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Environment News

Expert Reveals 40 Eco-Friendly Tips; Some of Which Can Save You Money

 Earth Day, it's an important time to remember the environment around us and our planet's future. The Earth is predicted to increase in temperature by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050, this will cause mass flooding and erosion. 

We can all do our bit, even if it's simply getting rid of some of the single-use plastic in our lives and replacing it with a reusable alternative.

To give you a helping hand, our environment expert, Joshua Houston from Household Quotes has put together 40 tips that will make your life more eco-friendly.


1. Install a smart meter

Gas and electricity are part of our everyday lives, they are something we can overuse if we’re not careful which can lead to a damaging bill at the end of the month. 


Installing a smart meter allows you to monitor how much gas and electricity you are using, meaning you can adapt your usage before that expensive bill arrives. Over time you will start developing positive energy habits which help you budget.


Smart meters are often free and can be supplied by your energy provider. A government study discovered that using a smart meter saves you on average 2.3% on electricity and 1.5% on gas.


2. Double or triple-glaze your windows

Heating your home is one of the most expensive monthly outgoings, so finding ways to lower your heating costs is always beneficial. Double or triple-glazing your windows is a proven way of insulating your home to prevent it from losing heat. 


Double-glazing will set you back anywhere between £600 to £3,500 per window, with triple costing 10% to 20% more on average. It’s believed that on a three-bedroom home, triple glazing can save you up to £175 annually.

Benefits of glazing your windows:

  • Keeps heat in: The double/triple glazing prevents heat generated in your home from escaping. Less heat escaping means less pressure on your radiators, ultimately saving you money.

  • Lowers outside noise: If you live next to a busy road, or in a noisy residential area then outside noise can have a profound effect on your life. Glazing your windows reduces the outside noise allowing you to live more peacefully in your home. 

  • Reduce condensation: Single-glazed windows are very prone to condensation, this occurs when moisture in the air collides with cold surfaces. Condensation can lead to dampness without proper ventilation which is particularly damaging to those with pre-existing breathing conditions such as asthma. Glazing reduces thermal transmittance, therefore decreasing the risk of condensation.

  • Heightened Security: The more layers of glazing, the harder it is for the glass to be broken. This is a good deterrent for burglars, preventing them from getting access to your home which gives a good feeling of security. 

  • Increased property value: Each property has an EPC rating depending on how energy efficient it is. Having a better rating increases the value of the property, as the buyers know that the home will come with cheaper living costs than that of a lower-rated house.

3. Close the door behind you

Some rooms in your home will insulate better than others, you might find that your living area can keep heat in but your hallway gets rather cold. Make sure members of your household shut the door behind them, this prevents heat from escaping, as well as keeping that cold hallway air out. 


4. Use electricity wisely

Take a walk around your home and look for devices that are taking up electricity that you aren’t using. If you aren't in a room then turn off the light and switch off any devices at the plug, even that little red light on your TV is costing you money.


This links to the factor of phantom electricity, phantom electricity is when your device uses power without your knowledge. Studies show that this can account for up to 10% of your overall energy bill. Turning off devices from the plug ensures you won’t be left with a frightening statement at the end of the month.


5. Consider a rainwater harvesting system

Rainwater harvesting systems capture rain (normally from the rooftop), and the water is then diverted to a filter, then once the filtering process is complete it is stored for later use. Common uses include; toilet flushing, washing machine, car washing and garden watering.

The average cost for one of these systems is £2500, but this depends on the size and location of your home. It may look like an expensive investment, but rainwater harvesting systems can cut your water bill by half. That’s before the added environmental impact that saving water brings.


6. Buy a sink bowl

When it comes to washing up, your usual routine might be to simply turn your tap on and run dishes under into the sink. This is very inefficient, a lot of water that you end up paying for is wasted. 


To avoid this, purchase a sink bowl which you use to collect the falling water. Once the bowl is full you can turn your tap off and use the water collected to complete your washing up. This results in 50% less water usage, you can purchase a sink bowl for less than five pounds.


7. Get the most out of your water 

It’s time to open your mind when it comes to water use, water can be used for multiple different purposes. For example, after you’ve washed your dishes in your sink bowl you can use what’s leftover to water the plants in your house and garden. This saves you from using new fresh water which is not only wasteful but adds to your water bill at the end of the month.


Some of the ways you can reuse your water include; washing your car, cleaning your pet and cleaning the patios outside of your home.

8. Hang your clothes on a washing line

With the technology available today, we normally see machines as the easiest and most convenient option. However, the UK has the benefit of good winds for drying your clothes. Cut out the need for a tumble dryer altogether by hanging your washing on a line in your garden. 


It’s estimated that a tumble dryer costs around £1.50 per cycle, if you dry your clothes once a week this is a £78 a year saving. 

Planet Family Living.jpg
Planet Family Living

9. Use eco-friendly cleaning products

Eco-friendly cleaning products are designed not to harm the environment. This is done by minimising waste and not releasing toxic chemicals. They also come with a list of benefits:

  • Cause less damage to your home: Non-eco-friendly cleaning products contain chemicals that are more likely to cause damage to surfaces in your home. Overtime fatigue can show due to irritable chemicals like sodium hydroxide wearing away.

  • Cause damage to your health: Traditional cleaners can cause damage to your physical health. Overexposure to chemicals like; ammonia, chlorine, limonene and sodium chloride can cause allergic reactions, chemical burns and skin irritation. 

  • Reduces plastic usage: You’ll often find that eco-friendly alternatives are packaged in sustainable material. They tend to opt for either biodegradable, recyclable or multi-use packaging. Single-use plastics can be hard to recycle and end up in landfills, seriously impacting our wildlife. 

  • Do the job: There’s a common misconception that eco-friendly cleaning products don’t do as good a job as traditional cleaners. But there’s little evidence to prove that this is the case.

10. Buy second hand

​When we need something, our intuition tells us that we need to buy something brand-new. Second-hand items are often forgotten about, even though there are plenty of opportunities to save yourself money.


In 2022, it was estimated that the global second-hand clothing market was worth around £140 billion. The reason for the popularity is that you can get designer clothes for a fraction of the retail price, and the seller gets the benefit of getting some money back for items they no longer wear.


To buy second-hand, you can visit charity shops, and car boot sales and use sites like eBay on the internet.


11. Donate items

 For there to be second-hand items to buy, there need to be people who donate or sell their used goods. Once items start to show a bit of wear, people get tempted to throw them out. It is always worth taking them to your local charity shop to see if they’d be interested.


Alternatively, your unwanted goods might be of value, do some research using Facebook Marketplace, eBay or Vinted to see if you can get anything. There are also pawn shops as well as specialist companies who buy used items.


12. Fix it, don’t throw it

When something breaks, don’t be so quick to throw it out. Broken items often can be simply fixed, do some online research before you consider disposing of something entirely. 


13. Have your food delivered

When you do your food shop, you will often drive to the nearest supermarket before driving back. Save yourself a lot of time and effort by having your food delivered to your door.


The reason for this is that these delivery options act as public transport for shopping, one delivery truck can deliver up to 20 orders at a time. This cuts down the number of vehicles travelling to their store by the same number. 


Online shopping is also efficient, you can search exactly what you want and aren’t led past tempting things that you don’t need and won’t eat or use. 

14. Use your microwave

A microwave is much more energy efficient than a cooker, so if there’s an option between the two, always choose your microwave. 


If you have some spare cash, you could even buy an air fryer where you can cook small batches of food.


15. Adopt an eco-friendly diet

Being careful of what you consume is important, what you eat has a massive impact on your physical health. Consider cutting out red meat and switching to a plant-based diet. 


You don’t have to completely give up meat, just make a few small changes to benefit your health and that of the planet. Pick days in which you will go meat-free, this will reduce your carbon footprint significantly.


16. Make good use of your freezer

If you’re in the position that you have a freezer, make sure to make the most of it. Often people will leave food in the freezer and forget about it, keep on top of what’s in there to ensure no food is being wasted. It’s also good to freeze food that has a short expiry date, this includes bread which can be defrosted. 


17. Grow your own fruit and vegetables

Instead of relying on a supermarket for your fruit and vegetables, consider growing your own. Seeds and online resources are readily available for you to get started, and you can grow a wide range. 


As well as having a positive environmental effect, due to the eradication of transport, growing your own produce will save you money. You might even find that your family, friends and neighbours would want to buy your fruit and veg as you’re a more convenient option.

18. Avoid food waste

At the end of a meal, the easy option might be to just chuck what’s leftover into the bin. This is not only a waste of food, but you’re also chucking away money. 


Box up your leftovers to store in your fridge or freezer, they could quite easily be reheated to give yourself another meal. If you’re not keen on eating what’s leftover then consider offering the food to family members, friends or neighbours who might be in need. Depending on what’s leftover, I’m sure your pets will also see no problem in hoovering up what you offer them.


19. Buy local produce

In the UK our towns and cities are surrounded by agriculture, which means there’s plenty of produce available to buy that comes locally. 


When doing your food shop, take careful consideration where the item you're buying comes from. Food imported from abroad has a higher carbon footprint due to the shipping required to get it to the UK. This food might be cheaper, but it’s worth spending that little bit extra to support local farmers.


20. Buy fair trade

Fair trade ensures the trade between companies in developed countries and producers in developing countries is fair. It stops developing countries from being taken advantage of to ensure a good price is paid for what is produced.


This has a positive effect on the environment as with fair trade comes environmental protection. Farmers are required to improve the conditions of their land and have to avoid using harmful chemicals and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

21. Buy in bulk

Buying in bulk removes some of the unnecessary packaging, this packaging can often be single-use, which is damaging to the environment. It also saves you money in the long run as buying in bulk is cheaper than buying something individually.


22. Use every last bit

 When you see something running low in your home, your first instinct is to go out and buy some more. But before you open your new purchase, make sure you have used every last bit of what you were running low on.


Common examples of these are toothpaste and hand soap:

  • Toothpaste: When toothpaste stops releasing from its tube, you may think that’s everything. However, grab some scissors and cut off the end allowing you to get at the little bits left over. There’s normally a few day’s worth of toothpaste, so don’t let that go to waste.

  • Hand soap: When your hand soap dispenser gets to a quarter full, add water and fill it to the top of the bottle. After a shake, you’ll notice the liquid will be less thick, but there will still be plenty of soap to give your hand a thorough clean.

23. Use real grass in your garden

Artificial grass has become a new trend among homeowners in the UK, people like the low maintenance without fully understanding the negative effect on the environment.


If you pave over your natural grass with an artificial alternative, then it will destroy your healthy soil. This is because feeding soil organisms like worms and microscopic animals won’t have anything to feed off. During  hot sunny weather, fake grass overheats which can cause damage to your feet, or unsuspecting family members/pets. 

24. Let your garden grow

A growing trend is cutting back the plant life in your garden for something more organised. This can be damaging to the wildlife that lives in your garden.


Letting your garden grow attracts important insects such as bees who look to pollinate your plants. We must not forget that without bees the plant life in this country would die, so we should be doing all that we can to aid them.


Not having to mow your lawn, or cut back your trees/plants will end up saving you a lot of time. This time can be invested in other parts of your home, or simply relaxing in your garden surrounded by natural wildlife.


25. Use low-VOC paints

VOC stands for volatile organic compounds, most traditional paints are high in VOC. This is a problem as paints high in VOC give off more toxic gases that can cause real damage if inhaled. Prolonged exposure can cause nausea and in the long term cause central nervous system complications.


Benefits of low VOC paints:

  • Little to no odour: Traditional paints cause a lot of odour, and a freshly painted room will smell for days, causing harm to the people surrounding it.

  • Environmentally friendly: VOCs can become gases or vapours which are toxic to the environment, low VOC paints don’t which makes them much more environmentally friendly.


26. Research cosmetics and makeup

Before buying cosmetics, do some basic research on what is in the cosmetics you are using and the brand's ethics. Avoid companies who test products on animals, and use a lot of single-use damaging plastic.


Instead invest your money into businesses that prioritise sustainable packaging, and who pride themselves on their product being cruelty-free

27. Cut out baby wipes

Baby wipes contain plastic along with other non-biodegradable materials. When these plastics break down, they turn into microplastics which can easily disrupt the entire ecosystem by entering the food chain.


They also cause blockages, it’s estimated that baby wipes cause 93% of all household sewer blockages.


Look for biodegradable alternatives that won’t cause you these problems, there are even plenty of reusable options on the market. 


28. Use containers instead of paper/plastic bags

Another way you remove single-use plastics from your life is by using containers. If you bring a lunch to work, pack it in a washable container instead of using a plastic or paper bag. 


29. Know your rubbish bins

An easy way to be more eco-friendly is to be aware of where your rubbish is going. Educate yourself about what each bin colour means:


Some council bin colours differ so make sure you check with your local authority.


30. Switch to LED bulbs

LED light bulbs use 80% less energy than your average lightbulb, so making the switch is a great way you can be more eco-conscious.


It’s no secret that LED bulbs are more expensive to buy, however over some time you will make that money back. They also last much longer than usual bulbs, meaning you won’t have to pay for new light bulbs every few months.


31. Invest in electronic devices over paper

Electronic devices like tablets and laptops allow you to take down notes without using paper. You can find online templates to help with your everyday life, including; shopping lists, budgeting and planning your schedule. 


If it’s the price that’s putting you off, think about the money you’ll save by eradicating paper along with the added benefits technology can bring.


32. Use an electric razor

Disposable razors have a lifespan of about 5-10 shaves before being put into the bin. They end up being expensive to recycle due to often being made of both plastic and metal which proves hard to separate. Because of this, a large percentage of disposable razors end up in landfill sites around the country.


An electric razor is a lot more environmentally sustainable, it is something that you can reuse time and time again. Replacements will only be required every few years as long as you show your razor some care. 

33. Walk/Bike more

Limiting your car use can be a really easy thing to implement into your everyday life. If you live within relative proximity to your workplace then consider walking or biking to work. It can be brought in for basic tasks like going to the shop or the bank.


The 3km rule is that you should try to walk or bike anywhere within that radius of your home. With this comes several benefits:

  • Physical: Increasing your biking or walking means that you are more active, and after a while, you will start to see a difference in your physical health. Not just physically, but biking or walking for a period every day can be great for your mental well-being. It gives you time to think and be alone with nature or your surrounding environment.

  • Financial: Driving everywhere leaves a big financial burden on yourself, you end up making that irritable trip to the petrol station again, again and again. Walking and biking will limit your petrol use, along with keeping the mileage of your car low. Less mileage will increase the value of your vehicle when it comes to selling.

  • Environmental: Petrol and diesel-powered vehicles release harmful emissions into the environment. If everyone limited their vehicle use to only when necessary then this would have a very positive effect on your surrounding environment.

34. Invest in an electric vehicle

If you find yourself using your petrol or diesel-powered vehicle a lot, then it might be worth investing in an electric car. This will come with a host of benefits including; reducing your carbon footprint, decreasing running costs and being quiet to drive.


Most car brands are designing and releasing new electric cars, with technology advancing each day. The UK is becoming more eco-car friendly with charging stations popping up in the past decade. According to Zap-Map, at the end of March 2024, there were 59,590 electric vehicle charging points in the UK.


35. Give public transport a try

Public transport has its problems, it can be unreliable and be very expensive for the journey you plan to take. However, the roads can be equally as unreliable and with the ever-increasing price of fuel, it might be worth giving public transport a try. 


Choosing to use public transport instead of driving reduces the number of vehicles on the road, therefore decreasing emissions. The ever-expanding electric train network in the UK is making travel even more eco-friendly. 


Getting on a train or bus takes the pressure away from you as a driver, it allows you to sit back and enjoy the view before arriving at your destination. It also takes away the stress of finding a parking space, with more cities becoming more pedestrian-friendly, maybe it’s time to hang up your car keys.


36. Don’t fly

According to the New York Times, air travel accounts for 4% of human-induced global warming. The United Nations is warning that aeroplane emissions are set to triple by 2050.


Instead of travelling by air, try to find alternative travel arrangements like using trains or coaches. The euro tunnel gives you access to mainland Europe by rail and is much more environmentally friendly. 

37. Practise sustainable tourism

When looking to book a holiday or city break, take into consideration the sustainability of where you are going. Avoid resorts or hotels that have a bad effect on the environment and choose to visit those that take an eco-efficient approach.


Sustainable tourism comes with a list of benefits to the tourist and the community you’re visiting:

  • Environmental: Certain holiday resorts show little to no care for the environment, they use a lot of single-use plastic and dump waste into the surrounding areas. Sustainable locations will run as eco-friendly as possible, and take real care and pride in the surrounding area.

  • Economical: Staying in an all-inclusive hotel might be great for you as the holiday goer, but it limits your money just to the hotel. A tiny percentage of guests actually leave these hotels, meaning local people miss out on the money from tourism. Instead, choose a standard hotel, this allows you to go out to eat and drink giving you a wide range of options.

38. Avoid cruise holidays

Cruise ships are becoming very popular, they allow holiday goers to visit multiple locations during one week away. However, it is one of the most damaging industries to the environment. The Carnival Corporation's 47 cruise ships emit as much sulphur oxides as 100 million cars.


This is before you consider the waste generated by one of these ships, during an average week a 3,000-passenger cruise ship generates over 210,000 gallons of waste. Some of this waste is deposited directly into the ocean.

39. Invest your money wisely

Before you invest your money into something, make sure you do thorough research. Look at the ethics of the investment, as you may find yourself investing in something damaging to the environment.


Examples of this could be fossil fuels, airlines and companies that have poor human or animal rights records.


40. Support companies with ethical practices

Some companies run ethical campaigns like planting trees for every purchase. Consider this when picking between competitors selling the same product, as your money is going further than just the company's profits. 


Also, avoid businesses that have bad track records when it comes to the environment, some have been key contributors to deforestation in countries like Brazil. The last thing you want is your money contributing to this.


Joshua Houston, Environment expert at Household Quotes:

''It's important more than ever to start making changes in your life that will benefit the environment around you. Some of these changes might be difficult, so don't think you have to change all at once.


Perhaps make the easier swaps first, like better insulation and reusable items. 


You'll find that these choices are not only better for the environment but also for your pocket. There's much money to be saved, if you don't believe me go and find out for yourself.''

Joshua Houston, Environment Expert
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