Being disabled or living with a long term health condition doesn’t have to be a barrier to living an environmentally friendly life, as Sam Little demonstrates in this BBC article. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/disability-50170729. We can all resolve to try and be less wasteful. It will help us to save money as well as benefit our environment. Here are six mini-resolutions to get us going.
Waste less food
The average family of four wastes more than £60 worth of food a month, according to Love Food Hate Waste. The food and drink we waste, that could have been eaten (4.5 million tonnes) would fill:
- Eight Wembley stadiums (London, UK)
- 90 Royal Albert Halls
- 38 million wheelie bins (based on a standard 240l)
- 3,600 Olympic sized swimming pools
- 490,000 bin lorries/dustcarts
That’s a lot of waste, and when it goes to landfill it goes through a process of anaerobic digestion and gives off methane, a potent greenhouse gas far worse than CO2.
One easy way to reduce food waste, is to buy only what you need. Before you go shopping, check stock in your cupboards. Make a meal plan which uses up what you already have and write a shopping list for anything else you need. When you get to the shops, stick to the list and don’t be tempted to buy things you don’t need.
For more tips on how to reduce food waste join the Reduce Your Food Waste Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/reduceyourfoodwaste
Check your home energy use
Appliances can use energy even on standby, so where practical, turn things off at the wall when you have finished using them.
When you go in or out of a room, close the door to keep the heat in. Don’t forget to close curtains at night to keep the heat in and open them in the day while the sun is shining.
Energy can be saved by cooking full meals using the same heat source, rather than multiple ones, such as in a slow cooker or a saucepan and steamer. Shut fridge or freezer doors as quickly as possible so they don’t have to work harder to keep their cool. You can also warm up a home by adding insulation, double glazing and carpets or thick rugs (more tips in last month’s column). Remember to turn lights off when you leave a room.
Swap disposables for reusables
We use many disposable products in our daily lives. Disposable coffee cups, drinks in single use plastic bottles, sandwiches in plastic bags and clingfilm. Instead, get a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. Put sandwiches in reusable containers and use those containers to store other foods instead of using cling film to cover an open packet.
Borrow instead of buying
Get books or CDs from the library or see what you can borrow digitally. If you only need something for a one-off event such as clothes for a fancy event or a roof box for a staycation, perhaps you can borrow it from a friend or family member. This means things that may have only been used a few times will get more use out of them and reduce the need for new products.
Buy less clothes, take care of them, wear them often
We have so many unwanted clothes in the UK that around 80% of charity shop donations are sold to textile traders to be sold overseas. It is time to slow down fashion and wear the same things over and over again until they are worn out, instead of wearing them a few times and throwing them away or donating them.
Look for less packaging
Look for products with less or no packaging. You might be able to do this by buying products in larger sizes. For example, swap small individual portion sized cheeses for a large block, or small snack bags for homemade popcorn. You can also buy long life products in bulk bags like rice, which you could share with a friend or neighbour and keep your costs down.
If this has piqued your interest, there are many practical and online resources, including in Eastbourne, to help you keep some (if not all) of your New Year resolutions:
Zero Waste Eastbourne Zero Waste (zerowasteeastbourne.co.uk)
Directory of Zero Waste shops UK Directory of Zero Waste Shops – Eco Thrifty Living
Thank you to Zoë Morrison and Eco Thrifty Living for these tips.
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