There are lots of ways we can all live more sustainable, eco friendly lives. Not only is it good for the planet but some of these changes save you money as well. Solar panels and insulation are great examples of this, they cost more upfront but have huge savings down the line. But even the smallest, everyday changes will add up to making a big difference.
Here are 6 Cheap and Cheerful Eco hacks
Energy efficient light bulbs
LEDs are the most energy efficient bulbs out there. Not only are they much cheaper to run than fluorescent lighting they can also last for up to fifty times longer.
Installing a Smart Meter
Smart meters will help you keep an eye on your energy which helps you see if you’re wasting any. Inefficient heating schedules are often a key culprit in energy wastage. You shouldn’t have to pay upfront for a smart meter and they can be quickly installed.
Eco Friendly Refills
All around Bristol there are refill shops and you can refill almost everything!
Washing up liquid
Laundry powder, detergent, and conditioner
Shampoo and conditioner
Body wash soap or bars
Deodorant in recyclable and refillable containers
Food! Mostly dry food like pasta and rice.
Eco friendly toothbrushes
Sponges for washing up and many more.
Refill shops help you to use less plastic. The average person throws away nearly 50 kilograms of single-use-plastic every year. By making a conscious effort to use refillable products you can help reduce your contribution.
To be clear, buying refill products is often more expensive than supermarket shopping but the quality in most places is much higher. You’re also supporting a small business that really cares about the environment and they can offer a more personalised experience.
Compost food waste
You can turn most food and kitchen waste into compost. You can get little bins at your local home or DIY stores. Just scrape in most leftovers and over time it will turn into compost.
To create compost, get a bin with a lid, add some soil and add in your compostable ingredients. Such as grass clippings, tree leaves, Black and white newspaper, Printer paper, Cardboard, and Vegetable food scraps (coffee grounds, lettuce, potato peels, banana peels, avocado skins, etc). Leave it in your compost bin and turn it occasionally. The more often you turn it the quicker it will mature.
Compost is a natural recycling system. It enables nutrients and organic matter from plants and food to return to the soil. You don't need a garden to deposit your compost. It can be used on front lawns, trees, bushes, flowers, and even houseplants. Or give it to a neighbour or friend who does garden and wouldn’t find a bin of your waste weird!
Food waste in Bristol is processed in Avonmouth. The food is broken down to produce methane gas which is then burnt to produce electricity and gas. So, while it is being “recycled” it is producing a greenhouse gas. However, waste that is decomposed by composting does not.
Drying your clothes naturally will help you save money. Pull down airers are a great way to dry your clothes and not take up loads of space!
You can also buy eco-friendly electric airers.
According to Ideal Home the average drying cycle costs £1.07 to run and the yearly average cost is £127.20. Whereas an electric airer if it was needed for 8 hours it would cost 48p, and over a year based on using it daily, it would cost an estimated £25.
Both calculations were done late 2021/ early 2022 before any price increases so please do not take this as prices to live by.
Not just your rubbish but also your furniture. 22 million pieces of furniture are discarded each year in the UK and the majority of this is sent to landfill. That means in the UK nearly 50% of the reusable furniture is sent to landfill.
If you are looking to replace your furniture there are plenty of places you can take your old stuff that isn’t the dump! Old sofas, tables, chairs, and bed frames can all be taken to charity shops, freecycle, or put them on sites such as Facebook Marketplace and see if you can sell them for a few pennies.
4 Money Saving Eco Investments
A well insulated home holds more heat more efficiently, saving you money on your bills. You can insulate your walls and roof. Spray Foam insulation is the most cost effective. Spray Foam Insulation will cost £20 to £50/m², depending on thickness. There is also rigid roam, Wool Type Loft insulation, Aluminium foil backed insulation, and many more.
The average semi-detached house loses around 35% of total heat through walls. Even just properly insulating your walls can save up to 15 % on heating costs.
Another area that helps to keep a home insulated is by upgrading windows and doors. Double glazing windows are no longer the bog standard White UPVC; they come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and materials.
Double glazed windows are highly efficient, they reduce your heat loss by 30% compared to single glazed windows and can save the average home around £110-140 a year.
Update the heating system and service it regularly
Newer boilers are a lot more energy and heat efficient but they still need to be regularly serviced. If you aren’t in a position to update to a new combi boiler or prefer the older systems, keeping yours well maintained can still work.
There are a lot of different types of boilers available and they are dependent on the fuel source. Here are some estimated annual running costs for different heating systems using the UK’s gathered averages:
There are many other types of heating systems so it is just finding the one best for you.
Solar panels are not only a great environment friendly investment but they also reduce your energy bills. . You can get solar panels for both water and electricity.
Whilst there are no grants for solar panels, the government instead offers a scheme called the Feed-In Tariff. This pays you money for 20 years after your solar panels have been installed.
This means any of your unused energy goes back into the grid and the government pays you for it. You would earn 4p per kWh for what you generate and 5.38p per kWh for the excess energy you give back to the grid. This can save the average home roughly £270 on electricity bills annually.