Ten Top Tips for an Environmentally Friendly Life
We wrote in a previous blog post about how we've been on a journey towards living more simply, trying to live in an uncluttered way to allow us to focus on what’s most important. Along the journey we’ve also been trying to “tread lightly on the earth” – in other words, reducing the negative impact we have on the environment – and this desire is at the heart of Adventures In Yarncraft's business practices, from minimising wasted dye to choosing non-plastic packaging. Like with simplicity, sometimes we have done this better than others in our home life, and in a season of stretch you inevitably have to let some things drop in favour of simply surviving, picking them back up again when you’re able. However, below are some sustainable lifestyle changes we’ve made that may be helpful for you too, whatever stage you’re at in seeking to help the environment, whether you're a seasoned pro or a curious beginner. You may have heard these before, they’re not especially ground-breaking, but they’re mostly easy to do and can make a significant impact.
Reduce the waste
1. Use a reusable cup. Whether we like it or not, coffee is a big part of our lives! When we realised how many single use takeaway cups we were using, we invested in a couple of good quality reusable cups (many varieties are available) meaning we could enjoy a special treat without sending extra waste to landfill.
2. Use reusable straws. Similarly, when going out for a drink you may get given a straw and only use it once, maybe even not at all. Someone once gave us reusable metal straws for Christmas and we’ve used them loads, each time reducing plastic waste and providing a cool conversation starter. (You just have to remember to put them in your bag before you go out!)
3. Eat less meat. Largely due to the high levels of carbon emissions involved in meat production, I became a vegetarian a few years ago. For James, though, that seemed like a step too far, so instead he tried to cut meat out of his diet where he could. We cooked more vegetarian meals at home, and actually we found lots of delicious and varied meals that we wouldn’t otherwise have even considered making! It’s made us both better cooks and helped us have a healthier diet.
4. Buy gifts wisely. Instead of giving someone another thing to accumulate, why not consider gifting them an experience, or perhaps something delicious to eat or drink? Another option is gifting your loved one something that they can enjoy using and also enjoy when it’s finished – beautiful yarn is enjoyable to look at, enjoyable to use, and enjoyable to wear and treasure afterwards.
5. Buy loose fruit and veg. It usually doesn’t need to be wrapped in plastic, so choosing the alternative is a vote against waste.
Reuse what you do have
6. Give things a second life if you can. In our lives, jam jars become pots for mixing dyes in, and cardboard boxes from deliveries can become rockets, pirate ships, or houses.
Recycle as much of your waste as you can
7. Put the effort in to recycling properly. This could simply include washing out the pasta sauce jar thoroughly so it can go in the recycling, rather than throwing it straight in the bin for convenience. It could be taking recycling home to your own bin if there are no facilities at work. And, if products don’t have recyclable packaging, it could be considering an alternative.
8. Get a garden waste bin. This means less waste goes to landfill, and the fact that you’ve paid money for it helps you actually use it, meaning you spend more time in the fresh air which is good for your wellbeing.
9. Support businesses who are trying to operate ethically. You can have some positive impact on the planet by yourself, but by co-ordinating your efforts with others and supporting people that are already doing good things, you can have a bigger impact through little extra effort on your part.
10. Start small and do what you can! Our planet doesn’t need everyone to make huge changes that will be abandoned after a couple of months; rather, it needs us all to make small, manageable lifestyle adaptations that we can keep doing for years to come and pass on to the next generation.
-- Laura and James