At the beginning of a new year, we all feel the need to better our lives, in many different ways. We promise ourselves to do more exercise, drink and eat less, be nicer to our children and save more money. This doesn’t last very long in my household and by January 10th I will have a huge glass of wine in my hand, while watching Netflix in my jarmies eating Biscoff biscuits, screaming at my annoying teenagers, while looking at the ASOS sale online….
So, I say, let’s not set ourselves unachievable goals and look towards greener resolutions instead. Not just to benefit us but to benefit the world.
Go meatless (Mondays and more!)
Lots of us do Veganuary in January and even more of us have meat-free Mondays. One of the chief contributors to climate change is meat production. Resource-intensive animal-based foods carry a higher carbon footprint than plant-based foods and account for approximately one-quarter of global
greenhouse gas emissions.
Start with Meatless Mondays, but try to make this year the one where you significantly reduce your meat consumption. Try substituting meat with nutritious, local, organically grown plants including fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. Give it a go, vegetarianism isn’t just for the hippies!
Eat your leftovers!
Food waste isn’t just wasteful, it’s also an enormous contributor to climate change. Instead of throwing away uneaten food, store, freeze or re-purpose food for future meals. So, make the effort not to buy or cook too much food so it ends up in the food caddy or out of date. Leftovers should be decanted into your own fridge/freezer containers or into empty pasta sauce/soup/mayonnaise jars or use the beeswax wraps to seal over a bowl or plate. Good meals to create from leftovers are stir-fries, soups, pasta sauces and omelettes.
Tumble dryers are one of the most energy-intensive appliances in your home.
Obviously in the warmer months, line drying is the key and nothing smells yummier than bedding that has dried in the sun on a summer’s day.
During wet and chilly weather, go old school and get your clothes rack out of the cupboard. If you don’t have one, there are some lovely wooden or bamboo racks on the market. Place the rack near a window or a radiator and make sure the clothes aren’t touching each other so they can dry efficiently.
My tumble dryer died years ago and I’ve never replaced it, instead opting for an electric heated clothes rack. It is still using power but in relation to a dryer, it doesn’t compare.
Ditch the disposables
I think we are all pretty well-versed in this by now, but make sure that you don’t ever use single-use disposable items: straws, Styrofoam, coffee cups, coffee pods, plastic water bottles, disposable snack bags and plastic supermarket bags….the list is sadly endless. If you resolve to be single-use free, you WILL make a difference!
Ditch the toxic chemical cleaners
Keep your cleaning green by eliminating, or at least minimizing the use of cleaning products with toxic ingredients that are harmful to you, your loved ones and the planet. There are loads of products on the market to choose from but, obviously Unpckd is your one stop shop for all green household stuff!
Reuse, Repair, Repurpose instead of buying new
One of the most impactful ways to make 2021 a green new year is to reuse, repair and repurpose what you already own before making new purchases. It’s also a brilliant way to keep expenses to a minimum.
- Tear up old sheets and towels and reuse them for all types of cleaning jobs.
- As I mentioned above, reuse empty jars and bottles, big or small, for all kinds of storage needs.
- Reuse your one-sided printer paper. There’s nothing wrong with the other side!
- Repair cafes. I know we have one in Hitchin, so take your broken toaster, printer etc to the community volunteer team and they will try their damndest to fix it!
- Before you throw unwanted items in the bin, see if you can donate or sell them.
Leave the car at home
When possible, leave the car at home and walk or bike to your destination. You’ll get some exercise, enjoy the outdoors and reduce your carbon footprint in the process. When it is safe and healthy to do so, take public transportation. You’ll save on fuel and the planet will thank you for reduced car emissions.
Perhaps rethink that 2 week holiday in Turkey you were planning for when all this nonsense is over and opt for a staycation instead, thus reducing your carbon foot-print and boosting home grown businesses too!