Now that I have started looking for plastic-free alternatives for things, it’s amazing to see how many eco-friendly products out there today – responsibly sourced, produced and packaged, which is really great. But this usually comes at a price. It’s often a bit more expensive than the mass produced stuff. Bah humbug.
Plastic is here in our lives because it has always been the cheap option. After reading the post about straws, one local mum pointed out that she’d seen cool retro paper straws sold in the shop – £2 for 25 straws (yay!)… sat on the shelf right next to the plastic ones £1 for 150 straws (oh).
So here are 5 little habit changes that anybody could do, where using less plastic can actually SAVE our hard-earned money cash:
DRINK MORE WATER
The World Health Organisation recommends daily fluid intake for the average grown-up male and female of approximately 2.5 and 2.2 litres respectively. The great thing of course is that we can drink water, from a tap. Such are the wonders of modern civilisation! Drinking more water not only has health benefits of less sugar compared to juices and soft drinks, but it is also considerably cheaper. Win, win, win.
And before the chorus of but we don’t like the tastelessness of water let’s just have a think about this… As a species, we are designed to drink water. Just like animals. How many dogs and cats do you hear shouting BUT I DON’T LIKE WATER! I WANT SQUASH!! We have just conditioned ourselves to prefer flavour, but we are in fact capable of drinking water. It’s just habit. And you can always whop a slice of lemon in there.
Taking a re-usable water bottle out and about also reduces the chances of gasping of thirst and needing to buy an overpriced drink from a shop. Here’s a little stat that I found completely staggering – 20,000 bottles of drink are bought every second. That’s over a million a minute. Less than 50% is collected for recycling, and of that, only 7% is turned back into bottles. The rest? Well you know where that goes. Yikes.
2. TAKE YOUR OWN BAGS TO THE SHOPS
Here’s an easy win. Most of us do this already by now, saving 5p on each bag we don’t use. According to gov.uk, since the introduction of the 5p bag charge 83% fewer bags were used in 2016-17 compared with the year before. That’s 6 billion fewer bags. It just proves how a tiny change in behaviour amongst normal people can make a huge difference. Leave a stash of bags in the boot of the car and you won’t get caught out on impromptu stops for last minute cake and loo roll.
3. MAKE YOUR OWN
Talking of cake, and I mean yummy proper cake and not cheap and nasty cake, much cheaper and better to make your own! Flour, sugar, butter and eggs all come in paper/cardboard packaging, and what tastes yummier than home made cake? Not much! On a similar vein, cooking extra each meal time means you can stash the leftovers in the freezer for easy mid-week ready meals. I’m almost certain that left over spag bol tastes nicer the second time round.
Each pack of salad leaves costs about £1.50, but a pack of salad leaf seeds costs about £1 and can provide you with salad all summer if you stagger the planting. We grew salad in pots on the window sill when we lived in a flat with no garden.
The make your own list goes on and on and on so much that soon you will need a…
Take your own re-usable cup to the following coffee shops and you will save, save, save.
And if you want your free tea or coffee at Waitrose you’ll soon need to bring your own cup.
5. DON’T BUY SOMETHING JUST BECAUSE ‘IT’S CHEAP’
I am so guilty of this one. The week after Easter, I stopped with the kids at the shop. To distract from the rising h-anger of the two-year old (it was almost dinner time) I picked up a wind-up bunny for him to have – wind it up and it hops along a bit like the old school chattering teeth. It was reduced – only a pound. One pound for a wind up chick for my daughter – to make it fair. The plan worked, and the inevitable supermarket melt down was avoided. 5 minutes of pleasure at home with their new toys, and they have since been relegated to the toy box with all the other rubbish, never to be seen again. NOT buying them, would have saved me £2. What they needed, was dinner. Not more plastic tat. Next time, I’ll be that mum who pays for two empty banana skins at the checkout instead!
My point is, if you buy something you weren’t planning to buy ‘because it’s cheap’, you have unwittingly parted with more money than if you paid for nothing at all – and if you didn’t need it in the first place, you probably won’t really miss it either.
Less can definitely be more.
If you like this then please share… if every person can even convince just one more friend to change their habits, we’ll be on our way to a better future.