We know that living a sustainable lifestyle is hard. Plastic is in or on almost everything you buy from the supermarkets; electric cars are prohibitively expensive and clothing sourced from sustainable retailers is often priced like a luxury.
There are some small tricks you can use in your everyday life which won’t break the bank or be a massive inconvenience.
1) Walk, Cycle and Take Public Transport as much as you can
Using your car is essential, but we can also admit that sometimes we choose to drive when taking the bus would’ve been just as easy. If you’re heading just a short distance from your home, why not add in a walk or cycle to your day – not only is it better for the planet it’s also better for you.
2) Plan ahead when food shopping
Food waste is a huge problem, and rotting food causes a huge amount of greenhouse gas emissions. In the UK, households waste around 4.5bn tonnes of food every year. The best way to avoid doing this yourself is to plan ahead and buy your fresh ingredients per recipe. This way you can avoid wasting those expensive vegetables, reducing the amount you chuck out.
3) Compost when things do go off
We’re all human, and sometimes even the best-laid meal plans go to pot. When your carrots go flaccid and your potatoes start sprouting roots, don’t throw them in the general waste bin. Either start a compost bin for your garden (if you have one!) or check with the local authority about getting a food waste bin. This isn’t possible everywhere, but it’s worth having a look.
4) Buy local
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and do your bit for the local economy, is to buy local. Farmers markets, grocers and even supermarkets now will be able to tell you where their produce has come from. Food isn’t the only thing you can buy local, you can also try to buy from British manufacturers for clothing, homeware and more.
5) Eat less meat
We aren’t suggesting you become a hard-line vegan, but switching out a few of your meals for plant-based and veggie ones is a great way to cut down your impact on the earth. Perhaps instead of having that chicken curry on Wednesday, you could have a chickpea one. Or if the idea of pulses repulses you, you could try a meat replacement – supermarkets are all doing their own versions of these now at very reasonable prices.
6) Buy second-hand
There are so many ways to buy second-hand items nowadays, vintage markets, Depop, charity shops, boot sales, Facebook Market Place, eBay and plenty more. It’s a great way to find cheap, unique items that don’t break the bank. Upcycling is also on the rise, it’s a fun weekend hobby and a great way of using pre-loved stuff. There are plenty of videos online showing you how you can do this – who needs expensive, wasteful new furniture and clothing when you can do it yourself!
7) Choose the paperless option
Gone are the days where you need to have a paper copy of all your bills, tickets and bank statements. You can now do pretty much everything online through your smartphone or computer. Not only does it cut down on paper usage, but it also cuts down on transport – those letters don’t make their way to you via carrier pigeon. Usually, there is a box you can tick on your apps to go paperless; it is different for every company though so you may need to look at the FAQs.
We aren’t suggesting you make these changes all at once, but by attempting to do more of these things as and when you feel ready to you’ll be doing your bit to help make the world a bit more sustainable.
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