From stopping junk mail, to bringing your own bag to the shops, there are plenty of ways to be greener without breaking the bank.
As concerns of climate change continue to grow, countries will soon come together for the COP26 summit to address plans to tackle the climate crisis.
The event, which is organised by the United Nations, is due to take place in Glasgow a year later than planned — between November 1 and November 12, 2021.
If you want to know what action you can take now, we’ve rounded up 40 ways to be more green with the help of Energy Helpline.
Energy Helpline has just released a new report which predicts how homes will become greener and smarter by 2050 - the year Boris Johnson is aiming to reach net zero emissions.
Tashema Jackson, consumer champion at Energy Helpline said: “As part of the Home of 2050 Report, our energy experts explored how over the next thirty years new technologies will help our homes become smarter and greener.
“But you don’t have to wait for the future as there are many small changes you can make today around the home to be more mindful of the environment.”
1. Draught proof your home
Turning your heating on not only increases your energy bills, but it also impacts on the planet too.
You can help both situations by making sure your home lets in as little cold air as possible - thereby reducing the need to turn up your thermostat.
Feel for draught at the foot of your door and cover any gaps with a cushion, rolled up towel or draught excluder.
2. Turn down your thermostat
Turning your thermostat down by just one degree can save you between £60 to £80 a year on your heating, according to the Energy Saving Trust.
It is also estimated you'll save the planet around 300kg of CO2.
3. Wash your clothes on a cooler temperature
Each time you pop your clothes in the wash, ask yourself if they need an hour-long cycle at 40C or if a quick spin at 30C will suffice.
Hot water heating accounts for about 90% of the energy your machine uses to wash clothes.
4. Use Ecoballs in your wash
Try switching out washing detergent for Ecoballs.
These are plastic balls that contain minerals and plant-based cleaning agents that you place in your machine as you would with normal detergent.
One Ecoball from Ecozone costs £14.36 and lasts 1,000 washes.
5. Only use the dishwasher when you’ve got a full load
Only put your dishwasher on when it’s full to the brim and, where possible, wash the odd item up by hand.
Don’t leave the hot tap on while washing up as heating the water uses a lot of energy.
6. Line dry your clothes
If you've got a garden or some sort of outdoor space - and the weather permits - then you should line dry your clothes if you can.
Hanging your washing out uses zero electricity, unlike energy-zapping tumble dryers.
7. Cut your water usage
7. There are plenty of ways to reduce your water usage - and they won't even really make any difference to your day-to-day life.
For example, make sure all your taps are turned off when you're not using them - or when brushing your teeth.
You could also save water by doing all your washing up in one go, and cutting your shower time.
8. Get free water saving gadgets
Many households across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can bag a range of free insulation and water-saving gadgets from Save Water Save Money.
The type of devices that are available varies by water company and where you live.
But freebies you could be given include shower heads, shower timers and tap inserts that help regulate water flow.
7. Only fill the kettle with what you need
Image:Getty Images/Image Source)
Sticking the kettle on just for one cuppa? Make sure you only fill up with what you need to save on electricity.
Alternatively, invest in an energy-saving kettle that comes with a low minimum-fill line, and switch off after boiling.
Descaling your kettle regularly could also help, as the more filled with limescale your device is, the more energy you'll use boiling water.
8. Keep Netflix binges to a minimum
Video streaming is the biggest consumer of energy when it comes to internet usage, according to Energy Helpline.
Try to keep your binge-watching marathons to a minimum and if you want to catch up all in one night, watching in a lower resolution will help reduce energy usage.
9. Unplug your electronics
Even leaving a gadget on standby can waste electricity - so always turn it off if you're not using it.
For example, when you're finished watching TV you should switch it off by the wall, or make sure you take your phone off charge once your battery is full.
10. Keep your laptops and mobile for longer
It can be tempting to upgrade your laptop and mobile when a new model comes out - but old devices can then end up in the landfill.
This means harmful pollutants risk leaking into the soil, water resources and even into the air.
If you do really want to upgrade, try selling your device on to avoid it going into the landfill or sitting in your drawer.
11. Use reusable face masks
Face masks are something we've all become used to during the pandemic.
While they aren't required by law now, many people still wear them out of person choice.
You can be kinder to the environment by investing in a reusable face mask instead of using throw away ones that are only designed to be worn once.
12. Bring your own bag
All shops now have to charge 10p for a plastic bag, regardless of their size or how many employees they have.
It was previously only larger stores that had to do this.
While it can be easy to forget, being organised and keeping reusable bags in the car to carry your shopping can save you cash in the long run.
13. Bring your own cup
Some cafe chains will give you money off if you bring in your own cup for them to fill - so you'll save money, as well as stopping unnecessary packaging waste.
Starbucks offers a discount of 25p to customers who take their own cups, the same as Costa, or it's 50p if you shop at Pret a Manger.
14. Stop throwing food away
If you're guilty of throwing away food, you could be wasting cash as well as not being as environmentally friendly as you could.
For starters, make sure you know the difference between "use by" and "best before" - the former is all about food safety, while the latter is just when the food has reached its optimum quality.
Finally, if you've got a mish mash of food that you don't know what to do with in the fridge, try looking for a new recipe to avoid throwing stuff out.
15. Use food waste apps
Too Good To Go and Olio are just some of the most popular food-waste apps - and they're free to sign up to.
Too Good To Go connects hungry Brits with food chains and supermarkets - such as Costa and Greggs - with leftover food that would otherwise be thrown away.
You don't get to choose what food you get, and boxes cost around £3 on average.
Olio, meanwhile, is a community platform that lets you see if your neighbours are giving away food for free.
Supermarkets like Tesco have also teamed up with Olio to help get food into hands of people in need.
16. Buy loose fruit and veg
Cut your plastic waste by purchasing loose fruit and vegetables from the supermarkets.
Depending on how much you need, it can also be cheaper to buy loose produce.
Some supermarkets, including Asda and Morrisons, have also ditched plastic bags for fruit and veg in stores.
17. Grow your own food
If you're lucky enough to have an allotment, or some other kind of outdoor space, you could even try growing your own food.
Many vegetables will also grow in containers on the patio or balcony.
The Royal Horticultural Society has a calendar showing what types of food grows best each month.
18. Bring your own lunch
If you're back in the office, save on your plastic waste by bringing your own lunch in, ideally in a reusable container.
This will save you money on having to buy a supermarket sandwich, and then having to dispose of the packaging.
19. Use reusable containers instead of cling film
To save on throwing away cling film, you could try using plastic boxes or other reusable containers to store your food.
If you're not ready to ditch cling film, more environmentally friendly alternatives that use beeswax and soy wax wraps are also available.
Made from cotton, these can be reused for up to one year.
20. Get a smart meter
Smart meters help track energy use around your home, with the readings sent directly to energy suppliers.
This means you'll be getting a much more accurate bill, but experts say they have environmental benefits as well.
Because you're seeing your energy usage in real-time, it is hoped consumers will be more conscious of how efficient they're being.
Energy suppliers are also able to clearly see what demand for electricity is needed in their area, thereby reducing energy waste.
21. Drive less, walk more
If you can ditch your car, or just use it less, you'll reduce your carbon footprint.
In fact, swapping the car even just one day a week can make a significant difference, according to a recent study by the University of Oxford.
Think of all the money you'll save on petrol and general vehicle upkeep as well.
22. Get on your bike
If your destination isn't in walking distance, you could invest in a bike instead.
Bikes obviously don't add to carbon emissions and will benefit your health as well.
23. Carshare with colleagues
Not keen on riding a bike, and going in the same direction as someone else?
Chat to your work colleagues and see if you can arrange a carshare.
The same goes for if you're going on a trip with friends - don't take two cars when you could all fit into one.
24. Holiday at home
Now, this has been something that has become more normal ever since the pandemic.
But even when restrictions do ease, try swapping a break abroad with one in the UK to save on flying.
25. Buy second-hand clothes
Check out your local charity shop or car boot sale to find pre-loved clothes.
Not only will this help save you money on buying things brand new, but you'll prevent clothes from ending up in the landfill.
The Mirror recently bagged clothes that would've been worth £400 brand new for just £60 in our local British Heart Foundation.
26. Don’t throw away unwanted goods
Similarly, give back to your local charity shop by donating any unwanted clothes or other household goods that could be passed on to someone else.
This will also prevent landfills getting even more filled up.
27. Recycle and reuse
Households are encouraged to keep on top of their recycling - but you should also be aware of the items you can reuse that can save you cash.
For example, keep old water bottles so you can reuse them, or make use of takeaway containers instead of chucking them.
28. Use rechargeable batteries
Rechargeable batteries are better for the environment as they don't need to be thrown away like typical single-use ones.
You'll also save money on having to buy new packs of batteries.
29. Use energy-saving bulbs
You could reduce your carbon dioxide emissions by up to 40kg a year if you replace all the bulbs in your home with LED lights according to Energy Saving Trust.
Its experts estimate you can save £2 to £3 per year for every traditional halogen bulb you switch to a similarly bright LED bulb.
If the average UK household replaced all of their bulbs with LEDs, it would cost about £100 and save about £40 a year on bills.
30. Switch to reusable nappies
Reusable nappies are much better for the environment - and sometimes cheaper than disposables.
Some councils even give them away for free, so get in contact with your local authority to see what help they can offer.
31. Try reusable sanitary products
From menstrual cups, to reusable sanitary pads, there are plenty of ways to swap out traditional period products.
In theory, you could save hundreds of pounds by doing this, as you won't need to buy throwaway pads or tampons.
32. Go paperless with your bills
Many bill providers now charge you to receive a paper bill in a move to encourage you to get your statements online.
If you're happy to get your bill via email, you'll stop unnecessary paper waste and save yourself some money in the process.
33. Use washable rags instead of paper towels
Paper towels just end up being binned, so save on waster by using washable rags instead.
34. Stop junk mail being delivered to your door
There are a few ways you can stop junk mail - thereby reducing your paper waste.
The first is to put a "no junk mail" sign on your door to help stop junk mail.
You can also contact Royal Mail and ask it to stop delivering leaflets and brochures to your address.
You need to download this form from the royal mail website to do this.
Other organisations to contact include the Direct Marketing Association and the Mailing Preference Service.
35. Use your library
Instead of buying a new book, make use of your local library to lower your paper waste.
You can also borrow DVDs and CDs, meaning you can save on subscriptions to online film and music services.
36. Eat less meat
If you can't cut out meat altogether, consider having one or two meat-free days each week to help yourself go green.
The United Nations says farming animals needs to be one of the "major policy focuses when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution".
This is due to reasons such as cutting down forests to create space for animals, and high emissions of greenhouse gases.
37. Switch to renewable electricity
You could consider switching to an energy provider that uses electricity which is generated by natural, renewable sources such as the wind and the sun.
Green energy suppliers include the likes of Green Star Energy, Ecotricity, Green Energy, Bulb and Octopus.
But always check if these will cost you more than your current supplier by comparing prices first.
38. Get eco-friendly broadband
Examples of more eco-friendly broadband providers include Green ISP and GreenNet.
Always look into your provider to see whether their energy is truly green or is offset by other means.
Again, make the choice that is right for you and check you won't be paying over the odds for a greener service.Read More Read More