How To Go Green And Save Money in Spain
One of the main reasons people put forward for not “going green” is the associated cost. We’ve rounded up some of the ways you can help the planet as well as your pocket.
Convert The “3 Rs” into “4 Rs”
As well as “reduce, reuse and recycle”, try adding a new word to the list: “refuse”.
How often do you go out to eat but never eat the bread that’s placed on the table? When you attend an event do you collect free pens, plastic items and more that just ends up in the trash? Start to say no!
Visit Your Local Market
Buying organic at big supermarkets is expensive, but visiting your local market is cheaper and the produce will probably be better quality too.
Food will normally have travelled a shorter distance, helping reduce the carbon footprint. And as a bonus you’ll be supporting small local businesses.
Use A Green Energy Supplier
Electricity all goes through the same network, so you can’t guarantee receiving 100% green energy (unless you’re off-grid). However there are companies that produce 100% green energy, if demand increases so will supply over time.
Take a look at our energy comparison website to see if you can save money and use a green supplier too.
Reduced Electric Consumption At Home
Unplug all unused items, and get everyone in the family involved (yes, you’ll have to put up with their complaining!) Although consumption is low, wasting electricity soon adds up on your annual bills and is a burden on the environment.
Don’t have the air con make your home into a fridge in the summer, or the heating turn it into an oven in the winter. Adjust the temperature a couple of degrees, you’ll still be confortable but you’ll save and use less energy.
Coffee On The Go
Disposable coffee cups are used at multiple coffee shops across Spain, not just at Starbucks. Although the number of cups discarded every day is not at the same levels as other countries such as the UK, it’s still a good idea to consider alternatives.
Buy a KeepCup (or similar), take it when you’re out and about in a city and cut down on waste.
Starbucks stores sell a reusable plastic coffee cup that costs 3€ and they also discount 0.40€ off coffee when you take your own mug. Expect other coffee chain stores to follow as they expand across the country.
Spain is the third country in the world with the highest usage of coffee capsules: around 1.5 million people have between 2 to 3 cups of coffee every day. This means over 2 million capsules going in the trash as only a fifth of users recycle them.
Dolce Gusto capsules for tea, chocolate, milk and coffee with milk (in a single capsule) go in the yellow recycling containers in the street. Nespresso have recycling collection points in stores.
Across Spain many local “punto limpio” (municipal recycling centre) have installed specific containers for coffee capsules, check locally.
Bio capsules are also available; look for Cabú Coffee, Café Etico or Café Novell.
Vouchers For Recycling Clothes
Take along used clothing or textiles to H&M stores (check if your local store participates) and get a voucher for your next purchase.
Also at Intimissimi stores when their campaign is on (normally Mar & Apr) you’ll get a 10€ voucher for every 5 items taken for recycling. Items must be women’s or men’s knitwear, pyjamas or underwear.
Ditch Single-Use Plastic Water Bottles And Straws
Invest in a bottle such as a Chilly’s water cooler and refill at home. Before buying make sure that the seal really works – check the reviews on Amazon.
For straws, take a look at stainless steel reusable straws, some packs come with a cleaning brush. Bamboo straws are another alternative, once they are no longer usable the material is biodegradable.
If you still get items through the post, switch to online statements and bills.
When shopping online opt to receive items in a single delivery even if you have to wait a few more days to cut down on the number of boxes.
Avoid Wasting Food
Every year each household in Spain throws away around 250€ in food waste.
Reduce wastage at home by not overbuying, planning ahead, batch cooking and freezing.
Restaurant chains in Spain will normally have no issues with preparing your leftovers, such as pizza, for you to take home. However in smaller restaurants you may get strange looks if you ask to take leftovers home, it’s just a matter of changing habits.
There are lots of websites and YouTube videos with tips, just search for “leftovers recipes”.