I recently wrote a blog post for my wonderful sister Katia (who unfortunuately moved from the UK when I moved there) about something I'm very passionate about - sustinability. I'm sharing that post here as well for you to read or you can head over to the post HERE to read it. Katia and her partner in crime Barry recently moved to South America and you can read all about their travels as well as how to live purposefully HERE. Here are 10 small actions towards a more sustainable life:
1. Love food; hate waste
Did you know that in the UK alone we throw away 7 million tonnes of food and drinks from our homes every year? It doesn’t have to be like that, so why do we do it? The two main reasons are that we either buy or make too much or we simply don’t use it in time. It’s not rocket science how we can solve the problems but my number one solution for all of them is the freezer. Freeze everything. Made or bought too much food? Freeze it. Noticing that the best before date is approaching? FREEZE IT. I’m serious. If you’re feeling generous you could also give away the food you won’t be using, someone will definitely use it. Small changes can make a huge difference, and everyone can play their part.
Tip: write down the best before dates on a note and stick it to your fridge!
2. Bulk purchases
I just started doing this recently (I’ve been in the dark for too long) and it is the best. Buy storage food in bulk bags to: 1) reduce plastic, 2) reduce transport needed, 3) save time and 4) save money! Personally I buy big bags of oatmeal, chia seeds and nuts from Amazon which lasts me for several months.
3. Meatless Mondays!
Meatless Mondays was a campaign originating in the United States where (as you might have guessed) you seclude animals from your meals to improve personal health and the health of the planet. Animal agriculture is a major contributing to global warming, one of the biggest problems the world is facing today. Most of us are used to eating animals and transitioning to a plant based diet can be overwhelming for some, so secluding meat for one day is a good and rather easy start.
No one is really too lazy to recycle, it’s just a matter of whether or not you care. Why should you care? Perhaps to save resources and reduce landfill waste - in other words, it is good for the environment. UK’s recycling rate for waste from households was 44.3% in 2015, a number that easily could be improved. Coming from Sweden I have to say that recycling is far easier in the UK as they have ’mixed recycling’ where someone else sorts it for you! That being said there is no excuse not to recycle.
5. Reusable stuff
There is no need to buy plastic bags when you go grocery shopping or buy take away mugs with a plastic lid and a plastic straw and here’s why: you save money bringing your own reusable bag and mug, Starbucks deducts 25p and you won’t have to pay for a plastic bag at the store. Also it gives an use to that old tote bag in the back of your wardrobe that someone gave to you during a festival.
If you have Pinterest you're pretty much good to go to start your new career as a ’DIYer’. You can make everything from shampoo to toothpaste to laundry detergents etc. The possibilities are more or less endless. Just keep in mind how and where you get the ingredients used for the project!
7. No returns!
This is far from obvious and you might never have thought about it but returning online purchases is a huge waste. In the U.S. it generated 5 billion pounds (!) of landfill waste per year. Rather than ordering online you could (if possible) check it out in a store to be 100% sure before you order anything.
This applies not only to clothes but also furniture, cars, bikes etc. But clothes is one of the biggest issues considering how much we produce, purchase and discard. The average American discards 68 pounds of clothes every year, most of which ends up at landfills, even though an estimate of 99% of materials in clothing are recyclable. Second-hand purchases does not create waste, environmental damage or demand.
9. Give away your stuff
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you’re not sure who to give it to you can always donate items to charities such as the Red Cross or Oxfam. But if you decide to give it to someone you know - make sure that the person will use it rather than just accepting it to be polite.
10. Farmers market/package free shops
Farmers markets are perfect from a sustainability perspective - it’s local (minimum transport) and almost always plastic free! For the days when there aren’t any farmers markets going on you could always try to find a package free shop, just google it to see if there are any nearby where you live. The products are usually more expensive than at a regular grocery store but let’s face it - money is worthless if our planet dies.