Daily Tip Challenge 2020 – July
1st In season foods – Aubergine, Beetroot, Blackberries, Blackcurrants, Blueberries, Broad Beans, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Cherries, Chicory, Chillies, Courgettes, Cucumber, Gooseberries, Greengages, Fennel, French Beans, Garlic, Kohlrabi, Loganberries, New Potatoes, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Radishes, Raspberries, Redcurrants, Rhubarb, Rocket, Runner beans, Samphire, Sorrel, Spring Greens, Spring Onions, Strawberries, Summer Squash, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Watercress
2nd How eco are your reading habits? There are pros and cons on both sides of buying physical books to ebooks. Ebooks overall will be better on the environment compared to buying a brand new book online but if you buy second hand locally then that’s preferable. If you can utilise a local library or a book swap then you really will be an eco consumer of books. I opt for audio books as it fits in well with being on the go so much and there is a tiny footprint associated with them.
3rd Sign a petition. Today is International Plastic Bag Free Day so the perfect time to sign the Greenpeace petition and add your name to the 2 million who have already signed asking for supermarkets to ditch throwaway plastic packaging. You can sign the petition here https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/plastic-free-supermarkets or I will also share the link on the Facebook page.
4th Don’t accept single use cutlery. Hopefully with more supermarkets and takeaways changing how they do things single use cutlery won’t be automatically included with purchases. By carrying a reusable set you will always have what you need when buying food on the go. This set is made from wheat straw which is the waste part when collecting the grains. We now have these on the website if you want more info.
5th Don’t use disposable face masks. It doesn’t cost much to get a washable mask and you are saving on waste and money. Just had an order for 12 from a plumber who is changing a mask with each customer visit with is creating lots of waste and costing a significant amount of money. Contact if there is a specific colour or design you need. These masks are sewn in Bristol and collected in person.
6th Try a manual lawnmower. Until a few days ago I didn’t realise these still existed as I haven’t seen one since I was about 7. A neighbour bought one so we had to give it a try and it works surprisingly well and is a lot less effort than I expected. No need for electricity and petrol, just a bit of manual effort to achieve the same result.
7th Freeze herbs before they turn. If you have herbs that are coming towards the end of their life or you have more than you think you can get through then put them in an ice tray with some olive oil and freeze them. Not only does the oil prevent browning and freezer burn you have a handy block for cooking, many dishes start with heating a small amount of oil and yours will be infused with the herb. This works best with ‘hard herbs’ like rosemary, sage, thyme and oregano.
8th Calculate your carbon footprint. We all know there is a footprint with most of what we do but do you know which things you do are having the biggest impact? By looking individually at all aspects we can identify which changes will make the most positive impact. There are quite a few sites where you can calculate this, this one is quite detailed carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx
9th Refuse plastic straws. I have heard a few people mention they are looking to book holidays again so if you are going abroad make sure you have the important lingo memorised before ordering your first drink!
10th Try and reduce meat consumption. Trying to cut down on meat consumption, especially red meat can make a big difference on your carbon footprint. I know there are many factors involved with this with buying locally produced meat compared with a soy substitute (for example) grown in South America but generally speaking if you also look for meat alternatives grown locally you should be making some positive savings. To put 1915 lbs saving in to perspective, a round trip from London to New York by plane is 2173 lbs CO2 per passenger.
11th Invest in a block of beeswax. I say invest as at only £2 for a block it can be a money saver due to its multiple uses, as well as having no packaging there’s minimal carbon footprint as I collect these by bicycle from a Bristol beekeeper. Not only can the blocks be used to renew your beeswax wraps, you can make your own if you have some material you like. It can also be used as a lubricant for moving parts like drawers and hinges, keep garden tools rust free, waterproofing clothing or shoes, make your own balms or creams and many other uses.
12th Pitch working from home. One of the positives to come out of the current situation is that employers have realised staff can work as effectively from home with no reduction in productivity. If you are in a position where you can work from home then try and agree with your employer to do this. Not only does it give you a more leisurely start to the day and no commute time, you are saving on your travel carbon footprint.
13th Offset your carbon footprint. Doesn’t have to be for flights only, there are websites like my climate.org where you can calculate the carbon footprint for different methods of travel, home energy consumption, events etc. You can input the relevant info and it will calculate the emissions and give different options for offsetting this. It could be putting some money to help people in Kenya buy more eco cookers, helping farmers in Nicaragua to reduce deforestation, help with a Swiss offsetting project. There is plenty of other useful info on these sites to show tips and some graphics to really reiterate the point how changes need to happen quickly.
14th Easy to grow produce – Courgettes, Squashes, Strawberries, Beetroot, Radishes, Chillies, Shallots, French Beans, Gooseberries, Rhubarb.
If you fancy growing your own fruit and veg to reduce carbon footprint and plastic packaging then this list is a good place to start. If you go to https://www.gardenersworld.com/plants/low-maintenance-veg-and-fruit/ then you will see full growing tips.
15th Donate baby essentials. In Bristol we have a great organisation @babybanknetwork who will take unneeded baby clothes, toiletries, equipment, cots, prams and toys and pass them to families in need. This in itself is great but also the environmental benefits for all these products getting the most out of the them. Have a look to see if you have a similar organisation in your city.
16th Turn electrical items off. Although more products are becoming very energy efficient there is still a cost involved in both carbon emissions and money if it is on all day, every day. This can range from £3 per year for a phone charger to £26 per year for a Sky TV box (just standby costs). In some households more energy is used by their microwaves digital clock then actually heating food!
17th Use the right amount of product. May seem fairly insignificant but if it’s something that is used daily over the course of months and years it adds up to more of an environmental impact, more cost and there is no benefit to using more than needed.
18th Swap mouthwash for an eco version. The majority of what you are paying for with liquid mouthwash is just water. By buying a glass jar of 180 tablets you are making huge savings on the carbon footprint of shipping over 7 x 500ml bottles, saving all that plastic being produced and with the cost per tablet working out at 4.7p compared to around 10p per serving of Listerine. Huge savings all round.
19th Try to limit the amount of new clothing you buy. Reason being, the annual footprint of carbon dioxide for the textiles industry is 1.2 billion tonnes. That is more than international flights and shipping combined. There are a lot of options to buy second-hand clothing, swap or borrow. If you do need to buy think about the sustainability of the materials in the product, how long it will last etc.
20th Change to bamboo when you need to replace an item. It can grow up to 3 feet per day, produces 35% more oxygen than many other tree species, grows 100 times faster than oak, and does not require pesticides to grow! Quite often I have heard or read a statement something like “well, bamboo comes from China so the carbon footprint is the same as plastic”. While this is true for shipping there is so much more to it, taking fossil fuels out of the ground is far worse for the environment than making products from a source that locks carbon rather than releasing, is compostable and not to mention the reasons listed as to why it’s a great choice for dental and kitchen products over not only plastic, but other woods.
21st Yet another use for orange peel. Orange peel is great for removing water spots, just rub the peel on metallic appliances, taps, showers etc to give a shine.
22nd Make your own travel wipes. You have probably seen the images of ‘fat’ bergs removed from sewers which are actually mostly made up of wet wipes not to mention seeing them on the beach or parks. To make your own you’ll need:
-a small cup of warm (previously boiled) water
-teaspoon of melted coconut oil
-teaspoon of Castile soap or baby wash/natural soap
Mix well and soak washable cotton rounds or flannels and keep in a sealable tin/container.
23rd Invest in ethical companies. When setting up my pension I gave my financial advisor a long list of companies I did not want my money to be invested with including oil companies, tobacco, pharmaceuticals and many others. Find out where yours is invested.
24th Share and borrow. There are a few websites like Streetbank where you can borrow things from people in the local area instead of buying. We have many neighbours on a WhatsApp group where we are always lending and borrowing gardening equipment, tools, kitchen appliances. If you don’t need to use these things regularly then it’s much better than everyone buying the same things and they sit there unused for months at a time. Saves on the environmental impact and money.
25th Get the most from banana skin. It’s not just orange peel that has a list of uses, banana skins would appear to be pretty useful too! Banana skin reduces acne, polishes silver, helps in removing splinters, reduces appearance of scars, relieves itchy skin, reduces wrinkles, helps whiten teeth.
26th Boil the water you need. Boiling a full kettle every time can add up over the course of a year both for the environment and your pocket. The difference between boiling a full kettle and half a kettle each day can equate to £14 per year on your electricity bill and an additional 30kg of CO2 in the atmosphere.
27th Have an eco travel kit. With restrictions slowly lifting it is likely we are looking for a few days away for a change of scenery. This was my eco travel kit for a hotel stay last year. We have all the things you need for a short stay without the need for unnecessary plastics and bulk. This set consists of a shampoo/soap bar with travel case, 4 x travel toothpaste tabs with small travel container, deodorant stick in a cardboard dispenser and the bamboo toothbrush with bamboo case. All I need for 2 days.
28th Dig out your travel cups/thermos flask. Although many places like zoos, parks etc are opening their doors there are a lot that won’t accept your refillable cup due to the fear of spreading germs. This means that you can only accept a single use, non-recyclable cup. Time to dig out your travel flask or cups and bring your own hot drinks to avoid the waste.
29th Make use of odd socks. Some of these socks have been sat alone in my drawer for years in the hope they would be reunited with their other half again one day. It’s time to accept they are single so I am looking through websites like this https://www.instructables.com/id/Unusual-Uses-for-Socks/ There are loads of things you can do to give single socks another life.
30th Don’t just remember your bags when shopping. I always try to support the local small business where I can for all the obvious reasons. One of the benefits about a local bakery is nothing is pre-wrapped so taking a bread wrap and mesh bag for treats means no unnecessary packaging.
31st Use washable wipes. A few days ago I gave the instructions to make your own wet wipe solution and what better to use with this then these sponge cloth wipes. These are sold in packs of 12 and are very versatile. Also can be washed in the washing machine or dishwasher and as they are natural materials they are home compostable when they can no longer be used.