Daily Tip Challenge 2020 – August
1st Look at the Too Good To Go app. If you or anyone you know works in food retail (cafes, bakeries, hotel, supermarkets...) then they can use the app to find a home for food that may be thrown out. If you want to buy food that is going to be thrown away yet still perfectly edible then also have a look www.toogoodtogo.co.uk/en-gb
2nd In season foods – Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Damsons, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Greengages, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Loganberries, Mangetout, Marrow, Mushrooms, Parsnips, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Plums, Pumpkins, Radishes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner Beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Sweetcorn, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Watercress
3rd Cut down shower times. You could also try turning the water down a bit while showering or even turning it off while applying soap/shampoo and just using to rinse. If you really wanted to take it to the next level you could place a bucket or container in to catch water while you are waiting for it to warm up and use that for plants.
4th When your plastic vegetable brush wears out, replace with a loofah. This is the eco way to clean those vegetables, advantage over the brush is it won’t flick muddy water. Fully natural product so can be composted at home when worn out.
5th Make your clothes last. I have posted before about the huge carbon footprint associated with fast fashion. Apart from the three pictured I have many other items of clothing that date back 20 years and still get worn but I don’t have many photos pre 2010. To help reduce the amount of clothing you go through:
Buy good quality
Don’t wash unless it’s dirty
Wash with cooler water
Wash with a full load (reduces friction)
Reduce amount of detergent
6th Stop unwanted mail. The average adult in the UK gets around 65 pieces of addressed junk mail each year. Remove yourself from the mailing list, if everyone did this that would equate to a big environmental saving. It’s estimated a total of 12 billion pieces of junk mail are distributed to houses and businesses each year which is the equivalent to over 4.6 million trees. Try and stop it from ever reaching you, recycling should always be the last option.
7th Donate old bedding and towels to animal shelters. Ask around local cat/dog homes and see what they need, there is often a need for other items too which you may have.
8th Use rechargeable batteries. If you go through a lot of batteries consider buying rechargeable for the environmental and cost benefit. If you have old batteries then check your council can recycle, if not many supermarkets have recycling centres for batteries. If batteries do end up in landfill the casing will corrode and the toxic contents could end up in the soil and ultimately the water cycle.
9th Pick up 5 bits of rubbish with each beach visit. Guessing the beach has been busy today, we came down in the evening for a play and the girls got their quota within 5 metres of reaching the sand. Helps that they are so enthusiastic about picking it up as you can see.
10th Buy eco pet toys. Just stumbled across a pet shop selling a range of eco pet toys and food. We sell the BeCo dog poo bags but they actually sell a huge range, maybe the next line of products we look at...
11th Let smokers know cigarette butts are not compostable. The one thing you notice a lot when you spend time at the beach is a lot of cigarette butts, seems a lot of people who wouldn’t normally litter don’t think of cigarettes being the same.
Cigarette filters contain cellulose acetate - a form of plastic
Depending on conditions, a cigarette but can take up to ten years to decompose. They contain trace amounts of toxins like cadmium, arsenic and lead which can harm organisms and degrade ecosystems.
12th Invest in cloth napkins. Many paper napkins can’t be recycled due to the fibres used, they can also ruin the batch of recycling for other paper as they often have grease and oils absorbed in them.
13th Make use of stale bread. From the basics of croutons or bread pudding all the way to Cinnamon Sugar Sourdough French Toast Bake. There is something for all levels of adventurousness to help cut down on waste by looking at this page of 9 Ways to Repurpose Stale Bread. https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/stale-bread-ideas_n_578f8236e4b0f180da63bbfb
14th Check where your food was grown/packaged. This may just make you rethink a purchase as a similar product may have a fraction of the carbon footprint. The pictured example was posted by an American but I didn’t have exact details of locations within the country so mileage shown are approximations to central locations and ‘as the crow flies’. The point is that for a tub of pears in syrup there is no need for them to travel 20,000 miles before reaching the customer.
15th Freeze before it’s too late. If bread is not going to be eaten and you don’t have plastic bags then you can use a pillow case or cotton food bag. For berries, space out on a baking tray and freeze, then put them in a glass jar. Can be used for smoothies, yogurt etc. Many veg can just be frozen as they are but things with high water content will be mushy when thawed so for things like tomatoes, make into a sauce first, then freeze in a jar.
16th Replace plastic washing up products. We sell quite a range so you can eliminate all the plastic around your kitchen sink. The plan when launching Green Alternatives was to offer a wide range of products so people could buy what makes the transition away from plastic as easy as possible. Whether you prefer a cloth or a sponge, a coconut scourer or a steel one we have it covered.
17th Reuse your glass jars – Storage for homemade sauces, general food storage, make candles, organising grains, store homemade beauty products, pickling, storing screws, bolts, trinkets, etc.
I appreciate they can be recycled but this process has a carbon footprint so have a think about creative ways they can be used around the house.
18th Reuse old clothing – More than 300,000 tonnes of used clothing goes to landfill in the UK every year with an estimated shop bought value of £140million. If your clothes are beyond repair, can’t be donated and you already have loads of decorating clothes then can they be repurposed? Could they be cut up for cleaning cloths/dusters? Bedding for pets? Cushion covers? If you’re really creative there are a host of things if you do an internet search from scarfs, quilts, bags, toys and many others.
19th Homemade fertiliser - Another banana and jar tip! I have done posts recently on uses for banana peel and finished glass jars and I have just read about another that combines the two. Put two or three banana peels in a jar with around 600ml of water and leave for a few days so all the minerals can leach into the water. Then throw skins in to compost and use the mineral rich water on your plants. If you have a blender you can just blend the lot and pour the ‘smoothie’ straight on. Banana skin is rich in potassium, phosphorus and calcium which is great for plants, especially roses.
20th Use reef-safe/coral friendly suncream. Some chemicals used in the mainstream brands contain oxybenzone and octinoxate which can kill coral and impact on the whole ecosystem. The Shade brand we sell has 4, natural ingredients. It’s more expensive than what you would get in the supermarket but no plastic bottle, natural ingredients and I can confirm neither of my children have had any sunburn over the last year since using this.
21st Think about the packaging. I used to eat spinach nearly every day but as it is so difficult to buy without a plastic bag I changed to things I can buy loose/free of plastic. Supermarkets are making tiny steps in the right direction but as long as people are tolerating plastic, change will be slow. Pictured are from some of the large supermarkets in Thailand and Vietnam where banana leaves are used as wrap or containers.
22nd Learn from lockdown. Today (Aug 22nd) is Earth Overshoot Day. This is the day which marks when humanity’s demand for ecological resources and services exceeds what the earth can regenerate in a given year. This is actually a month later than 2019 and the latest it has been since 2005. This is down to most of the developed world being in lockdown at various times meaning huge reductions in consumption of fossil fuels and natural resources.
Are there any things you have done this year you can replicate again? More homemade meals? Less using vehicles? Holiday in the UK?...
23rd Make use of weeds. When weeding the garden it is worth collecting them all in a big bucket, especially those pictured, wild fennel, comfrey, dandelions and dock. These all have tap roots which are very effective at absorbing nutrients in to the leaves. Put all these weeds into a bucket of water and leave to steep for two weeks. Remove and compost the weeds and you are now left with a nutrient rich water. Use this at a 1:10 ratio with water and use anywhere in the garden.
24th Refill! Many Brits feel awkward asking for our water bottles to be refilled, only 11% will get water bottles refilled from cafes and restaurants while on the go. Don’t feel awkward? All licensed premises in the UK are legally required to provide free drinking water. If it still doesn’t sit well think of the environmental benefit of another plastic bottle not being used.
25th Use eco notebooks. If you can’t be without a paper note book/diary/journal (took me a while to transition from my list making books to an app) then pick one that has the lowest environmental impact as possible.
Try out some of the apps available, I was surprised how good they are and once you get past that initial getting used to it phase you may find you are more productive as a result. I use Todoist for my lists now, what apps do you use that have made you a little more eco?
26th Support your community farm. These are great places for a number of reasons:
*Large green area where wildlife can thrive
*Great place to educate kids on food growth and an appreciation of eco systems
*Buy food in the cafe that has largely been grown on site so low carbon footprint.
Without support they will disappear.
27th Avoid glitter. Most glitter is a microplastic and because of its small size and weight is easily carried by wind and water in to nature. The cosmetic companies are starting to get rid of microplastics but there is still a long way to go in other industries to stem the flow of them ending up in the environment. If you really can’t be without it there are some products claiming to be compostable glitter but I haven’t looked into these yet.
28th Try non plastic stationary. If you have kids going back to school or just like stationary (who doesn’t like stationary?) then have a look at the plastic free options available. You can get the pictured set which will certainly cover maths and no plastic in site. Not to mention how great it looks!
29th Check the eco credentials before you book. The hotel sector can be really bad for waste where convenience will often trump doing the environmental thing. Have a look at their housekeeping practices, energy usage, reuse and recycling initiatives, is food sourced locally and ethically...
30th Keep your hotel room footprint low. Following on from yesterday and choosing an eco hotel you then have to do your bit. When you’re home you don’t expect your bathroom to be cleaned every day or bedding and towels to just be used once so take this mentality with you. Hang your do not disturb sign or tell the reception that you are happy to reuse. Also take your own eco travel products so the mini plastic sets provided are not needed.
31st Make your own hand sanitiser. There are many websites that give guidance on this if you’re currently going through a lot of plastic bottles of it. It’s simple to make, just need to make sure your finished solution is at least 60% alcohol to be effective.