There are many of us that are getting more concerned about the planet, the environment and how things seem very bleak for the future of mankind. However, often, it can seem very expensive to be able to do things that will help the planet. With many of us committed to loan repayments, contracts, utilities, rent and other expenses we may not have any money left to pay for anything else. Buying more efficient electronics or offsetting the carbon we produce or producing our own electricity are all options that are out of reach for most people. However, there could be things that we could do that will help the environment and save us money.
- Use the car less and drive more efficiently – this can be tricky if we use the car a lot, but it is good to think about whether you can cut down those journeys. This could mean walking to places or combining several journeys together to save you going out several times. It is a great way to help the environment because it not only reduces emissions and air pollution but what you are paying in gas will go down. You will also see minor savings in reduced wear and tear on the vehicle.
- Waste less food – many of us waste food. This could be down to throwing away food that is left over as too much was cooked, letting things go off before we use them or binning food that children refuse to eat. Although the final item is very tricky to resolve the others are not. Try hard not to cook too much food and if there is any left overs pop it in the fridge to use up in the next few meals. Many foods can be warmed up and eaten as they are or used in another dish, depending on what they are. If things are going off, then you need to be more organised when shopping. Plan very carefully before you go, checking what you need and what you do no need. Then do not buy too much of things that will not last long. Consider buying tinned or frozen items rather than fresh, if you can, so that they will not go off so quickly. Also be careful with the dates on food. Try to buy items which have dates in the future but with certain things you can eat them after the date anyway, it all depends on what they are.
- Buy less one-use plastic – we use a lot of plastic just once and then throw it away. This can end up in land fill taking a very long time to be broken down or burnt and causing pollution. It is better to try not to buy it at all. You can cut down by taking your own carrier bags when shopping, taking your own refillable water bottle rather than buying a bottle and throwing it away and getting a reusable coffee cup. You can also carry your own metal straw and spoon (to avoid plastic stirrers). Some of these will save you money as you will be bringing your own water from home rather than buying a small bottle of it.
- Fly less – flying is a big cause of environmental damage because emissions happen further away from the earth and they are big. It is expensive to fly and so if you can find alternative transport or avoid going to places that require a flight, then you can make a big impact on your pocket as well as the environment.
- Buy second-hand goods – there are many thrift stores and online places that sell second hand goods. These can often be in new condition or almost as good as new. They can be a lot cheaper than new items as well. By buying second-hand you are reusing something and therefore not causing materials to be used up and energy used to make something. You are also preventing items from being thrown away. There might be certain items that you are not prepared to buy second hand, but even if you get a few things it will help and you will be able to save some money.
- Buy less – we all buy lots of things. Sometimes it is worth thinking about all of the things that you have bought and whether you really make good use of them all. It is good to think about whether you can reduce the amount of things that you are buying and therefore save money. While you are shopping, always ask yourself whether you really need the items. You can always return to the store if you decide not to buy them and change your mind later, but once you have something you will have it until you decide to throw it away or give it away.