Last week we shared a quote from Sir David Attenborough on our social media accounts. The number of people this reached and the number of reactions we received were so huge that we thought we’d write a blog on the subject of reducing waste. We hope you’ll find it helpful.
There has been a shift in the last few years in the way we are living and the way we treat the earth and Sir Attenborough credits this to today’s youth. He’s been warning us of the dangers of plastic in his documentaries for decades but it’s only since his Blue Planet series in 2017 that it seems we’ve started to take note and tried to reduce our waste.
At our two Sussex campsites we do what we can by staying off grid, using bucket showers and compost toilets to reduce water usage and only have eco friendly cleaning products and soap on site. Now what can we do on a personal level?
With inspirational young people like Greta Thunberg putting climate change in the spotlight, we’re thankfully being forced into taking responsibility for our actions and doing our best on an individual level to reduce waste. It’s not just plastic we’re wasting either. The UK alone throws away approximately 25 million slices of bread a day, and that’s not even including figures from retail stores. We’re also putting around £140 million worth of clothing into landfill each year. These details are utterly shocking.
But rather than dwelling on the negative, let’s see what we can do to make a change. Here are our tips for reducing waste, therefore reducing your carbon footprint and the impact we have on the earth.
1. Stop using plastic bags
Just stop. Pop a reusable bag into your backpack/handbag/car/by the front door and you’ll always have one on hand to use in the shops.
2. Reusable containers
Using jars for storage is not only trendy and neat but it also keeps your food fresh and lasting longer, therefore reducing waste. There are lots of refill stores popping up around the country too, utilise these and refill your jars and containers.
If you’re lucky enough to have the space for a compost then do it. Not only will it help the environment and reduce waste but it will also give you a great soil conditioner. Check out lesswaste.org for tips.
Don’t have space? Join a community compost scheme.
4. Repair rather than discard
Don’t just throw away old items and purchase new ones, repair them. Holes in clothes or broken shoe heels can easily be repaired. As well as old furniture and most other things in a normal household. Start off right by buying a higher quality item that will last longer.
5. Go paperless
Bank statements, magazines, subscriptions; there’s a whole list of things that we no longer need to receive through the post. Cancel these and get them digitally.
6. Buy Ebooks
On a similar trend to above. If you have a Kindle, use it. You’ll be saving trees, reducing paper consumption, saving the energy used in producing the book, no packaging will be used and no fuel will be used to transport the book to you. In addition they are usually cheaper so you’ll be saving money and reducing waste.
7. Make a meal plan
It will save time in the supermarket and will ensure you’ll spend less and reduce waste. It might also mix up your weekly meals and get you trying something new, as well as reducing stress when having to sort dinner on a busy evening. The Guardians guide on meal planning might help.
8. Stop using disposable plates and cutlery
We see this often at our campsites but there really is no need. Get yourself some reusable plates and cutlery and if you really have to get disposable then go eco friendly with these 100% compostable and biodegradeable plates.
9. Stop buying plastic water bottles
This is an easy one. Just stop. If you know you like to drink when you’re out and about, then carry a reusable water bottle with you. Download the refill app and you’ll know where you can refill locally too.
10. Reusable coffee mug
As above. It’s much nicer than drinking from paper or plastic anyway.
11. Freeze food
Roughly a third of the food produced in the world for human consumption is wasted. Save money by freezing food you know you won’t get round to eating. Freeze half the loaf of bread and have it as toast. You’ll save money, reduce waste and maybe even save and the planet.
12. Stop buying stuff
We are all consumers but we really don’t need most of the things we buy. Live a more minimalist life and stop buying new things you don’t need. If there is something you want, try to find it in a charity shop or on ebay first. Many local communities host clothes swap events, take advantage of these. Try a one month spend fast and see where you’re wasting money and making unneccessary purchases.
13. Shop local
Help local businesses by shopping with them. It’ll save on your travel miles, support the local community and ensure you don’t go overboard with your shopping. Walk to the shops, that way you can only buy what you can carry, therefore reducing your waste!
14. Go vegan
Not an easy one for everyone, but even just one meatfree day a week can make a huge impact. As well as helping your own health and giving you more nutrients, minerals and fibre you’ll be helping the planet.
|If 10 million people gave up meat one day a week the impact would be staggering:
With halloween just gone and Christmas around the corner it’s important we think about the waste produced from these holidays. Around 7 millions costumes are thrown away each year. Get creative and make something instead. Don’t have time? Use an old sheet and go Greek. Put on a nice dress and make a crown and wand from household items and you’re Glinda the good witch.
16. Borrow instead of buying
We see a number of tents thrown away or brand new ones that’ll never be used again. Similarly how many outfits have you bought for that one event? If you need something for a one time use or want to try something out and are not sure you’ll like it, borrow it instead! Ask friends and family to help reduce waste too and you can generally come up with someone willing to help.
17. Donate items you no longer need
Not only may this go to someone in need or contribute to a charity, it will give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside.
18. Beeswax wraps
There are many producers of these now and they are a great alternative to cling film. You can even make them yourself which can be a fun activity to do with the kids. Try using some old fabrics to reduce waste instead of buying new. We found this video helpful.
19. Repurpose items
Use an old toilet as a planter in the garden. Make a bench from old pallets. Turn old clothes into cushion covers. The possibilities are endless. See lots of ways to turn junk into treasure here.
20. Reduce dont just recycle
Recycling is amazing. Though it doesn’t tackle the problem we have of over consumption in our modern lifestyle.
We hope this has helped to give you some ideas on what you can do to help the environment. Remember, there are 27 million households in the UK, if every one of these made one small change the impacts would be monumental.