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

Containers

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.

5 things you should never put in your compost

5 Things you should never put in your compost

Are you interested in starting a compost pile but are overwhelmed by all the options, or is your compost not performing as you’d hoped? Well, don’t worry, I am here to help.

Compost is amazing for your garden because it is so rich in nutrients and using your own compost can save money and reduce waste. Although it can seem daunting to start with, once you get through all the waffle and jargon, the process is really simple and forgiving – you can check out this article to help you start composting whatever your budget or space.

5 Worst things to compost

1. Tomato Plants and Foliage

Tomato plants are easy to grow which makes them the most widely homegrown vegetable, but they are also one of the most easily diseased. And this disease can easily spread throughout your compost pile. Most home compost piles don’t reach high enough temperatures to kill the pathogens and spores so they’ll be laying wait to transmit to your plants when you use the compost.

What to do with tomato plants

Option 1: Put the effort in and compost them yourself – In order to safely compost potentially diseased plants, it is crucial the pile is hot: between 55°C and 77°C. This takes more work than most are willing to do, but if you are willing, then there are plenty of articles out there to help. This one talks specifically about composting tomato plants.

Option 2: Put them in the council green bin.

2. Fish, meats, fats, and oils

By adding meat, fats, and oils to your compost you are going to attract the unwanted attention of pests and cause your compost pile to smell bad. All while slowing your pile’s decomposition right down! The reason the decomposition grinds to a crawl is that bacteria that do most of the work in a compost pile are aerobic. But, the bacteria that break down animal products are anaerobic.

What to do with meats, fats, and oils

Option 1: Try an indoor approach with a kitchen composter. You can put any food waste in and it works faster than a traditional outdoor compost pile. The Skaza Bokashi are good (I’m in the process of testing them now and will have a review up). They are made from recycled material and create compost tea which can be used as fertiliser and a natural drain unblocker. The solid material left in the bucket is an amazing compost base that is safe to add to your compost.

Option 2: Put them in the council food waste bin.

3. Carnivourus animal and human poo

Just no! Carnivorous animal and human faeces can carry harmful pathogens, parasites and infectious diseases which you don’t want to be spreading around your garden and certainly not getting anywhere near your vegetable patch.

Poo from herbivores, like horse, rabbit, cow, and chicken are safe to add.

What to do with all the poo

I own a dog and the amount of mess to clear up is astonishing. I am currently using bags, as these are the easiest but it is on my list to reduce the waste I am creating. One thing I’m considering is creating a DIY dog poo composter, let me know your ideas and experiences.

4. Plasic-coated paper

Unfortunately, some paper is coated with plastic to make it bright, colourful, and glossy. This plastic coating won’t decompose and may also have toxins that harm your plants.

What to do with plastic-coated paper

First, try reuse, magazines can be passed onto friends or sometimes places with waiting rooms are looking for second-hand magazines and books. Depending on how eagerly you’ve unwrapped your present, wrapping paper can be reused for future presents.

If you can’t reuse then repurpose it; my kids love using the pictures in magazines to create art.

5. Treated ash, sawdust, lawn cuttings

This includes painted wood, stained wood, varnished wood, pressure-treated wood, charcoal briquettes with additives, and lawn cuttings that have had weed, feed or fertiliser. The chemicals and herbicides can stay in the compost and negatively affect your plants’ health.

Bonus – 3 things you might not want to add

These things are completely bad for your compost but are worth considering before adding.

Citrus Peels and Onions

If cut up small they compost fine – all be it slower than other organic materials – but the acidity can slow down decomposition and can upset the worms you hopefully have in your compost pile. So if you want to add them, do it occasionally.

Bread, rice, cakes, donuts, pastas, and dairy products

These will decompose fairly quickly but they will attract pests and make the compost pile smell. You can reduce this by burning them deep down and adding lots of brown material on top of it to “trap” the smell.

Seed cores

Before adding vegetable scraps to the compost pile consider removing the seeds otherwise, you may get vegetables popping up in unexpected places. I learnt this the hard way when some bonus butternut squash appeared in with my tomatoes!

How to compost eggshells

How to compost eggshells

Learn the right way to compost eggshells to get the most out of them that gets you free nutrients for your plants and free pest control

During the pandemic, more people than ever are saving grass cuttings and kitchen scraps for their compost bins and turning them into the “black gold” also known as compost. The benefits are huge, but for the uninitiated, it can seem daunting. The truth is it doesn’t have to be difficult and just following this basic “recipe” for compost gets you great results:

  • 1-2 parts Greens – wet/fresh ingredients such as fruit & vegetable scraps, fresh grass, coffee grounds, tea leaves (don’t use tea bags unless you know they don’t have plastic in them).
  • 3 parts Browns – dry ingredients such as shredded newspaper, dried leaves, dried grass, cardboard, or straw.

This mix is very flexible, you really can’t go wrong just keep it in mind as you’re adding things to your compost. I keep a box of dry ingredients next to the compost so I can add a couple of hand fulls whenever I chuck in the wet stuff.

What’s the best way to compost eggshells?

Eggshells go into my top 5 best things to compost, they are a great source of calcium and can be sprinkled directly on the soil for slug and snail control.

Eggshells however will take years to break down if you just throw them on the compost without a little bit of prep. These are the steps I follow:

  1. Give the eggshells a little wash – this isn’t critical but leaving them unwashed can attract unwelcome vermin and when washed they are easier to break up.
  2. Put the eggshells in an oven try and bake for 10 mins. – I just throw them in the oven when I’m baking something else so I’m not wasting energy.
  3. Once the eggshells have cooled then blitz them into a fine powder in a blender or mortar and pestle – if using for pest control aim for small sharp pieces instead of a fine powder.
  4. Add to the compost heap or or directly to the soil. – eggshells are particularly good for tomato plants with blossom end rot.

You can break the eggshells up without baking them first but the baking step makes it easier. When broken up the eggshells will be absorbed almost immediately rather than taking years to break down.

Other composting tips for beginners

  • Mix the different materials, for example don’t chuck a huge bag of grass cuttings in one go.
  • Don’t put meat, fish, or dairy into the compost head, this will help you avoid attracting rats. Another tip is to turn the heap regularly, it provides air to the compost to stop it smelling and will detter rats.
  • If you don’t have a garden try a wormery instead. This is a stacking system of trays that you can buy ready made or have a go at making your own worm composter.
  • I forget to actually use the compost so try locating the bin near your growing area.
  • You need some moisture in the compost which shouldn’t be a problem as most green materials have loads of moisture but if you find your compost is getting a little dry then try soaking your cardboard/paper before you add it.
  • Lastly don’t fret, you’re compost is very forgiving. If you don’t get the ratios quite right you’ll still end up with compost, it just might take a little longer.

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.

Reduce

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.

Reuse

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:

Recycle

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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