Eco Friendly Swaps that SAVE you money (Part 1)
The eco friendly market is currently sitting at at estimated $150billion dollars, and with companies selling sustainable products at three, four, ten times the price of their single-use versions it's easy to see why! Sustainability, once used primarily by the poor, is profitable business and now favoured among the elite, but with switching to sustainable costing the average household three times more in monthly expenditure, we have the ask ourselves - is this attainable?
I've long been a fan of spouting my beliefs that the costs of switching to sustainability should be placed firmly on the shoulders of big business rather than the consumer, and we're starting to see big steps being made (Colgate have released an eco friendly toothbrush at only £1.49!), but the majority of eco friendly alternatives live in the hipster world of small business where costs are high, leaving most choosing to discount themselves from the fight to save our planet. Surely there's a way that everybody can make steps towards becoming an eco friendly household without it costing an additional salary?
Hurrah there is! Here is a list of things that can be done that will actually SAVE you money or are totally free! But before you dive in, remember this - every single thing that is done is helpful. Used one less nappy today? Brilliant! Took your own bag to the supermarket? You are rocking it! This is not an 'all or nothing game' and the more that we can do collectively the better. Now let's dive in!
Buying in bulk
Buy a bigger bag/box of something you normally get and you're halving the packaging needed. We are big fans of Costco shopping, and whilst the outlay can be expensive, the savings across the year are HUGE. Don't have the funds to start pouring a few hundred pounds a month into bulk buying? No problem! Choose one item from your weekly food shop and upgrade to a bigger amount. Pasta is a great one to start with.
Take recyclables to schools
We all know that recycling is good for the environment, but there are still so many items that can't be repurposed, but have you seen schools recently? Most are collecting those hard to recycle items like toothpaste tubes or crisps packets and as an added bonus it often makes them money too! Call up your closest school and see what they will collect!
Properly wash your recycling
On the subject of recycling, let's make sure that we are washing our recycling properly. Each council will have a list of requirements to follow, and unfortunately if the batch is tainted with food items or unrecyclables then often the whole thing is trashed with normal waste. The more we can take care of the process our end the better.
Take your own bag
This sounds like the simplest thing, but you have no idea how often I forget to take bags to the supermarket and end up paying almost an extra £1 onto of my shopping just to be able to take it home. Is it just me or are plastic bags going up in price now?! Some places are even charging for the paper alternatives! Store some bags wherever you think you'll remember - in your car, by the front door, in your handbag - and make sure you don't end up forgetting!
Repurpose storage containers
In the world of minimalism and sustainability aesthetics have become more and more important. Bamboo lids with glass jars, matching containers and the correct colour schemes are all high on people's agendas but this stuff costs money, and ultimately more energy to produce. Don't get me wrong, I love a matching shelf jar, but if I was really thinking about it I could probably make use of plenty of the cartons that come with my food instead of buying another jar just because it matched. Remember the ice cream tub your Mum used to store odd bits of food in? That's where we're going here.
Simplifying the cleaning routine
I am GUILTY AS CHARGED. I LOVE a good cleaning product and am a fan of over using products and getting my house to smell like the laundry aisle in the supermarket. In reality, it's not needed and all this extra packaging is adding to the problem. Have a look at what you are using and think about what you could do without. Are there products that are multi-use that would work? I'm not going to list out exactly what to do here, because it's important that you make your own decisions about what YOUR household needs, but be ruthless. Do you need 14 products to clean the toilet? Probably not.
I used to have a personal rule that if it would take me an hour or less then I would walk it. I have since become incredibly lazy but now that summer is here I am going to be adopting the same policy. I am not suggesting you have to do the same, but I am asking you to look at how often you use the car/bus/train. Are they always necessary or could some trips be switched out for cycling or walking? Don't have a bike? Have a look at the Cycle to Work scheme where the funds for one come out of your salary before tax.
Reusable drinks bottles/flasks
I'm a coffee lover. Going on a long journey? Coffee. Meeting friends in the park? Coffee. Basically if I had an excuse to buy one then I would, but with the average coffee costing me £3 a pop you can see how that could easily add up! It's a simple switch but making a coffee before you leave and storing it in a flask saves you a fortune and it's good for the planet too.
Fancy yourself a bit of a gardener? What if you never had to buy compost again? Sounds dreamy right? Well, thankfully it's available to you and won't cost you a penny! Save the food waste from your kitchen, any garden trimmings and even compostable home items and after a bit of time it'll turn into compost. You've got to be in it for the long game and you'll need a decent container to store it all in whilst it composes, but you'll be left with a nutrient rich soil ready to grow your flowers and veggies in!
Grow your own
So you've got your own compost but how about your own plants? Veggie's are pretty cheap as a whole, but when you can take clippings off of those veggies and grow more...well, now you have something that is free! YouTube has a plethora of videos detailing how to to do just that, but you can always get seeds too from your local garden centre.
I'm running out of space on this blog to continue - but there is a wave of these stored up in my cranium and part 2 is coming! Let me know your top tips for being more eco-friendly but saving money too!
Until next time...