As some of you may be aware, Thursday is Earth Day. In recognition of this, this week, I’ve decided to dedicate a post each day with information I have found inspirational or helpful. I’m a big believer in small changes can make a big difference.
This week’s Writer’s Quote Wednesday Writing Challenge topic is Nutrition or Nourishment. It seemed too good an opportunity not to combine them both. One of the best quotes.
Over the last few years, I have made small steps to change my habits for the better. Here are some simple things I have done:
- Rechargeable batteries: Almost every battery in my house is now replaced with rechargeable batteries. Simple, easy and will probably save you money in the long term. Actually, even the pound shop rechargeable ones are pretty good for stuff like tv remotes.
- Fold-up shopping bags: Obviously, we all know to take our own shopping bags with us, which I think most people do these days for a big shop. But what about when you just pop in somewhere for a quick shop (bread, milk or the emergency bottle of wine)? Fold-up shopping bags. You can buy these from Wilko. The fold-up ones are great to shove 1 or 2 in the glove box of your car for in case of emergency. They fold to about 6cm x 6cm so take up no room at all. Stops those emergency or excessive bag purchases.
- Meal Plan: This is probably one of my favourite things (fit’s my OCD habits nicely). I like to meal plan as much as possible. The UN Environment Programme’s Food Waste Index revealed that 17% of the food available to consumers – in shops, households and restaurants – goes directly into the bin. Some 60% of that waste is in the home. The 923 million tonnes of food being wasted each year would fill 23 million 40-tonne trucks. Bumper-to-bumper, enough to circle the Earth seven times. If it were a country, food waste would be the third-highest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world.
- My problem with meal plans is I like to do a big shop, then little top-up shops. Most meal plans are weekly, but I don’t have the time to generate one each week. So, I have created a monthly meal plan (attached). It’s fairly straightforward but basically, I write out my cupboard, fridge and freezer stocks. I write a list of favourite meal ideas. Combine the two. Write out the plan. Fill in the shopping list. Hey presto. Then each week I am only getting top-up shops; like bread, milk and fresh produce.
- Meat Free Monday: This is regarded as the easiest way to help save the world. I try to incorporate one meat-free meal a week into my food plan. Check out this website for your impact calculator. For those wondering how to get started, I highly recommend slow-cooked sweet potato and lentil curry, one of our favourites.
- Switch to the Slow Cooker: I try to use the slow-cooker at least once or twice a week (often the meals portions make it more than once meal also). Popular wisdom says that a slow cooker uses only as much energy as a light bulb. The numbers back the theory: seven hours of crockpot cooking uses 0.7 kilowatt-hours of energy, whereas baking the same meal in an electric oven for one hour uses 2.0 kWh. In terms of CO2, if a meal requires one hour to cook on an electric oven it uses 2.7 pounds of C02, whereas a crockpot uses 0.9 pounds of C02 for seven hours. The numbers vary depending on the source but all are in agreement Slow Cookers, save you time, money and energy. Check out this website for some more info.
- LED Bulbs: This one is obvious, and I think most people will now have changed all their normal lightbulbs for lamps etc. But every now and then we notice some additional bulbs we haven’t switched, such as the cooker extractor fan and kickboard lighting.
- Grow your own: Super simple and interesting to do with the kids. It’s amazing how much you can grow with very little effort. We started off a few years ago with crops in pots on our patio, we now have an allotment. Growing your own is so rewarding, relaxing and interesting. A water butt is a cheap way to collect rainwater too, for those (rare as they may be in the North East of England), dry spells.
- Switch Soaps: There are a lot of businesses now doing soap and shampoo bars. These tend to last a lot longer than plastic bottles and are often used with local and sustainable products. A friend of mine runs Soap out of the Garden (although there are probably companies more local to yourself). Her products are lovely, she uses all-natural products and avoids palm oils too. They also make lovely gifts.
- Tassimo Coffee Pods: I wrote to both Tassimo, my MP and my local council last year over concerns about the lack of recycling in the North East of England – yes I am that person now! Anyway, I was delighted to be informed recently that Tassimo has introduced a free return service meaning they are now recyclable… called PODBACK. Tassimo is already quite a clever little machine, it reads each cartridge individually, knows exactly how much water is needed, how long it takes to brew your drink and the optimal temperature. This way, it only uses the minimum amount of water and energy, no waste. Now the pods are easy to return to be recycled.
I’m sure there are many, many more but those are the ones springing to the top of my mind now. Is there any you can think of?