There’s no denying that there are now many more eco products on the market and there’s also no denying that we are being told that these are one of the main ways to help the environment but is this truly the case? The answer from me here is mixed. Yes, it is great that we now have alternative options and if you’ve followed me for a while you will know I love a good, useful eco swap. These can most certainly also save you money in the long run but I also fully understand that some cannot invest in them all right away. If you can afford some or build on them over time then that’s great and if you’d like some tips on making this affordable I have previously written about that here. However, I am very aware that there are also many products out there that we don’t all need and I think these are the ones that have almost given being eco a bit of a bad rep in terms of only being possible if you are privileged. I don’t like this view of it because I believe that helping our environment should be and is possible for everybody it’s just that these perhaps aren’t being spoken about as much as the products are being pushed? So here are my ways in which you can do your bit for the environment without breaking the bank…
Food waste is a huge contibutor towards global warming. When food is thrown into the bin and goes to landfill, it doesn’t have the right conditions in which to breakdown and therefore creates harmful gases which are released into the atmosphere so what changes could you make here?
- Only cook what you need – get into the habit of measuring your portions out.
- Use up leftovers
- Compost – There are many different ways of composting at home, for more on this take a look at this blog post here.
- If you can’t compost yourself, perhaps ask a friend or neighbour who does compost to take your scraps too?
- Learn tricks to keep food good for longer, for example, carrots and celery can be stood in water
- Use up fruit and veg that are past their best in other ways, for example, in smoothies, muffins, cakes etc
- Freeze food that you can use at a later date
- Have a go at growing your own. Even if you only have a pot or a window box, you could still grow strawberries, peppers or tomatoes
Reduce Your Meat Intake
Helping the environment doesn’t have to be all or nothing so I wouldn’t ever expect somebody to change their diet who didn’t want to, however, reducing the amount you eat each week will have a positive impact. Meat free Monday’s has become a popular weekly thing for many people, as has a flexitarian diet. Cutting back will reduce the demand for meat and will reduce your carbon footprint. Plus it isn’t that hard to do anymore with so many fantastic vegetarian options now available.
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- Should We Be Going Meat Free?
- My First 6 Months As A Vegetarian
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Single-use plastics have been a huge talking point for the last few years and there are some really simple ways to reduce what you buy:
- Opt for a bar of soap rather than one in a plastic dispenser
- The soap bar can also replace your shower gel
- Give shampoo and conditioner bars a go if possible (I know this can be a tricky step)
- Ditch the face wipes and choose a flannel for washing your face with instead (most facial wipes contain plastics and the packaging is also plastic)
- Ditch the baby wipes and again opt for a flannel or cut up an old towel to make your own reusable wipes. I promise you don’t have to spend a fortune on particular brands here
- Use tap water in a reusable bottle rather than buying bottled water
- Purchase your fruit and veg loose rather than in bags
- Use your own tote bags for shopping
- Check if your area has a refill shop. You can take your own containers to fill rather than taking home a product in single-use packaging
- If possible, make your own snacks/cakes/meals from scratch to prevent extra plastic waste
- Use reusable containers, anything will do, you don’t need to purchase pretty “eco” ones. Old takeaway tubs, tupperware, pots etc will do the job of storing food without the need for clingfilm
- Cover food with cloth and tie with an elastic band. Again, any cloth you have around the home could be cut to size and use. This will allow you to do away with clingfilm and tin foil
- Have a go at making your own cleaning products. The ones I make can clean multiple rooms and surfaces which saves me money on buying separate products plus it is also toxic-free. Check out my recipes here
- 14 Ways to Reduce Your Plastic Waste
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
- 23 Simple Ways To Reduce Your Household Waste
This will not only help the environment but will also help to reduce your household bills:
- Turn lights off when not in a room
- Turn plugs off at the socket when devices aren’t in use
- Don’t leave chargers plugged in when they they aren’t charging anything
- Turn off the heating and choose a blanket instead
- Keep the room you are in warmer by closing the door
- Regularly check how your radiators are functioning to ensure they are giving your home the appropriate amount of heat. If they aren’t warming sufficiently they may need bleeding
- Purchase eco friendly light bulbs as your old bulbs die
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We all understand the effect that cars have on the environment so why not try…
- Walking (if the distance is possible for you)
- Purchasing a secondhand bike to ride (we found all of ours on Facebook Marketplace)
- Using the bus
- Using a train
- Avoiding plane journeys when possible
Saving water is extremely important too, helping the environment isn’t all about the plastic waste. Climate change and the extreme weather that has come with it has caused water supplies to be more unpredictable in recent years. On top of this, getting that water to your home also uses energy so saving on this will have a knock on effect to another issue.
- Shower instead of having a bath when possible
- Take a shorter shower
- Catch and store rainwater. This can be in watering cans, buckets, tubs or a water butt
- Use your washing up water to water plants
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
- Use eco options on dishwashers and washing machines
As long as you are recycling what you can, you are already doing your bit. Not all councils take everything kerbside but supermarkets tend to have a wider variety of drop off points so if you wanted to take another step you could save up the items they take and drop them off when you do your weekly shop.
Reducing what you purchase will help on so many levels – you carbon footprint, less demand means reduced factory pollution, less packaging/plastics, each will have a knock on effect. So, what steps can you take?
- Ask yourself do I really need this?
- Do not purchase if your bank balance isn’t looking healthy enough for that luxury
- Check to see if there is a more sustainable alternative
- Try a no buy month or year. Check out some tips in this post here
- Shop secondhand. I have tips for this here
- Shop your own wardrobe, you may find some items tucked away that you’d forgotten about
- Arrange a clothes swap with friends
- Check to see if your area has a freebie Facebook group for items you need
- Repair items, stitch up holes in clothes, glue that item back together
Have Your Say
Making small sustainable swaps is a great way to make a change in your own life but if that isn’t for you, use your voice instead. Sign every petition, write to your MP, share information on social media, speak to friends and family in person and share your research, your concerns and your solutions. You definitely don’t need to be spending money to have a big impact.
And don’t forget to teach your children about it all too, they are always so eager to help and do their bit, after all, it is their future we are trying to protect.
You Can’t Do It All
I have to end this with one final point and that is that you cannot do it all. No one can live 100% sustainably, nobody can get it all right the first time, not every eco swap will suit your family’s needs, sometimes being eco-conscious can overwhelm you and things may slide but remember you are human and all of this is ok. Choose what works for you, choose what you enjoy – for me I love cloth nappies and that is why I don’t mind washing and drying and stuffing them but I know this isn’t for everybody – and most of all, you have to choose what is within your means. I really cannot stand this idea of eco-perfection because perfect in any way doesn’t exist so why would it here? Just doing your bit no matter how small is enough.
Do you have any other tips you can add that will help the environment but won’t hurt your pocket?
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