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Your Food Shop
A report commissioned by Morrison’s in 2017 found that only 23% of the fruit and veg consumed in Britain is actually grown here.
Because of the land used for growing crops sometimes becoming unsuitable thanks to climate change, governments across the world are looking at diversifying where they buy their food from.
TOP TIP: Support British farmers now to allow our agricultural activity to grow and become less dependent on transporting food from different countries, and perhaps also start a fruit and veg patch if you have a garden or access to an allotment (if you don’t, this may give you some ideas).
Your Travel at Home
Currently, if you want to buy an electric car, you can only do so if you live in a larger town or city as the more rural areas of the UK don’t have the charging points necessary to keep it running. While the government give £5000 towards the sale of each new electric car, they are still on average £6000 more expensive to buy than an equivalent petrol or diesel model. However, the annual cost for 10,000 miles is cheaper – between £138 – £483 (depending on your energy tariff) with an electric car, compared to its petrol equivalent of around £958 and diesel of £785.98.
The good news for our environment is that, by 2040, the UK government has committed to banning fuel and gas driven cars which will, in turn, reduce electric car prices which are expected to decrease by 67% by 2030 – so good news for our pockets, too.
Petrol and diesel fuel prices are set to continue to rise in the UK so modifying how you drive can help to save money on fuel – you use 25% more fuel driving at 80mph than 60mph. In addition, as the use of the brake and accelerator pedals use up energy, simple things such as not tailgating or not using the accelerator as you travel downhill can make a difference.
TOP TIP: If you’re easily able to cover the upfront cost of buying an electric car and you live in a town or city, buy one now – you will be doing your bit for the environment and saving a fair bit on your yearly costs, as well. If you live in the countryside or a smaller town or village, and / or you are not easily able to cover the cost of the sale, it could pay to wait for a few years for the sale price to come down and more charging points to become available. As suggested in a report by Bloomberg, in the next seven years the price of electric vehicles may be cheaper than their fossil-fuel counterparts.
Energy bills have been on the rise for the last few years, and look set to keep increasing.
If you are looking to rent a new property, it might be worth going for one where bills are included, particularly if you are on a yearlong contract as then you will pay a set amount per month rather than getting a shock each time the bills increase. If you’re buying a new property, look for one with decent insulation or, if you have the option, solar panels to reduce your energy costs. If you own a property, whether you’re looking to sell or settle, it’s worth looking into what energy saving measures you can take now which will pay off in the future.
TOP TIP: Everyday, small changes you can make include: drying washing outside on a windy day or on a rack by large windows during the day, rather than on radiators indoors; putting down draught excluders by doors to keep more heat in; and investing in a smart meter for more control over your energy use. The Energy Saving Trust also has some great tips for choosing appliances within the home to save money.
Your Choice of Materials
The cost of plastic is likely to rise in the future as it is manufactured using oil, a material that seems to be ever-increasing in price. Cutting down your use of plastic will save you money as well and help the oceans, too. For example, instead of buying endless plastic bottles of shampoo, something like a shampoo bar (you can buy these from Lush, and it comes in a reusable metal tin) is great, and can last you 80-100 washes!
TOP TIP: Plan ahead with your reusables and pack them in your bag! Carry a foldable shopping bag with you and avoid the plastic bag surcharge (if you purchase something three times a week, this could save you at least 15p a week, that’s £7.80 a year). Equally, assuming you buy a plastic bottle of water once a week, a glass or silicone bottle could save you at least £1 a week. A reusable cup for hot drinks is also a good investment, with many coffee shops offering a discount if you bring in your own cup. If you buy one hot drink a day, this could save you at around £14 a month.
With the threat of climate-change growing ever greater every day, it is imperative we make changes to our lifestyles. The most important of which is reducing our carbon footprint. If we all try to buy more locally sourced goods, reduce energy consumption in the home, use alternative energy sources, and reduce our plastic consumption, together we could save our planet.
Nadia works as an actress. She also teaches acting and storytelling to adults at City Academy and is an associate for National Youth Theatre, directing young people and leading inclusivity training.