10 Easy Tips for Being More Eco-Friendly
The world is finally waking up to realising just how serious global warming is getting and now that we’ve started to learn about how we are now entering the sixth mass extinction. So now we’ve all got to take some responsibility and do our bit to make a difference.
Zero and minimal waste living may have become a bit of a fashion (which is totally a good thing!) but sometimes new trends bring about social pressures and people can feel intimidated and overwhelmed when it comes to incorporating these changes into their day-to-day lives. I know that it’s hard to change old habits, (especially when we live in such an environmentally unfriendly world!) so let’s all remember to be kind to ourselves and that it’s better for a great number of people to make some consistent positive changes and live ‘imperfectly’ than for a few people to live ‘perfectly’.
What even is ‘perfect’ anyway and why do we pressurise ourselves to achieve it? We all produce waste and everything we do has some kind of carbon footprint, so living ‘zero waste’ is technically impossible. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t get too caught up on the details and just get stuck in!
After a while it gradually it becomes a butterfly affect: positive practices become good habits and when those habits start to come naturally, you’ll already have discovered something new that will inspire you to do more. That’s the best thing you’ll realise – your own actions will empower you to keep growing, learning and evolving! When I started on my eco journey, I would never have imagined that I’d be as…let’s call it, ‘thorough’ (rather than neurotic haha) as I am now. But here I am, very comfortably living a (practically) zero waste lifestyle and happy to share my tips with you!
1. PLASTIC IS NOT FANTASTIC SO REFUSE, REUSE, RECYCLE
You’ve probably heard of this one before! There are so many non-plastic alternatives out there now, just try to make conscious choices – say no to the extra plastic bag, relax and drink your coffee instead of getting a takeaway plastic cup, opt for a canned drink (which you can recycle) instead of buying the plastic bottle and don’t forget to try and support your local businesses that are investing extra in biodegradable packaging to help us all in protecting our planet…little things all add up! Or even better, always be prepared – carry a zero waste kit with you! Pack your container, refillable water bottle, cutlery and reusable material shopping bags so that you don’t get caught out having to buy any single use plastic or even other materials. Another great tip to get creative with fun upcycle projects (especially if you have kids) so start building a crafts box with your waste and see what you can come up with!
2. SECOND HAND IS NOT SECOND BEST
Anything we produce has a carbon footprint so buying something that already exists is always the best option. And coming back to London has reminded me just how much I love second hand stuff – especially clothes! One person’s rubbish really is another person’s treasure. Car boot sales, second hand markets and online platforms like Facebook Marketplace and Shpock are also great to find things you might be looking for. Another great way to avoid buying new is to organise a get together with a bunch of your friends, share some good food and host a fun clothes swap! This helps you stop hauling (yes, we are ALL so guilty!) and get rid of all the unnecessary items you don’t need. The great news is that by doing this you make room for some amazing second hand things! It’s also great to support charity shops so drop off any unwanted extras in there and whilst you’re there, you might find something you love as well!
3. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL COMMUNITY
Scope out your closest greengrocers, zero waste shops and farmers’ markets to get the freshest, most local, minimum waste ingredients. You’ll find that these people appreciate their regulars and you’ll most likely end up as friends. Zero waste shops are great for bulk buying too and you can take your own containers to stock up on dried goods such as rice, beans, pasta, nuts, seeds and herbs which all have a long shelf life. Remember, the less distance your food has to travel from where it was harvested to arriving at your plate, the lower the carbon footprint! It’s also great to make the most of the best seasonal produce which helps keep your cooking inspo fresh all year round.
4. GO PLANT BASED!
Animal agriculture accounts for 14.5% of all global greenhouse gases! Other than not having children, the best thing you can do as an individual for the planet is to switch to a plant based diet. This may have seemed like a daunting task a while ago but now there are so many incredible and accessible options out there as well as lots of info and recipes which are good for your health, the animals and the planet. Be sure to check out my vegan recipes page for lots of yummy dishes!
5. SAVE YOUR SCRAPS
If you’re not already doing it, start separating your organic waste from your inorganic waste. Some local councils will already ask you to do this but you can save your organic waste to form a nutrient rich garden compost which you can use for gardening and it has an added bonus because it’s so beneficial for local wildlife. If you’re not sure how to make a compost heap, here’s a useful how to guide.
6. COOK FROM SCRATCH
Hummus, guacamole, salsa, peanut butter and other dips are all popular staple items in a lot of people’s fridges these days. Try making your own at home and refill your old jars with them – it tastes way better, is fun to make and saves on the packaging, too!
7. TRAVEL IN…SO MANY STYLES!
Fly and drive less and walk, cycle, take the bus or train wherever possible. People are starting to realise the personal economic benefits as well as the positive environmental impact of sharing cars. Transport and Environment.org shows in their comprehensive overview on the topic that some studies have revealed for every 1 shared car, between 7 and 11 cars are taken off city roads. Companies like Zipcar and Car2Go offer this service in some countries throughout Europe.
8. DON’T WASTE WATER!
Opt for a shower instead of a bath, remember to turn the tap off when you’re brushing your teeth or are shampooing your hair, fill the sink or a bucket to do the dishes instead of using running water, recycle your bath water to water your grass and plants (not fruits and veggies), use a tap regulator to slow the speed of water flow and cooking with the lid on your pans to avoid evaporation are all little tricks to help save water loss. Did you know if we all had a one minute shorter shower throughout the year in the UK, we would save £215 million off our collective annual energy bills! That’s crazy!
9. ELECTRIC CHECK
Switch off your lights when you’re not using them and your appliances off from Standby Mode. By turning off your appliances properly and switching off the mains or unplugging them altogether, your household could save around £80 per year. I’m not sure what that equates to in terms of being able to give you a figure of energy consumption but it is something and it saves you money! It’s also worth knowing that LED lightbulbs are up to 90% more energy efficient than regular lightbulbs and last around 40 times longer! Last little electric tip would be to maintain your appliances. Keeping your electricals clean and well looked after means they don’t have to work as hard to function which pays off in the long run.
10. MAKE GOOD PRODUCT SWAPS
I’m gonna give you 3 great starters here…
1) Switch to a recycled/bamboo toilet roll subscription. I use Who Gives A Crap which is amazing because not only is their toilet roll 100% recycled and plastic free, but 50% of their profits goes directly towards building toilets and improving sanitation for impoverished communities! AND they love sh*t jokes – who doesn’t love a pun?!
2) Switch to a bamboo toothbrush. We’re known to change toothbrushes every three or four months, so you’re saving the oceans of roughly four plastic sticks per year!
3) Use eco-friendly health and beauty products including things like soap, moisturisers, shampoo and conditioner, make up, serums etc. By doing this you’ll be helping save the planet (and yourself) from being polluted with lots of chemicals – many of which can be harmful. The production of these chemicals also has a carbon footprint which causes further pollution. You can find a great selection of vegan, zero waste toiletries at local zero waste shop, Greener Habits (don’t worry – they deliver!).
So there you go! 10 easy top tips to help make your day to day more eco friendly! If you have anymore questions, feel free to get in touch!
Peace, love and environmental vibes x