So a year later, post-pandemic ( I'm ready for pandemic impact to be well and truly over) my niggly thoughts have been where are we now in terms of environmental status?
Let's backtrack, before the pandemic, one of my favorite jobs was to go around businesses and hosting 'Green roadshows events' to encourage folk to live more sustainability.
My main role was to help show folk ways to live green ( best job in the world!) We encouraged folk to reuse cups, and reducing plastics if we can, making folk aware of food miles, share eco options and so much more.
So much effort was made in the 'green space' pre-Covid and the response was truly humbling that everyday employees from a diverse sector of businesses wanted to do the 'green thing'.
I would get asked, 'What can I do to do the Eco thing? How can I be responsible?'
As a follow-through to those precious conversations, I'm passionate to make sure we do not lose sight of the ways we can be more eco so we can enjoy this world to its fullest and thrive!
So here are 20 tips that may help you think personally about your eco choices, even doing one can make a huge difference! Here goes...
Reduce food waste- one of my pet subjects, I love food too much but I'm also conscious that food waste does a lot of damage, I recently listened to Dr. Hyman a well-known author on nutrition and eco topics. He was on Dr. Chattergee's podcast and stated that the methane emitted from rotting vegetables is three times more than the amount that cows emit! Wow. What an eye-opener. Being vegetarian plays its part in the climate side of things but it's not purely about abstaining from meat. What we do with produced food is also a key. This can simply begin in our homes.
Being shop conscious - think of plastic packaging, look at companies who do their bit for the planet be it sourcing ethical materials for production, how they treat their staff, think about recyclable or biodegradable packaging. Living a green lifestyle is about having options and many companies are increasingly aware of that and making a conscious effort to listen to their customers and to adapt. Although, be careful of 'green washing' which means that companies would put the CSER or 'green credentials' out there for the pure reason of making more sales but not really doing their bit towards the good of the planet.
Reuse- This one is obvious, but whilst not everything is reusable, it's a matter of reusing when we can. Maybe it's vegetable punnets, and reusing them for garden and holding plants, or re-purposing jam jars, I have recently started to save bread bags as food bags. They hold food and I remember as a kid my good friend always used to have her sandwiches in bread bags. My thoughts are we really do not need more plastic in the world that takes ages to decompose. We had paper bags as a kid so a bread bag was an upgrade, so funny but true! We didn't have clingfilm or foil growing up, and a plate covering a bowl was pretty much used for covering food in the fridge! Or simply, bake your own bread! I make a lot of my own food because I try to minimize packaging, I appreciate not everyone is able or has the time to do that. Bottom line - rethink anything that is single-use and look at alternatives.
Recycle - This is another obvious one but do we do it? Plastic is a problem be it in seas, nature, or wildlife it's the fact it takes such a long time to break down that is one of the biggest problems. In fact, I use alternatives to plastics if I can altogether for this very reason.
Freecycle- This is when you have household items ( or other larger items) that you no longer use and donate them to those who need them. I've found Facebook marketplace is also great for this! I've donated furniture and all sorts. Giving is a great way to encourage others to re-use too.
Mend and Fix - When it comes to clothes, it has been so easy to just buy a new one. everything is accessible and cheap. But are we conscious of the water and other resources to make new clothes? I've definitely started to use the needle and thread more and fix things. I've also fixed and changed garments for my family especially if they are favorite wardrobe pieces! ( Now my daughter thinks I fix everything?!)
Check out Green energy providers - There are a few providers that supply 'green energy' and I've been using Bulb for a while. They supply 'green energy ' through solar, wind and hydro & their gas is carbon-neutral too. They have changed their tariffs a couple of times in 3 years or so according to the national rates and I have found them to be great in customer service and the switch was super easy if you would like to explore & switch I have a Bulb referral code here*. Other companies include octopus, green energy UK. Read up and shop around!
Walk and cycle when you can. This is hard for those who do not like walking but I've now made this a way of doing some exercise, being at home for so long during lockdown means that exercise was zero in my house. Cycling has also been great to explore new places. The government is opening up another scheme to help with getting your bikes repaired. You can read up on it here. Make the most of it!
Use a reusable cup - At home! It's a simple thing but as a regular hot beverage drinker, I now make my hot drinks in a flask cup at home. I would throw out so many half-drunk cups of tea it was not funny! This also reduced the need to reboil the kettle so many times in the day! So at least my drinks are hot, it's great for working at home! I also fill a large flask with hot water when the water has boiled and use it for other drinks later in the day. ( My mum used to do this at home growing up funny enough!) As a lot of eco-tips are naturally money-saving too, it's an easy one to implement. As for reusable cups in cafe shops, I'm not sure when that will start up again, and hopefully, there will be a good solution soon!
Charcoal stick for water filter- If you use a plastic filter cartridge for your water filter, consider using a charcoal stick. They absorb impurities from the water and after 3 months you can boil them for 10 mins and reuse them for another 3 months. They cost around £8-10 and after they have been used the second time around, they can be composted. No plastic, no pfaff. Once Covid hit and we were spending so much more time at home, I immediately bought a Berkey filter which is a stainless steel drum with 2 large carbon filters inside, although the cost is expensive ( around £300), I knew that getting a good filter was a priority as I wanted my family to drink more clean water. Well, the good news is the 2 charcoal cartridges inside the Berkey last around 11 years ( yes, I said 11 years!) so it works out about £27 a year for clean filtered water and also means that I never need to buy plastic bottled water as I fill my own bottles ( and the family does drink more as the delicious water is on tap right next to the dining table!) £27 a year for clean water is nothing in the long term, for better health and planet.
Grow your own One easy way to have nutritious food, and no garden needed, is to grow herbs on a window sill or even microgreens! Even mushrooms can be grown with little easy-to-look-after kits. ( We did this a few years back and they taste AMAZING!) This means you pick and cook when you need and no packaging, no carbon footprint, and more even more nutritious, as your food is handled less. Did you know that the more fruit and vegetables are handled and processed the fewer vitamins present? Something to think about. Or re-sprout your spring onions, leeks, and celery, just pop the root end and pop in a glass of water and let it re-shoot on a sunny window sill. Love food thrift tips? Check out my blog on the money whisperer website. I also find this growing malarky educational for the kids, that they will know how to grow their own food!
Reduce Chemical usage- How on earth do you do that I hear you ask? Well, Chemicals are not all bad, in fact, a lot of them live in our bodies. I'm talking about cleaners that have chemicals that often with names we cannot pronounce or that are silently harmful. We've all heard how chemicals can disrupt our hormones, cause allergies, and so on. These are things to think about. You may have heard how chemicals have affected our water systems? If you would like to read further there's an article here that talks about how males fish are getting feminized through the water. It's crazy and this post is certainly not meant to cause alarm, however, I do suggest getting a good water filter. I love my Berkey! ( point 10). I also love body kind which is a website that sells supplements, eco makeup, natural health products, and much more! here is my referral link for 15% off your first purchase, it only has a £15 free delivery limit, which is fab!
Ethical investing & finances, this is so personal and often we have too much choice, ( and can be mind-boggling!) For pensions, I've recently switched to PensionBee, I love the ease of how they collected my hidden pensions and put it all together in one pot. I also love how they make things simple to understand! I love that they now also have a fossil-free section that you can opt into. Do you fancy a free £50? Why not join Pension bee too? I have a referral link here where we both get £50. And don't forget the government contributes to that too**. Whilst I'm not a financial expert, some names that have come up in the ethical space are Starling bank ( they plant a tree as one of their things!) Triodos Bank, Wealthify, Nutmeg, and I'm sure there's more!
Ditch the party plastic- ok so post lockdown, we hopefully can have parties again. I'm thinking of the disposables that are used. Why not get a set of reusable cutlery and bring them out when the occasion arises? ( It's an idea - I haven't actually done this!) In some cultures bringing your own cutlery is common, in Argentina, for instance, going to a bbq, it is common for folks to have their own little ornamental knives and forks that are held in a leather pouch that you strap to your belt. I know this as I was given a set. A beautifully carved personal cutlery set. I also love the 'spork' a combined fork, knife, spoon in one. When we had packed lunches for work, we used to have one each and also used it for any outdoor or 'on the go' eating. Great for picnics too!
Buy clothing with more natural materials, did you know a lot of clothes are made of plastic? Yep. pure chemical compounds with plastic in. So when you put those items of clothes into a washing machine, the plastics then leach into our water? Anyhow the cycle goes on. The older I get the more I stick to linen, cotton, bamboo, and wool, although hemp isn't bad either! I just find these materials more comfortable. The bonus flip side is did you know clothes with these more natural fibers, are actually better for our health? For example, Bamboo has natural anti-bacterial properties, linen is famous for dressing wounds, again something to consider. There's definitely a benefit in natural fibers.
Eco women's products - yep, I'm talking women's eco period products, there are so many ways one can reduce the impact of disposable plastics. I'm a fan of Modibodi pants and have found them to be of great quality and always sharing about them, they have an awesome range for teens too called 'Red' which encourages the next generation to have an eco-period solution. If period pants, aren't your thing ( if you're female clearly!), then there are cups, bamboo reusable pads. ( fab also) there are even such things as reusable tampon holders so to cut down on those tampon plastic parts of a tampon. Do what is best for you!
Reusable bake or cookware- I'm not sure about you, but I'm a baker and a maker. I'm always cooking, baking, making bread, fruit leathers, and all sorts. Which means I used to go through a lot of greaseproof paper. Grease or baking paper to my surprise actually totted up to a good chunk of cash let's say £2 a roll - at the end of the day, it's still disposable! Then one brilliant day, I stepped into Sainsbury's and saw the prettiest silicone baking mat, and the rest is history! For a fiver, I've used that baking sheet for baking loaf cakes ( they do come out a bit funny-shaped) roasting veggies, roast fish, meats, cookies, bread. It really is the best kitchen purchase I've made in a while. If you take sandwiches often then consider beeswax wraps and lunch boxes than cling film. I have a favorite coffee filter it's stainless steel ( a camping one as in the picture) and no plastics or paper filters required- and super quick to clean! I got mine for around £11!
Keep 'stuff' minimal- whilst I've just talked about the kitchen earlier, I'm actually proud to say I don't own fancy cooking equipment (I do swoon at my neighbor's Thermomix every now and then, I am known to have asked her for ingredients to be powdered though!). I do not have a load of kitchen equipment. For blending and blitzing I use my faithful Nutribullet. I say faithful because it makes, my veg bolognese, cakes, pasta, smoothies, nut milk, nut butter, and even grinds my coffee! I got that over 10 years ago in my first and last ever black Friday purchase for £60. A little can do a lot. That's the thing, we don't need lots of stuff to have a happy life. There are lots of ways to do 'meaningful' work with great results without excess 'stuff'.
Borrow- learn the art of lending & borrowing, I used to live in Crystal Palace and around the time I moved out of London, There was a new thing called 'The library of things' which was an organization of gadgets and tools that people could borrow just like borrowing a book. I'm pleased to say this idea has worked brilliantly and many other communities are looking to follow suit. It is also a good way of testing out a gadget to see if it's something you want to invest in! Thankfully, I live in a close-knit community where we swap and borrow and lend things all the time. At one stage post lockdown, we even talked about sharing a car in our community, ok it was a brief chat, and not that that would ever materialize but there's something special about building communities. There is so much written to prove that being part of a community is something that can improve wellness. So borrowing and lending culture can certainly help develop better wellness as it encourages relationships!
Support Eco mission, charities, and Eco initiatives- each project is as powerful as the people who believe in it. Be the leader in your world. I'm a greenie, as I found myself working in the greens space purely by accident, and as I grew in knowing more and more facts, my whole lifestyle changed. I'm a practical person and love sharing the 'how tos', that's why I named my blog 'Cultivate Life'. I'm pleased to say my Eco efforts are having an effect even in my family. I see little actions here and there that prove that it's doable. ( Hubby created fire starters reusing egg cartons and sawdust see pic!) A little action can have massive effects. Little changes in the home that makes it all worthwhile. Together, we can all do our bit. Businesses are conscious of CSER which stands for Corporate and Social Responsibility, and we can do our bit in the 'personal responsibility space. As we've just celebrated 'Earth day', just doing one or 2 of these points will make a huge impact. Then times that by a trillion. There, that impact is powerful and real. I'm part of Greener and cleaner Bromley an eco group that discusses so much about all things eco. It's great! If you would like to know more about different types of impact that happens in businesses, groups & organizations around the world check out the 17 Sustainable development goals (SDGs) started by the UN.
That's why I love talking about wellness, healthy eating, eco, and money-saving topics, we live better, healthier, reduce stress & make an impact, not only in our lives but the planet too. It's a win, win, win!
We've just celebrated earth day on the 22nd of April, let's celebrate our home!
(pics; orange cordial ices using skins, Stainless steel reuse coffee filter, homemade fire starters)
* Signing up to switch to bulb means we both get a £50 as part of the referral scheme at no cost to you.
** Please note none of this blog constitutes financial advice.
There are several referral links on this post as I rate them ( and use them) and they're part of my lifestyle. This means I receive a small commission or discount at shouting about them at no cost to you.