The news is full of headlines about the harmful effect of plastic in the ocean and the growing problem of household waste – so maybe you’ve been thinking about how you can do your bit to help save the planet?
We’ve put together some handy tips to help reduce your environmental impact – and the best part? All of these tips will help save you money too!
Reduce your plastic usage
Get a keep-cup and a re-usable water bottle Coffee is big business with around 95 million cups of coffee consumed each day in the UK, according to the British Coffee Association! If you’re partial to a shop-bought caffeine fix, invest in a re-usable coffee (or tea) cup and get your barista to fill that instead of the takeaway type. Most coffee shops will charge less if you use a reusable coffee cup – between 20p and 50p off. You could save even more if you make your coffee at home and take it with you instead of buying shop-bought.
If you buy bottled water on the go (for the gym or as part of your lunch), invest in a refillable version and fill it up from the tap before you leave home. If you usually buy 1 bottle of water a day, you could save around £180 a year just by switching to a refillable bottle!
Keep a shopping bag handy It’s been almost 4 years since the 5p carrier bag charge came into effect in Scotland. Adding 5p to your shop here and there might not seem like much, but if you’ve been paying for carrier bags an average of 3 times a week since the charge came into effect you’ve essentially thrown £31 in the bin. Try keeping reusable shopping bags at the front door of your house, or in the driver’s side door of the car so you’re more likely to see them and remember to take them with you when you go shopping.
Make your own chemical-free cleaners Homemade cleaning products are mostly made up of cheap ingredients people already have in their homes like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. If you want to save money while also avoiding harmful chemicals, consider making your own cheap and easy cleaners. For an easy to make multi-purpose cleaner, mix a ¼ cup of white vinegar, 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 litre of hot water and ½ a lemon.
Stop wasting food
According to the website lovefoodhatewaste.com, 4.2million tonnes of edible food and drink is thrown away each year. That adds up to around £200 per person! If you’ve cooked too much, don’t just bin the leftovers. The internet is full of cooking websites that will suggest meals based on an ingredient. Turn those extra boiled potatoes and greens into bubble-and-squeak, those off-cuts of ham into a special fried rice, or the roast chicken carcass into a delicious broth! Check out Love food hate waste for inspiration.
Learn to freeze Batch cooking and then freezing portions for later use can save a load of time and money. The trick here is to freeze in realistically sized portions, so you only defrost what you need. Also, make sure you label everything, so you know what’s in each container and when it was frozen.
Here are 4 foods you might not have realised you can freeze:
Cooked, plain pasta. Boiled too much pasta? Simply let the extra cool and freeze it in individual sized portions. To use from frozen, sprinkle a little water over it and heat it up in the microwave.
Butter can be frozen for up to 3 months
Milk can be frozen for around 1 month (leave a gap of around an inch at the top of your container as it will expand when it freezes). Defrost in the fridge and give a shake before drinking.
If bananas are going brown – fire them in the freezer with the skin on! Once they’re defrosted you can use them to make banana bread or smoothies.
Have a meat-free day Did you know that you can have a positive impact on the planet just by eating less meat? The meat industry alone accounts for nearly 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Eating less meat can save water, land, energy, and other vital resources.
Save on gas and electricity
Turn down the heating Let’s face it – Scotland isn’t renowned for its long hot summers – which means our central heating systems tend to be on for a large part of the year. There’s nothing you can do about the weather, but by turning down the thermostat by just one degree you could save up to £75 a year* – which you could put towards a holiday somewhere sunny!
*Source: Energy Saving Trust
Switch off – not just on standby UK households spend an average of £30 per year powering appliances left in standby mode (i.e. TVs, computers and dishwashers). If switching appliances off at the end of the day sounds like too much hassle then you could invest in standby saver device, which allows you to turn off all your appliances in one go – thereby reducing your standby electricity consumption.
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