Weigh-And-Save Future

Scrolling through social media, my feed is full of people realising just how full of rubbish our planet is becoming. Suddenly the population of Great Britain (and of course the rest of the world) are very much aware of the impact that our modern way of living is having on Earth. I see friends having a go at living a zero-waste lifestyle, celebrities are now preaching to their fans to make a change and social media is full of viral video’s pleading for you to make a conscious effort of how viewers can make a difference.

Image source: http://simplycarbon.com.au/plastic-free-july/

We know that our landfills are filling up at an astonishing rate and our oceans are littered with plastics. Wildlife and sea creatures are dying, pollutants are affecting our ecosystems. The Earths population is rapidly rising, and with more people comes more waste. My biggest gripe is with our British supermarkets. Everything we buy comes from a packet. We decided 2 years ago to attempt to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle. We moved house to gain a bigger garden and grow more of our own food. We decided that if we did purchase from supermarkets that it would be reduced food that lands in our trolly. This was to reduce our spending and reduce food wastage created by the supermarkets.

But, why are we obsessed with wrapping food with plastic? Is it really needed?

I dream of a future where we no longer buy food wrapped in plastic. I would love to see the Great British greengrocer back in town, but reality has shown that these kinds of independent shops just cannot compete with the high street supermarkets. I don’t blame people for shopping all in one place. Life is expensive, fast and stressful in 21st century Britain. Aldi offers good quality vegetables for 29p. Sometimes I cannot even buy reduced vegetables at 29p! I want to see the return of the classic Weigh-And-Save style shops, where we can all buy what we can afford, waste less and say “no” to pesky plastics.

Why shop at a Weigh-And-Save?

Imagine the good-old-days. We have seen in the history books, or museums how our relatives would have popped to the local store in town and chosen food from big jars behind the counter. Their goods were weighed and placed in paper bags. Everything was bought as and when they needed it. The first and second World Wars meant that food was in shortage, materials had to be used for the war effort. They didn’t have the luxury of buying goods because the item was on a BOGOF offer, or chucking their left-overs because they already knew what was for tomorrow’s dinner.

At Milton Keynes Museum the kids discovered the Old Fashioned weigh-and-save sweet shop!
  • You only buy what you need. If you only need 5 spuds for dinner, then you buy 5. You don’t buy a bag of 10, and waste the other 5 because you don’t eat that many potatoes. No need to waste 10 and let them turn to sludge in your cupboard.
  • You only buy what you can afford. Many people in Britain are living in poverty. Some families cannot afford to buy a big box of laundry powder. They may only have £1 to spend on detergents. They could pop to a Weigh-And-Save and buy £1’s worth of powder. It will last them a few washes until they have the money to afford more- instead of going without completely.
  • Any kind of packaging has an environmental impact- even paper and cardboard packaging. Recycling these items also has an impact on our plant and resources. Taking your own bags when shopping for loose items is allowed! You don’t have to use those flimsy little bags for your loose veg.  Buying from a weigh-and-save shop would encourage you to take your own jars and bags to reuse and reuse again!

Would you like to see more Weigh-And-Save style shops on our high street? Let me know in the comments below. I know that if my local town had one I would certainly use it! Check out this list from The Zero Waster to find out where your local zero-waste shop is!

 

4 Ways To Make Your Family Accounting Greener

Anyone with even half an eye on what’s happening with the environment and climate can’t help but realise our attitude to disposable goods is a big part of the problem.

Finding ways to complete mundane tasks in a greener way often makes small improvements that can turn into big ones when enough people also make changes.

Eco-Friendly Cloud Accounting

We do so much with cloud computing without thinking about it that running family accounts in the cloud will be an easy switch for most people. If you have an Internet account, you likely have free cloud storage through your provider, and you can use this for far more than family photos.

Alternatives to the data storage space that comes from your ISP include Dropbox or Google Drive. The advantage of using one of these services is that they stay the same even if your Internet provider changes.

You can:

  • Scan or photograph receipts you want to keep and upload the digital files instead.
  • Use Excel or Google Sheets to keep tabs on daily spending.
  • Start a subscription with online accounting software (Freeagent or Quickbooks are two examples and there are several more) if your accounting needs are more complex than simple income and expenses.

Mobile banking apps and the ability to easily move money between accounts all make staying on top of the family budget easier, without resorting to using more paper or adding to landfill.

Greener Tax Returns

Anyone who runs a business or who has income that doesn’t come from straight employment where all tax and national insurance is dealt with by their employer, needs to file a tax return.

That invariably means lots of paperwork, storage and endless numbers of receipts and invoices. Aside from business accounts, you might also have income that comes from investments, dividends, inheritances or stocks and bonds that you need to inform HMRC about.

If you find you’re faced with a mass of paperwork every time you come to file a return, switch to doing it online. The online submission process is very streamlined and easy these days, and you can even include digital files for some documentation if you need to back up your claims.

For those who do have more complicated accounting, bookkeepers and accountants can save more than they cost in the long run. They can advise you how to set up your accounts so you minimise your physical paper and have a more organised system.

A Green Home Office

Adopting a greener lifestyle not only means generating less waste, it also means finding ways to use fewer resources in the first place. The two go hand in hand.

  • Install solar window coatings. They can help conserve or reduce heat, keeping rooms more comfortable and energy efficient. There are also window films that increase privacy and safety, as well as reducing fading from sunlight, so your furniture and carpets look fresh for longer too.
  • Use energy efficient bulbs in desk and overhead lamps. It’s also a good idea to install motion sensors so lights turn off when they’re no longer needed.
  • Shun filing cabinets in favour of digital document storage.

Going Paperless

If the companies you deal with offer digital versions of documents, take them up on the offer. Examples could include getting your bank statements online, opting for PDF, print on demand versions of car and other insurances, or switching magazine subscriptions to email versions rather than paper ones.

We’re not quite at the stage yet where the office (or home) is completely paperless, but we’re getting there. The more of us who reject paper documents in favour of digital versions, the more the companies we deal with will also reduce their paper usage and that will be good for all of us, and the environment.