10 ways you can be better off this spring

10 ways you can be better off this spring

Our partners at Start share their 10 steps to a green and successful spring season

startSpring is in the air! Days are growing longer, and people are once again thinking about spending time in the great outdoors. So, what better time of year for the team behind Start, the UK sustainability charity, to encourage everyone to be better off by living more sustainably? Here are Start’s 10 tips to help you get started this spring:

1. It’s all the rage this season

Seasonal fruits and vegetables can often be cheaper than year-round supermarket varieties. Take a look at our guide to seasonal food as well as this voyage of seasonal discovery.

2. Honey, I recycled the kids!

If you are stuck for ideas to entertain the kids during their Easter and spring breaks, consider making things from items you might usually throw away. You can find lots of free ideas at startimagining.co.uk.

For example, make a ‘pop-up planter’ using empty juice cartons, a watering can from old milk bottles, or even a home for ‘space bunnies’ from leftover Easter egg packaging.

3. Veg Out

Find a use for your new pop-up planters and watering cans by growing your own fruits and vegetables. Imagine the satisfaction of eating home-grown lettuce. Even those without a garden can use windowsills and balconies to begin growing for themselves. The Royal Horticultural Society is full of ideas on how to get started. And getting children inspired early with help from the Secret Seed Society could plant healthy eating habits for life.

4. Pig out

Feed your neighbours with your newly grown produce by getting together to organise a Big Lunch. This year, the annual community initiative takes place on Sunday 2 June. Even if the weather’s bad, it can be held in someone’s home, garden or garage.

5. Everybody needs good neighbours

Another neighbourly initiative to consider joining is streetclub.co.uk. This online forum can help you swap news and recipes, share household items and even put calls out to the community if your cat or dog goes missing. It’s a great way to help build stronger, more connected neighbourhoods.

6. Sharing is caring

The Big Lunch this year coincides with Global Sharing Day, organised by the people behind compareandshare.com, a national website encouraging people to share car travel.

Sharing is increasingly being seen as a way we can all continue to enjoy products and services without generating so much waste. Why buy an item you may only use a couple of times, like a power drill, when a neighbour might have one you can borrow? To get started sharing your own items, visit ecomodo.com.

7. On yer bike

After the success of London 2012, the “Wiggo’ factor is still strong. Why not take a lead from our hero and get cycling this year?

Spring is the perfect time to start cycling to work or between meetings. You’ll arrive feeling more awake and alert and you will have saved money too. If that’s not an option, consider car sharing.

8. Park life

Have a family bike trip to your local park, or if cycling is not for you, just go on foot. Public parks can be havens of peace and tranquillity, as well as the odd low flying Frisbee. Find your local green spaces at green-space.org.uk or nationalparks.gov.uk.

9. Easy Breezy

Say goodbye to the tumble dryer this spring and start hanging the washing on the line or a clothes horse. Tumble dryers use huge amounts of energy and are not cheap to run. The smell of fresh air on your clothes and sheets is also a plus.

You could also start washing at 30 degrees centigrade or less. An amazing 80 per cent of the energy used by washing machines does nothing but heat the water.

10. Spring clean your home, and your life

It’s amazing how much junk we all accumulate. Spring is a great time to declutter and find new homes for your unwanted items.

Sell them on ebay, make a charity shop donation or give them away via gumtree or freecycle. You could even set up your own freegle site.

And remember Marks & Spencer will breathe new life into any Shwopped clothes. They will make new clothes from them or sell them through Oxfam. But nothing goes to landfill. Check out the journey made by this Shwopped coat.

More ways of saving

For more ways of saving money by adopting more sustainable ways of living, visit startuk.org.

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