10 easy steps to live more sustainably
With worldwide CO2 emissions already back to pre-pandemic levels and rising quickly, there is no better time for all of us take stock and see what we can do to reduce our own carbon footprint. Food plays an important role, as food waste levels are also back to pre-pandemic levels and globally we waste 17% of the food we produce* and 6.7% of all greenhouse gases result from this food waste** Shocking statistics!
I hope the list below will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and live more sustainably.
1. Ditch the car whenever you can – choose to walk, or cycle if you can or take the bus. This has an added benefit of keeping you fit too! If possible, switch to an electric car. Fuel savings are incredible and you won’t be subjected to the abominable queues we’ve seen recently!
2. Laundry – there are lots of steps you can take to look after your laundry in a more sustainable way
a. wash less (so you don’t release damaging microfibres into the environment and because your clothes will last longer)
b. choose a cold wash – this can reduce energy usage by up to 80%
c. use laundry balls - replaces the need for lots of plastic bottles of detergent and fabric softener
3. In the kitchen there are lots of small changes you can start doing – adopt a less meat, better meat approach; get rid of the clingfilm and use food wraps instead; ditch the greaseproof paper and use silicone baking sheets; don’t overfill your kettle – just heat the water you need; invest in some mason jars – then you can fill these with rice, pasta, flour, sugar etc from your local zero waste shop – or if you don’t have one/don’t have time try www.goodclub.co.uk. Oh and turn down your fridge – did you know that refrigerated produce stays fresh for longer when the fridge temperature is set below 5⁰c?
4. Compost your food leftovers instead of sending them to landfill. Your garden (if you have one) will thank you!
5. Did you know the fashion industry produces 10% of humanity’s carbon emissions?*** We are buying more clothes and keeping them for a shorter time. Buying from second hand or sustainably produced fashion retailers is a great way to find new outfits without contributing to problems caused by fast fashion.
6. Understand the recycling rules – mindless recycling can often result in items which could have been saved ending up in the landfill. That’s why it’s essential to rinse your food containers before recycling them, not throw out your recycling inside plastic bags and screw lids back on. Take time to understand the meaning of the recycling symbols and make sure you’re clear on all the recycling guidelines before throwing packaging away. Your local council website is often a good resource
7. Swap your light bulbs - Energy-saving light bulbs could lower your carbon footprint by up to 70%. LED light bulbs are more cost-effective than halogen alternatives so you will be saving money too.
8. Turn your heating down - by turning your heating down slightly you can help ease the pressure on our planet. Replacing your boiler thermostat with a newer model can also provide more accurate readings, saving even more energy. Also – instead of just turning your appliances to standby turn them completely off – with so many gadgets around the home, this will make a difference.
9. Make changes in the garden too – plant bee-friendly flowers and help to save the rapidly declining population of bees. These pollinators play a crucial role in our everyday lives. Without pollinators like bees, some crops and food products, such as strawberries, simply wouldn’t grow. Take part in initiatives like No Mow May – again the bees will thank you!
10. Keep local – shop local (less food miles); holiday local (less air miles). If you want inspiration for places to visit try reading The Great British Bucket List
*United Nations March 4, 2021 ** Our World Data 2020
*** McKinsey Sustainability