Going green isn’t just good for the planet, it can also be good for your wallet! We’re sharing our top money saving sustainable switches to be eco friendly on a budget.
Living a more sustainable life doesn’t have to cost the earth. In fact, making small changes can actually save you in the long run, and the best place to start is at home.
With the recent price hikes on energy bills, mortgage rates and the cost of living, now more than ever we’re looking for ways to reduce our outgoings where possible.
We’ve put together 30 simple ways you and your family can be more sustainable, beyond just recycling, that could end up saving both your pockets and the planet!
Buy pre-loved or second-hand where possible
As they say, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and these days, almost anything and everything is available to buy second-hand. Furniture, clothing, electronics – you name it, someone else has probably got it.
Facebook Marketplace, GumTree or Vinted are great places to start if you’re wanting to buy local. eBay, Shpock or pre-loved are also great places to search.
Not only is buying second hand much more affordable but it means you’re reducing your consumer footprint and saving unwanted items going to landfills! Plus, once you’re finished with it, sell it on!
Borrow don’t buy
Need a drill to tackle that DIY job or planning a camping trip but have no tent? Ask family, friends or neighbours if you can borrow their goods before buying brand new. They most likely will be more than happy to help you out, not to mention it’s cost-free. Re-pay them the favour and lend them something of yours.
Most importantly, borrowing is a lot more eco-friendly than buying. From the manufacturing process to the packaging, there are so many factors that impact our environment when buying something as small as a tool or a tent.
Try reusable household items
While it’s not for everyone, you’re missing a trick if you’re not using reusable household essentials. Reusable nappies, toilet paper and sanitary products can help you save £100’s each and every month and are perfectly sanitary. Not only are these reusable essentials up to 40% less harmful to the environment but as a household, you could reduce your waste by half.
Cloth wipes and nappies are available all over the web and come in child-friendly prints and patterns the little ones will love.
Time of the month? Switch from tampons and pads to reusable sanitary towels or a menstrual cup. Reusable pads are designed to be super-absorbent and soft against delicate skin, as well as machine-washable and friendly to the environment. Menstrual cups are another great alternative to the typical tampon and of course, can be reused.
Keep in mind though that if you opt for reusable nappies, your washing will naturally increase. Use cold washes, full cycles and A+ energy rated washing machines to keep bills and energy usage low.
Plan your meals to avoid waste
We’re all guilty of wasting food now and again. Whether you’ve let food run past its use-by date, or you’ve dished out larger portions than your household’s tummies can handle. It’s easily done, but it’s also just as easily reversed!
Start by planning your meals each week, and only buy what you plan to use. Make it fun and write your shopping list out with your family. Another top tip is to cook your meals from scratch. This way, you’ll be using far less packaging and it’s often much more healthy and affordable compared with pre-packaged foods – not to mention more environmentally friendly.
If you want to be part of preventing food from going to waste and landfills, check out some of these free apps that can help you rescue food and log your weekly meal plans.
Find food from local cafes, shops and restaurants that can’t be resold and buy it for a fraction of the cost! And if you need help managing your own food waste, some of these are great for managing your leftovers, helping you get creative with meals and so much more.
Batch cook meals
If you’re not familiar with meal prep, get to know! Not only is batch cooking meals great if you’re on a health kick, but they can also save time and most importantly, energy.
Portion out your spag bol and freeze it for lunch at work, or, cook up a delicious soup and stick it in the freezer. Sundays are the best days to batch cook in time for the new week. Why not try it out for a week?
Make sure your washing machine or dishwasher is full before use
Throwing the little ones’ footie kit in the wash or your grubby gym gear after a sweaty session might be the norm, but try to ensure your load is full before switching on the washing machine. This helps minimise the amount of energy you use, plus, is a great way to wash less and save on your utilities. Try using a cold wash too, this is more eco-friendly and does the same job!
Recycle or trade in your electrical items
Whether it’s time to upgrade your mobile or your laptop has seen better days, recycling your electronics is almost always the best option. Most mobile retailers offer a recycle or trade-in service where you can trade in your old mobile for a new one with an added discount.
Have a search online for what your old electronics are selling for. You will be surprised that you could actually make money by selling your old Sky remote or mobile phone box on eBay.
You could even take your old electronics down to your local recycling centre. What many people don’t know is that unwanted electronics and electronics can be reused or recycled and contain really valuable raw materials.
Shop sustainable fashion
More and more of your favourite fashion brands are now selling sustainably. Keep an eye out for Green Labels, ask in-store or check for information on their sustainability online. Another great way to shop sustainably is to buy second hand! Get thrifty and head to your local charity shop or use apps like Depop or Vinted.
Fast fashion contributes to depleting non-renewable resources, using vast amounts of energy and emitting huge quantities of greenhouse gases and other harmful chemicals into the environment.
Try shopping for fashion you know can be worn across all seasons and will last you a long time. Learning how to repair damaged clothing is also great for increasing their longevity! Or, get creative and use your old garments to create new ones.
Tons of your favourite high street stores and supermarkets now offer incentives for recycling your old clothing, footwear, towels and even beauty essentials:
- Save 10% with Asda George – Take Back Scheme
- £5 off a £25+ spend with the Schuh – Sell your Soles Scheme
- £5 off a £35+ spend at Marks & Spencer with Oxfam Donations – Clothes Exchange Scheme
- £5 off a £25+ spend at H&M with the ‘Close the Loop’ scheme
- Save up to 25% off brands including Superdry & New Balance when you donate to charity via the ReGain App
Use apps like ‘Too Good to Go’
Instead of going to waste, you can rescue the food to help manage and reduce food waste. Not only is this great for businesses, but also fantastic for the public who can get a collection of items for a hugely discounted price.
Switch to Shampoo Bars
Another simple hack to living more sustainably is switching to a Shampoo Bar. In an ideal world, most items in life would be zero waste or reusable, but they’re not! However, Shampoo Bars are completely zero waste and can last for up to 80 washes! They’re also completely biodegradable.
Line dry clothing where possible
It’s no secret that the tumble dryer is a lifesaver at times. But the impact on the environment can be alarming, not to mention the expense.
Try being more organised with your washing and line dry where possible. We understand this isn’t possible during winter periods, but try to make the most of your washing line from spring through to early autumn.
Too wet and windy for the washing line? Invest in a drying rack! Even on the coolest of days, you’ll often see the sunshine poking through the clouds. Placing your washing in front of a window or your patio doors is a great way to have them dry in no time.
Wash your clothing and dishes with colder water (below 60)
Did you know that about 90% of the energy used by your washing machine is used to heat up the water?
Eliminate this consumption by using a colder wash. Many modern washing machines and even dishwashers have an eco-friendly setting, but if not, try to keep your temperature below 60. This may take longer, but can ultimately decrease your carbon footprint.
Use an EcoEgg
This eco-friendly device is fast becoming a popular gadget in many households for all the right reasons. Made from durable rubber that uses mineral pellets to wash your clothing effectively, the EcoEgg eliminates the need for detergents and softeners, although these can be used in conjunction. As well as removing up to 99.9% of bacteria from clothing, the EcoEgg is also an effective stain remover and can tackle the daily spills and stains your clothes are used to.
The best part? The EcoEgg can be used for up to 210 washes! Not only will you save on expensive detergents, but think about all the plastic that will no longer end up in our oceans or landfill.
Warm up before turning up the heating
There’s no denying that we all feel the chill throughout the winter months. And as the nights get darker and cooler, most of us will ramp up our heating to keep cosy. But before you do, try wrapping up in a few extra layers!
The less heating you use, the more energy you will be saving. Don’t rush to the boiler when you feel a bit of a chill, wrap up or grab the trusty hot water bottle.
Saving on our energy bills is more crucial now than it ever has been and luckily, there are tons of ways you can reduce your utility bills.
Invest in a programmable thermostat – drop by 1 degree to save
This handy little device is great for helping you keep in control of your heating. It allows you to programme your heating to come on before you get home and switch off while you sleep! This may sound simple, but it can save you tons of money as well as save energy and reduce pollution.
Time your showers
Have you ever considered just how much time you spend in the shower? 10 minutes is the maximum time you should spend under hot running water, but cutting it down to just 5 minutes could reduce water use by up to half! Try setting a timer to help you out. Or, invest in a low flow showerhead to help reduce water consumption.
Check energy labels before buying appliances
Manufacturers are required to provide an energy label with appliances to detail how much energy is used by the products.
Always look out for green or blue labelled items as these represent maximum efficiency which in the long term will save you money.
Install a water butt
Preserving rainwater is fantastic for watering your plants, rinsing crops or even washing your car and is easily done with a water butt or tank. They’re also great for stopping water from running down the drains and ultimately reduce the volume of water on our surface water sewer system.
Boil your kettle once and use it to fill up flasks
Whether you’re working from home or find yourself brewing up more than usual, have you ever thought about how much energy is used each time you boil your kettle? Not to mention how much water is used to refill it. Try investing in a couple of flasks. This way, you will only need to fill it up and boil it once to fill up your flasks. Simply reach for these throughout the day when you need a nice warm drink.
Switch to LED Lights
If you’re not already using LED Bulbs around your home, make the switch today! LED is highly efficient energy that uses less heat and electricity for the same light output as traditional bulbs.
Switching to LED Bulbs could make a big impact on your energy use. But don’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room!
Rechargeable Batteries for around your home
Rechargeable batteries are a fantastic investment to stop batteries from going into landfills. Plus, they can save you money in the long run by replacing old ones! Great for household gadgets, remotes, smoke detectors and much more.
Go digital and paperless
In this day and age, almost everything can be accessed online or digitally. If you haven’t already, opt to have your bank statements delivered via email – think of all the trees you will save! As well, access your favourite newspapers or magazines online instead of buying paper copies!
Cycle or Walk to work
It’s a no brainer that cycling or walking is much better for your overall health than jumping in the car. But what many of us don’t consider is how driving or taking public transport here, there and everywhere can affect the environment.
As well as less noise, walking or cycling creates less air pollution and results in fewer emissions that are warming the atmosphere. So whether it’s a commute to work or you’re nipping to the shops, ‘get on your bike!. Check out our Cycling Money Saving Guide for even more ways to save on your bike.
Eat less meat
More and more people have adopted a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle in recent years. Not only is it more ethical, but also more friendly for the environment.
Of course, this isn’t for the faint-hearted and giving up meat or dairy can be a complete lifestyle change! But, adopting habits every so often could really help reduce emissions. Plus, cutting out meat here and there could actually prove more affordable.
Try a ‘spend fast’
An old age way to be more green is to spend less money. Now more than ever, we could all do with tightening our spending habits, but many of us fall off the bandwagon.
The ‘Spend Fast’ is a fantastic way to effectively save money. For just one month, try restricting what you spend to things you need to survive. For example, rent, utilities, bills, basic food and medication are essential for us to survive. Work out how much these things cost and set yourself a limit to spend each month and save the rest.
If you find yourself wanting something, ask yourself, do I need this to survive? If the answer is no, don’t buy it. Eating out, trips to the cinema, junk food, takeout coffees, haircuts and clothing are luxuries and sacrificing these things for just one month could really give your savings a much-needed boost!
There are loads of creative, money-saving challenges that can help kickstart your savings pot and the ‘spend fast’ is a great place to start.
Get a Library Card
If you’re a lover of books but can’t remember the last time you visited your local library, grab a library card and take a visit. This could massively help reduce your carbon footprint and save the use of resources as opposed to buying books brand new.
Use old waste for compost
Make the most of those unwanted food scraps and use them for compost! Composting is an effective way to save your waste going to landfills and is super easy to do. All you need is a bin or tumbler in your garden.
Compost is rich in nutrients and is brilliant for your garden! It can improve soil structure, maintain moisture and keep your garden’s PH balance in check!
Install sink aerators
Sink Aerators work to reduce the flow of water from your sink! These are fairly cheap to pick up and can help limit your water consumption saving you both money and water.
Insulate your home
Insulation is fantastic for keeping your home at your ideal temperature all year round. As well as reducing noise pollution, insulation is also extremely energy-efficient and means you’ll need very little additional heating and cooling throughout the year! While it may be quite a substantial investment, this could save you heaps in the long-term and of course, is much more environmentally friendly.
Turn off your electronics!
Lastly, and probably one of the easiest ways we could all work towards a greener planet is to ensure we’re switching off our electronics. So-called ‘Vampire Devices’ around our home are not only costing us but eating away at our electricity.
The worst appliances to leave on standby are typically your TV, Computers and Chargers. Ensure your TV is switched off and not just in ‘sleep mode’ or Standby. Lastly, switch off your computer or monitor when you are done using it. There is no reason to leave it on while not in use as this can eat up significant amounts of energy.
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