6 Best Ways to Make Money by Going Green

6 Best Ways to Make Money by Going Green

There are loads of ways you can save by reducing, reusing, and recycling. Virtually ever time you do one of these, you are saving. In this guide we list the 6 best ways to be more environmentally friendly and make money or get freebies. Save the pounds and the planet in one go, win win.

1. Up to 50p off hot drinks with reusable cups

This one is close to my heart which is why I’ve put it first. The cheaky drink from a cafe or coffee shop is one of those pleasures we all indulge in from time to time and for many, it is how they start their work day. The cost soon adds up, as do those disposable cups, so what would you say if I told you, you can get money off that next hot drink if you take your own cup? Many stores will accept any brand cup as long as it has a lid and fits in a coffee machine. If you don’t already own a reusable cup, the cheapest way is to buy a £1 cup at starbucks but my favourite travel mug is the Kambukka Etna as it keeps my coffee nice and hot (or my ice coffee cold) and the lid “locks” shut so I don’t have any accidental spillages.

Pret a Manger has the best offer at the moment with 50p off, but you can get 30p off at Starbucks, 25p off and Costa and many smaller indepents are doing deals. You can use the free Refil app to find places offering discounts and rewards for bringing your own cup.

2. Sell Your Unwanted Goods

I won’t talk about selling your old phone, everyone knows you can do that, right? But did you know can sell pretty much anything, even things you might class as rubbish, like old jam jars or corks. As long as someone can find a use for them then they will buy them. The easiest way to find out if you can sell something is by checking what’s been sold recently on classified add sites.

Finding a new home for your cast-offs is not only environmentally friendly but can make you some serious cash and give you a nice warm feeling. I replaced an old wooden floor and managed to sell it for £582, it was nice to have the cash to help pay for the new floor but it was also great to pass it onto the new people knowing that it would continue to be used.

There are many sites out there, and you might need to look around to find the best one for selling your particular item. The ones I’ve used that cover most items are Gumtree and eBay.

3. Get Vouchers from Shops for Recycling

Shops are seeing the trend to be more green and they are getting in on the act. This works for them as there is money to be saved in reducing their waste but it also promotes shopper loyalty and keeps us going back to them. It is worth looking around for deals as there are several retailers offering freebies and discounts, here are the top selection we have found. Let us know in the comments if you find others.

Clothes and textiles


Plastic Bottles

This is a bit niche but if you live in the right areas you can make use of this. Iceland, Sainsbury’s, and Lidl are running trials in some of their stores where they will give you a 5-10p voucher for every plastic bottle you return. This isn’t being run in all their stores so check out the links to see if you are lucky enough to be able to make use of this.

Plastic carrier bags

We can’t all be like this lady and create clothes out of carrier bags so for us mere mortals our best option to make money from carrier bags is sell them back to the shops.

  • Ocado: 10p for its own bags
  • Morrisons: 10p for its own bags

4. Refill your water bottle for free

Water should be free, right? So why is it in this list? Although we have easy access to water in the UK we still use 36 million plastic bottles every day! The Refill scheme is trying to change this. Their Refil app lists over 30,000 location where you can fill up your own bottle or flask, even if you’re not a customer. I’ve always got my Camelbak Eddy+ in my backpack but there are plenty of other water bottles out there that will suit your needs. Just avoid buying disposable plasic bottles.

5. Get free food and fight food waste

Household food waste is bad but compercial food waste is so much worse and it is one of the biggest sources of emissions. The great news is that you can help reduce this and get free food at the same time. The OLIO app started off as a way to share food they don’t need and now has deals with the likes of Costa, Tesco, and Pret a Manger to collect their surplus. Everything on this app is free and it is super easy to use.

Another app to mention is To Good To Go, the “magic bags” of surplus food available through this app are sold at a hugely discounted price. There are loads of restaurants and shops to choose from so you’ll probably find some of your favourites in the list.

With both these apps, things tend to go fast so keep an eye on your favourites.

6. Furnish your house with free stuff

Giveaway sites are a great way to save cash and pickup some free things. You’d be suprised what you can find with the listings covering a wide selection of things. Freecycle and Freegle are the big names amd they are free-to-join. Much like the free food apps, it is your responsibilty to keep an eye out for new freebies and they go quick.

Types of Plastic: Know Your Waste To Be A Pro-Recycler

Types of Plastic: Know Your Waste To Be A Pro-Recycler

Undeniably, plastic has changed the world, and in many ways, it has done enormous good for us: revolutionising healthcare, saving lives with helmets, incubators and equipment for clean water; but the conveniences of plastic have led to a throw-away culture.

I thought if I follow the 3 Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle when dealing with plastics, I’ll not be contributing to the 8 million tons of plastic waste that escapes into the oceans each year. Turns out recycling is not the magic bullet many make it out to be. Many of the plastics that are “recycled” still end up in the landfill. One of the biggest reasons for this is recycling contamination, where non-recyclable and incompatible types of materials get mixed in together.

But fear not, knowing the types of plastic and their uses will enable you to take back control and reduce your recycling contamination.

Know your types of plastic

Types of plastic: PETE,HDPE,PVC,LDPE,PP,PS,Other

While there are many types of plastic that can be recycled, few have easy ways of accessing those recycling services. Here is a summary of what you can expect for each plastic type:

  1. Polyethylene terephthalate (PETE or PET): Recyclable by council roadside pickups. One of the most widely used plastics in the world, used for fizzy drinks, water bottles, salad trays, and more.
  2. High-density polyethylene (HDPE): Recyclable by council roadside pickups. Typically used for milk bottles, bleach, detergents and some shampoo bottles.
  3. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC): Can be recycled but is rarely recycled. This so called “poison plastic” is bad for our health and difficult to recycle. Typical uses are: carpet backing, pipes, window frames, and toys.
  4. Low density polyethylene (LDPE): Recyclable usually through supermarkets bin liners, packaging film, squeezable bottles and carrier bags.
  5. Polypropylene (PP): Recyclable but not widely done. Before recycling, this is one that should be checked that it is actually accepted. It is widely used but not widely recycled! Typical uses are: food packaging eg margarine tubs, microwaveable meal trays, yogurt pots.
  6. Polystyrene (PS): Not recyclable. Typical uses are: packaging for food and electronic goods and toys.
  7. Other: Not yet recyclable but can be repurposed to park benches.

What can you do with this information?

It might feel daunting and possibly better not to recycle at all, rather than ruin someone else’s efforts. But do not be disheartened, now you are armed with this extra knowledge you can become a master recycler.

Remember that the roadside council pickups are probably looking for plastic with numbers 1 or 2; and plastic number 4 is probably recycled at your local supermarket. For the rest seek out specialised recycling services. As well as helping you recycle better, knowing the symbols for plastic will enable you to avoid the types that can’t be recycled.

Keep looking for the little ways to reduce and reuse your plastics before recycling; everything helps and small steps are easier to maintain than massive changes.

A novel way to recycle plastic carrier bags

A novel way to recycle plastic carrier bags

Do you have 170 plastic bags and about 6 months spare? Then this could be the project for you!

Kailey Schmitt is a designer and seamstress who during the COVID-19 pandemic struggled to get fabric so decided to go green and reuse something she already had a lot of. Namely plastic carrier bags, Target shopping bags to be precise because she wanted a mostly white dress with red accents. Or for the more cynical out there she probably formed a partnership with them. Either way, it is a great thing to do to reduce plastic waste. This video shows her process with the highs and lows:

Although I applaud the idea the final dress isn’t to my taste, it’s like many things you see on a catwalk; great for a photoshoot but impractical for everyday use.

For those with less time, fewer plastic bags, or just don’t want a dress made of plastic, you could try one of these ideas.

  • Plastic Bag Jumprope – take 10 plastic bags, 7 steps and you end up with a fun way to get fit and play with the kids.
  • Pom Pom Light – “rubbish” never looked so good.
  • Recycled Plasitc Totes – This one will take a little longer but if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to crochet any size bag from plastic bags then this is the blog for you.

I’m going to start working on my crochet skills now and let you know how I get on.

How to reduce your plastic waste

How to reduce your plastic waste

Plastic is everywhere, it has devastating effects on our earth and gets into our food through the fish we eat. Cut back your waste with these tips.

Plastic is a wonder material but its strength is also what makes it so disastrous for our world. Plastics are everywhere, and yes, they have done enormous good for us, they have revolutionised healthcare with life-saving devices, save lives with helmets, incubators and equipment for clean water, and even made space travel possible; but the conveniences of plastic have led to a throw-away culture. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. To help visualise the size of this, it is equivalent to five rubbish bags full of garbage placed on every foot of coastline around the world. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!

So anyway, plastic is bad. Many – and not just the hard-nosed environmentalists – are worried about the effects of plastic pollution; thankfully this is causing the supermarkets and governments to start taking the issue more seriously.

How can you make a difference?

Plastic is a big problem, bigger than the individual so don’t panic, it’s not all on you but you can do your bit for the environment. If everyone practised the three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, and – failing that – Recycle; we would see a drastic drop in plastic pollution.


Surely we should avoid all plastic, why is this only Reduce? Because in reality unless you drastically change the way you live it is not possible to completely avoid all plastic (companies sneak plastic into all sorts of places you wouldn’t expect), however, it is possible to cut back from where you are right now and keep making those progressive steps.

I took one of these steps when I joined the Plastic Free July challenge. The main plastic in my life that I focused on removing was pre-packed bread. In a family with two kids, we get through a lot of bread and all of it came in plastic bags, and yes there are lots of ways to reuse the bags but was determined to remove them entirely.

My plan of attack was to kindle my inner Paul Hollywood and start making as much of my own bread as possible, I even joined the sourdough craze and created my own sourdough starter (it’s called Tod). As well as your standard loaf, sourdough makes amazing pizzas especially when cooked in your own DIY brick pizza oven, and sourdough pancakes are a real hit with the kids. When life invariably got in the way of my baking prowess, I’d use the local baker and take along my own container.

I’ve managed to keep it up beyond July and continued to look for more things to reduce, here are some of the other things I’ve done to reduce the single-use plastic in my life:

  • Grown my own fruit and vegetables
  • Shopped at zero-waste shops where I could – these aren’t everywhere yet but more are popping more and with supermarkets taking the problem more seriously I hope they will do more loose food and provide plastic-free options.
  • Started buying loose leaf tea – I didn’t realise that many teabags contain plastic
  • Started using silicone stretch lids and DIY Beeswax Wraps instead of cling film

I’d love to hear your ideas for reducing plastic in your life.


This is an easy one, just reuse everything as much as possible. By getting a little creative you can find a use for almost anything:


Don’t get me wrong, recycling is better than just dumping the plastic but this should be the last resort. It takes energy to turn it into something else and depending on what is being made will require virgin plastic to improve the quality of the final product.

Here are some ideas to help with recycling:

  • Look for producst with recyclable packaging, unfortunately it is not possible to recycle all packaging.
  • If you think an item has used excess packaging, complain about it via the shop you bought it in and manufacturers. Consumers have some much power now with the use of twitter and other social media.
  • Check on the website of your local waste company to be sure you are recycling everything you can.
  • Recycle soft plastic such as carrier bags and bread bags – many supermarkets have recycling facilities like this.

What else do you do to reduce, reuse, and recycle your plastic waste? Leave a comment below.

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