Earth Day: From food to energy bills – eco-friendly changes that can ‘save you money’

Earth Day: From food to energy bills – eco-friendly changes that can ‘save you money’


Earth Day: Scientists share their favourite things about the planet

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Around the world, millions of people are making changes to try and live in a more environmentally or eco-friendly way – and for good reason. According to Duncan Williamson an environmental scientist, making some easy changes at home could have “multiple benefits” for the wider world. He told “All of these changes will have multiple benefits. We are in the midst of both a climate and biodiversity crisis, and globally we are heading towards a water crisis.”

He went on: “Anything we do to use less and make more eco-friendly decisions helps tackle these multiple crises. The longer we delay, the higher the cost to each of us and the worse the impacts.”

Though there are certainly larger changes people can make, Mr Williamson explained that being “planet-friendly” doesn’t have to cost you.

In fact, some changes could also have a positive impact on your purse.

Mr Williamson added: “In a nutshell by buying less, reusing and recycling more, we are helping the planet and saving money.

“Our children and grandchildren are going to experience the impacts of these crises and anything we do now helps their future.”

How can you reduce your carbon footprint at home?

Waste less food

According to Mr Williamson, paying attention to how much food you buy can be an “easy win”.

He told “Most people still throw away around a third of the food they buy.

“If you buy less and throw less food away, you are ultimately saving money. Food is one of our biggest personal impacts on the planet, especially meat, and buying, using and wasting less makes sense.”

Instead, he recommends taking a look at your plate and thinking about the ingredients that have gone into a dish.

Not only can healthier ingredients do good for your body and the planet, but they can also see your pounds go further.

Mr Williamson explained: “Make sure to include more vegetables in your basket and buy whole foods like lentils – they are good for your health, planet and bulk out dishes.

“Brands like Merchant Gourmet have a diverse and tasty range of easy to cook lentils, which are available nationwide in supermarkets.

“Consider buying wonk fruit and vegetables, they are always more affordable and just as tasty.”

He also recommends popping a couple of bags of frozen vegetables into the freezer – these can come in especially handy on days when you haven’t got time to do a fresh food shop.

Mr Williamson continued: “Frozen vegetables are a fantastic, low cost, no waste and highly nutritious option, with little or no preparation needed.”

However, one of the “best things” to buy are beans and lentils, according to the expert.

He said: “In many countries, these are the cornerstone of dishes, from India to Italy. They can be eaten on their own or added to a pasta dish, stew or curry.”

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Rethink your wardrobe

In a world of low-cost, fast fashion, it can be easy to hop from one trend to the next and discard your old clothes with little thought.

However, research from the Climate Council shows that the global fashion industry is a “large contributor to the climate crisis”.

The Climate Council explains: “The industry belches out 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent per year, more emissions than the shipping and aviation industries combined.”

A 2021 report from the World Economic Forum identified fashion, and its supply chain, as the planet’s third-largest polluter after food and construction, releasing 5 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Mr Williamson said: “Avoid the temptation to replace them and keep using what you already own, mix and match more.”

If there are items that you truly feel you have no use left for, reconsider how else these garments could be used.

Mr Williamson recommends donating clothes you no longer wear that may still have some life left in them.

He said: “Instead of gathering dust they will be used by others either as clothes or the material can be recycled.”

Turn down the thermostat

In the midst of a climate crisis, many Britons are already making efforts to use less energy and ultimately bring down their energy bills.

But this can also have a significant impact on the environment too.

Even something as little as turning down your heading by one degree can have huge benefits.

Mr Williamson explained: “Turn down the thermostat by a couple of degrees and don’t leave the heating on all day. You will hardly notice it, I have mine at 18 degrees and only turn it on in the morning and evening.

“The current energy crisis is here to stay and costs in the immediate future will not go down. Both these tips will save you money, one degree change can save you £100.”

The expert also points to “zombie devices”, which not only cost money but also cost the environment.

Mr Williamson pointed out that many people unwittingly leave electrical products on standby or charging devices plugged in.

He explained: “When you do this, power is still being used.”

The same goes for leaving the light on when you aren’t in a room.

He said: “Many people leave lights on when they are not in a room or turn them on during the day when there is plenty of daylight. Turn lights off when not in a room and think about whether you really need to switch them on.”

Reconsider your car journeys

Though a vehicle is necessary for many journeys, being more thoughtful about jumping in the car is a small step towards reducing your personal carbon footprint.

Mr Williamson said: “If you can walk more, avoid the temptation to jump in a car for a journey less than a mile.

“It takes 15 minutes to walk and it’s also a great form of exercise and gets you out and about.

“It saves you money on fuel and reduces your footprint.”

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