Written by: Cally Worden
Saving the planet is a fantastic concept, but when cash is in short supply our focus shifts to the detail of day-to-day living. It can feel like a challenge, simply getting through each week with food on the table and the bills all paid – the planet can wait! But deep down we all know that, actually, the planet can’t really wait much longer. It’s already in crisis. And there is no single ‘big-fix’. What it needs is individual action that, added together starts to make a difference. The phrase ‘every little helps’ has never been more pertinent. Here are some tips for small changes you can make on even the tightest of budget that will contribute to a greener world.
Shift from Recyclables to Reusables
Recycling is an admirable concept, which has already made a huge contribution to protecting scarce resources and a more responsible consumer base. But, recyclable products still have to be bought and then reprocessed. There are many ways you can switch to reusable products instead – a green solution that also saves you money on your shopping bill. Tupperware tubs can be used in place of sandwich bags and disposable food containers. A decent Thermos flask and a stock of decent coffee will stop you throwing money at Starbucks and reduce the consumption of disposable cups. A solid, refillable glass water bottle can take the place of water bottles and juice cartons.
Get to know your Local Farmer
‘From the field to the table’ is a great ethos to live by if you have a smallholding, look at ways of finding time to grow your own crops. The best most of us can manage is the odd pot of herbs, or the occasional green-fingered inspiration that dies in the blink of the first rainstorm. And, that’s why farmers’ markets are so appealing. They take care of all that stuff for you. You can feel all green and virtuous by buying produce from a local supplier, eliminating the carbon footprint of potatoes and veg, that may have travelled many miles before reaching your local store. Chances are, your local farmer is using far fewer chemicals than the mass-producing ones, or may even be organic. Crop variety may be limited by seasonality, but at least you know that what’s on your plate is about as natural as can be.
Switch stuff off
Shelling out for new windows and insulation will definitely help the environment, reducing your overall energy consumption, but you don’t have to go to such lengths to achieve this. Simple actions, like not leaving gadgets and appliances on standby can cut your consumption massively, as can washing your clothes at 30 degrees instead of 40. Gradually acclimatising your body to a lower living temperature in your home, even just one or two degrees lower than your norm, will cut your energy bills and help the planet too.
Buy Second-hand – or not at all
Get into the habit of questioning every purchase you make – do you really need the item? And if need is not really something you want to consider, at least think about picking it up second-hand. There are so many unwanted and under-used items out there that get thrown away; people always think that new is best. It’s nice to have new things, no question – but ask yourself if a second-hand alternative would really spoil your enjoyment of it – if not, what’s holding you back?
I think most of us are aware that it’s perfectly possible to make your own cleaning products, but most of us don’t have the time (or inclination). You can still go green though, by choosing any of the many perfectly acceptable green, eco-cleaning products offered on the market. Remember, if everyone made just one or two small changes like this, we can all make a difference to our world.