Cutting back on meat
I mentioned in a previous blog post that I intend to eat a lot less meat this year. This makes financial sense and brings certain health benefits, but my main reason for doing it is that meat production is really bad for the environment. I found this on Wikipedia:
The 2006 report Livestock’s Long Shadow, released by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, states that “the livestock sector is a major stressor on many ecosystems and on the planet as a whole. Globally it is one of the largest sources of greenhouse gases and one of the leading causal factors in the loss of biodiversity, while in developed and emerging countries it is perhaps the leading source of water pollution.”
Being green saves money
Thinking about this has made me reconsider how many other activities that save money are also greener, and vice versa. These are some that we already do:
Growing ourown fruit and veg, mainly organically (I have given into the odd slug pellet in a rage at having my efforts decimated by the little blighters)
Making ourown compost
Turning off lights and electrical appliances when not in use
Wearing an extra jumper rather than turning on the heating
Insulating the house
Driving carefully – boy/girl racers use more fuel and wear their vehicles out more quickly
Not buying bottled water – when this happens (very occasionally), we reuse the bottles for months before recycling
Not wasting food, including leftovers. Food production doesn’t just cost money – think of the transportation, packaging, water and chemicals used during production, etc.
Buying second hand – clothes, furniture, tools. Whatever we can find – this saves so much money and these items should be reused.
It is rare for us to buy new electrical appliances, but when we do we make sure they are triple A rated for energy and water use. This saves money in the long run.
Collecting water in water butts for the garden. We are not on a meter yet but as our household reduces in size I think it may save money and make us think about the water we use.
Reusing envelopes and wrapping paper
Reusing old bread bags to pack sandwiches
Using cereal boxes and scrap paper from work to write shopping lists on
Repairing rather than replacing clothes and household items
I am so far from perfect when it comes to living an eco-friendly lifestyle though. I would love to only buy organic but unfortunately my budget doesn’t allow for this. I do it when I can. I would also like to only buy fruit and veg in season and try to do this when I can but sometimes will go for a bargain whatever. I try to buy food with fewer food miles, but my restricted budget means that most of the time I shop in Aldi and their produce is often imported.
This year I will be changing my car and going for a much smaller one that is more economical and greener to run as it will use a lot less fuel. In an ideal world I would walk/cycle/use public transport to get to work, but in the real one I live too far to walk and cycle and would have to get two buses, which would add hours to my working day. I want an eco-friendly lifestyle but still have time to enjoy it.
We also want to look again at whether we can get solar panels on the roof without it costing us anything. There are various schemes about that allow you to pay for the panels with the money you make from selling your excess power back to the grid but we want to research the best deal. There are some charlatans out there!!
I expect a lot of you do all this and more. What are your eco-friendly tips that also save money?