We are getting towards one of the most expensive times of the year where we are buying food and presents for our loved ones. I am sure that making more sustainable choices is probably not on our radar at all. Why? Because many of us have it in our heads that in order to live sustainably, it has to be more expensive, although if you are a long term reader of my blog, I would hope that you would know that this doesn’t have to be the case.
Because of this, I thought it would be fun to share some free zero waste swaps which you can make, which might even save you a bit of money!
- Use old t-shirts as rags instead of kitchen towel
While many of us donate our old clothes to charity with the best intentions, clothes that are tatty actually won’t be resold. There is research to suggest that around 25% of all clothing donations actually head straight to landfill, with another 40% could be exported to corrupt second-hand textile industries abroad.
An easy way to combat this issue, and help to ensure that your old clothes are used to their full potential, is to cut up your old t-shirts and use them as cleaning rags or as kitchen towels. If you want to, you can get a bit crafty and design and make your own UnPaper Towels, however, this is not necessary for the item to be functional. It will also save you money on buying disposable kitchen roll and cleaning cloths.
- Turn your heating down
Think about it, do you really notice if it is 20 degrees or 19 degrees outside? Probably not, right? The same goes for inside your house. If everybody turned their heating down by just 1 degree, the UK as a whole has the potential to save over 1 million tonnes of CO2 emissions every single year! The added bonus of this is that it will also drastically reduce your energy bills, which we all know is super important with the rising prices of fuel right now.
- Use the library
Some of my favourite memories of school holidays when I was a child was heading to the library for their summer reading challenges. I am sure I am not alone there, but who says children have to be the only ones to have all the fun! Libraries are a bit of a dying species so make sure you support this resource. Not only do they have books but many also have DVDs and audiobooks so they are perfect no matter what you are interested in.
You know I like maths so let’s do the maths… a study suggested that a single book has an equivalent carbon footprint of 2.71 kilograms. Say 100 people read the same book but buy it new, that is a carbon footprint of 271kg in total. But, if the same 100 people borrowed it from the library, that’s a carbon footprint of 2.71kg – equating to just 0.0271kg per person. Pretty cool right!
Don’t panic if you are more of an ebook or audiobook person, you can borrow these directly from your local library through BorrowBox – an amazing free resource – which means you don’t even have to leave your house to borrow books!
- Clothes swaps
We all have that friend who we look at and think “I wish I dressed like you”. Why not actually dress like them and organise a clothes swap within your circle of friends. It means you can give a new life to clothes you’re bored of and you can have a fresh look without having to spend a penny or impact the planet!
- No bottled water
So while tap water isn’t exactly free, it is a heck of a lot cheaper than bottled water. In the UK, tap water costs approximately 0.1p per litre compared to 65p for the equivalent amount in bottled water. We are fortunate that in the UK tap water is safe to drink so drink it! In order to be healthy, it is recommended that we drink at least 2 litres of water a day, which would cost 73p a year from the tap compared to £474.50 from bottled water alone. This is a no brainer for me so have a rummage around the back of your cupboards, find those reusable water bottles I know you have and make it a habit to take them with you. It will save a tonne of money and will also reduce so much single-use plastic!
- Hang dry your clothes
This won’t suit everyone, especially if you have lots of little ones, but if you are able to and have the space, why not hang your clothes to dry? I have to say this one is a bit more effort and I don’t always enjoy doing it either! We actually don’t own a tumble dryer because it saves us that extra bit of money every month!
- Grow your own veg
For some of you, this will be a bit of a luxury and I understand that but, even if you live in an apartment, think about ways you could grow something simple such as the most used herbs in your diet.
If you are fortunate enough to have tonnes of garden space or even an allotment of your own, first of all, I am super envious, but second, use it! Try and grow as much of your own food as you can. You will be surprised how little effort it really is, how much money it will save and how good it tastes!
This is a tiny list of just some of the totally free zero waste swaps out there. Let me know in the comments which ones I have missed or if you have tried any of these.