There are lots of different ways each of us can do something towards the future of the planet. Some things will fit better into some people’s lifestyles and other things just won’t. Some will be impractical or impossible for your life right now. The key is just do what you can with what you have. It took me a while to realise it’s not about trying to do it all, just about taking small steps where we can. The daily choices we make can seem insignificant, but when taken collectively, the effect multiplies by billions and the impact on the planet can be huge.
Reducing the number of flights and meat-based meals are the two most effective changes that can be made on an individual level. The next most effective way is making changes to reduce the amount of plastic you throw away. There are loads of ways to do this that are simple and easy to incorporate into your day-to-day. Here are a few suggestions:
Reusable drinks bottles
2.5 billion cups are thrown away every year in the UK, with less than 1 percent recycled. For hot drinks, a reusable coffee cup or flask is ideal. For water, reusing and refilling a water bottle not only saves you buying plastic bottles all the time, but also helps you to drink more water. I use a BPA-free water bottle. Keep it on your desk or take it around with you and taking frequent sips becomes a habit.
This applies less right now, but if working from the office then instead of popping out to grab a salad or microwaveable dish, take your lunch into work. You could use Tupperware or a food flask for hot soups or dahls. This way, you get to decide exactly what goes into your lunch, it’s much healthier and it stops you buying something packed in single-use plastic.
If there is a zero-waste shop in your area, this is a brilliant way to stock up on grains, nuts, legumes and other dry goods (the range of foods stocked is honestly amazing in some places). You just take a container or refillable jar along with you, avoiding buying products packaged in plastic every time. It works out cheaper in the long-run and having a pantry organsied with jars for different foods makes life a lot easier. Plus you feel super organised as well as environmentally-friendly!
Cooking in batches
This way, you have time to get all of your ingredients and prep your lunch or dinner in advance. If you have food ready to go, you won’t end up buying food in a plastic wrapper. Plus you eat more healthily and feel super organised!
Fresh grocery shopping
If you can, instead of getting fruit and vegetables at the supermarket (where fresh produce is often wrapped in swathes of plastic) go to your local grocers or farm shop. Their produce is often seasonal and local which means your food has not racked up air miles reaching you.
Keeping reusable cotton bags by the back door or folded up inside your bag if you pass by the shops regularly can save you being caught without one and having to use a plastic bag.
Veg box schemes from Riverford or Abel & Cole are a great way to get fresh produce delivered without the plastic. Produce arrives loose in reusable cardboard boxes. Online supermarket deliveries generate a lot of waste, much of which is made of soft, flexible plastic. This can be saved and taken to plastic recycling points. You can find your nearest one at recyclenow.com. Some online retailers do plastic-free home deliveries, such as the Good Club and Good 60. Loop has recently partnered with Tesco to deliver goods in reusable packaging.
Peace with the Wild
One of the best online shops and blogs I have found to support a journey towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Their blog consists of comprehensive guides on ways to live more sustainably at home, from a zero-waste bathroom to every kitchen product you might need to go waste-free.
Content Beauty & Wellbeing
Finding this tiny treasure trove of a shop off Marylebone High Street in London years ago before it really took off and relocated to a larger shop, was a serendipitous post-lunch adventure. Floor-to-ceiling shelves bursting with completely natural skin & beauty products was my idea of heaven. Switching my make-up, skincare and body products to natural ones has been a gradual journey but now the majority (still a work in progress!) of my products are from here or small, local shops.