Editor Ani Talwar shares her thoughts on how we can individually save the environment by cutting our energy, water and food consumption, all while saving money on bills.
Ugh, bills. Do I want to check my bank account…nope, I really don’t want to. Saving on bills is a prominent issue, but I don’t want to save on my bills at the expense of the environment! So, here’s a few ways you can do both!
If you’re living in halls, chances are that your bills are all included in the rent and so you’ll be wondering what you can realistically do. Well in university halls you can campaign for greener initiatives like solar power or rainwater collection to be used to provide your heating, electric and water. If you’re in second year onwards, you’ll probably be paying bills separately though, so here’s a few tips.
There are actually a lot of little things that make your lifestyle more efficient bills wise that also help the environment.
When you cook pasta for example, and we all know every university student cooks pasta at some point, boil the water in the kettle before putting it in the pan so you have the cooker on for less time. Make sure you always put the lid on the pan so none of the heat escapes and you cook more efficiently. Not only are you using less power you’re saving your bills too.
Putting your phone on aeroplane mode will charge it so much quicker, meaning you’ll be using less of your electricity with each charge and remembering to always turn the plugs off will help both your bills and the environment too.
Saving on your water bills would be nice, without having to resort to only cold showers once a month. A good idea is putting a bucket in your shower to catch the cold water before it heats up enough for your shower. All that cold water can be used to water your plants or mop your floor.
Washing dishes? Turn the water off when you’re putting the washing up liquid on the dishes and on again when you need to rinse. Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and use a water bottle so you don’t end up with seven glasses to wash at the end of the day.
Not freezing in your sleep is a pretty important part of life but cranking up the radiator to max is also going to crank up the bills. Here it’s a bit harder to avoid hurting the environment, as suggesting buying more winter clothes and fluffy socks has potential to feed into the fast fashion industry, which as of yet also harms the environment too.
However, hope is not lost! Funky hot water bottles are a good way to personalise your accommodation and are also great to keep you warm during winter.
Food bills are a big issue! The biggest way to save both bills and the environment is trying to buy loose veg. At less than a pound per individual vegetable you can tailor your shop to the portion you’re going to eat, thus reducing your food waste whilst also reducing the amount of plastic you’ll use.
Try buying bulk items on sale so you reduce your need to drive out to shops and also take your own bags, so you avoid the plastic bag charge and excess use of plastic too!
About the Author: Ani Talwar is the deputy Wildlife and Environment editor here at Wild Magazine. She can also be found at @Mischief.weavers, she wrote the book ‘ATRO- CITY THE FLOOD’ and cares passionately about sustainability.