Easy ways to live more sustainably – part 1
Often, the climate crisis can feel remote and unsolvable alone. But there are tangible things that we, as individuals, can do each day to play our part in the battle to slow global warming. These changes are often small – may seem insignificant – but together, collectively, they have the power to make a positive impact.
Eat more plants
The good news is that lots of the sustainable changes we can make are beneficial for our health. An easy place to start is incorporating more fruit and veg into your diet. Numerous studies have underlined the fact that foods linked to improved health (whole grain cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts) have the smallest environmental impact.
Use your buying power wisely
Every time we spend money, we’re making a choice. Try to make that a green one wherever you can. This can mean boycotting unethical companies in favour of sustainable, independently owned ones. Or picking out organic, nature-friendly labelled products in the supermarket.
Minimise food waste
Food waste contributes to about 10% of the world’s CO2 emissions. In the UK, food waste accounts for 5% of all emissions annually, which is the equivalent of the emissions of almost 10 million cars. By bulk cooking and storing extra portions, being creative with leftovers and planning your meals for the week so that you only purchase what you need, you will reduce waste and save time and energy.
Turn off the plugs
How many energy vampires are lurking in your home? Even when appliances are switched off, they use energy. Save bills and the planet by switching off toasters, chargers, stereos, and kettles at the plug when they’re not in use. According to British Gas, up to 23% of a typical British home’s energy use could be made up of ‘vampire appliances’ – that equates to £453 of the average energy bill after the latest price cap.
Discover green apps
There are now apps to cater for our every green need, whether swapping books or snagging discounts on food nearing expiry.
Find cheap cafe/restaurant meals on Too Good To Go; share surplus food or tools with neighbours on Olio; discover where to recycle tricky items on iRecycle; rid yourself of junk mail with PaperKarma.
Wash clothes less and at a lower temperature
No one is suggesting you wear dirty clothes, but many of us are guilty of throwing clean clothes in the washing machine after one wear. By some estimates, 82% of the energy a garment uses is in its washing and drying. Items like trousers and jumpers can often be worn multiple times before washing. Plus, washing clothes less helps them last longer.
Draught-proof your home
Loose fittings are a major culprit when it comes to energy waste in the home because they let in cold air and allow heat to escape. Window and door frames, like skirting boards, should also be checked and sealed to save yourself £45 a year, the EST says, while draught-proofing an open chimney could save you another £65 annually. Inexpensive draught excluders are also recommended to stop warmth from escaping from beneath exterior doors and letterboxes.
Opt for green energy suppliers
Switch to an energy supplier with green credentials and power your home with renewable energy. Examples include Ecotricity, Good Energy and Octopus Energy are among the best. It’s often more economical, too.