For her local project, Cohort 4 BGFer Rose decided to write a series of articles for a local magazine about how everyone can help contribute to tackling the #climatecrisis by making informed personal changes and choices. Here are her first 3 articles:
#1 - Small changes...
My name is Rose and I am part of the Bright Green Future programme. Following on from the Go Green article in January I am going to be doing some monthly articles giving you tips and tricks to help you make your homes and lives more environmentally friendly. As you may well know, the climate crisis is a big one and we are already seeing the devastating impacts that our actions are having on our world. The good news is we have the power to change it; and we can.
Many people turn to striking to make their points heard, but this is not always the best method, and it can be counterproductive. I believe that if we all do small things at home and in our communities, we really will make a noticeable difference, but only if we all do it. I will be giving you ideas for how to make your kitchen, bathroom and holidays more eco-friendly and how to combat food waste and the plastic problem. For example: you could use bars of soap rather than plastic bottles of shower gel, you could grow your own vegetables even if you only have a windowsill or reduce your meat intake by going vegetarian one day a week. Of course, no-one can do everything, but small changes add up. I ask you to read my upcoming articles with an open mind, if nothing else and maybe try one little sustainable change in 2020.
#2 - The Kitchen
Many supermarkets now sell reusable “bags for life” and there is a 5p ban on plastic bags. Plastic bags take 500 to 1000 years to break down, so make it a habit to take a reusable bag with you wherever you go – you can get some really good foldable ones. You could also carry a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. Whenever you get tuppaware boxes from takeaways or other places, keep them and reuse them for left over meals or to take lunch to work in. You could also take your own boxes when you go to collect takeaways. If you find that a lot of food items you buy are packaged in excessive plastic, then consider shopping at local, independent shops. They are brilliant places to get loose fruit and vegetables and fresh meat/fish wrapped in paper. Easiest of all is to pick up the loose vegetables in the supermarket and put them in a reusable bag.
Try to buy foods such as dried pasta, pulses, grains, beans and dried fruit in bulk – this will also be cheaper. You can also buy washing up liquid and detergent in bulk. Try to avoid unrecyclable plastic, such as Styrofoam, polystyrene and PVC and choose tea bags that say “plastic free” on the label. Lastly, you could use any veg that is past its best to make an easy pasta sauce. The UK throws away £13b of food each year so try to only buy food you really need.
#3 - The Bathroom
The bathroom is a great place to reduce waste. Firstly, you can buy bars of soap, shampoo, conditioner and lotion, avoiding plastic packaging. You could also use bamboo toothbrushes, earbuds and razors, making sure the bamboo is sustainable sourced. Reusable, washable make-up remover pads are a good alternative to disposable ones and more economic in the long run and silk floss is biodegradable and works just as well. You can buy zero waste deodorant, but it is much cheaper to DIY your own. Cleaning products can be purchased in refillable bottles or you can make you own multipurpose cleaner using everyday items such as bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.
To save water, the easiest thing to do is to take a shower instead of a bath. That’s not to say you can’t have a nice bath occasionally, but showers use considerably less water. Even just filling your bath with a little less water each time you have one will make a significant cumulative difference. Also, turning off the tap while you shave and brush your teeth can save 10 and 8 gallons of water per day respectively - which is an amazing amount. Make sure to fix leaky taps and faucets as soon as possible as these really waste an incredible amount of water when left.
There are so many ways you can reduce your impact on the environment in the bathroom so hopefully, one or two of these ideas may be an option for you.