Tackling the challenge of being more ecofriendly can seem a daunting task and the question of ‘where to begin’ often puts people off. But there are lots of easy changes we can make to our lives which, combined can have a big impact. Here are our top 12 ecofriendly living tips.
1. Turn off appliances
This is a nice easy one to start with and you probably won’t even notice much of a difference to your lifestyle. Energy conservation is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. Leaving electricals on standby uses unecessary energy. Turning everything off means you reduce the energy consumption…and you may notice a difference in your bills too
2. Adopt the ‘Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot’ mantra
Start with ‘Refuse’. The next time you are about to purchase something, just take a second to think about whether you actually need it. This could be a simple purchase, like a chocolate bar, or something more significant. Sometimes, the answer will be ‘yes’, and that’s ok, but there will be times when that extra bit of thought could avoid the creation of unecessary waste.
3. Switch to energy efficient technologies
This doesn’t mean immediately throwing away any old, inefficient appliances you have. Rather, when it comes to replacing something, make sure to include it’s energy efficiency rating in your considerations. It will not only save energy, but could end up saving you money too.
4. Eat less meat
Did you know that meat and other animal products are responsible for more than half of food-related greenhouse gas emissions, despite providing only a fifth of the calories we eat and drink? This is according to a major report by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
By reducing the amount of meat you eat you can also then focus on buying higher quality, better welfare, locally sourced meat. Langtons Farm have recently started offering some amazing organic standard chicken (by far the best we’ve ever tasted). These birds are truly cared for and given plenty of access to outside space and regularly moved around to help fertilise the soil at their regenerative agriculture farm just outside Crickhowell.
5. Don’t waste food
Did you know that 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted every year in the UK? This amounts to more than £19 billion of food. Not all of this is within our control, some food is discarded before we get a shot at it due to it being the wrong size or shape. All food production causes carbon emissions and, when it is discarded, particularly if it goes to landfill, the carbon footprint is astounding. If global food waste was a country, it would be the third highest emitter of carbon in the world.
So before you head out for a food shop, check the fridge and the cupboard so you don’t buy things you already have. I always make a list too so I know what I need. Shopping at places that let you buy food loose (like Natural Weigh) also helps as you only buy what you need and don’t get drawn into ‘buy one get one free offers’.
6. Have a go at composting
Back to our ‘Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, repair, rot’ mantra and following on from food waste….composting is the most ecofriendly way to deal with any unavoidable food waste. If you have any green space at all, it is worth getting yourself set up to compost. You can create a great natural fertiliser for your garden and, if you do it properly, you can reduce build up of harmful greenhouse gases. Plus it is so satisfying!
If you are short on space, you could try a bokashi bin. These speed up the process. We have been using one for over a year. Check out their website for more information.
This might not be as easy as you think but, with a bit of effort, most things in your bin are probably recyclable.
First off, check on your local council website to see what you can recycle at the kerbside. This is the easiest way for all of us to get our waste recycled. Next, check out what other recycling facilities are nearby. Terracycle are a great place to start. They have a map with the various collection points for different hard to recycle materials. If there isn’t one near you, you could consider setting one up.
Don’t forget, we are a collection point for all your waste stretchy plastics. These get collected by Capital Valley Plastics and turned into damp proof courses locally in Pontypool.
8. Fix it
Repairing broken goods is a bit old fashioned but is something we need, as a society, to be doing more of. Repairing can be a bit daunting, especially if you have never done it before, but fear not, help is at hand.
Repair Cafés are free meeting places and they’re all about repairing things (together). In the place where a Repair Café is located, you’ll find tools and materials to help you make any repairs you need. On clothes, furniture, electrical appliances, bicycles, crockery, appliances, toys, et cetera. You’ll also find expert volunteers, with repair skills in all kinds of fields. In 2019, Repair cafes prevented 420,000 kilos of waste! Check out their website to find your nearest one
9. Don’t drive
If you can make a journey but foot, bike or public transport then do it. Driving can really add to your carbon footprint. 10 miles in an average petrol car emits around 3 kilos of carbon into the atmosphere.
10. Buy local
From clothes to food, the closer to home you can buy these products, the less travelling they are doing. And buying local doesn’t just mean the shop premises. Choosing locally grown or made products cuts down on the miles travelled and therefore the carbon emissions produced by goods.
11. Grow your own
Aside from any environmental benefits, there are few things more satisfying than harvesting food you have grown yourself. Growing food plants at home massively cuts down the carbon emissions and packaging from that food too and, let’s face it, it tastes great.
If you’re short on space, choose things you know you enjoy eating and which you struggle to get locally. I always grow tomatoes because I eat so many but a variety of different crops will keep your harvesting going for longer. Even if you have a tiny garden, you can still make some of it into a small vegetable patch. Alternatively, you could use windowsills which creates a lovely indoor green space.
12. Plant trees
Without a stable ecosystem, all sorts of things start to fall apart. By planting native trees to replace those felled does wonders for the natural environment. Trees also improve air quality and wellbeing so they are good for us too.
If, like most of us, you don’t have space to plant trees in your garden, you can support local tree planting iniatives. We love Stump up for Trees, which aims to plant 1 million trees across the Brecon Beacons. We donate all the money from sales of our paper bags to this project. You can choose to contribute too. When you have filled a Natural Weigh loyalty card you can choose to plant a tree instead of redeeming it for £3. We also sell lovely cards, proceeds of which all go to this wonderful project. Easy peasy
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our ecofriendly living tips. We would love to hear any others you have too 🙂