When we take a look at our lifestyles and our everyday activities, it is easy to point out things that we do that aren’t great for the environment. It can feel overwhelming and as if you have to make huge changes to your lifestyle. Yet by addressing small areas of our lives, can help you to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle in no time.
Here are some simple tips and tricks on how we can become more eco-friendly in our everyday lives, many of which will help the environment and save us money in the long term!
1) Reduce, reuse, recycle.
A large source of waste is due to single-use plastics and disposables. Unless stated otherwise, most of what we use and throw away can be reused and recycled. To avoid single-use plastics, try buying only loose fruit and veg and recycle all other items as much as possible. If your bins do not accept some items for recycling, head to the local supermarket where they have additional recycling bins.
Did you know: 20,000 litres of water are needed to create 1kg of cotton? That’s only enough to make one t-shirt and a pair of jeans.
Another way to cut down on waste materials is to use plastic-free personal care. Brands like Lush sell products without packaging such as shampoo bars or offer refills once you buy one product. Avoid using throw-away items such as cotton wool earbuds or makeup remover pads and wipes.
There are also zero-waste food shops dotted around the UK where you can buy unpackaged food. Not got one close to you? Try buying items in tins and cardboard which are more readily recycled than plastic.
Mending clothes or using a local tailor to fix your items up, as well as trying to fix or repair electrical items rather than buying replacements when they stop working, are other simple ways to reduce our waste.
2) Food waste
Did you know: 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted in the UK every year?
Every day in the UK we prepare food only to throw it away. This is not only a huge waste of food and money, but also adds to the amount of CO2 being created in landfills. So how can we reduce this?
Buying exact ingredients, preparing and buying food only when you need it, and freezing leftovers are just some of the ways to reduce food waste.
You can also sign up for Too Good To Go, an app that advertises local places that have food going to waste, which you can buy at discounted prices.
Have tips of your own? Let others know by commenting below!
3) Our diets and buying habits
So we’ve covered food waste, but what about the food we do buy and consume? How can we ensure these choices are as green as possible?
Our supermarkets are filled with every ingredient we can imagine. This can make eating seasonally confusing and overwhelming, especially when we are used to thinking everything is available always. Food that isn’t in season, yet still appears in your supermarkets, will often have been grown in large greenhouses with fake seasons, that take huge amounts of energy to make the food grow. They could also have been stored in huge cold containers to preserve them until they are needed in winter. Take the Granny Smith apple – these are always available yet only grow in Autumn!
Eat a more plant-based diet
Cutting down on meat and fish consumption will have a huge change on the environment. Consider factoring beans, pulses and grains into your diet as well as seeds, meat substitutes such as tofu or Quorn. All have great nutritional value also. For information on the detrimental effects over-fishing has on our planet, check out Seaspriacy on Netflix!
Eat as locally as possible
So you’re starting to eat less meat ‒ but have you thought about where your grains, pulses and beg actually come from? Try to look out for where your food is sourced from and try to keep it as local as possible. By supporting local farmers’ markets, you can help support lower scale agriculture and limit the travel your food takes before it reaches you.
This also applies to clothes. Purchasing products from independent shops made closer to home, means they also come with a lower carbon footprint due to the limit of transportation as well as helping to support the local economy.
Do you buy used clothes from charity shops or online marketplaces?
4) Growing your own produce
“Nurturing something else into life has really helped my wellbeing – gently caring for something helped me learn to care for myself.” (Jenny, 78)
Growing your own is a great way to cut down your carbon footprint and become more eco friendly as well as saving yourself money in the long run. Don’t have a big outside space? Consider investing in windowsill boxes. These will improve your view, air quality and allow you to grow smaller vegetables and herbs.
Look out for tips online and in the papers for this year’s National Gardening Week starting from Monday, 26th April 2021.
Do you grow your own produce? Let others know your tips and tricks below.
5) Greener transport
Did you know: Transport is the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the UK accounting for 34% in 2019?
So how can we begin to tackle this? Making use of car-sharing schemes, public transport and shuttle services are easy ways to cut down on car usage and can really help us to make more eco-friendly journeys. Making a list for the week and ordering food deliveries to your home can also help to cut down on the number of journeys you make to the shop each week – it can also save you money and reduce food waste!
At the start of 2021, official government figures stated that there are more than 150,000 zero-emission Battery Electric Vehicles currently on the UK’s roads – with more than 100,000 registered in 2020 alone – and around 185,000 Plug-in Hybrid and Range-Extended Electric Vehicles!
Electric cars are definitely on the rise – would you drive one?
6) Walking and Cycling
Did you know: Spending at least 120 minutes a week in nature is associated with good health and wellbeing?
Choosing to walk and cycle where possible is a great way to reduce CO2 emissions. But that’s not all. These methods of transport can greatly benefit our wellbeing. Spending time outside and being close to nature such as exercising outside, taking a walk to work, or growing plants can help:
- Improve your mood
- Relaxation and sleep
- Increase your activity
- Make new connections and social opportunities
7) Protect your local biodiversity
Biodiversity is not only important for plants and animals but for your quality of life. One of the most obvious benefits to living in a Guild Living community is a healthy environment bristling with life. You’ll always have access to those beautiful green spaces, thoughtfully landscaped with trees, plants, and flowers.
We’re in a unique position to bring a little more colour back to our city centres, and it’s the perfect backdrop for outdoor socialising and relaxing all year round. Beyond simply being wonderful to look at, spending time in comfortable, thriving outdoor spaces offers established advantages for both mental and physical health.
So, spending time outside is good for us. But how can we preserve our local biodiversity? Yale Sustainability suggests:
- Supporting local farms
- Providing bees food and homes
- Planting local flowers, fruits and vegetables
- Taking shorter showers
- Respecting local habitats
- Knowing the source
For more information on the above click here!
Are the above all second nature to you, or do you feel like you could be greener? Let us know below.
Our goal is to make spaces that are both beautifully designed and also contribute to a more sustainable world. That’s why at Guild Living, we’re working hard to ensure that all of our buildings will have ZERO net release of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by 2030. To find out more about Guild Living’s journey to Net Zero click here.