Five ways to save money by going green
Eco-friendly initiatives are more popular than ever in the UK, this growing popularity in promoting sustainable alternatives is greatly helped by celebrities such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg drawing attention to the harm that disposable plastics do to the environment.
The good news is that it’s getting easier to ‘do your bit’ to help the environment, and what’s more, embracing reusable products instead of disposable options can also save you a pretty penny in the long run.
Here at metals4U, we’ve put together five ways that you can save money and help the environment at the same time.
- Replace the kitchen roll
Paper towels can be recycled, but will most often end up in landfill sites, what’s more, they require a huge number of trees to be felled, just to meet consumer demand.
Bamboo kitchen roll is a great hybrid between a reusable and disposable product as it can be reused many times before being disposed of. A roll of 20 sheets costs roughly £10, however, these sheets will last as long as 65 whole rolls of paper kitchen roll.
Potential annual savings: £145 (65 rolls, £7 for packs of three)
- Buy a reusable water bottle
UK adults get through an average of 150 water bottles per year1 which creates a huge amount of plastic waste, and also potentially costs the consumer upwards of £150 per year.
A good quality, reusable, stainless steel water bottle will cost around £20 and will last much longer than a cheap plastic alternative; this means that not only will you cut down on your usage of disposable plastics, but you could also save yourself over £100 per year.
Potential annual savings: £130 (150 bottles per year, £1 per bottle)
- Buy a reusable coffee cup
Paper coffee cups can’t be recycled as their plastic film coating means they can’t go in with either paper or card so most of them end up in landfill. Additionally, many coffee shops have started charging the customer more to use disposable cups, and a ‘latte levy’ (25p cup charge) has also been proposed.
Reusable alternatives, such as cheaper options made from bamboo or plastic, or metal thermal flasks, can often be found for less than £10. By simply taking your own cup you can easily save money on your weekly coffee and help protect the environment in the process.
Potential annual savings: £65 (five coffees a week, 25p per cup)
- Use a fabric bag for life
The UK government has taken steps to cut down on plastic usage by requiring large businesses (over 250 employees) to charge customers for all single use plastic carrier bags, however, these bags are often not recycled when disposed of. Many retailers now charge anywhere from 5p-15p for a durable plastic bag, while a bag for life will cost much more; even though these will be replaced when they are worn out, they do not address the issue of reducing plastic use overall.
Environmentally friendly bags made from natural materials and fibres can be easily found for just a couple of pounds and are much more durable (and aesthetically pleasing) than plastic alternatives. You also save money by not paying the carrier bag charge each time you shop. Additionally, as bags made from natural materials are biodegradable they cause less environmental damage than plastic bags if they are not recycled.
Potential annual savings: £30 (four bags a week, 15p per bag)
- Straws, drink stirrers, and cotton buds
These items are the main examples of single-use plastics that are the targets of a ban that is likely to come into force later this year. These products are rarely recycled and cannot be reused, meaning that they commonly end up in landfill or polluting the environment, sadly marine life is commonly seen washed up after mistakenly consuming these products or becoming entangled in them.
The good news is that reusable alternatives such as metal or bamboo straws ( metal straws have the added safety advantage of being able to keep your drink easily identifiable on a night out) and metal ear wax removers, are inexpensive and will last a long time, saving you money by eliminating unnecessary repeat purchases.
Potential annual savings: This depends on how many cocktails you drink and how often you clean your ears! A pack of metals straws with cleaning brush can cost as little as £1 online.
What steps have you taken to cut down on plastic waste? Let us know by tweeting us @metals4U_uk
Sources 1 www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-water-bottles-pollution-uk-recycling-single-use-environment