Recent research by supplier of OSRAM lighting, LEDVANCE, found that millions of pounds are being wasted by UK households simply because we’re buying the wrong shape, size or fit lightbulbs. But what else are we Brits wasting?
I’ve teamed up with LEDVANCE to bring you our top ten expert life hacks to prevent all kinds of waste. Whether you want to save money, energy, time, space, or the environment, there’s something here for everyone. For more information, please visit the OSRAM UK & Ireland facebook page.
We want to hear your best waste prevention tips too.
1) Food waste
The average UK household creates £470-worth of avoidable food waste per year, according to waste and recycling advisory body, Wrap. Cut your bills by planning a weekly menu and creating a shopping list so that you don’t over buy, measure out the correct portion sizes when you’re cooking, and get creative using up leftovers. Freeze perishable items such as bread after purchase so they don’t go mouldy, and move foods that need to be used up first to the front of the shelves in your fridge.
2) Small change
Tiny, regular purchases can add up to a large drain on your finances over the course of a year, and you might be surprised at how much some people fritter away every day. Try keeping a spending diary for a week or two to see where it’s all going, and you might see magazines, cigarettes, breakfasts-on-the-go, bets, coffees, or chocolate bars. Look out for in-app purchases too, or small items from Amazon or eBay. Find places to cut back, such as having breakfast at home, making a flask of coffee, or buying multi-packs of snacks.
3) Household finances
Regular bills, such as mortgage payments, insurance and credit cards, are making up an increasing proportion of the average household’s outgoings as rates continue to rise and borrowing increases. Check the market for new deals every few months, factoring in any balance transfer fees, penalties and arrangement fees if you decide it’s time to switch. It’s usually cheapest to pay insurance annually rather than monthly, and never accept the first renewal offer your current company sends.
According to the Money Advice Service, around four in ten of us have monthly, quarterly or annual subscriptions for services and products that we never use. That could be gym memberships, magazines, music streaming, credit reports, or delivery services. What a waste! Check bank and credit card statements to see whether there’s anything you could cancel, checking the small print to avoid penalty fees.
5) General shopping
You don’t have to become a minimalist, but planning and prioritising your shopping can save you a small fortune. Try keeping two separate lists: one of things you need, and one of things you want. Order each of your lists according to importance, and focus mainly on your budget and getting a good deal on what you need. Shop around, be patient, and use tools such as comparison sites or CamelCamelCamel to monitor for price drops, sales and offers. Check for discount codes before completing a purchase.
6) Time in the working day
One of the most efficient ways to save time in the office is to have fewer meetings, especially if issues can be dealt with more productively via email or project organising tools such as Trello. Improve your productivity by answering emails in batches twice a day or so if your job allows, sorting through in a more focused and efficient way, instead of being ‘always on’. Social media is another time suck, so try to get out of the habit of endless browsing and save it for your commute.
UK households use over £11 billion per year on electricity to power lighting and appliances. Saving energy in the home can really help to reduce this, both for the good of your pockets and for the environment. For example, if you’re already saving water, the chances are you’re saving energy too because you’re heating less of it. There are other practical ways to take control of energy consumption too. Switch off devices such as routers, computers and mobiles at night, as these use electricity even on standby, which will reduce the average annual energy bill by £30. It’s also worth checking the energy efficiency of home electrical devices, especially before buying new ones, by checking energy labels on appliances and their packaging. For more information visit the Energy Saving Trust.
Even as a nation of hoarders it may still come as a surprise that UK households waste £192 million per year on buying lightbulbs that don’t fit, are the wrong shape or are too bright / too dim. Seen as a confusing purchase by many, this leaves the average household with six extra lightbulbs they don’t need. “Always do your research before you buy a lightbulb so you guarantee you will buy the one you need,” says Peter Alexander, National Account Manager from OSRAM. He adds “Don’t get confused by wattage, instead concentrate on the lumens figure – the more lumens the brighter the light.”
The top ways to waste fuel are to speed, over accelerate and brake sharply. However, there are other things to consider. For example, could you share a lift with someone else going to the same location? Time your journey carefully too if you can, as when you travel can also impact fuel consumption, especially if you end up stuck in traffic. Even things like keeping the tyres pumped up and removing roof boxes or toolboxes from the car boot can make a difference, as well as turning off the air-con and electrics, unless they’re needed.
10) Space in your home
Clutter slows you down and gets in your way, and according to eBay the average British home contains over £1000-worth of unwanted, unused items. Why not have a streamline and declutter this weekend? Sell your surplus property – including those six extra lightbulbs – to recoup some cash and free up any wasted space. One person’s trash is another one’s treasure, after all.
So those are ten quick ways to avoid waste, make savings, and boost your budget (and your life). Which one’s your favourite?
Do you have any other clever ways to reduce waste? Let us know!
Full disclosure: Post created in association with OSRAM.