As we start to do more, return to workplaces, socialise, meet in groups, it’s important to remember how much nature sustained us in lockdown. Celebrate this and do your bit to preserve our planet for those to come. How can you improve your sustainability and reduce our waste output? Some of these actions can also save us money.
Ask yourself how our great-grandparents lived and shopped? Past generations would shop locally. Could you walk or cycle to support local shops, with your own bags and containers to use less plastic.
Can you support local small business by using and recommending neighbourhood services? How many people have reported being surprised how lovely holidays at home have been? Consider limiting your flying, train or boat travel where possible.
Can something tired be repaired? I’ve often worn a favourite item until it fell to bits. It’s much easier now to find an expert to copy or repair items. Do you have a ‘one in, one out’ rule? Sleep on it before buying anything in your online shopping basket; you may change your mind the next day! Can you hire special occasion or sports items? In lockdown I tried not to buy new items but had to replace worn out underwear, jeans and trainers.
We’ll be in good company; apparently Angelina Jolie wears her clothes until they fall apart too! Avoid cheap fashion and buy items like a coat, shoes and boots that are high quality and will last. Try using this criteria before purchasing: does it go with at least three other items, is it washable, does it fit (and flatter) you now? Remember charity shops are also online and clothes swops can be fun.
Take The Jump is a great resource with lots of suggestions and motivation such as keeping your phone rather than upgrading and eating everything you buy. Eat less meat and more plant based alternatives. Plan, check dates and freeze or give away. Consider Olio, an easy way to give what you bought but won’t use before it expires.
By 2030 we won’t be able to buy new petrol and disease cars. Car sharing and better public transport will be needed. Meanwhile we have been walking more: yes it takes longer but listen to a podcast and watch the step counter rise. Pack a litter picker, gloves and bag and clear up your environment too.
Use what you have; a normal rucksack is fine as a baby changing bag; cut sheets down for cot bedding – you don’t need these items for long. When children are small most of us have vast quantities of “stuff” so lending it out gives you space and helps others. Parties can be environmentally terrible; source recyclable or bamboo plates and cutlery rather than plastic. For more ideas read The Sustainable(-ish) Living Guide byJen Gale. Rent toys for kids, use reusable nappies, avoid food in packets and pouches and use alternative wipes (not just for babies)!
De-clutter on a regular basis to see what you have and use neighbourhood or local social media sites to give away, sell or ask for items. It’s much easier to tidy up when cupboards aren’t overflowing…
The top four nasty plastics are bags, bottles, lidded takeaway cups and straws. Alternatives are available for all of these. When you food shop can you buy lettuce without bags (if possible)? What about bread in paper instead? Could you find alternatives to your usual loo roll, crisps, or chocolate in sustainable packaging? Fill your own containers. Visit the deli counter, bakery or make and grow your own. Switch to shampoo and conditioner bars, which are now much more widely available. Participate in Plastic-Free July!
Phew… Well done you!