There are so many reasons to adapt to a more sustainable lifestyle in 2020 – helping to cut down on the amount of plastic produced, reducing food waste, preventing rubbish going to our landfills and helping to save our oceans are just some of them.
When people talk about “sustainability” or “going eco”, it can often be a difficult term to learn and a bit far fetched from our everyday lives, but it doesn’t have to be. With just a few simple tweaks to your ways of living, you can easily kick-start your sustainable lifestyle. It’s best to start with small changes so that they stick and build it up from there.
So how can you start your journey? Below are ten top tips to help you kick-start your way to a more sustainable way of life.
1. Reduce your meat intake
You don’t have to switch to a plant-based diet totally, but reducing the amount of meat or animal-products you eat is proven to help the environment. Start by changing one dinner each week to a plant-based meal, then up it to perhaps one day each week and take it from there.
With research you’ll find there are some incredible vegan recipes to try, it might make you increase your plant-based meals in a week considerably!
2. Stop buying disposable plastic products
Single use disposable plastic bottles are a big issue – whilst some people do reuse them for a limited time, more get chucked in the bin and head straight for our landfill. There are lots of products you can switch:
- Instead of bottled water, change for tap water in a Chilly’s flask
- Swap your hair washing products for shampoo and conditioner bars
- Say bye to shower gel and hello to gorgeously scented soap bars
- Switch your most loved condiments for glass bottles, for example, your tomato ketchup or mayonnaise
- Stop using plastic drinking straws and instead try metal, paper or even wheat straws
- Swap tampons and pads for zero-waste period products
In order to reduce your plastic intake even more, you could look into your local area and see what refill stores are around you. Here you can buy products such as pasta, rice or spices without the plastic wrapping they would normally come in, in supermarkets.
3. Buy reduced food that will otherwise be thrown out
Food waste in the UK is a big issue, but we can help by actively buying the reduced food that is about to be thrown out by supermarkets. Fruit and vegetables will generally last much longer than their use by dates.
Another way you can support the initiative is by purchasing from brands who look to reduce food waste in their production processes for example Rubies in the Rubble condiments.
4. Minimise your water usage
When we start to think about how much water we use over a day it suddenly dawns on us the sheer volume we go through. But we can look at ways to cut it down.
- Take a quicker shower
- Have a shallower bath
- Use quick cycles on the washing machine
- Reuse unsalted cooking water to water your plants
5. Get a smart meter
A smart meter in the home can allow you to see how much electricity you’re actually using. It can be shocking to see how just turning the lights on or boiling the kettle can use up so much energy.
You’ll start getting tactical to reduce your consumption through turning lights off around the house, switching appliances off at the socket to boiling your kettle once in the morning and putting the hot water into a flask for teas and coffee’s throughout the day. It’ll get you more creative at reducing your electricity usage that’s for sure!
6. Shop locally
Shopping locally and supporting small businesses is so important to our local communities and economies. Through shopping products or produce that has been locally made or grown, it can massively reduce the carbon footprint of that product which is another plus point.
7. Grow your own fruit and vegetables
If you have a big enough garden then it is much easier to set yourself up a little allotment, but you don’t need a big space to grow your own produce.
If you have a garden, then look at the space – could you create some raised beds around the edges or even hang planters on the fence. You could also grow some fruits and vegetables in pots whether inside or outside – you just need to ensure they are going to get enough sunlight and that you can water them regularly for them to thrive.
Take a look at this guide to growing vegetables at home to get started.
8. Buy second hand where possible and upcycle
It can be really tempting to buy new, but there are some absolute treasures in our local charity shops or second hand outlets.
If you’re looking for furniture there’s nothing better than bringing something old back to life – it will give your furniture real meaning in your house. So check out Facebook Marketplace or eBay for furniture that could suit what you need and take on an upcycling project.
9. Hang your clothes to dry rather than using a tumble dryer
This is even easier in the summer when the weather is nice so now is the time to really change this habit.
If you have a tumble dryer than try and limit its usage. If you don’t have a garden to hang clothes out then hang your clothes up and pop your clothes rack near a window to get that breeze on them.
10. Use all of your food leftovers
Finally, look to use as much of your food leftovers as possible. It’s surprising how many people don’t eat the broccoli stalk, for example, yet this is the most nutritious part! You can oven cook this and dip into some delicious hummus or use to add flavour to your soups.
Don’t throw away your veggie peelings, simply pop them in the over with some oil, salt and pepper and then can be a healthy alternative to crisps. Alternatively, put all your veg waste into making a healthy stock that you can then freeze and use to make delicious home-cooked meals.
So there we have it, ten top tips to start your sustainable lifestyle. Of course, there’s lots more you can do to save our planet, but these steps should certainly set you off on the right path.
This is a guest post by Katie Fensome who runs the website becominggreen.co.uk. Head over there for more sustainable living advice and tips.