When the folks over at AllAboutYou.com asked readers for a credit-crunching eco-friendly tip, I wasn't sure whether I should get excited or nervous. After all who would respond.... and with what? Would Great Aunt Sally's suggestion of handwashing her Marks & Spencer bloomers (circa 1950) with a bar of Fairy really make the mark? And what about Uncle Derek's habit of weeing in the compost to save flushing the loo? How embarrassing would that be?
Thankfully folks, you came to the rescue in the nick of time, with some wonderful tips from which to choose. It was a hard decision, which had me pacing around my wheelie bin for a long time. So have a gander and discover which tip was finally selected for AllAboutYou.com.
Mrs Green over at MyZeroWaste.com has been having a blast using her leftovers as ingredients for the next meal. She's saved loads of money and fuel by using things up that she already has in the house and not buying new. Even better, she's been keeping food from landfill, where it would otherwise rot and create methane, a dastardly greenhouse gas that is 23 times as powerful as carbon-dioxide.
John Costigane at HomeZeroWaste has demonstrated how he uses bars instead of bottles for shampoo, foam bath and deodorants, therefore reducing dependency on plastic and aluminium.
Ruby at York Daily photo suggests growing your own veg to save money, saying it doesn't necessarily mean you have to buy lots of paraphernalia to do so. Plastic packaging lids and boxes will do as seed trays, and biodegradable pots can be made from folded newspaper or toilet rolls (She was most impressed with Mrs Green's video demonstration - over at myzerowaste.com).
Fi over at Fuelled by Tea promotes knitting your own shopping bags saying "There are loads of patterns out there, you can make the 'yarn' by cutting up old plastic bags, or old teeshirts if you prefer a cloth option." She tells us knitting is dead easy and she will hear no excuses!
Strawberry Jam Anne shows us how we can look after our silver whether it's cutlery or jewellery, explaining "If you have any silver that has become tarnished use this quick tip. In a bowl put a handful of plain washing soda crystals, a small piece of tin foil, scrunched up and add boiling water. The mixture will fizz a little. You can then dip your tarnished silver items into the mix and they come out lovely and shiny."
Then there's Gill, That British Woman (No - I'm not being rude, that is her blog name) who lives all the way over in Canada and shows us how to make our own laundry products, which not just saves money but is kinder on the environment too and means you can save on packaging by constantly reusing your containers. Check her blog for tips on how to make laundry detergent and fabric softener. AllAboutYou should be impressed with the other news that when she moved to Canada nearly 20 years ago, she took all her old copies of Prima with her and still flicks through them to this very day.
As you can see, with such great suggestions it was a really difficult decision, but the tip that I finally submitted to AllAboutYou is the one that was sent in by Maisie who writes a blog called 2009 Our Year of Greener Living.
I chose it for its simplicity. It not only saves money on shopping, it's also a great way of using up vegetables and is something that we all can do, as it doesn't need a particular skill or indeed any extra time and you don't even have to turn vegetarian. Maisie's tip is to reduce the amount of meat used when making a mince-based recipe and is so simple even I could do it.
"For every lb of mince add 2 handfuls of oats and loads of chopped/grated veggies thereby making lb mince stretch to 2lb easily, saving fuel as well as cooking once, eating twice maybe 3 times."
And as for the environment, just think...that would be fewer cows breaking wind and filling the air with methane. And if you are wondering about the impact that a few cows could have, check out this story from the Telegraph, which reveals the lengths that scientists will go to in researching the problem.
Huge thanks to everyone who sent in their credit-crunching eco-friendly tips. They've certainly kept me on my toes. Please take time to visit everyone's blogs for lots more hints and chatter and keep popping by the AllAboutYou website for some great content and soon you'll be able to see Maisie's suggestion in all its glory. I'll include a link once I've had confirmation that it's been published.
*** 13 February 2009 ****
News just in...Maisie's tip and more are now featured at AllAboutYou. To see the details, pop over to their published article Eco friendly tips to save money.