your fix.

Meet the Moka-pot!

Just so you know, your wallet isn’t the only one suffering from the madness that is your caffeine addiction. Mama Earth feels that the number of paper to-go cups required for sustaining this habit of yours is totally uncool too. In addition to your new coffee maker, consider picking up an insulated to-go mug to be its little partner in crime.  Not into coffee? Reach for a reusable water bottle.

Investing in a reusable vessel for beverages is a viable and sustainable investment. In one year, the average American uses over 160 water bottles and only recycles about 40 of them. The rest, (about 75%) are destined for landfill. A glass water bottle is great because unlike plastic, it is very easy to clean. This means that it won’t absorb any gross smells or tastes from the weird stuff that you might want to drink. At a lot of cafes you’ll get a discount for using a reusable cup or bottle for your beverage, too! Be sure to inquire about the ‘refill’ price.

For another great way to recycle, consider investing some of your pocket change in antiques. As strange as it sounds, summer yard sales can provide you with great investment opportunities. With a little research, you can start taking advantage of them. Watch some Antiques Roadshow and you’ll see what I mean. It would be smart to tour an antique shop or two just to see how certain things are priced. You could even look an item up on your phone at a yard sale if you think it looks interesting.

After doing a little research, go ahead and buy that ugly 75¢ ceramic water pitcher from the nice old couple having a moving sale. Understand that to them, taking this ugly thing off their hands is your way of doing them a favor. What these nice folks don’t know is that they are selling an 18th century Italian Majolica pitcher for about $4,000 less than what its worth. You can give them a dollar and insist they keep the change, if you want.

Buying an antique is an environmentally friendly investment because, like recycling, it takes advantage of resources that are already in use. In contrast, buying a new thing increases the need for more new things to be produced.

Remember that it’s never too late to start investing because, in the end, it’s the future that needs to be invested in.


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