Many people are looking to live more sustainably, while others want to save more money. The impact of climate change is starting to become clearer, while many of us have seen our finances squeezed in the past 18 months. But why should you have to choose between saving money and saving the planet? Here are 5 sustainability tips to save you money.
I’ve often discussed the importance of not choosing between our finances and the future of our planet. Our lifestyle is no different. You can enjoy a happy and full life, without breaking the bank and destroying the planet.
The 5 sustainability tips to save you money I’ll cover in this post are:
- Reduce food waste
- No bottled drinks
- Turn appliances off
- Buy reusable substitutes
- Eat more vegetables
Reduce food waste
Did you know the average family of four could save £60 a month just by not wasting so much food?
In UK households we waste 6.5 million tonnes of food every year, 4.5 million of which is edible. This isn’t egg shells or potato peelings… This is the last few bites from your plate that you couldn’t quite manage, or your bread crusts – all stuff which could have been transformed into something delicious.
Those 4.5 million tonnes are enough to fill 38 million wheelie bins, or 90 Royal Albert Halls.
If you used even half of your food waste you could save a significant sum each month, and help save the planet.
Reducing food waste is not just good for your purse strings, but is also good for the planet. It helps slow down global warming. If global food waste were a country, it would be third largest emitter of greenhouse gases after China and the US.
No bottled drinks
It’s pretty obvious, but buying plastic drink bottles is bad for the environment and your bank account. According to plastic recycling charity Recoup Recycling, the UK uses 36 million plastic bottles everyday – that’s a significant amount of avoidable waste! Think how much unnecessary landfill space that takes up over a month, or even a year.
Try investing in a reusable water bottle instead. These bottles start from about £2. With a standard 500ml branded water bottle usually costing around 50p, that means you should have paid for your reusable bottle within four uses. If you buy just one bottle of water a week, you’ll have got your money back within a month.
If the supermarket meal deal is too tempting on your lunch break, consider choosing a can of drink rather than a plastic bottle. Neither is ideal for the planet, but cans take less energy to recycle and tend to be have a higher percentage of recycled content. This switch won’t cost you any more or less, so you might as well make it!
The same also applies to using your own coffee cup – when Covid-19 hygiene measures allow. Many cafes offer a discount for bringing your own cup. It may only be 25p, but that adds up to £65 a year if you have a coffee 5 days a week.
When it comes to sustainability tips, this one is a must, as it also reduces waste, which helps the planet too!
Turn appliances off
Electricity bills are one of the top expenditures for households, usually after rent or mortgage payments. For the past 18 months – with us all stuck at home more than normal – these bills have taken an even bigger chunk of our paycheques. With remote working looking set to continue, this will keep being a problem going forward.
But, there are ways to cut the cost down. It doesn’t take an Einstein to work out that turning lights off when you leave the room will save you money, and is good for the environment. You’re using less energy after all.
You should also turn off appliances rather than leaving them on standby when you’re not using them. According to Uswitch, UK households waste £227 million a year just by leaving appliances by standby. That’s the equivalent of £80 per household.
£80 may not be a life-changing sum, but it could take the stress out of paying some of your other bills. Alternatively, it’s an extra £80 to save or invest each year, which over time adds up.
Buy reusable substitutes
A lot of everyday items rely on single use plastics.
It doesn’t have to be this way, however. There are ‘green’ alternatives for most single use plastic products now. From reusable makeup wipes, tupperware containers, reusable period products and even reusable facemasks.
The initial outlay may set you back a bit more than the original product but the reusable alternatives will last you far longer. This will save you money over time as you’ll only have to buy the product once every year or longer, rather than every time you need it.
Using reusable substitutes is also good for the planet. Single use plastics are huge contributors to landfill sites and are very damaging to the environment.
Eat more vegetables
The exact science on this is conflicted, depending on whether you speak to vegan activists or farmers. However, what is clear is that reducing our meat intake will have a positive impact on the planet.
According to research, meat-eaters in the UK eat meat five days a week on average. During a typical year they’ll spend £752 on meat. Reducing your meat intake, could save you £209 a year. You don’t have to become a full vegetarian or vegan to see the benefits. Start by eating meat one day less a week and you’ll see the benefits.
This will also help the environment. Research from the Economist found that going vegan for two-thirds of your meals will cut your food-related carbon emissions by 60 percent. This is a huge sum.
If everyone managed even half of this and reduced their meat intake by a third, imagine the difference in carbon emissions and its subsequent impact on the planet.
If you found this year in review post interesting, please like it and share across social media or send it to your friends. I’d also love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Do you agree with these 5 sustainability tips to save you money? What would be your top tips for anyone looking to save money and live more sustainably.
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