By Niki Olymbiou (@olympiarose_)
More and more people are looking for sustainable ways of living, but green living can often look as though it is expensive and it can also seem overwhelming. Here are a few simple ways to start living more sustainably while on a budget.
This is one of the first things to look at reducing or cutting out altogether when embarking on a more sustainable lifestyle.
Swap your takeaway coffee cup to a reusable travel cup
Did you know that most takeaway cups contain a film of polyethylene, which is a plastic coating? When this begins to break down it releases a methane gas which makes it unrecyclable. Takeaway cups also take an average of 50 years to fully break down.
Travelling with a reusable coffee cup not only saves on the waste but will also save you money. A lot of coffee shops offer a discount for using your own cup:
- Paul and Pret A Manger offer a 50p discount,
- Costa and Starbucks offer a 25p discount and
- Greggs offers a 20p discount.
After a few weeks you will make up the cost of the reusable cup back in the savings you will have made.
Travel with a reusable water bottle
This is a great way to reduce single use plastic. Thousands of plastic bottles are thrown away every single day and most do not get recycled, even if you put them in the recycling bin. There is simply too much plastic in the UK for it to all be recycled. The best thing to do is to reduce our use of it. Plastic bottles and indeed a lot of plastics have also been shown to leach microplastics, so that’s another very good reason to ditch the plastic bottles.
Food waste is a big problem with about a third of all food produced for consumption wasted. With the cost of food also increasing, the app Too Good To Go has linked itself to hotels, restaurants, shops and supermarkets to allow you to buy and collect food that would normally have been thrown away because it hasn’t been sold in time. This is one way of helping to reduce the food waste problem and also saving money too.
How to live more sustainably at home
Plan your meals before you go shopping, this will help you to save on money and food waste.
Eat less meat
This is one of the biggest ways to help the environment. The Amazon rainforest is being cut down and destroyed in order to make way for feed for cattle and space for them to graze. You don’t have to give up meat altogether but by not eating it everyday is a start. Cutting down on the meat you buy will also save you money, meat is more expensive than the vegetarian and vegan alternatives.
Go plastic free
Replace items when they need replacing and when you do opt for plastic free alternatives, such as a bamboo toothbrush or a glass bowl instead of a plastic tupperware one. It would be wasteful and expensive to go out and replace all the plastic in your home for non plastic alternatives. Replacing as and when will save you money in the long run and you will be replacing items with much more sustainable options. These will more than likely be able to be reused as something else or actually be recycled at the end of their life.
Consider making your own cleaning products
Green cleaning is so much better for the environment, your wallet and your health. Most cleaning products in the supermarkets come in single use plastic and can actually be toxic to the environment in your home. Switching to glass bottles and making your own products with white vinegar, bicarb soda and castile soap will have you saving pennies and benefiting your health in no time.
How to live more sustainably in London
Walk or cycle around London as much as you can to avoid the use of public transport.
Buy local produce from a farmers market, this will cut the carbon footprint on the produce and will more than likely come in plastic free packaging, saving on the single use plastic.
If you are lucky enough to live close to a bulk food store, consider shopping there for food items such as rice, pulses, nuts etc, especially if you only need a small amount of a particular item. You can buy as much or as little as you need to avoid food waste.
Going to charity shops for clothes (and other items), will save you a lot of money. Buying second hand clothes goes some way to reducing the impact that fast fashion is having on the planet. London has so many great charity shops. Also, consider buying clothes and other items from Facebook marketplace or apps like Depop for second hand clothes.
A great way to save money on larger items is to rent them from the Library of Things, from there you are able to rent items such as tools, a waffle maker, a tent, etc either by the day or by the week and there are a number of branches across London.