I just want to say to start with please do not read this and then go out and buy lots of things or try to do every single one of these at once. The reason I say this is, as I said in previous blogs, this isn’t the best way to start on your zero-waste or sustainability journeys. Just for future reference, I may use these terms interchangeably.
Anyway, onto the swaps! There will be tons more of these in the future but for now here are just 5 ideas. If you have been on this journey for a long time you might already know most of these but I hope there is something here for everyone.
1. Reusable Water Bottles
This is one of the easiest things to switch to, in my opinion. Make sure you always take one out with you when you leave the house. This way when you are out and you get thirsty you don’t have to fork out for bottled water which can cost an absolute fortune! And don’t worry, if you run out of water you can just pop into cafes or restaurants to get a refill. Or if you are super lucky, you might even have public water fountains which you can use. I saw tonnes of these when I visited Rome so this can even work if you are travelling! If you don’t know where your local one is why don’t you check out this really cool app.
Best Budget Option: The majority of us already have water bottles lurking in the back of our cupboards somewhere, which is great. So what are you waiting for, if you haven’t already done this swap then go and dig around to find that water bottle, give it a good soak and a clean! Do be careful though, make sure the bottles aren’t moldy if they have been there a while and check they are still safe to drink from. If they aren’t then I suggest maybe it is time to invest in one.
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: If you are feeling like treating yourself or you realise it is time for a new water bottle, try to invest in a stainless steel or glass water bottle. You might find these are slightly more expensive but reduce the plastic you are using. If you’re interested in why this is an issue check out this blog post.
2. Loose Veg
Did you know that not all packaged veg is actually cheaper? Neither did I until not so long ago. I have been buying loose veg for a good few years because it was a super easy swap to make when I was in the supermarket. It has been amazing to see over the last couple of years even budget supermarkets such as Aldi and Lidl have really increased their loose veg range, making it so much more affordable for everyone.
Best Budget Option: When you are on your weekly shop, why don’t you trade out some of the fruit and veg you normally buy packaged and pick up some loose veg instead. The benefits of this are that you will reduce plastic and also food waste because you will only buy what you actually need! Also, even if the loose veg is more expensive per 100g if you only need 3 carrots for a recipe why are you buying a whole bag of them? It will work out cheaper this way.
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Why not head down to your local market! I have been loving my weekly trip down to pick up my veggies and have been surprised at how much money it’s saved me (this isn’t the case in all markets but it is worth a look). There are so many benefits to this such as getting me out of the house, supporting local businesses and 9 times out of 10 it will all be plastic free!
3. Paperless bills and bank statements
For most of us, paper bills just cause unnecessary clutter because, lets be honest here, who doesn’t have the odd bill or letter that is floating around the house. Not only that, but once we have gone through our budget for the month, how often do we actually go back for them again. This is just one of those swaps that you will barely even notice you’ve made.
Best Budget Option: This is one of my favourite swaps on this list because it is totally free! It is so quick and easy to sit down and go through your bills and opt for paperless on their websites. If this is hard for you then give them a call and I am sure they would love to help! Alternatively, if you don’t have much time, when a new bill comes in use it as a reminder to change your account settings.
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Why stop at bills! Turns out unwanted emails can actually cause around 30,000 tonnes of CO2 to be released into the atmosphere everyday. I know strange right!? Why not spend 10 minutes unsubscribing from those emails you signed up for 10 years ago but you never read! If you don’t have 10 minutes just unsubscribe every time a new one comes in.
4. Reusable Shopping Bags
Since the 5p carrier bag charge was introduced in England in 2015 (well done Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland you beat us to it!) there has been around an 85% drop in the number of disposable carrier bags picked up in supermarkets. While this is awesome, what about the other 15%? In 2021, the UK is set to up the carrier bag charge to 10p which is expected to reduce this further. Even so why are people still using plastic bags?
Best Budget Option: One of the best ways we can reduce carrier bags is by making sure we take a reusable bag with us when we go out. Pop one in your bag, in your car or coat pocket. Not only will we not have to pay the bag charge but we’re also reducing the need for single-use materials. I am sure most of us already have a reusable bag, or hundreds if you are anything like me or my mum! Also, make sure you are using the bags you have, even if they aren’t the lovely canvas or cotton ones. Even if you reuse a plastic bag this is still a great swap, just make sure not to buy new ones and responsibly dispose of them in bag recycling bins, which can be found in lots of supermarkets. If you aren’t sure where one is then check out this tool.
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: Did you know you can actually make reusable shopping bags out of materials you already have in your house? Have you got an old worn out t-shirt or some bedding or pillowcases you never use? Why not give yourself a little craft project. Not only does this reduce waste but it also saves you money.
5. Energy Provider
I think energy providers are definitely something we need to talk about more. Sorry for those of you who aren’t from the UK because this one is a bit specific. Although, the “Big Six” are making steps to be more renewable, I couldn’t claim to be trying to help you save money if I suggested you used them. This is something we often forget about but it is really worth spending 10 minutes or so researching because I found that my monthly payments went down by about £10 a month!
Best budget option: So this isn’t in anyway affiliated but the company I use personally are Outfox The Market. They are a really affordable company and 100% of their electricity is sourced from wind turbines which is great! I suggest you have a look around and use a website like U-switch, where you can actually filter to only show renewable energy companies. How cool is that!
If You’re Feeling Adventurous: So energy providers aren’t really an adventurous topic so I suggest you see above!
If you try any of these tips or have some more why not share them with others! Comment down below or tag me on Instagram and make sure to use the hashtag #littlebylottie. I hope you have enjoyed today’s blog and make sure to check in again tomorrow at 6pm for another.