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Top tips for eco-friendly living

17 October 2019

A lot of people think that zero waste living is time-consuming and expensive. But National Geographic-featured blogger, Kathryn Kellogg explains that it’s neither of these things. The inspirational blogger behind Going Zero Waste says that the idea is very simple:

It’s about saving and using what you have, instead of constantly buying new.

If you’ve been inspired to get on board and you’re looking for eco-friendly ideas, here are a few helpful tips from some of our favourite eco-bloggers... 

Avoid single-use plastic

Woman holding a reusable coffee cup
Invest in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
Image source: myboys.me

Kathryn of Going Zero Waste has some really simple, everyday tips for anyone who wants to eliminate single-use plastic and do their bit for the environment:

  • Say no to straws.
  • Ditch plastic water bottles and get yourself a reusable water bottle. If you don't like the taste, get a filter! Charcoal sticks are pretty inexpensive.
  • Bring your own bags to the store. If you tend to forget, get a couple that fold up really small and attach to your key ring. 
  • Avoid coffee cups which are actually lined with plastic and are unrecyclable in most places. The lids aren't recyclable either. So if you forget your thermos, and don’t have time to drink it in a mug, go topless. You know - without the lid!

Make your home more eco-friendly

Woman with a bag made out jeans after reusing old clothes
If worn out belongings can’t be repaired, find ways to reuse them
Image source: Marius GODOI

Georgina Caro of Gypsy Soul reminds us that our homes have a part to play as well. Even if you can’t build your own carbon neutral ‘Grand Design’, there are plenty of small changes you can implement from the comfort of your own sofa:

  • Always remember to turn off your lights and appliances at the switch.
  • Consider moving to a 100% renewable energy supplier.

For Georgina, sustainable living is about changing the way you think…particularly when you’re making decisions at home. Her mantra? “Rethink, Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Re-gift, Repair, Rent, Recycle and Rot.” Apply these principles wherever you can, and the results quickly stack up.

Reduce food waste

Ripe bananas next to banana bread
Old bananas can be made into bread or smoothies
Image source: George Dolgikh

Steph at Striving for Simple has given a lot of thought to reducing food waste. UK households throw away 7.1m tonnes of food waste each year, of which 5m tonnes is edible. For a family of four, this is the equivalent of £840 each year. Steph’s tips for reducing food waste are: 

  • Use a weekly meal planner to get organised, and only buy what you need. 
  • Shop little and often so you can see what you've got and what needs to be used up first. 
  • If you don't have a garden for compost, set up a wormery to deal with some of your food waste, or ask a neighbour if you can add to their compost heap.

Rachel from Sustainably Simple worries about how much edible food is being taken to landfill. She’s horrified that 1.4million perfectly edible bananas are thrown away every day in the UK. Not only because it wastes good food, but it‘s also wasting water (1 banana requires 95 litres of water to grow) and carbon (bananas travel many thousands of miles across the world). Rachel’s solution?

If you're put off by a black bruise or mark then chuck it in a smoothie or make some banana bread!

Don’t think your household wastes very much food? Gypsy Soul’s Georgina suggests a ‘waste audit’ to find out. The results might surprise you. 

Consider your carbon footprint

Man in a suit cycling along a river illustrating a carbon-free commute
Swap your car for public transport or a bike - even just once a week helps
Image source: ESB Professional

Nearly everything you do releases some carbon into the atmosphere, but your carbon footprint can be increased or decreased through a whole series of everyday choices. It’s not always possible to implement all the changes you might like, but if you’re interested in ideas that have a big impact, Georgina suggests these options: 

  • Use your car less or, even better, get rid of it all together. 
  • Plan a staycation this year instead of getting on a plane. 
  • Switch to a plant-based diet or limit the amount of meat you eat.

Form new habits

Wicker basket full of fruit and vegetables
Avoid extra packaging wherever possible - these small wins add up
Image source: J Chizhe

Charlotte from Zero Waste Life admits that zero waste living doesn't happen overnight, and anyone who says it’s possible is probably hiding part of the truth. Her advice?

Use the momentum from smaller wins to create larger wins. Small wins might be remembering your reusable water bottle all week and a bigger win could be a whole weekly shop waste-free. Everyone's journey looks different, so do what you can with what you've got.

Reducing the amount of food, water and carbon that we waste each week is something we all strive for. Do you have any clever tips to share? We’d love to hear your ideas over on our Facebook page.

Lead Image: SewCream

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