Did you make a promise to yourself that you would try to be more green in 2015? Not only is it more important than ever before that we all start to look after the earth we live on, taking steps to make your life greener can also help your bank balance too. Whether it’s conserving energy around the home or planning your weekly shop to reduce the amount of food you waste, there are plenty of things you can do to be more environmentally responsible in your everyday life – and save money at the same time. Not sure where to start? Take a look at these easy tips to get going:
Grow your own food
With allotments and organic veg boxes soaring in popularity, it’s clear that people are waking up and starting to think about the origins of their food. No longer happy with fruit and vegetables that have been flown half way across the world to reach the supermarket shelves, modern consumers like their food local and home-grown. But such luxuries often come at a premium price – so how to get a greener diet without spending a fortune? Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a fantastic solution. Even the smallest outdoor space can be converted into a veritable kitchen garden with plants such as tomatoes, courgettes, beetroot, onion, squashes, beans and salad veg like lettuce, rocket and kale all surprisingly easy to grow in the British climate. Not got room for raised beds? Many fruits and vegetables can be grown in pots on windowsills or roof terraces – check out B&Q for a wide range of suitable containers.
Go natural around the home
It’s surprising how many people are ultra-cautious about what goes into their bodies but draw the line when it comes to their beauty products or the cleaning products they use around the home. From parabens and sodium lauryl sulphates in shampoos and skincare products to neurotoxins and ammonia in household cleaning sprays and creams, there are plenty of worrying ingredients lying around in the average kitchen or bathroom cupboard. But can you really quit using all those chemicals and still keep your house clean? Thankfully you can! Simple vinegar and water mixed together in a spray bottle makes a great all-purpose cleaner for everything from bathroom tiles to kitchen floors, while lemon juice is excellent at removing soap scum and hard water deposits. Need to remove bad smells or scrub a stubborn stain? Try rubbing it with baking soda for amazing results. By using these simple cleaning methods you’re not only taking a step towards having a greener, safer home, you’re also saving money too.
Ditch the car
Owning and regularly driving a car is one of the worst things you can do as an individual for the environment. They clog cities and neighbourhoods with toxic fumes, create CO2 emissions and burn fossil fuels. And while we know that most people would struggle to give up their cars completely, there are plenty of things we can do to cut down on how frequently we use them. If you use your car for short journeys around town, why not consider getting a bike? More and more towns and cities are getting on track with effective dedicated cycle networks connecting important locations, while big cities like London offer bike hire schemes that let you pick up and drop off bicycles as and when you need them. For a more permanent lifestyle change – and to get fit at the same time – check out the range of road bikes available at Halfords. Planning a longer journey? The rising prices of train and bus travel are responsible for pushing many people to drive their cars instead of choose public transport, but there is another way. When you have a journey coming up, check liftshare websites like liftshare.com and blablacar.com to see if anyone else is travelling the same route as you. If they are, you can hop in with them – saving you money and putting one less car on the road. Nobody else travelling? Why not advertise lifts in your car? You can pick up passengers who will contribute a share of the fuel costs, and you’re contributing towards a greener and more sustainable way of travel.