We know the news is bit scary right now but it’s in everyone’s best interests if we stay home and do our part. Here are a few things you can do while at home to keep your spirits up and help the planet when we’re all back to normal!
Revamp that wardrobe
If you're thinking about having a spring clean, why not have a sort out first?
It’s estimated ‘£140 million worth of clothing goes into landfill each year’ – that’s a lot of unused fabric needlessly ending up in landfill. Let alone all the energy that goes into making these redundant garments. Scary, eh?
So what can we do about it? First of all buying second-hand rather than new is a great place to start. Support the circular economy (reuse, recycle) rather than the linea economy (make, use, dispose).
While you’re stuck indoors, why not download apps like Depop, Vinted and of course, eBay. Some of my most prized wardrobe items are from Depop - you can find some real unqiue and high quality items for cheaper than retail price.
I've definitely had the conversation with a couple of people who find it difficult to get over the thought of buying second. Washing items will bring them back to good as new and you can be happy in the knowledge you're helping the planet!
If you’re not one for selling online then why not start sorting for a car boot sale for when lock-down is over? After working in retail I had more than my fair share of unused clothing items and took half of my jam-packed wardrobe to charity and sold all the best bits at our local car boot sale, which made me £200.
As a side note, please remember that if you're buying off second-hand sites to message your sellers and tell them to hold on to your item until lock-down is over. This helps prevent the amounts of trips to the post office needlessly as well as reducing the demand for delivery vans on the road.
Conduct a trash audit
While you’re captive inside, why not start to log your daily habits?
We’ve all seen those picture perfect Instagram accounts with their years’ worth of rubbish in a mason jar but remember this doesn’t have to be you.
Start by documenting what can’t go in your recycling and compost, these are the tricky pain points that you can start to switch out over time.
Just like the godmother of zero waste, Bea Johnson, we find butter wrappers the trickiest. We also try and buy no plastic full stop, regardless of if it’s recyclable or not.
This is after conducting our own trash audit and finding the majority of our shop can easily be switched to non plastic alternatives. This isn't without the odd sacrifice (in particular greek yoghurt, crisps, Cadbury's choc etc.).
All plastic bottles/containers have a lifespan and can only be recycled a finite number of times, so we advise being mindful and seeing if you can find alternatives.
We understand that this might not be possible right away, but now is the perfect time to research local milkmen or services like Milk & More.
Don't stockpile bread, make your own!
Love the smell of fresh bread in the morning? Why not leave the panic buying of bread to everyone else and make your own?
We found the thing filling up our trash audit was bread wrappers. So since coming home from travelling we have been making our own bread. It’s actually very simple to make and the results are 100% worth it, plus no waste!
Blog post on making bread, including recipe and method, on its way.
Check your banks and energy providers
One for when the weather takes a turn for the worse (which will happen, this is the UK after all) look up your energy provider and where you keep your money!
This may sound a bit boring but this could be one of the biggest impacts on the environment you can make.
Let's start with banks. When you deposit money in an account, it may come as a surprise to you to know that your money doesn't just sit there waiting to be withdrawn. Your money is pooled with everyone elses and lent out or invested.
If everyone wanted to withdraw their money at the same time from a bank, the bank wouldn't have enough money to do this.
So where is your money? Well, it could be invested anywhere. From UK fracking sites to coal mines in South America.
For example, three big UK banks (HSBC, Barclays and RBS) have invested hundreds of millions in the company building the controversial Dakota pipeline.
Barclays is second, just behind the big US banks, in the leaderboard of fossil fuel funding. It's the worst bank in Europe in this respect.
It's all well and good emailing banks and asking them to stop funding climate destroying industries, but moving your money to more ethical banks is what would really make a difference.
Research ethical banks and get switching!
Switching energy providers is another easy and big impact move.
The average UK household could save over 1000kg of carbon annually by switching to a green provider.
100% renewable energy suppliers aren't the most expensive either. At the time of writing and based on 9000kWh usage, Symbio energy have been the cheapest energy provider in the UK since March 2019. They use 100% renewable energy.
So everyone in the UK could be saving money AND reducing their home carbon footprint. It's a no brainer.
Use a comparison website to see which deal is best for you and check if the supplier uses 100% renewable energy.
Check out what fuel mix your energy supplier used for 2019 here.
Tweet or write to MPs
We live in a democracy but how many of you feel like you have a say in big decisions? How many of you get frustrated with the lack of action in what you feel is important?
But how many people take action to combat this frustration?
MPs are there to put forward their constituents voices. Let your MP know what you are thinking, what's right and what's wrong in the world.
Twitter is a great platform for easily reaching MPs and one that they all use. Send them a tweet asking them what's being done about fly tipping in your area. Start the conversation on recycling and where your recycling gets sent. Ask them when your area will be carbon neutral, push for it to be earlier!
Have a little 'you' time
Yep we know, you’re supposed to be working but there will be a balance between working and down time. If you’re one of these brave souls not stuck behind a laptop and doing a damn good job of allowing the country to carry on then you deserve this even more!
Why not try a routine and make sure you’re taking time to recharge and disconnect from media hype and incessant Zoom meetings! Here are a list of things you can do to wind down and enjoy some self-care.
- Create a zero waste skin care routine from items in your cupboards - my favourite is bySedona Christina, check it out here
- Get back in the garden, revamp those boarders for summer
- Use up all those leftover veggies for a superpower stew or soup. Don't forget to use all the veggie offcuts to make stock cubes. Want to know how?
If there are little ones to take care of, why not try these low-impact ideas together?
- Take cuttings from your existing plants or plant seeds
- Create a DIY bird feeders - check out these ideas from the RSPB
- Spot the recyclable products! Teach kids the importance of recycling by going through your household recycling and teach them why it's so important. CBeebies has a whole blog post on recycling ideas for kids, which you can read here.
Stay safe everyone! Hopefully it won't be long until we're out and getting back to nature. If you have any other ideas please feel free to drop us a comment.
If you liked what you read, share on social media with your pals! We're all in this together.