Many people think that ‘being green’ involves lots of disposable income. When you look at solar panels, geothermal pumps and hybrid cars, it can certainly seem that way. I know I have found that doing our zero waste challenge *can* result in more ‘expensive’ choices, but sometimes we need to remember to look at the bigger pictures, rather than just look at the cost to our purse, of an item.
Our cheap, disposable lifestyle is having a huge impact on the future of the environment and on our health.
Electronic goods with built in obsolescence, junk food where chemicals cost less than fresh ingredients and cheap long haul flights all contribute to a questionable future.
Some of the choices we’ve made at Chez Green throughout our zero waste challenge, however, have been more frugal, so I’m going to share five of them here. It’s a win-win situation when you can help the environment and your bank balance profits in the process.
There are plenty more to come in future posts. In fact, my busy mind has been on this one all morning and I think there’s an article just waiting to happen!
1- Making bread and yogurt
Making our own bread saves on packaging and on the cost of the loaf itself. I use a bread maker which costs just 0.6p electricity to run for one loaf. I’m going to make an assumption that unless the oven is full of other goods, using a bread maker is cheaper than using the oven.
Even though I’m still procrastinating heavily on making my own yogurt I know it works out far cheaper than shop bought. It works out at less than half price in fact. Plus there isn’t non recyclable plastic going into the landfill from the pots and lids.
2- Saving packaging
Any jiffy bags or nice sturdy cardboard boxes that come through the door, here at Chez Green get squirrelled away for another day. Little Miss Green’s better quality clothing, old books, outgrown cds and the odd soft furnishing has been known to find its way onto eBay and that’s where our saved packaging gets a new lease of life. Packaging can cost quite a bit to buy new, plus it seems crazy to throw envelopes and bags away, only to buy new ones when you need them.
Any envelopes are carefully opened and reused too (especially the ones that are already postage paid thank you very much).
3- buying in bulk
I’ve done the maths and since lost the figures, but trust me that buying in bulk means you have a LOT less packaging to get rid of. It was astonishing when I worked out the difference between the weight of one 5ltr container and five 1 ltr containers of washing up liquid. I’ll have a hunt around and find the stats sometime. Also, the cost of the product is cheaper.
You can buy in bulk from Co-Ops such as Suma. From Suma I bulk buy eco friendly laundry products and dried fruit and flour, while friends buy lentils, rice and nuts
4- less food waste
According to WRAP’s Love food, hate waste campaign, we throw away a third of the food we buy each week in the UK. So careful housekeeping in the kitchen is a no brainer. We must be saving upwards of a thousand pounds here at Chez Green just by not wasting food. If food waste is a problem in your house, check out our top tips for reducing food waste.
5- black gold
By using our kitchen scraps for compost, we end up with, well, free compost. Every year, people across the land throw their food scraps into the bin and then go out to garden centres in the spring to buy compost in plastic bags. If you’ve got room for a compost bin in our garden, why not have a go at making your own? Most councils have special offers to make buying one affordable or you can make your own from old pallets.
If you don’t have room for a compost bin, then a wormery takes up much less room (you can even keep them inside) and you will be rewarded with rich plant food for your houseplants.
A bokashi bin is smaller still and will sit happily on your kitchen work surface.
Towards the end of the year, we have a fabulous wormery, courtesy of our generous friends at Wiggly Wigglers up for grabs in one of our competitions. This month, you can win a bokashi bin from our equally lovely friends at Natural Collection. Find out how to win a bokashi bin on our competitions page.