18th February 2022 All Posts Sustainability in the Early Years

7 ways to become a more economical childcare setting

With the continuing rise in the cost of electricity and the ongoing push for sustainability in our world it’s so essential to find effective ways to reduce your bills and unnecessary pollution. Today we will be sharing 7 top tips on how to become a more economical childcare setting.

  1. Be smart about food wastage

One of the most persistent issues we face in the modern world is food being wasted. Particularly when dealing with children, it can be easy for food to go to waste if a child refuses to eat it or there are absences at your setting.

  • Store food correctly for maximum freshness

When purchasing fresh ingredients for the fridge, have some airtight containers at the ready to store items so they will last twice as long as normal. There are plenty of ways you can waste less food, and all of these will have a positive effect on your nursery setting as well as on the environment.

  • Batch cook meals 

We recommend choosing 1-2 days each week where you will spend an hour or two batch cooking meals for the next few days. As well as being more convenient for you, it will also save you energy because you won’t be constantly turning kitchen appliances on and off.

  • Plan your shopping list

Planning your weekly shopping list for a nursery setting can be stressful, however, we have a helpful way to structure your shopping list to avoid any wastage. 

First of all, plan the meals you want to cook based on the number of children you have in each day. This includes lunches, snacks, and drinks. Consider creating meals and snacks from pantry ingredients such as flour, butter, rice, pasta, and tinned goods wherever you can. Once you have these written down, you can begin to break down how much of every ingredient you need on your list. Remember not to overbuy because you’ll end up wasting food. When coming up with recipes try to consider ones that use similar ingredients such as an Italian themed week which could include things like this: 

  • Spaghetti bolognese 
  • Bean and tomato gnocchi bake 
  • Cauliflower base pizzas 
  • Roasted vegetable and beef penne 

If we take the above example – you can formulate meals that all include a tomato sauce, which can be made with a few simple ingredients – and you will also find similar herbs and spices in multiple dishes. Planning your shopping list as a nursery practitioner will make all the difference, and you can start to write down and save weekly meal plans for future use. 

  • Consider food delivery options

You could also consider ordering meals that are freshly prepared and delivered to your nursery door. Using food delivery services like The Professional Nursery Kitchen could relieve you from planning and pre-portioning all of your ingredients and lower your carbon footprint, your food wastage and your kitchen team costs. 

  1. Find ways to reduce your settings energy usage

With energy bills soaring in the past few years, keeping an eye on your energy efficiency is worth shuffling up the to-do list by a space or two. Reducing the amount of energy your business uses can create some significant savings, freeing up money to invest in other areas of your business.

Of course, reducing your energy consumption plays a large role in improving the sustainability of your business too. By using less energy or switching to more efficient and renewable energy sources to power businesses, we can reduce the demand for fossil fuels and create a healthier environment for everyone on the planet.

Get started by choosing energy-efficient practices from this article to reduce your nursery business energy costs. 

  1. Use less paper 

Running a nursery setting involves a lot of paperwork. From your daily registers to invoices from parents and accident reports… all of this adds up. As we move toward a more sustainable future, you can save the environment as well as your pockets by ditching the paper entirely. Handling some of your administrative tasks digitally will make your life easier and it will cut the cost of paper and printing products from your budget.

  1. Reuse everyday items 

Many of the items you use every day can be reused as something else later on. It is always important not to throw an item away before you assess its repurposing. Items such as yoghurt pots, bottles, and jars can be washed and used for anything from water play to mud kitchen. Even kitchen rolls and toilet rolls can be useful for children to paint on. Try your best to avoid buying disposable items where possible, and upcycle things you already have in your setting. You’d be surprised how much you can get out of a simple item. 

  1. Buy in bulk 

When looking after a large number of children each day, you will go through a lot of resources such as pens, paper, and paints. Because of this, one of the best ways to save yourself some money is to buy frequently used items in bulk. Wholesalers will often charge a lower market price for items if you buy a lot of them, and although a larger immediate spend, it will save your nursery setting money over time. 

  1. Teach children to conserve water 

One valuable lesson to teach children from a young age is how to conserve water and why it is important. Explaining to children the importance of water conservation can be a great learning experience, and you can show them how to do this practically every day. Something as simple as turning off the tap all the way after visiting the bathroom will save you a lot of money on your water bills and it will be better for the environment. 

  1. Repurpose old paper

 If you have a lot of old newspapers, magazines, and other paper lying around your nursery setting – don’t throw it away. Old paper can be repurposed in several ways for child’s play, and we have two easy ideas for you here:

Paper Mache

What you’ll need: 

1 mug flour 

1 mug warm water 

Old newspaper/ paper torn into squares 



Mix your flour and water to form a thick paste. Blow up a balloon. Dip newspaper into your paper mache glue and stick it to the balloon, keep going until the whole surface is covered, leaving only the plug at the bottom of the balloon exposed. Leave to dry. Once dry, pop the balloon with a needle and pull it out. Allow children to paint the balloon and add fun patterns. 

Collage making 

Take some old paper of different colours, and cut them up into random squares and triangles. Allow children to glue paper onto a blank piece of card, creating fun patterns and colours. You could even print out a template on the card beforehand and allow children to try and fit their paper into the lines to make a design. 

There are plenty of useful ways that you can be more frugal at nursery, and we hope that these tips and advice will help you to save money and make a more economical nursery setting in 2022 and beyond.

Check out our 8 tips to reduce energy costs in your nursery.

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Imogen is our Content and Social Media creative