TODAY I’M ROUNDING UP THE EASIEST WAYS TO BE ECO-FRIENDLY. WITH MINIMAL EFFORT AND LITTLE INVESTMENT REQUIRED THESE ARE ALL NO-BRAINERS, SO BE SURE TO JOT THEM DOWN FOR WHEN LOCKDOWN IS OVER!
Bring a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go. You can refill bottles at most university campus water fountains for free, and now some coffee chains will refill them at no charge too! (My local Costa does – so check with yours). Why waste money buying hundreds of disposable plastic ones when you can simply make a one time purchase. The same goes for coffee cups, whether you prefer hot or iced beverages you can pick up a cute reusable and often enjoy a discount or bonus stamp when you order at many coffee shops too.
GROW YOUR OWN
Give growing your own fruits / vegetables / herbs a try! Obviously it depends on the space you have available, but even the smallest of rooms can house a windowsill herb garden. There’s not much investment to get started and you can find loads of free tutorials online if you are unsure how to begin. If you can’t grow your own opt for packaging or plastic free options in store, it often works out cheaper because you only have to buy the quantity you need. Some things you only need to purchase once and can then grow again and again from the stalk or ends – currently I have celery growing on my kitchen windowsill and some mini herb planters on my patio.
DITCH THE CAR
Try to walk or cycle as much as possible. You’ll feel so much better for the fresh air and even when the weather isn’t great it can be liberating to get out. Why pay for the gym when exercising is free? Bonus points if you try out a new route and take time to explore and enjoy the beauty of nature hidden around you.
SWITCH IT OFF
Turn off your appliances at the wall when you’re not using them. Not only is it wasteful to leave things turned on when they’re not needed, it’s also adding to your electric bill. The only thing I keep on at all times is my WiFi router, everything else only gets turned on if I want to use it. You’ll be amazed at the savings. If you get to choose your own bill providers it is also worth seeing if there’s a supplier in your area who only uses renewable sources of energy, then you can sleep knowing that you’re not using fossil fuels to power your home. The plans are often just as cheap as the main providers.
Stop ordering outfits off those cheap clothing sites that you only wear once!! It’s expensive, wasteful and often the clothing production methods are unethical. Instead scope out your local charity shops for some beautiful and cheap pieces. Not only will you save money on the regular retail price, you will also find yourself being more mindful about the purchases you make and you might just find that you don’t actually need that third pair of jeans you were going to impulse buy in Primark. (Bonus points if you use public transport to get to the charity shops!)
Similarly to the previous point stop buying books brand new. This goes for textbooks and those you buy for pleasure. Get yourself a local library card so you can borrow books for free, you can usually request titles they don’t stock if you want! Your campus library should carry copies of textbooks for your academic needs and if they don’t you can always ask if it would be possible for them to buy copies in. If there’s not a public library you can get to locally consider buying your books secondhand in charity shops. Once you’ve read them you can simply donate them again to continue the cycle of reusing.
There’s absolutely no need to be throwing food away, you’re literally throwing your money in the bin. Make meals that you can portion out and freeze, then reheat later. If you’re stuck for ideas google is your best friend, there are hundreds of recipe sites and batch meal ideas to suit any budget. Charity shops also always have a shelf full of cheap cookbooks you can buy for every cuisine. If you have peel or vegetables that you do need to get rid of try and compost what you can. I’ll be sharing a post soon about the compost bin I made for my patio that cost less than £10!
SAY NO TO PLASTIC BAGS
Bring your own bags to the supermarket. In this day and age there is no reason for you to be paying 5p for a plastic bag. Tote bags are a cheap one time purchase and you can get them in designs to match any taste, so it’s a win-win! If you already have a mountain of plastic bags stuffed under the sink have a look on pinterest for ideas of what you can use them for. I’ve used mine to stuff coffee sacks (to create easy outdoor sofa cushions) and to line plant pots.
NO MORE NOTEBOOKS
This may hit home but… you do not need twelve half finished notebooks. Stop purchasing new ones! I’m guilty of it too but start finishing the ones you already have first, then when you do need a new one make sure it’s made from recycled paper. If you have loads of notebooks with just a couple of pages left in them you can use them for scrap or to jot down lists such as food shopping and meal plans.
The bathroom often gets left out when people are considering how they can lessen their impact on the environment but it can be a room where hundreds of pounds of waste is generated every year. If you have periods consider trying a menstrual cup or period pants instead of spending hundreds purchasing disposable pads and tampons that end up in landfill. They are products that will require some investment in the beginning but the savings soon start to become clear when you can deduct period products from your expenditure every month. If you’re not ready to take the completely reusable plunge you can still do your bit by making an effort to purchase non-applicator tampons.
MOPPING IT UP
Similarly to above there are loads of products elsewhere in the house that you can switch from disposable. How many things do we use once and then simply throw away? What a waste of resources and money, you might as well start throwing your hard earned cash straight in the trash. So far my number one swap has been to reusable kitchen paper, the original roll was a little steep, but now I never have to buy kitchen paper again. Whenever I need to wipe the kitchen hob or side I simply reach for one of my cloths and then when I’m done with one I add it to a little bag that gets emptied into the weekly wash. The little cloths have cute designs on them like avocados, so they are much less of an eyesore than the disposable rolls.
Many of these were pretty obvious swaps but sometimes we just need a gentle reminder! See if you whilst we are in lockdown you can make one switch to reusable in each room in your home. Feel free to leave your eco-friendly swap ideas in the comments below so we can all learn from each other.