How To Go Green And Save Money: 10 Top Tips
Helping the planet and going green in Spain doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve rounded up 10 top environmentally friendly tips that will also help your wallet.
#1 Convert the “3 Rs” into “4 Rs”
As well as “reduce, reuse and recycle”, try adding a new word to the list: “refuse”.
Examples: At Spanish restaurants it’s usual for bread to be placed directly on the table; but it you won’t eat it, just say no. When out and about don’t accept free pens or plastic items that will only end up in the trash.
Remember: most of us have too much stuff already!
#2 Buy at your local market
Buying organic at big supermarkets is often expensive. Visit your local market: it’s cheaper and the produce will probably be better quality.
Shopping locally at a food market often helps reduce the carbon footprint too. And as a bonus you’ll be supporting small local businesses.
#3 Don’t waste 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.
Buy your own beeswax bags or sheets for foodstuffs to wrap leftovers rather than using plastic wrap. Beeswax sheets can be cleaned and reused, so you’ll also save money.
At restaurants ask if you can take your leftovers, most will happily oblige.
#4 Use a green energy supplier
Electricity all goes through the same network, meaning you can’t guarantee receiving 100% green energy (unless you’re off-grid). However there are companies that produce 100% green energy, and 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.
#5 Reduce electric consumption at home
Unplug all unused items, and get everyone in the family involved. Although consumption of electronics left on standby is low, wasted electricity soon adds up on your annual bills.
Adjust the temperature of the heating or air con a couple of degrees, you’ll still be confortable but you’ll save money and use less energy.
#6 Coffee on the go
You can take your own reusable coffee cup to use at many coffee chains across Spain, not just at Starbucks, and you may get a discount too.
Buy a KeepCup (or similar), take it when you’re out and about and cut down on disposable cup waste.
#7 Coffee capsules
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 go in the trash as only 20% recycle.
Dolce Gusto capsules for tea, chocolate, milk and coffee with milk (in a single capsule) can go in the yellow recycling containers. Nespresso offer recycling collection points in stores.
Visit your local “punto limpio” (municipal recycling centre), many have specific containers for coffee capsules.
Some niche brands sell bio coffee capsules (the capsule itself is biodegradable). If demand increases, big brands may follow.
#8 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.
Intimissimi stores hold an annual recycling campaign, normally in 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.
#9 Ditch single-use plastic water bottles and straws
Stop buying single-use bottles of water and invest in a reusable bottle such as a Chilly’s water cooler and refill at home. Before buying any water bottle read the reviews to make sure that the seal really works.
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.
#10 Go paperless
If you still get your credit card statement or other correspondence by post, switch to online statements and bills. Many retail stores also offer to send your receipt by email rather than printing it.
When shopping online opt to receive items in a single delivery, even if you have to wait a few more days, to cut down both on the number of boxes used and the number of delivery van journeys.