How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More ‘Green’

Would you like to find out more about living a more eco- friendly sustainable lifestyle? Are you looking for tips on Green Living so you can be more environmentally friendly? Then this post is for you! Read about my top tips for green living and overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

I have talked alot about green living previously and regularly discuss ways that we can all help to protect our environment. But more often I cover specific aspects in-depth, therefore I thought it would be useful to pull it altogether into a post about my top tips for green living. So here is an overview of different ways you can live more sustainably…

Background image of wind turbines with title How To Live More Sustainably: My Top Tips On Easy Ways To Become More 'Green'

Go Electric

Have you thought about buying an electric car? There are many factors when choosing a car generally of course and some specific considerations when it comes to choosing an electric car. One of the biggest concerns – aside from the retail price, which is in the longer term offset by the low running costs and also is dropping dramatically as they become more common anyway – is the availability of chargepoints. However, as electric cars grow hugely in popularity, the distribution of chargepoints has become far more widespread. You can also get a NewMotion chargepoint to charge your vehicle safely at home too.

Electric car at charging station

Home

From a full renovation to simply changing a light bulb, there are lots of ways you can make your home more eco-friendly. Using LED lightbulbs, changing your shower head and toilet flush to low-flow and turning your water temperature down on your boiler are all fairly cheap and easy minor changes you can make. When it comes to buying new appliances, choose environmentally- friendly models with high energy efficiency ratings. Also opt for eco-friendly, ideally natural, products to clean your home so there are no nasty chemicals!

Switch To Clean Energy

I mentioned above switching away from fossil fuels in the context of vehicles; the same applies to your home. Install solar panels if you can or switch your supplier to a green energy company.

Zero Waste: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse (then Recycle)

The term zero waste sounds daunting I admit! But really the aim is simple – to reduce the amount of rubbish you create. Especially waste that ends up in landfill in particular. Key elements for achieving this are actually quite straightforward:

  • Refuse single- use plastics, especially ‘the big four’ (straws, bags, cups and bottles).
  • Reduce your waste by trying to choose items that have less packaging, especially plastic, when shopping generally. Try to reduce your amount of food waste too.
  • Reuse items. Invest in reusable bags, straws, coffee cups and bottles. Use long-lasting reusable containers to store food too.
  • Recycle as much as possible of whatever rubbish you do create. Don’t throw anything into the landfill bin that doesn’t belong there!

And an extra point on this subject…

  • Upcycle and Repair. Try to mend before discarding things. Upcycle old furniture and other items if possible. If you have any household items, toys, clothes etc… that you have finished using yourself, pass them onto someone else to use.

Graphic of bottle, bag, straw and cup with caption 'I will say no to plastic's big 4'

    Slow Fashion

    Fashion has alot to answer for in terms of environmental impact. With ever changing trends, there is a high consumer demand for cheap fashionable clothing. The problem is, this throwaway fast fashion culture has a high price on the environment. Make a capsule wardrobe with high quality pieces made from natural materials your new latest trend instead.

    Reduce Meat Intake

    Whilst not everyone necessarily has any desire to become vegetarian, or vegan, a plant based diet is better for the environment. Even reducing your meat intake by having just one meat-free day per week is a step toward living a more sustainable life.

    Picture of a delicious healthy vegetarian meal.

    What are your top tips for living a more sustainable life?

    *Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

    8 Tips for Taking an Eco-Friendly Vacation (Guest Post by Samara at Tiny Fry)

    What is Eco-Friendly Tourism?

    Trends come and go, but here’s one we hope will stay: eco-friendly travel!

    What does this actually mean? Well, the terms “eco-friendly” and “sustainable” are often used interchangeably, although it’s possible to be eco-friendly without being sustainable. However, for the purpose of this article, we’ll be using both terms to mean a form of travel that does not negatively impact the natural environment or culture.

    Why Should I Do It?

    Choosing an eco-friendly vacation means you’re in for a unique adventure, experiencing a place through an authentic lens. You’ll enjoy places without the slick tourist spiel, and learn what really goes on in a community. What’s more, you’re helping locals. For example, you can show your support by shopping locally and choosing activities that won’t harm the environment.

    A picture of someone hiking through the countryside with a camera in hand.

    How Should I Do It?
    Planning an eco-friendly vacation requires some research and preparation. Here are 8 tips to get you on your way…

    1. If You Travel by Air

    Obviously, taking a plane isn’t “green” but if it’s your only option, search for direct flights that require less fuel than ones with stopovers. Once you reach your destination, you can walk, ride a bike, or rely on public transportation to get you where you need to go.

    2. If You Travel by Car

    Choosing an energy-efficient vehicle can reduce emissions by up to 50%. Make sure the car is in good shape and as efficient as possible (for example, clean the air filter, fill the tires). Pack only what you’ll need (lighter cars are more fuel efficient!) and plan your route before you go so there’s less of a chance you’ll get lost and waste both fuel and time.

    A photo taken from the inside of a car. Out of the windscreen there is a view of mountains.

    3. If You Camp

    Camping is probably the “greenest” option and also may be the most cost-efficient. That said, it does require some careful packing. You’ll want to be as self-sufficient as possible and carry the essentials with you: your own water bottle, snacks, toiletries, and utensils (disposable cups and utensils are wasteful). If you’re traveling with kids and plan to hike or bike, assume you need to bring your own gear (bikes, strollers etc…)

    A picture of a tent and sunrise scene.

    4. If You Prefer a Hotel

    Sustainable hotels are popping up in major cities and towns. What to look for: low-energy light bulbs, non-toxic fabrics, non-toxic cleaning supplies, recycling programs, bikes for guests, locally sourced menus and a green certification from a bonafide agency. If possible, green hotels should be built and furnished with reclaimed or renewable resources and they should definitely employ locals. Another tip: ask if the hotel has a volunteer program that allows you to get directly involved in the community (for example, plant trees or work in a garden).

    5. If You Hire a Guide

    Rather than joining an exclusive tour group, hire a local guide. Certainly, a guide who lives in the area has more invested in the surroundings than a company that’s only interested in making a profit off of your trip. The best guides promote ethical practices, explain how to support the community, respect the natural habitat, plus show off the most authentic and “behind the scene” spots!

    6. If You Book an Experience

    There’s so much to get excited about when travelling to a new place that it’s easy to overlook stuff. Overall, you never want to be disruptive or disrespectful when playing the role of tourist in any community. What’s more, if you want to get up close and personal with the wildlife, make sure you aren’t in any way harming or disturbing the creatures or their habitats.

    A photo of someone taking a photo of a beautiful canyon.

    7. If You Buy a Souvenir

    Double check that your souvenir of choice is 100% ethical. For example, you don’t want to take home anything that may have come from an endangered species or was made with enforced labour.

    8. If You Want to Make an Impression

    Be mindful of what you leave behind! Don’t mess with your surroundings and pick up your trash wherever you go. The goal of eco-travel is to make only a positive impact on the area; in other words, leaving behind nothing but some dollars for the local businesses and a tremendous amount of good will!

    The Evolution of Travel

    Eco travel has been a hot vacation option for some time now and it’s growing in popularity. It’s easy to see why. Traveling responsibly is as good for the tourist as it is for the host.

    It offers an authentic, educational, and inspiring look at an unfamiliar territory while supporting and promoting local resources. By booking a sustainable vacation, you’ll be doing your part to ensure that vacation areas will be protected for the next generation of travellers.

    A photo of Samara and her family.

    Author Bio

    Samara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not busy trying to mold her two kids into functional, contributing members of society, she can usually be found enjoying a glass of wine (or three), or eating ice cream straight out of the container. You can find her blogging over at Tiny Fry.

    Shayna EcoUnified: Turning Plastic Waste Into Useful Architectural Tiles

    Shayna EcoUnified is an innovative company that uses new technology to help tackle plastic pollution in the environment, by turning plastic waste into affordable yet high performance structural materials, in the form of tiles and blocks. 

    A picture of the floor and wall tiles in a range of colours piled up with Shayna EcoUnified logo in the bottom corner of the image.
    Floor & wall tiles available in different colours.

    About The Company

    Shayna EcoUnified are the first and only company in India and SAARC countries to have the technology to produce these. This has been achieved in collaboration with the Council of Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR)- National Physical Laboratory’s (NPL), with whom this technology was developed, tested and certified for usage in multiple applications.

    About The Product

    The products have a range of qualities that have been successfully tested. For starters, they are incredibly durable; they are weather and heat resistant, acid and corrosion resistant, and chip resistant too. They are also hygenic, since they are both anti-bacterial and anti- microbial. Last but not least they are practical; they have anti- static and anti- skiding properties, and are ready to use with no drying required.

    In summary, they offer better structural stability at a lower cost compared to conventional materials, as well as protecting the environment from plastic dumping. For example, 600 waste plastic bags are used to make one 12″ x 12″ tile weighing 900g. Each tile costs less than ‎£1.

    Uses

    The tiles have a range of uses such as wall and floor tiles, pavement tiles and structures such as public toilets, shelters, park benches and guard rooms. They have recently been able to produce a prototype of a roof tile and will be starting the production of it in a few months.

    An image of the prototype of a roof tile with Shayna EcoUnified logo on the bottom corner of the picture
    Prototype of a roof tile.

    Process

    The entire process of production is 100 per cent eco- friendly. The types of waste plastic that will serve as the raw materials are PP (Polyproplyene), LDPE (Low density polythene), and HDPE (High density polythene). It will be processed at a controlled temperature to ensure no hazardous gases are emitted. Furthermore, all the stages of production is largely mechanical, further ensuring a safe and healthy environment.

    Ethics

    Shayna EcoUnified are about to start fully fledged production in the next few weeks. The prototypes have been made by daily wage workers who they are hiring on full- time basis starting next month. The production site is adequately sized, the machine-run production area is covered, whilst the rest is open and full of greenery.

    There are essential facilities provided on-site for labours, and filtered drinking water supply maintained. Health and safety measures are currently being installed. Also, they will be conducting training and capacity building sessions for women.

    An image of three different colour interlocking tiles used for pavements. Shayna EcoUnified logo on bottom corner of image.
    Interlocking tiles which are used for pavements.

    Distribution

    Once they become established in the Indian domestic market and are able to deliver maximum output, they plan to sell the product in other countries as well.

    Find out more about Shayna EcoUnified on their website, twitter or facebook.

    Eco- Friendly Gift Ideas (Gift Guide With Giveaway)

    Do you want to find a gift with a difference? Then why not choose something that helps our planet! Here is a list of eco-friendly items to fill your (bamboo) stockings with…

    Collage of all items featured in gift guide. Title written in centre.

    Bamboo Coffee Cup Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) £12 each

    This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.

    A picture of SAS bamboo reusable coffee cups (boxed and stacked 3 x 2) in 6 different colours.

    Annual Memberships

    The Wildlife Trusts
    The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a lovely gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.

    Wildlife Matters magazine and Go Wild leaflet by The Wildlife Trusts

    Surfers Against Sewage
    SAS works tirelessly to campaign for cleaner environments and supports the development of sustainable communities. Membership to this charity makes a great gift!

    Image of SAS Pipeline journal

    Homemade Soap Gift Set Living Naturally Cost: £26

    This beautiful Soapnut Soap Selection Set is handmade in the UK from 100% natural, organic, vegan, sustainable, ethically-sourced & cruelty-free ingredients! They only use recycled/recyclable paper packaging, so you will not be contributing to landfill either.

    A set of 7 beautiful vegan, eco, ethical, natural handmade soaps.

    Salad Kit The Crop Club £30

    These ‘grow your own’ kits are perfect for even small spaces and do their bit for the environment and sustainability. They include; 6 varieties of seeds, compostable cardboard and PLA pots, peat free compost discs, palm leaf trays for your pots, wooden spoon plant markers, bottletop waterer (80% recycled plastic, made in the UK) and coffee sack planter bags.

    A picture of the contents of the crop club salad kit.

    Every coffee sack is unique and different. They have already been used to transport coffee and are then upcycled. Due to this they can be a little dirty and messy but perfect for growing!

    Eco Clothes (Custom and Various Designs including Charity Clothing) Living Life Our Way Cost: From £13

    All Living Life Our Way clothing is made from 100% organic cotton, in a wind powered factory. Designs are printed using low waste, cutting edge technology. Furthermore, everything is ethically made and fully traceable from start to finish. Sustainable, ethical and good quality too. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests in a range of designs, or custom your own.

    An image showing 6 of the different designs available from the store.

    Mens Yoga Clothes OHMME 2- Dogs Yoga Shorts £45

    OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible, who also donate to CALM Charity. They use GreenDefence, which incorporates a built-in antibacterial function to the garments that stops bacterial growth and reduces odors without using harmful chemicals. They also use bluesign® to minimise environmental impact and to help evolve towards a sustainable textile industry. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for a safe production.

    Image of a pair of blue Ohmme 2-dogs yoga shorts for men.

    These 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion. The material is stretchy; this tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow. The cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. They are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.

    One lucky reader can win a pair of these brilliant blue 2-dogs mens yoga shorts! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Stocking Fillers

    Do you have sustainable gift ideas? Please share them with me! I’d love to hear them.

    This post contains affiliate links and is a collaborative post.

    Simple Ways To Reduce Energy Consumption In Your Home

    Last week I posted about energy waste and how to save money on your bills. I mentioned briefly how to reduce energy waste within the home. However, I think these tips definitely deserve their own post! 

    So here are some simple ways to reduce energy consumption in your home…

    Technology Use

    Leaving technology on standby or plugged in when not in use consumes small amounts of unnecessary energy that quickly adds up over time. Set technology to fully shut down automatically and/ or remember to turn it off properly at the socket. Unplug phones, tablets etc… as soon as they are fully charged then unplug the charger itself too. 

    Small Appliances

    Unplug small appliances at the socket when not in use to ensure they are not sneakily wasting energy. At the very least, ensure they are turned off properly at the socket. 

    Smart Power Strips

    Alternatively, a smart power strip is an affordable way to combat energy waste in your home. These clever strips cut the power supply to technology automatically when it goes into standby mode. Very smart indeed!

    Lighting

    The Lighting Superstore have created this useful infographic showing why LED bulbs are the way to go as part of their #LEDeasy campaign. In summary, LED lights use up to 90% less energy compared to incandescent bulbs. They also have a longer lifespan, are more environmentally friendly, are versatile in both style and placement, plus offer a wide range of lighting options in terms of brightness and colour too.

    The Lighting Superstore, infographic, energy consumption, environment, green living, home and garden, sustainability, eco friendly

    Heating

    Using your existing heating thermostat/ timer correctly to make sure your heating only comes on when you need it, as high as you need it and for as long as you need it, ensures you heat your home efficiently and only use the energy you really need. 

    Water

    Take a few moments to sort out any drippy taps in your home. Also switching your showerhead to an eco-friendly design is a fairly inexpensive way of saving water and energy consumption.

    My top 5 personal energy-saving actions for my own home:

    • TV, console and freeview box are all on the same strip anyway; so easy to turn it off at the socket! 
    • Ensure other technology is also turned off at the socket or unplugged when not in use. This includes unplugging mobiles as soon as they are fully charged!
    • Unplug kettle, nutribullet and microwave (and any other small appliances) when not in use. 
    • Use LED lightbulbs.
    • Use heating thermostat effectively.


    What are your top home energy-saving tips or eco-friendly actions you will take in your own home from now on? Tell me in the comments!


    *This is a collaborative post.

    Eco- Friendly Christmas Decoration Ideas

    We love it when it’s time to decorate for Christmas and turn our home into a festive wonderland! For us, it’s all about getting into the spirit and having fun together. But one thing that is also important to me is finding ways that we can make our Christmas decor abit more eco-friendly. We always try to be mindful of the materials we buy or choose to use, and the amount of waste we create, but Christmas can be an extra tough time for the environment. So on that note, here are some wonderful creative festive ideas that won’t cost the earth…

    If you are looking for an alternative to a traditional Christmas tree then take a look at these great DIY versions by Inhabitots. We have a cardboard tree from IKEA (sadly no longer in stock) which we love because it can be reused – ours is on it’s third year – and can be easily recycled once finished with. The design could easily be recreated at home if you are feeling creative!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, cardboard tree

    The Forestry Commission have some beautiful suggestions for natural homemade decorations on Pinterest. Squiggle has been asking to make our own wreath, and there is a lovely design for us to try out.

    I also love these ‘reuse and recycle’ ideas from Festive Lights. I didn’t know that gingerbread cookies can be varnished to make longer lasting decorations; I’m very keen to try that out, such a simple but effective idea, and a fun family activity! I also particularly love the snowman fridge too, so cute!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, infographic, Festive Lights

    Salt dough Christmas tree ornaments are natural and fully biodegradeable, yet are easy to make and look great! There is an excellent detailed step-by-step guide by MommyPotamus here. Squiggle had fun making some recently!

    Christmas, decorations, reuse, recycle, eco, environment, DIY, festive decor, salt dough hanging ornaments

    Do you have any eco-friendly decoration ideas? I would love to hear about them!

    Disclosure: This is a collaborative post.

    Five Reasons to Love Hemp

    Hemp is a highly sustainable plant that can be used for a wide range of purposes. Whilst in some countries it is illegal to grow hemp, many feel this is a very outdated view based on misconception and innaccurate facts. Here in the UK, hemp is legal under government regulations, with a license. So why is it not better utilised? Good question! There are many reasons why hemp is the answer to a more sustainable future.

    Here are five reasons to love hemp…

    ● Hemp is able to grow in different climates, does not require pesticides or herbicides and only needs moderate amounts of water and fertiliser. It only takes approximately 4 months from planting to harvest. So it is relatively quick and easy to grow!

    ● On an annual basis, more than twice as much hemp fibre vs cotton can be produced so it is a great source of material for clothes, linen and textiles. Also, 1 acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 2-4 acres of trees. Think how many trees hemp could save!

    ● Hemp is actually better quality than many other materials. For example, hemp paper can last hundreds of years and be recycled far more times. Hemp can also produce fibreboard that is stronger and lighter than wood.

    ● Hemp is environmentally friendly. It does not require as many toxic chemicals to produce paper, compared to tree-based paper. It can produce high quality substitutes to many plastic products, which would solve our ever-growing plastic pollution problem. Hemp oil can make non-toxic ink, paint, varnish and other things. It could be also be a highly efficient source of clean energy/ fuel.

    ● Hemp is highly nutritious and high in protein, it could be used to make a wide range of food. It can also be medicinal too.

    So hemp could be used effectively in every aspect of our lives; from our clothes and our homes (including floors, curtains, bedding etc…) to our food, from fuel for our homes and cars to making the car itself, provide us with jobs and be used in our workplace, even our technology devices could be made from hemp… what an amazing plant!

    If you would like to find out more or shop for hemp products, here are some websites with a good range of items…

    www.yaoh.co.uk

    www.thehempshop.co.uk