Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few years you will be aware of climate change, either from the news, your local community or key industry figures such as Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough. Simply put, climate change is the long-term shift in average weather patterns across the world. Since the mid-1800s, humans have contributed to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the air. This causes global temperatures to rise, resulting in long-term changes to the climate.

The prospect of tackling climate change seems vast. Where do we start? Surely, it’s for the government to fix? How can my actions make any difference?… As Rosa Parks once said “One person can change the world” and your actions can have a big impact. We have put together 10 easy ways to make your life greener and in turn reduce your carbon footprint.

 

Love your leftovers

Watching any cookery programme or reading a recipe book you will see your favourite chefs taking about reusing your vegetable peelings, but that’s not where we need to make changes. Look at what you are throwing away. The milk poured down the sink and stale bread, the items we don’t think twice about throwing away, this should be your focus. Tear up bread to freeze for instant croutons, or whizz it into breadcrumbs for adding to, pastas and salads. There are some amazing chefs out there with some great ideas to make amazing meals out of store cupboard favourites. A couple of our favourites are ‘Nadiya Hussain – Time to Eat’ and ‘Ollie Hunter – 30 Easy Ways To Join The Food Revolution’. Find creative ways to use everything up; wasting food is down to a lack of imagination.

 

Plan or not to plan, that is the question

A lot of waste comes from doing big shops. We all know that it’s like, it’s pay day and we don’t think twice about loading our baskets with the two-for-one bargains and buying on repeat rather than planning meals. Meal planning sounds a lot more effort than it is. Any kind of planning sounds scary if you’re not the type who gets excited about lists and spreadsheets! But if you can beat the initial struggle to give it a go, you’ll soon realise how much easier it becomes when you don’t have to go through the age-old issue of ‘what have I got for dinner tonight!’ However there is no point planning and doing a weekly shop if you like to decide what you’re going to make for dinner on the journey home from work. If this is you shop in small increments but plan what you need, you’ll waste less this way, too.

 

Keep that food chain short, real short!

Thinking about food waste before it reaches your kitchen seems like an odd notion, but there is… and it’s a lot! Think about the humble carrot, it leaves the farmers field to be packed. Any carrots that don’t win the beauty contest because they are too big or too wonky get discarded. They are then taken to a wholesaler who then sell them onto the supermarkets. That carrot you are eating might have been flown from halfway round the world before it lands in your salad. The nutritional value of fruit and veg lasts for only a short time, so how far your food has travelled matters. We are not saying that you should start buying everything you need from your local farmers market, but what about setting yourself a challenge of buying 50% of your food grown within 30 miles of where you live? There are amazing retailers out there championing the produce grown right on your doorstep like Macknade who have just opened a new store at Elwick Place in Ashford – right opposite our Flagship Property. Now that is one short chain!

 

Minimise packaging

If you aren’t able to shop independent, most of the big supermarkets have now introduced a phone app that allows you to scan and pack your products as you go. Take your own containers to shops and go for the loose fruit and vegetables. If you are buying packaged food have a look to see where it comes from and try to choose the more local option. For example, raspberries from Scotland will have a lower carbon footprint than ones from Egypt, they may even if they have the same packaging. The most recyclable plastics are PET, found in drinks bottles and fruit punnets, and HDPE, in milk bottles and cereal box liners; so if you can’t avoid it, go for these, then reuse or recycle what you can.

 

You can never have enough house plants!

Turning your room into your very own jungle isn’t just a trend – it is a great way to create a calm & relaxing oasis for sleeping in. Plants not only filter toxins from the air, some plants also release oxygen at night giving you a better nights rest. Certain plants are best for certain rooms; sansevieria trifasciata commonly known as ‘Mother-in-law’s tongue’ gives off oxygen at night, which makes it best suited to the bedroom. Plants like peace lilies and boston ferns thrive in rooms with high humidity and can reduce the mould spores in the air, making them ideal for shower rooms. Want to know the best houseplants for you; check out our blog THE 5 BEST HOUSEPLANTS FOR YOUR BEDROOM

 

Look after your electrical appliances

Did you know that by simply cleaning and maintaining your appliances like laptops or mobiles, you will prolong its life? There are even companies out there like The Restart Project that help people learn how to repair their broken electronics, and rethink how they consume them in the first place. Restart runs a nationwide network of skill-sharing workshops. Having access to spare parts means that a large number of appliances can be refurbish and reused which has a huge carbon impact so it is always best to recycle any appliances. Not all charity shops accept electrical items, but to find he ones that do in your local area you can visit this website www.recycleyourelectricals.org.uk. These items are tested before being resold, which makes it a good place to purchase second hand electrical goods, too.

 

Eco Driving, it’s a thing!

Eco-driving refers to a range of driving techniques that can be employed to drive more efficiently and hence save on fuel bills and reduce your carbon footprint: smooth and anticipatory driving, ensuring that tyre pressure is at the right level, trip planning, using engine braking, to name only a few, leads to safer, cleaner and more affordable journeys. The RAC Foundation that regular vehicle maintenance improves fuel efficiency by as much as 10%. Before a long journey, always check tyre pressures – tyres underinflated by a quarter can cause a 2% increase in fuel consumption. Remove excess weight like unused roof racks and boxes, and don’t overload the car – every additional 45kg reduces fuel economy by 2%. At less than 40mph, it’s more fuel-efficient to open a window than use air conditioning. Avoiding sharp acceleration and heavy braking: aggressive driving can significantly raise fuel consumption.

 

It’s not second-hand, its vintage

Deciding to shop second-hand or ‘vintage’ is one of the easiest ways to shop sustainably, but while some fans will preach the benefits of rifling through racks of clothing in giant warehouses, this certainly is not for everyone. Panic not, there are other ways. Smaller stores with a specially collected selections may not offer quite the same bargain basement discount as the local car boot sale, but they can be less intimidating. Many of these independents also have websites so you can see their stock online. Have a look at Cow and Paper Dress Vintage.

 

Don’t just bin it, fix it!

You don’t have to be a contestant on the Great British Sewing Bee to be able to sew on a button! How many shirts and jackets have been relegated to the back of your wardrobe because they are missing a button? Sewing on a button is a simple skill that everyone should have. There are lots of online tutorials that will talk you through the steps, here’s one by environmental activist Wilson Oryema. If you are looking to get into Sewing and making your own garments, look in your local community. There will often be sewing wizards like Valerie Munford at Little Stitches who teaches everything from 1-2-1 to group classes.

 

Recycling isn’t just for the Kitchen

While 90% of us recycle our kitchen waste, we recycle only 50% of our beauty packaging. This might be because you didn’t know you can recycle these products or probably because our recycling bins are in the kitchen! Joseph Joseph makes a contemporary split waste / recycling bin for just £20. You can reduce what ends up inside further by switching to bar soaps and shampoos. We love the products by Faith in Nature which can be found online or at Boots.

 

So make a change, it could just be one or even all of these, but that change can only be for the better