In the past few years, sustainability has become an increasingly popular trend. On January 1st, many of us will have made the resolution to live a more sustainable lifestyle in an effort to help save the planet. However, fast-forward to five months later, the coronavirus has now sadly forced us to abandon our everyday routines and stay inside.
If you haven’t yet given up on your green mission, then good for you! However, if you’ve found yourself returning to your old ways, here are 10 easy steps to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.
1. Grow your own food
We should all be trying to limit our supermarket trips at the moment. Even if you do decide to make the epic venture out to the shops, panic buying has meant that you can’t always get the things you want. Therefore, you might decide to save the hassle and grow your own produce.
Pull out those green fingers, and you’ll not only end up saving money, but you’ll also be helping the environment out too! Fruit and veg from the supermarket is often sold in useless plastic packaging, so save the waste and grow your own (you might even get a new hobby out of it too.)
2. Limit the amount of waste you produce and recycle, recycle, recycle
In times like these, it’s not so easy to make completely sustainable choices. However, by simply deciding to recycle packaging instead of throwing it in the general rubbish bin, you’d be playing your part in the fight against growing landfills.
The old phrase “waste not, want not” is something that’s not often heard in modern-day households, and modern consumerism has caused us to have a careless attitude towards what we throw away. So, for example, maybe think twice before you chuck old items of clothing in the bin because you can’t be bothered to find a charity bag. It’s the small changes that can make all the difference.
Karen Crane from Green Alliance said: “Waste and recycling collectors have been identified as ‘key workers’ during this pandemic, and the industry is working really hard to ensure service levels stay as close to normal as possible.
“There are certainly things people can do to help: make sure that you follow your council’s instructions on recycling to keep material as clean and separate as possible and help the domestic recycling industry to prosper; plan meals carefully and make good use of leftovers to limit food waste, and think before you clear out your wardrobes or embark on DIY projects.”
3. Shop sustainable fashion
We’ve all been there. Quarantine has caused a notable surge in online shopping, and we’re all guilty of placing orders on fast-fashion websites purely out of boredom. When shopping for your summer wardrobe, maybe steer clear of these fast-fashion brands where items will often cost less than a fiver. Instead, take the time to research and shop from more sustainable brands. You might spend more money in the process, however, the quality of the items is often of a much better standard.
If you’re looking for new fitness gear to wear during your daily exercise, we recommend the brand TALA. Every item is made out of sustainable materials, the packaging is recyclable, and you can even plant the clothing labels which will grow into something beautiful.
4. Turn off appliances completely
This one is a bit of a given, but it’s incredible what a difference small changes like these can make. We’re not just talking about switching the lights off when you leave the room, although this is often a good starting point to creating good habits. When you go to bed at night, or you leave the house, make sure to turn all your appliances off completely at the source (the plug). Doing this will not only help towards improving your carbon footprint, but it will also cheapen your electricity bills, and let’s face it, we all need to save as much money we can at the moment.
5. Put those car keys down and walk!
There aren’t many positives about the situation bought to us by the coronavirus. However, it appears that the government’s ‘one hour a day exercise rule’ has actually made the population a lot more active. If you’re lucky enough to live close to the shops, you can do your bit for the environment by merely walking there instead (but only for essential items, of course). Taking time out of each day to do some exercise and go out for a walk will have numerous benefits for your fitness, your mental health and last but not least, the planet too. It’s a win, win, win situation.
Carolina Salter from the National Association for Environmental Education said: “If there are any benefits to what we are going through now they will include clearer skies and cleaner air in our cities because of lower activity and less travel, especially for work.
“For some people, the use of technology such as zoom will become a new norm, and as we slowly emerge from lockdown, we will all have a chance to rethink how we’d like to live our lives. The National Association for Environmental Education hopes that this will include producing less waste, eating fresh, locally sourced food, and spending more time appreciating and looking after the natural world.”
6. Plan your meals in advance
The most effective way of limiting the amount of food waste you produce is by planning your meals in advance. The organised supermarket shoppers out there will know that you should never go grocery shopping without a list, and there’s definitely a lot of logic in that way of thinking. Before you go out hunting for essential items, take a note of what you already have in the cupboards and what meals you can make using those items.
The reason why so many people love meal-planning could be down to many different things; it saves the panic in the supermarket when you don’t know what to buy, it certainly saves you money, and it will, of course, limit the amount of food you throw away at the end of the week.
7. Make the switch to reusable items
Convenience is something we’ve all become accustomed to; it’s just too easy to use something once and then throw it away never to be seen again. Yet, often, the things we throw away are not compostable and will remain on the earth for longer than we will. So, instead of buying packets of one-use makeup wipes or anti-bacterial cleaning wipes, choose to invest in cloths which you can pop in the washing machine and use again.
Many retailers now sell reusable makeup removing pads, which can vanish even waterproof products by only using water, for under five pounds. These can be found at most shops, including Boots and B&m, and can be purchased online from Amazon.
Written by Jessica Goddard
Feature image credit: Unsplash