I read an article the other day, on the impact we are having on the Eco system, which sent me into total Eco Panic!
I’d love to be one of these completely calm, nothing phases them women, whose life flows from one easily managed situation to another. Some times I rock it…..and then there’s the other times.
The article I read though sent me into one of my panic days.
It read something like
“unless we take steps immediately we will irrecoverably damage the planet within the next 12 years”
I know, 12 years! It’s no time at all.
I don’t even know if the article was an accurate representation or not! It sounds pretty crazy to let it affect me without fully investigating the evidence, but it did. It’s a serious issue and we all have our part to play. The article came from a reputable source, even if it was an over exaggeration (which it might or might not have been) it still hit home.
All of those disaster movies briefly flashed into my head. You know the ones where the ice caps have melted, whole world is now flooding, we’re suffering the initial stages of an ice age and the human race faces total and utter destruction.
AAAGH I was having a mini melt down!
When I recovered from my mild state of hysteria where “the world is ending” and searched for more detailed information (much of which I already knew….) I thankfully put my sensible head back on again and remembered the Zone of influence advice (which I instilled in my girls from an early age). It goes like this;
Do everything you can to affect, help and rectify the situation.
When you have done this, everything else is out of your zone of influence and control. It makes no sense stressing about it, let it go. Stressing, when you’ve done all you can will do no good whatsoever, to you or the outcome of the situation.
So, what was I doing within my zone of influence?
Sending my no longer needed clothes to the charity shop, recycling in the correct bins, reusing plastic bottles and walking to the shop instead of driving.
When I weighed it all up, it really didn’t amount to much.
I knew there was so much more I could be doing.
So I investigated some more and found simple ways to be Eco friendly without turning my world upside down.
I was surprised to find how many easy ways there are to make a difference, and most of the time you end up saving money too!
A little Effort Makes a Big Difference
1. Shop locally and buy locally grown products
- Use your farmers market. These guys work unbelievably hard to bring you top quality produce. You can usually find out everything you need to know, from where they source ingredients etc, to the way they produce their product, straight from the horses mouth. If you are ever in Aberystwyth we have a great one. It’s well worth checking out.
- Shopping locally means less travel and a lower carbon footprint
- Combine all your errands into one trip
2. Use green products
There are loads out there just check the labels before buying.Some keywords to look for are:
- made from renewable sources
- recycled materials
Click this link to see a list of all the eco labels in the UK.
Also check the efficiency rating when purchasing electrical good and products. They range from A to G, A being the most efficient.
3. Invest in quality products
They will last longer which in turn reduces packaging as less goods are being made. This therefore cuts down the damage caused to the environment in the manufacturing process
4. Make your own cleaning products
It’s not as hard as you think. It can be done with a few simple things. A little lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda goes a long way.
5. Make your own beauty products
Most of what you need you may already have yogurt, honey, turmeric to name but a few. They are simple to make and will save you a fortune.
6. Use a shampoo bar instead of bottled shampoo
These are really growing in popularity and there are good quality products now for all hair types
7. Avoid plastic bags
Invest in a few re-usable cloth bags and keep them in the car so that you never get caught without them.
8. Turn off the lights
Go one step further by replacing with energy efficient bulbs when they go.
9. Conserving water
- Turn the tap off when cleaning your teeth
- Take showers instead of baths
- Take short showers
- Fix leaky taps
- Only boil what you need, this also reduces energy consumption
- Get a water saving bag for you cistern if you do not have a low flushing toilet
- Steam your veggies. It uses less water and the water you have used makes a great stock. Not into making stock? cool it and it’s great to water houseplants.
10. Use rainwater
- Collect rainwater in a water butt. Use it to water the garden and wash down patio slabs etc
- water the garden in the early mornings or evenings to avoid evaporation. It also helps to avoid scorching your plants leaves.
11. Skip bottled water use a purifier
- Most plastic bottles do not get recycled. A re-usable bottle and purified tap water is a much better option.
12. Reducing Chemical waste
- Buying washable clothes rather clothes which need dry cleaning cuts down on the chemicals needed to keep to looking sharp.
- Replace oil based products with water based. The same effects can now be achieved using things like water based paint. They clean up much easier too.
13. Consider the packaging
Avoiding any packaging at all is great, but it’s not that easy to do. Buying your fruit and veg from a grocer usually means you can put everything in that bag that you pulled out from your boot. You can also make your own, or buy smaller reusable produce bags
Most of the time however there is going to be packaging on almost everything you buy, so look for minimal wrapping and companies that are making a conscious effort in this area. Puma for example has been actively engaged in producing more sustainable packaging across the board for years.
14. Cutting back on paper usage
Using recycled paper definitely saves energy, reduces pollution, saves trees and helps conserve landfill space. The problem is, it still requires chemicals to produce so it creates harmful by-products and emissions. Reducing paper usage is by far the best option.
- Opt for paperless billing
- Only print when absolutely necessary
- print on both sides of the paper
- If you’re feeling arty recycle your old paper into new paper. It’s a bit messy and not as smooth but great fun
15. Add meat free meals into the weekly diet
Farming methods have a great impact on climate change. Eating less meat and buying from smaller farmers who have a respect for the environment can go a great way to helping us protect the planet.
16. Grow your own
- Starting small is the key. Herbs grow well in tubs, window boxes and on window sills. Not only do they look great but they taste so much better when freshly picked.
- When choosing garden plants look for drought hardy as they will require very little water
It’s so simple and cheap to make your own composter using a bin with a lock down lid. Much of your kitchen and garden waste can then be transformed into lovely rich compost with no cost to you at all.
17. Freeze food before it goes bad
There is very little that can’t be frozen either straight from the fridge or with just a little preparation. If it’s on its last day and you’re not going to eat it, hand it over to your trusty freezer.
18. Use leftovers to make another meal
Getting creative in the kitchen can be an enormous amount of fun by thinking of new ideas on how to use left overs
19. Don’t pre-heat your oven unless it is totally necessary.
It’s not usually required and eats up energy
Baking is probably the only exception to this as cakes need to go in at the correct temperature to ensure even cooking and rising.
20. Green Energy
There are a growing number of suppliers who source their energy from only 100% green and renewable sources in the UK. Which have a good article on some of the best suppliers and customer feedback.
21. Set your thermostat 1 degree lower
You won’t even notice the difference
22. Wash laundry at a lower temperature
85% of the energy used by your machine is used in heating the water
23. Save your washing until you have a full load.
Colour catchers also enable you to put coloured loads together.
24. Use your washing line or inside clothes racks
25. Buy washable clothes
It saves on chemical waste (and also your cleaning bills)
26. Before you buy check Freecycle or your local Swapshop on Facebook
Freecycle is a nonprofit movement made up of members who are giving or getting stuff for free in their own town or neighbourhood.
Swapshops are giving away or selling unwanted items in your local vicinity
Both are great ways to find a bargain while helping the environment
27. Buy reusable when possible and ditch the disposable.
There are so many products you could look for. Here are just a few;
- metal straws(with a straw cleaning brush)
- Cloth cleaning wipes
- Permanent reusable coffee filters
- Toothbrushes with removable heads (this removes 93% of waste)
- Commuter mugs (take your own to the coffee shop instead of using their throw aways)
- Traditional razors instead of disposable
- Cloth napkins
- Use tea diffusers instead of tea bags
The list is endless
28. Unplug unused chargers and appliances
29. Turn off your computer at night
30. Use you library
Borrow instead of buying. Most books are only read once. Buy the ones you know you are going to need regularly.
I now have my 30 ways to start implementing my changes for a greener life and a cleaner conscious. I can’t wait to get started!
I Hope this has helped anyone looking for some easy solutions for a more eco friendly lifestyle. I’d love to hear any comments you may have and any tips to make me even greener.
Please feel free to drop them in the box below.
So until next time happy reducing, recycling and reusing.