8 Ways to Live a Little More Environmentally Friendly this Year
Updated: Feb 17
1. Reusable Bamboo or Metal Lunch Boxes and Cups
You might be using plastic food containers or lunch boxes thinking 'That's it! I'm winning at this Sustainable Living', but let me tell you something . . . you aren't on the wrong path, but you can do better.
Have you ever heard of BPA?
Most of plastic bottles and boxes these days claim to be BPA free, but unfortunately that doesn't mean that does not guarantee the product will not leach the chemicals used in the plastic production. it's actually been found that over 90% of products tested (many of which were BPA free baby bottles and plastic food containers) leached chemicals that can act as endocrine disruptors, just like BPA.
I highly recommend avoiding all plastic used for food and drink purposes. Stainless steel is considered one of the safest materials to use with food and drinks, and switching your lunchboxes to a stainless steel lunchbox is the safest option. But don’t stop there! Using stainless steel water bottles is also one of the best alternatives to plastic bottles, they are unbreakable just like plastic but are naturally BPA free so will not leach any nasty toxins into your drink.
Check out some of my favourites here: (Click on the photos to purchase them)
2. Buying fruits and vegetables without packaging
Many grocery stores pre-package their fruit and vegetables in plastic, and offer plastic bags for loose items.
Buying plastic-wrapped or packaged fruits and vegetables can be convenient, but unfortunately it creates plastic waste. Instead, look out for loose fruit and vegetables in your local grocery store, or head to a farmers market or organic store where plastic packaging is less often used.
Bringing your own reusable bags and saying no to plastic bags can be a real game changer. You won't only reduce reduces the pressure on recycling systems, but you can also help save plastic bags from entering our oceans and landfill where they break up into tiny micro plastics and remain forever.
I personally love these reusable produce bags that I usually store root vegetables in or fruits & nuts. So much better than storing them in a plastic bag, because these Produce Bags are see through and allow vegetable and fruits to breathe and easy to find.
The second one is an amazing idea for Mother's Day!
3. Eat locally
Eating locally first means choosing food that is grown and harvested close to where you live, and then distributed over shorter distances than is usually the case.
Eating local means less waste and pollution. Why?
Shorter distribution chains which means less food is wasted in distribution, warehousing and merchandising and less distance traveled from the grower to the market, therefore using less fuel and generating fewer greenhouse gases.
One of my favourite places to shop at in Coventry is Down to Earth, in Earlsdon. They offer fresh organic and locally produced vegetables and fruits. Their local box scheme includes free home delivery of seasonal goods and prices start at £12.
You can also purchase a lot of loose product such ad rolled oats, pasta, lentils, nuts and seeds . . . just bring your own containers, fill them up and you're good to go!
4. Drink from the tap and use a Water Filter
Using water filters to filter tap water is much cheaper than buying bottled water, which is also not eco-friendly, due to the bottles’ plastic production. Funnily enough, most bottled water actually comes from tap water, so you are really just paying for the plastic. Through purchasing a professional water filter, you will be saving yourself lots of money and you will be drinking higher quality water that has been filtered accordingly.
My family and therefore myself as well have been using Brita Filters for many years now . . . We don't drink any other water (unless necessary) but filtered water with Brita Filter.
It makes the water taste so much better by removing all the impurities and it's better for your skin hydration, nutrition absorption, weight loss and overall digestion.
Click on the image to buy your own and start drinking better water!
5. Ditch Fast Fashion
Fast Fashion companies like Zara and H&M, Old Navy, introduce new styles as often as every two weeks. Practically as soon as photos from fashion week go up online, there’s an immediate chain reaction of fast fashion stores rushing to duplicate the trend. How do they do it? By subcontracting manufacturing overseas to the lowest bidder — generally in countries that already have some of the leanest production costs on earth. Rather than having long-term relationships with the factories, companies are comfortable with abrupt break-ups — so if they want something faster, the factories have to keep up or lose their contracts.
“Buying clothing, and treating it as if it is disposable, is putting a huge added weight on the environment and is simply unsustainable,” says Elizabeth L. Cline, author of Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion. In her book, Cline documents the numerous tolls that textile manufacturing takes on the earth.
There's so much textile on the planet at this point that even donations go into textile recyclers sometimes and this is all because we are constantly getting rid of our barely used pieces of clothing, trying to keep up with fast fashion.
My favourite thing to do when I buy clothes is to research the company I'm buying fro and ask myself #WhoMadeMyClothes.
Buying less, but better, for example instead of buying three top each for £10 buy one for £30 and just make sure it's better quality so that you get more use out of it.
Ethical fashion often does cost more; this reflects the true cost of using materials that are less damaging to the planet, made in factories that are safe to work in, have better eco-credentials and pay fairer wages to their employees. But, it doesn’t have to cost a crazy amount more.
Shopping in charity shops and thrift stores saved me so m much money and sometimes I find amazing pieces for a significantly lower price.
Great online sustainable fashion shops include Know The Origin, Komodo, Vildnis, and Gather & See. Apparently, every time you buy from a small, ethical brand someone does a happy dance. I like to believe this is true.
6. Zero Waste Bathrooms
The bathroom may be the smallest room in the house but man-oh-man can it be wasteful! The average woman puts on 12 products in the morning before she leaves the house, but we typically have a lot more in our cabinets, under our sinks, and in the shower.
One good practice to control this is the one-in-one-out, which forces you to not to bring a new product in until you have actually ran out of it.
Here's a list of some of my favourite products to use in the bathroom in order to reduce waste, they're quite simple swaps.
7. Reduce Plastic in your Kitchen
One of my favourite things to do in the kitchen in order to generate less plastic waste was (and it's so easy, my mom still does this) using plates to cover food containers. This won't only help you reduce your use of cling film and save you money, but make it so much faster and easier to store food.
Buying in bulk is another good practice when it comes to reducing waste. Take advantage of the bulk bins for things like nuts, seeds, dried beans and legumes, rice, grains, and snacks. Some stores even sell spices, olive oil, and baking staples like flour and sugar in bulk bins. Shopping from the bulk bins minimizes packaging waste, and you can also take it a step further by bringing your own bags.
One of the best places to practice this around Coventry is actually not so much Coventry, but more Leamington Spa. It's the Core, an Organic, Ethical, Plastic-free store, selling goods that are all earth friendly. I also love the donation based coffee space here, where you pay for what you think your drink was worth. There's no prices, it's all left to good humanity. Love that!
They're located on 45 Park St, Leamington Spa CV32 4QN. Give this place a visit and don't forget to bring your own bags and jars.
Their instagram is @coreleamington
Another good one is Zero Store, this time in Coventry as well, selling amazing waste free products. They sell awesome plastic free cleaning aids from Ecococonut and LoofCo and they're home to Fill Co- amazing eco-friendly (and affordable!) cleaning products in the COOLEST refillable glass bottles.
Alongside all of these planet friendly cleaning products you will find a huge range of dried goods, all to fill up your kitchen with! Don’t forget to bring your containers!
Their locations are the following:
Main Store: 41 Russell Street, Leamington Spa, CV32 5QB
Harbury Supermarket & Post Office, 1 Mill St, Harbury, LEAMINGTON SPA, CV33 9HR
The Green Unicorn Store, Fargo Village, Far Gosford Street, COVENTRY CV1 5ED
8. Get your food delivered
Home grocery delivery sounds like a frill for people too lazy to schlep to the store. But having food delivered can be more environmentally friendly than driving to the store, researchers say.
Having groceries delivered can cut carbon dioxide emissions by at least half, compared to driving to the store, according to a new study. That's because the delivery truck offers the equivalent of a "shared ride" for the food.
Knowing that home delivery reduces greenhouse gas emissions may make it feel virtuous rather than indulgent.