When you’re watching the pennies and trying to live in a sustainable way that impacts positively on the environment and your bank balance, it can be a juggling act.
There are a great many things that require you to go the extra mile to live up to your ethical standards and unfortunately all too often maintaining that level seems to cost more. Whether that means shopping from your zero waste independent retailer, using less plastic, going the extra mile to recycle more or buying exclusively organic. Retailers definitely feel they can charge more for making choices that have a positive rather than a negative environmental impact.
But you remain undeterred and in this article we take a look at how to make your home and your habits, not only greener but more economically sound at the same time, saving you money as well as saving the planet.
Dig For Victory
Trying to find a supermarket that doesn’t wrap everything up in plastic is next to impossible and while this is sure to change over the next few years, right now you’re looking for a viable alternative.
So why not do it yourself? Allotments are coming back into vogue and for good reason. They’re obviously fantastic spaces for growing your own organic crop of fruit as well as salad and root vegetables but they’re also places where families can come together and bond over some fresh air and exercise. Plus nothing beats the sense of satisfaction of pulling up a crop of potatoes and having them on your plate just minutes later, fresh, packaging-free and grown by you.
Even after the minimal rent, you pay for your plot plus any tools you may need, the allotment will more than pay for itself over time, so consider it money wisely invested.
Take Your Own
You stopped using plastic carrier bags ages ago and refuse to pay the few pence for more so why not up to your game and recycle those old takeaway boxes or invest in some Tupperware that’s going to go even further reducing the impact of plastic on the environment.
Many supermarkets are beginning to recognize that they need to step up to the green challenge and will allow you to bring your own container up to the meat or deli counter and have the staff member weigh and price that up for you. If they don’t offer this service just yet, make some noise until they change their mind or just take your custom elsewhere.
Seal The Deals
Your house, like many others, can be something of a money pit. With heating bills that go through the roof in the colder months. When you’re looking to save money and cut down on the amount of energy you’re using there are plenty of ideas that might help you along the way.
First of all, consider installing a Smart Meter, a device that will show you how much energy you’re using and when those peak times are. You may become obsessed watching those numbers flying around but on the other hand, you’ll be incredibly motivated to turn off all the lights in empty rooms.
You might also want to think about switching to one of the so-called green energy companies who promise to offset your carbon emissions by up green initiatives on your behalf. While possibly not the cheapest, they are usually competitive and you know that they are going some way to neutralizing the impact your energy use has on the planet.
Other ways to make cleaner energy in your home is through the use of solar panels. While permission to install these devices will vary from planning authority to planning authority, for the most part, they are encouraged as alternatives to traditional energy. They work by storing energy created by the sun which is then either sold on your behalf to an energy company or used to offset your bills by an energy provider. While installation can be pricey, get the right energy deal and you should see long term savings.
For some very basic, but nevertheless very effective ways of making your home more energy efficient, you may need to start looking at ways to minimize heat loss.
If you have old windows that don’t close or lock properly then it might be time to look for the best replacement windows. New windows are another investment that, while expensive, usually pay for themselves over time. Not only will better seals keep in the heat and therefore require less time to warm up a room, but they are also, of course, more secure and keep your home better protected from break-ins through these points of access.
The same can be said for doors too and if you don’t want to shell out more money on replacing these then simple draft excluders or some brush tape around the inside edge of the doorframes will go a long way.
Think Before You Eat
Now for many people, a vegan diet might be considered a step too far but with a wealth of fantastic recipes available on the internet, it’s easy to create plant-based meals that are healthy, nutritious and most of all delicious. Dropping one or two meat days for vegetarian and vegan meals will have a significant impact on the environment in a world where our meat consumption is through the roof. Intensive farming methods are damaging so reducing the need for meat production will not only lessen the call for more meat but provide a healthy alternative in your diet.
One of the greatest tragedies in our modern world is the food mountain of leftover food. Thrown away because it’s out of date, got forgotten at the back of the freezer or just not wanted anymore. With wasted food comes the packaging that goes with it and that means more and more plastic polluting the oceans.
Cut down on food waste by planning your weekly meals carefully. Buy only what you need and try and avoid buying products. If you’re looking to make even greater changes, consider making your own sauces and storing them in recycled jars. The beauty of home-made pestos, pasta sauce, and salad dressing is that you know exactly what went into them and you’re able to control the amount of sugar and so on creating a healthier, tastier and greener alternative to the shop bought versions.
Take a Hike
Or a bike. Cutting down on the amount you use the car is a money and environment saver. Plus if you’re looking at ways to include a little extra movement in your life, walking or riding to work is the perfect excuse.
Hopping on public transport is another option but trickier when you’re bringing home the weekly shop. Instead, you might consider having your shopping delivered to you. Though this might sound rather decadent and indeed harmful with the lorries chugging their way around your home town, it does mean that your car isn’t out on the road. Saving one trip to the supermarket each week doesn’t sound much but with greater numbers, following suit, it’s bound to make a difference.
Greening up your life sounds like something you’re going to need to send out a lot of money on but in actual fact, it doesn’t have to. There are steps you can take, like owning an allotment that is just great for the whole family as well as being environmentally and purse-friendly.
Make a few changes today to start making a huge difference tomorrow. It’s never too late to go greener.